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Friday, October 8, 2021

No Time to Die

Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga

Studio:Eon Productions/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Attention James Bond fans, there is No Time To Die on Daniel Craig’s final-epic Bond outing.

After multiple theatrical delays due to COVID-19, No Time To Die has finally been released in general public, marking this the 25th James Bond feature film in the franchise. It was one of first films that have largely been affected by this increasingly-massive COVID pandemic, which caused the Hollywood movie industries to push the films’ theatrical release dates back or have them released on their separate streaming services at home. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga is onboard, grabbing the steering wheel as director of this latest James Bond installment, with Craig reprising his role as James Bond.

The story of No Time To Die centers on the British MI6 secret agent James Bond who has recently retired from active service. However, his retirement is short-lived when a pair of CIA agents, Felix Leiter and Logan Ash, ask Bond for help to rescue the kidnapped scientist, forcing him to hit the road again onto the high seas of danger to face the mysterious villain named Lyutsifer Safin, armed with a new dangerous technology.

Daniel Craig reprises his role as James Bond in this film, marking his final James Bond role to date after playing the role for fifteen years since his first onscreen appearance in Casino Royale. As an actor, Craig really killed it in his bestie role, giving the film some proper boost on the character development and showing how vulnerable his acting profession as a secret agent can be compared to his previous James Bond films he tackled. Even with a lot of action, the exercises, and his desperate attempts to act perfectly on camera without messing about, Daniel Craig did such an awesome [and emotional] job playing his part as the greatest James Bond ever, trailing next to Sean Connery. He certainly knows the drill of portraying a character in such a spy-drama (or a spy-comedy) film like this and he never fails to screw things up. Aside from Craig doing all the work, actors Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) and Léa Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Colour) steal the show as the film’s main villain Lyutsifer Safina and the Bond girl Madeleine respectively.

Newer cast is here on the set, we have Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel) as newcomer Nomi, Billy Magnussen (HBO Max’s Made For Love) as CIA agent Logan Ash, Ana de Armas (Knives Out) as Paloma, David Dencik (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) as the disappearing-scientist Valdo Obruchuv, and Lisa-Dorah Sonnet as Mathilde who later reveals be James Bond and Madeleine's daughter.

The director of this latest James Bond film is Cary Joji Fukunaga. His startup as a filmmaker includes 2011’s film Jane Eyre, based on the book written by Charlotte Bronte, as director and the first season of HBO’s True Detective as director and executive producer. He recently directed his critically-acclaimed war-drama film Beasts of No Nation and was a writer for 2017 film It. Under his direction of this film, the story starts off nicely before reaching the anticipation for the inevitable when the James Bond character is recruited for one last mission, which is very hard to follow. The film largely uses heavy IMAX cameras in many scenes since the filmmakers want this film to be as realistic as ever, much like other sequels like Marvel Cinematic Universe and the recent Star Wars trilogy.

While most of the scenes have been shot beautifully, some thrilling aspects and some onscreen chemistry between Craig and Ana de Armas need work. My wish is for Armas to get more screen time as this would add more bonus points on the film’s spectacle, but sadly, her acting gig is cut short. The hard not-so-fast pacing is okay, but it’s somewhat overkill, and as mentioned before, there are some greater, fun-filled moments that need work additionally, cutting most of the good stuff out due to time-consuming constraints. However, what is so best about this film is Hans Zimmer’s score composition, which is very bombastic and intense with a side of melodic measures displayed throughout the film. It seems that when it comes to scoring, Zimmer never seems to disappoint his fans and himself on crafting such high-altitude music-writing skills.

All of the cast is well acted from newer casts and so does the returning cast from the previous James Bond films whom they also made their appearance in this film. The returning cast includes Ben Whishaw as Q, Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny, Jeffery Wright as Felix Leiter, Christoph Waltz as James Bond’s nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Rory Kinnear as Bill Tanner, and Ralph Fiennes as M, the head of MI6.

Well James Bond fans, this is it! No Time To Die is a good movie, but not as great as I thought it would be, it’s a total epic conclusion for Craig’s James Bond performance. But no matter despite some flaws, Daniel Craig manages to do well and is emotional on his part. I’m feeling a bit sad and sorry for Craig to leave the role, but I’m looking forward to seeing what more Daniel Craig has to offer in the future. The film is nearly three hours long, but with time and commitment on filming his final Bond movie thanks to the massive filming and acting team, this film certainly gives and ends with a final farewell to Craig himself. Until then, if Craig chooses to return, he is more welcome to come back as James Bond. So, with that, you should come and see his final James Bond adventure in theaters.


(Review by Henry Pham)

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