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Is there really ‘No Time to Die’?

| Thursday, October 14, 2021

Claire Kirner | The Observer

Here’s how to make a James Bond film: First, you must find yourself a suave superspy. Then, you can determine your source of evil. This individual is important because they will be the source of all of the spy’s problems, forcing him on a quest to put an end to their devious plans. As a result, they will encounter numerous inevitable confrontations with evil and its henchmen, which eventually lead him to their final destination. With these confrontations comes impossible escapes from death, leaving the viewer wondering how he was able to survive. And, of course, the overarching theme of seduction.

It has been a very successful recipe, and despite minor changes and it’s natural adaptation to modern times, Ian Fleming’s characters and stories have stood the test of time. With seven different actors portraying the iconic role of James Bond over the past 59 years (the longest continually running film series in existence), it’s remarkable that we are still captivated by the adventures, mysteries and jam-packed-action of the franchise. Recently the long-awaited 25th rendition of Fleming’s superspy, and Daniel Craig’s final portrayal as the world’s most loved British intelligence diva, “No Time to Die” hit the big screen on Oct. 8, and we are left with more questions than answers.

From the beginning, we can see that there is something different about James Bond. He appears to be not only more trusting but also more emotional, very different from the traditional ladies man, womanizer persona that is commonly associated with 007. Nevertheless, the viewers are introduced to this “new” Bond during his romantic getaway with the beautiful Dr. Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), who we were first introduced to in “Spectre” (2015). But we are quickly transported away from the beauties of Southern Italy to a cold and violent flash-back which acts as the foundation for the entirety of the film.

Simply put, it all boils down to biowarfare. Through numerous games of tug-of-war for the possession of the Russian scientist Obruchv (David Dencik) and the dangers inflicted on Dr. Madeline Swann, Bond is pulled out of retirement, which MI6 desperately tried to avoid. The story is greatly dependent on its predecessor, “Spectre” (2015), bringing back many characters whose narratives are shockingly intertwined, adding a newfound dimension.

The devious biochemical plot of mass-destruction is spearheaded by the strange and vengeful Safin, played by Rami Malek. With the classic cartoonish grandeur and mystery, Safin’s henchmen and Bond meet countless times in great excess (do you really need a helicopter, two Range Rovers and three motorcyclists to attack Bond in one unarmed vehicle?). Sadly, Bond and Safin only meet twice during the entire film, which was rather disappointing. The film’s potential for action was met, but the viewers were left craving for more, especially for greater amount of action between the antagonist and protagonist rather than a suspenseful conversation and one weak duel.

Furthermore, Malek’s character was an interesting Bond villain because there was no way he survived in the beginning (if you know, you know), and he was a distant mastermind rather than an active participant. In some ways, Safin belonged more in a “Star Wars” film due to his odd scientific advancements and utopian, Death Star-like compound as well as his off-putting father-daughter-esque relationship with Dr. Madeline Swann.

Overall, in order to avoid any spoilers, I will leave you with this. I don’t believe Daniel Craig’s finale should have ended the way it did. Despite a few plot holes and an unsatisfactory ending, “No Time to Die” was another successful Bond film. So, make yourself a vodka martini (if you’re over 21), shaken, not stirred, and enjoy the newest installment of 007.

“No Time to Die”

Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga

Staring: Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux

If you like: “Mission Impossible,” “The Bourne Identity”

Shamrocks: 3.5/ 5

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About Willoughby Thom

i am the associate scene editor. if you didn't know already, my favorite band is Oingo Boingo.

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