No Time to Die (2021)

All non-Nolan related film, tv, and streaming discussions.
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10/10: Skyfall, OHMSS
9/10: Living Daylights, License to kill, Casino Royal
8/10: From Russia, Goldfinger, Thunderball, For your eyes only, Octopussy, Goldeneye
7/10: Dr NO, Spy who loved me, Moonraker, View to a kill, Tomorrow never dies, World's not enough, Spectre
6/10: You only live twice, Diamonds are forever, Live and let die, Man with the golden gun, Die another day
(not seen QoS yet)
Ready for NTTD!

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DHOPW42 wrote:
October 4th, 2021, 8:54 am
I never liked Skyfall that much...
ME and you, bud. Casino Royale is where it is at.

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First 30 is solid, then it fizzles out. The ending is a dud.

2.5/5

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Really enjoyed this. There are some problems in the third act and the plot is a little all over the place, but I was never a big fan of the others Bond movies, so don't know if that's a constant in the series.
Definitely this is the most human Bond of all. Loved that this time is more of a team movie compared to the others. It's still a Bond movie, but he interacts more with the other characters in a more natural and convincing way.

And my god the cinematography!!

Casino and Skyfall are still the best for me but not because this is bad, but because those are so good. And I prefer the more personal and low risk threat of those movies, instead of the world annahilation of this.

Some cons for me:
-The villain. Everytime he's onscreen is a bore. Couldn't care less for him.
-The stormtroopes henchmen at the end.
-So little of Ana de Armas.

Very happy this was the end for Craig's Bond. So much better than Spectre.

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So, No Time to Die is emotional, exciting and ...deeply flawed? Fukunaga's made a messy grand finale with (surprisingly) The Last Jedi energy that's as much an epic celebration of James Bond as a probing deconstruction. This is one I have to sit with, but I firmly liked it. I loved the opening hour. The rest often resonates as it maddens and disappoints. Craig is sensational, possibly his greatest performance, vulnerable, bare, yet still effortlessly cool. As flawed as (big) aspects of this movie are, I walked away ...mostly... satisfied.

The biggest surprise for me was just how intelligently they connected the previous Craig Bond movies into a narrative whole considering how disparate they are, like how Felix Leiter's cynicism towards authority and the Intelligence community re-emerges as a major thematic element of the entire movie, and how Spectre is far more lethal and imposing than their actual full movie.

Continuing into spoilers:
But more than anything, the unifying theme of the Craig era is how he's becoming a sort of King Midas of death, a figure who only leads to death and ruin to all those around him––something M, Green, Silva, and Blofeld all have said about him... so turning this into a literal plot device, where him "touching" the woman he loved would kill her... actually makes tremendous thematic and dramatic sense. That's not to say it was totally earned, everything involving Malek and Safir is pretty bad, but I like the idea.

I love the idea that Safir's doing more damage to Spectre than Bond could in five movies, especially given Skyfall and Spectre's themes of oversight and "knowing when to pull the trigger," so it's a shame his plan becomes unintelligible nonsense about free will and tidiness while selling the nanobot virus to the highest bidder.. not to mention his inexplicable obsession with Swan. I do wish Safir's idea of "I saved your life and now you belong to me" was explicitly connected to Bond and MI6. It would make the tragedy of his martyrdom all the more poignant, but I still love the idea of Bond going out cleaning up MI6s mess after four movies of them undermining and turning against him. There's pathos there.
This isn't so much one Bond movie than several, and while they don't quite quite smoothly cohere, Fukunaga is thoughtful and deliberate in connecting these strands to surprising effect. Basically, what we'd hoped for from The Rise of Skywalker. Apparently much was written mid-production and even in post, and the action had very little prep, so considering all of that... even while I think Safin sucks, this is about the best case scenario? I'm pleased. The more I rest on it, the more I like it.

PS Ana De Armas is so unbelievably good (and hot) she nearly steals the whole damn film.

Excited to see what the rest of you all think.


-Vader

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So is this the TDKR of Bond films?

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Vader182 wrote:
October 8th, 2021, 1:30 am
So, No Time to Die is emotional, exciting and ...deeply flawed? Fukunaga's made a messy grand finale with (surprisingly) The Last Jedi energy that's as much an epic celebration of James Bond as a probing deconstruction. This is one I have to sit with, but I firmly liked it. I loved the opening hour. The rest often resonates as it maddens and disappoints. Craig is sensational, possibly his greatest performance, vulnerable, bare, yet still effortlessly cool. As flawed as (big) aspects of this movie are, I walked away ...mostly... satisfied.

The biggest surprise for me was just how intelligently they connected the previous Craig Bond movies into a narrative whole considering how disparate they are, like how Felix Leiter's cynicism towards authority and the Intelligence community re-emerges as a major thematic element of the entire movie, and how Spectre is far more lethal and imposing than their actual full movie.

Continuing into spoilers:
But more than anything, the unifying theme of the Craig era is how he's becoming a sort of King Midas of death, a figure who only leads to death and ruin to all those around him––something M, Green, Silva, and Blofeld all have said about him... so turning this into a literal plot device, where him "touching" the woman he loved would kill her... actually makes tremendous thematic and dramatic sense. That's not to say it was totally earned, everything involving Malek and Safir is pretty bad, but I like the idea.

I love the idea that Safir's doing more damage to Spectre than Bond could in five movies, especially given Skyfall and Spectre's themes of oversight and "knowing when to pull the trigger," so it's a shame his plan becomes unintelligible nonsense about free will and tidiness while selling the nanobot virus to the highest bidder.. not to mention his inexplicable obsession with Swan. I do wish Safir's idea of "I saved your life and now you belong to me" was explicitly connected to Bond and MI6. It would make the tragedy of his martyrdom all the more poignant, but I still love the idea of Bond going out cleaning up MI6s mess after four movies of them undermining and turning against him. There's pathos there.
This isn't so much one Bond movie than several, and while they don't quite quite smoothly cohere, Fukunaga is thoughtful and deliberate in connecting these strands to surprising effect. Basically, what we'd hoped for from The Rise of Skywalker. Apparently much was written mid-production and even in post, and the action had very little prep, so considering all of that... even while I think Safin sucks, this is about the best case scenario? I'm pleased. The more I rest on it, the more I like it.

PS Ana De Armas is so unbelievably good (and hot) she nearly steals the whole damn film.

Excited to see what the rest of you all think.


-Vader
Can't wait!!

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Vader182 wrote:
October 8th, 2021, 1:30 am
So, No Time to Die is emotional, exciting and ...deeply flawed? Fukunaga's made a messy grand finale with (surprisingly) The Last Jedi energy that's as much an epic celebration of James Bond as a probing deconstruction. This is one I have to sit with, but I firmly liked it. I loved the opening hour. The rest often resonates as it maddens and disappoints. Craig is sensational, possibly his greatest performance, vulnerable, bare, yet still effortlessly cool. As flawed as (big) aspects of this movie are, I walked away ...mostly... satisfied.

The biggest surprise for me was just how intelligently they connected the previous Craig Bond movies into a narrative whole considering how disparate they are, like how Felix Leiter's cynicism towards authority and the Intelligence community re-emerges as a major thematic element of the entire movie, and how Spectre is far more lethal and imposing than their actual full movie.

Continuing into spoilers:
But more than anything, the unifying theme of the Craig era is how he's becoming a sort of King Midas of death, a figure who only leads to death and ruin to all those around him––something M, Green, Silva, and Blofeld all have said about him... so turning this into a literal plot device, where him "touching" the woman he loved would kill her... actually makes tremendous thematic and dramatic sense. That's not to say it was totally earned, everything involving Malek and Safir is pretty bad, but I like the idea.

I love the idea that Safir's doing more damage to Spectre than Bond could in five movies, especially given Skyfall and Spectre's themes of oversight and "knowing when to pull the trigger," so it's a shame his plan becomes unintelligible nonsense about free will and tidiness while selling the nanobot virus to the highest bidder.. not to mention his inexplicable obsession with Swan. I do wish Safir's idea of "I saved your life and now you belong to me" was explicitly connected to Bond and MI6. It would make the tragedy of his martyrdom all the more poignant, but I still love the idea of Bond going out cleaning up MI6s mess after four movies of them undermining and turning against him. There's pathos there.
This isn't so much one Bond movie than several, and while they don't quite quite smoothly cohere, Fukunaga is thoughtful and deliberate in connecting these strands to surprising effect. Basically, what we'd hoped for from The Rise of Skywalker. Apparently much was written mid-production and even in post, and the action had very little prep, so considering all of that... even while I think Safin sucks, this is about the best case scenario? I'm pleased. The more I rest on it, the more I like it.

PS Ana De Armas is so unbelievably good (and hot) she nearly steals the whole damn film.

Excited to see what the rest of you all think.


-Vader
This movie doesn't even deserve to shine The Last Jedi's shoes. This thing was limp...


De Armes was sexy, hope her career explodes.

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[u]*** SPOILERS BELOW!!!! ***[/u]

Okay...I've seen it twice and feel I can now really contextualise my thoughts.

NTTD, at heart, is a traditional Bond film, and that’s part of its pleasures. For a large part of its runtime, NTTD is actually a fun and entertaining film. The extra kicker is that the movie wants to do full justice to the emotional thrust of this being Daniel Craig’s exit from the series. And it does.

It's quite brave that they doubled down on the mythology from the Craig era. In this respect the film has a cumulative impact that, at times, is reminiscent of The Dark Knight Rises.

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The opening is terrific. Fukunaga bravely wrong-foots the audience with the introduction in Norway and the sequence is rather haunting. It's involving as the young Madeleine (excellently played by Coline Defaud) is sympathetic and clearly outmatched. The sinister introduction for Safin is also note perfect. The match-cut to Matera is expertly handled and the entire opening sequence is just about the best action setpiece to kick off a Bond film there has been. You have to hand it to Cary Fukunaga for reintroducing the spectre of Vesper for that sequence; it makes Madeleine's 'betrayal' so much more impactful. The best part of the action sequence is that beat inside the car where Madeleine begs Bond to act yet he sits stony faced. It's such a tense bit of character work in the middle of a noisy action sequence.

The titles are a little disappointing. I couldn't get over quite how 'meh' they were. Some images are evocative and compelling. But so much of it feels pared down and uneventful. It's a shame as Billie Eilish's song is so good - but the images are not elevated by the song.

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I suppose this feels like the perfect point to discuss Daniel Craig. He has a gift of a role to play this time. I have to say, Craig is seriously excellent in this film. It's up there with CR as his best performance as Bond. Firstly, he looks terrific as the wizened, rough spy. He wears his years well and has that leathery ruggedness to him. He's very convincing as the worldweary spy and killer. The deep lines to his face marking those vivid blue eyes have always had a weary sentiment. They’re flexed to a sharpened effect here as the apparent scars only make each punch feel harder, each kick more difficult to recover from. Linus Sandgren frames Craig as the battle-scarred soldier back from war (DC owes Linus a drink as he photographs him lovingly throughout NTTD).

Craig is having more fun in NTTD and his performance feels looser, more charismatic than ever (dare I even say a little camp). Equally, he's perfect as the stoic, romantic hero. There is a great feeling of finality to his performance, which is aided perfectly by a very game Fukunaga - who isn't afraid to make Bond vulnerable, angry and (as Blofeld says) sensitive.

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Fukunaga himself is in seriously good form here. You can see his fingerprints. Especially in the themes (childhood trauma, cycles of violence and nature of time) and the filmmaking craft on display. There is some seriously elegant filmmaking on show here. Also, Fukunaga adds shocks of excitement by employing his rough and tumble, one-camera guerilla-style. That missile silo scene imbues the typically slick Bond with a dirty, visceral edge. It also matches Craig’s brawling style better than any other director he has had in the series.

With Fukunaga at the helm, NTTD aptly balances the franchise’s classic construct yet totally remakes what a Bond movie can be for a fitting, touching end to Craig’s tenure. The film is clearly hinting at OHMSS, but it's really YOLT and TSWLM that Fukunaga is aping. His handling of the relationship with Madeleine feels authentic - Seydoux is as dependently excellent as ever. However, the real performance that wins the film comes in the unexpected form of Lisa-Dorah Sonnet as Mathilde. She's so charming and cute. You can see why Bond actually allows himself to contemplate a life outside of MI6 for her.
Which brings me to that scene. Personally, I loved it. When I saw they were doing it I was totally sold. My heart broke when I saw Safin shoot Bond (something that no villain in 25 films had thought to do) and then poison 007. Craig plays that sequence perfectly; never allowing Bond seem like the victim. It has an almost poetic grace to it. When the missiles landed, I really felt something hit me in the chest emotionally. The ending is perfectly in tune with the sentiment established by Ian Fleming: Bond lives in the shadows and has resigned himself with the knowledge that men like him do not get normal lives. Often Bond would dream about being normal, but know that he had to play the role expected of him. The tragedy for Bond in NTTD, is that he starts as a man without a reason to live and ends with a family worth dying for. The film cruelly reminds Bond that he cannot have a normal life. It's truly heartbreaking. The Louis Armstrong song perfectly adds some honey to that brutal ending.
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The film is not perfect though. It's positively drowning in plot and much of the convoluted ideas didn't really come into focus until a second viewing. The simple issue is that Heracles is just silly spy movie nonsense. The internal logic surrounding the device are confusing and illogical. It's a bit daft and feels more like something from a Mission Impossible or Marvel film - perhaps too fantastical for the Craig-era. I cannot fault them for thinking that a global pandemic was a more interesting device than the villain having an atomic bomb or whatever (it's way more timely than we would have thought), but the instantaneous and corny way people died was a bit lame.

There's a cartoonish grandeur to NTTD. At times it feels like 'a bit too much' - especially when they introduce so many gadgets and other silly elements (I'm looking at you Blofeld's magic eyeball). These moments are at odds tonally with the more serious movie NTTD wants to be. In this respect, the film is slightly uneven.

The film's attempts at humour are also pretty bad - especially every scene with David Denick. If you're looking for scenes to cut in this almost three hour film, then you should start there. However, Ben Whishaw is once again the MVP and makes the film particularly funny. His chemistry with Craig is excellent. Ralph Fiennes delivers a marvellous turn as M. His involvement in creating Heracles gives the character some meat to deal with. Naomie Harris is wasted (remember, she even went to Jamaica to promote the launch).

In respect to the new ladies: Paloma is terrific. The espionage logistics between Bond and her are so impeccably timed that they give off a ripe erotic charge. Lashana Lynch is great as Nomi. However, I really wanted to love her character and I just didn't. I feel they wasted the potential friction between having the new and old 007 going head to head. Initially, there is some fun one-upmanship, but it fizzles out with Nomi becoming too deferential to Bond. She is not helped by the fact that she gets lost in the middle of the film. It's shame as Nomi kicks arse, but perhaps suffers as the film is overstuffed with characters.

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The jury was a little out on Rami Malek after my first viewing. The people I saw the film with the second time weren't impressed, but I think I like his performance. Malek is suitably creepy and clearly underplaying it (but somehow still chewing the scenery). His dialogue scenes are pretty interesting and he's compelling. I kinda wish Safin had a better motivation. Nevertheless, he has a brilliant lair, a sinister mask and a great costume. That final scene with him and Bond is a hall of fame moment for me.

NTTD is ridiculously watchable entertainment which feels like half its actual running time. Craig is at his most real and emotionally bruised. He never lets you forget that there’s a wounded, vulnerable human being beneath the licensed-to-kill MI6 agent. The movie’s big issue is that it's uneven - both silly and serious. It’s not until the last act when Craig takes the wheel that NTTD finds its emotional balance. It's an interesting choice by Fukunaga - in that NTTD is preposterousness but also touching and surprising.

Simply put, NTTD cements Daniel Craig has the definitive James Bond. Craig leaves it all on the field and goes above and beyond in every scene. For that alone, it gets the 5 star treatment.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

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