“No Time to Die”: Daniel Craig’s Latest Bond Film Is Big But Not Great, Mopey But Not Significant

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There’s so much you want to love about “No Time to Die,” the fifth and final Bond for Daniel Craig, but at 2 hours and 43 minutes, it’s a chore. The scenes go on too long and Craig’s films over time have become more and more the melodrama of being Bond and his emotional attachments and far-reaching stories. It’s counterintuitive for the Bonds who defined the franchise (see Connery and Moore) through cartoonish male machismo and cruel, kitsch tropes – square-jawed derring-do, deadly tech gadgets hidden in a shoe, and a litany of cheesy liners that sound shiny when served as straight as a martini topping.

In the Last and 25th Leap, all of that is long gone. It all revolves around the inner turmoil of an agent, with some clever action sequences. Craig, whose physique helped define the 21st century bond, also marked an emotional awareness that has largely been absent since George Lazenby’s 00 took on the mantle of monogamy and latched onto “On the Secret Service. of his majesty “(1969). Here Bond is retired and living off the grid on a West Indian island until the arrival of old CIA pal Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) and a yuppie attaché (Billy Magnussen), who has a bit of a story with Jared Kushner. Leiter wants James to help locate a package in Cuba kidnapped by Specter for the purpose of mass-producing murderous nanobots – essentially a DNA-targeted virus that is passed from person to person until it finds its mark. . The biggest fear is that someone could take advantage of technology to wipe out ethnicities or entire geographies.

Yes, as with all Bond, the world is at stake. Some of the payouts are joys, some are wobbly curiosities or camping time capsules and some are just duds, but it’s really about the journey. across the world and performing the show. “No Time to Die” is a humorless leap in which the past continually rumbles. In Game 1, Bond is set to step out of the network with the love interest of “Specter” (2015) Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), but that all changed when intercepted by a group of evil piranhas on vacation. – and in search of exorcising some of these ghosts of the past – in the high mountains of Italy. The streak of turns causes Bond to question his confidence in Swann. Confidence becomes something of a theme that runs throughout the film; Later, Bond discovers that the new M (Ralph Fiennes) may also be in nanobot trouble. Old friend Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) also makes his way into the party, looking more like Hannibal Lecter than Donald Pleasance (the most memorable of all Blofeld, the villainous arch who made an appearance in a total of nine films. de Bond) within its constraints. But the madman of the day is a man with the evil name of Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek) and a disfigured face. It seems like the only way to start a viable Bond villain these days is to shoot an Oscar winner (Malek and Waltz won, and Javier Bardem from “Skyfall”) and turn them into a decadent character with a twisted soul. Craig’s best villain yet came in the form of a man, a guy who did his dirty work with his own hands. This movie was not only Craig’s best entry, but one of the best Bonds of all time. The chapter 00 I speak so well, “Casino Royale” (2006) was also Craig’s first, and the demented demon of death behind manic acts was played by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, a capable performer who has even played Hannibal Lecter (TV’s “Hannibal”) with enough nuance and panache to deserve a thumbs-up from Anthony Hopkins.

But back to the current mission: there’s also a new 007 in the mix, and it’s a female and a non-Caucasian to boot (Lashana Lynch) – something more after Idris Elba’s suggestion in the role that triggered such shock waves? Given a new face under a familiar number, people will ask if this is where the franchise is headed. If “No Time to Die” were an audition tape, the jury would be mixed. Lynch is fine, but her agent really doesn’t do much other than Shadow Bond, and we never know how good her skills are. She’s adept at piloting and riding a Vespa, but it’s probably not enough to save the world yet.

The unfolding of “No Time to Die” will probably be the most important for aficionados looking to make connections through Bond’s verse. Those who have relished Sean Connery’s brutal charm and chauvinistic irreverence will likely come away disappointed, though the film has its sizzle and verve and the action sequences – especially the opening one in Italy – are crisp and clear. well choreographed, with exceptional aerial photographs and camera work in tight confines as the chaos crumbles. Like many in the movie, however, they tend to go on for too long and never really have the growing clashes of previous Bond sagas. All in all, the long-awaited chapter of Bond, delayed by Covid and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (HBO “True Detective” and “Beasts of No Nation”) with a script contribution by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“Fleabag”) gives the impression of constantly trying to buy buy between long goodbyes. (Don’t ask or think about it until you’ve seen the movie.) There’s even a forgettable Billie Eilish song that makes you miss Shirley Bassey. Unfortunately, this Bond comes out with a muffled pop.

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