No Time to Die

After “Spectre” was released in 2015, a fifth installment of the rebooted “James Bond” with Daniel “Dan” Craig titled, “No Time to Die” began development. When Sam Mendes left to make other projects, MGM and Eon Productions offered directors Christopher Nolan, (my personal hero) Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, Sunshine) & Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Sicario, Blade Runner 2049) an opportunity, but they turned down the offer in favor of “Tenet,” “Yesterday” & “Dune.” Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective, The Alienist, It: Chapters 1-2) signed on to direct and co-write the script. Dan requested MGM & Eon to hire Phoebe Waller-Bridge as a co-writer, because he and Rachel Weisz are fans of “Fleabag.” Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel) & Ana De Armas (Knives Out, Blade Runner 2049) join forces with Dan and previous returning cast members.

Originally slated for a November 2020 release, MGM, & Eon were forced to postpone the film several times, due to COVID-19. They finally went for October 2021. When Sony’s contract to co-produce the series expired, Universal acquired the film rights. This was before Amazon ultimately bought MGM for $8.45 billion. After a long wait, Universal distributed the highly anticipated film worldwide.

No Time to Die is out right now. It received positive reviews from critics, fans and movie goers alike. So far, it’s currently earning revenue at the box office. The movie needs to make $750-$800 million in order to break-even.

This review contains no SPOILERS whatsoever. Does Daniel Craig deliver a swan song to James Bond? Let’s find out shall we? SPOILERS from previous films are listed. If you’re not up to date, read at your own risk.

Redemption & Rejected Qualties

Redemption: Daniel Craig reprises his role as James Bond one last time and he did a phenomenal job. He also co-produced the fifth entry. Dan earns Bonus Points as one of my favorite actors as well as my number one version of Bond.

Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Jeffery Wright & Christoph Waltz reprise their roles and they all did an excellent job for their respective performances.

Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch & Ana De Armas all did an excellent job for their respective performances.

Fun Fact: Dan worked with Ana in “Knives Out.” He personally chose her for a role after they had a good time working together.

Cari Joji Fukunaga co-wrote and directed the final installment and he did an awesome job.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge co-wrote the screenplay. She has experience on “Killing Eve.” Not bad for a showrunner.

Action Sequences contain high octane stunts, gunplay, close-quarters combat that’ll make your heart pump.

Practical Effects were heavily involved with stunt work, pyrotechnics and camera trickery. Computer Animation was used sparingly.

Set Pieces were manually built.

Humor retains Bond’s snarky one liners. Courtesy of Fleabag who co-wrote the script.

Cinematography has a lot of breathtaking shots.

Hans Zimmer (The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, Interstellar) orchestrated the music.

Billie Eilish sings the opening theme. Like the opening themes from “Skyfall” & Spectre, Billie’s song gave me goosebumps. There’s a reason why she won a Grammy. She deserves an Oscar for “Best Original Song.” Adele & Sam Smith won an Oscar. Billie is the youngest musician to contribute to a Bond theme.

Chemistry between Bond and his allies serves as the main highlight. His interactions with his friends moves the story forward.

The Tone is much darker and emotional than previous installments.

Set Five Years after the events of Spectre, Bond comes out of retirement to help his ally Felix Leiter, embark on a mission tied to Blofeld’s organization and Safin.

The iconic Gun Barrel Sequence is back with a major tweak.

Opening Scene sets The Stakes.

According to Dan, he compares Bond to a wounded animal. What he’s trying to say is in fact, Bond’s a vulnerable heartbroken man who’s gone through emotional hell since his childhood was taken from his stepbrother turned antagonist Blofeld, lost his first love Vesper Lynd and mentor/motherly figure M. Unlike previous Bond actors, Dan’s version is complex, character driven and relatable.

Bond’s replacement Nomi didn’t steal the film nor shove any feminist agenda in my face. She’s not a carbon copy or an arrogant self-centered individual. She’s an experienced 00 Agent with a noble personality who respects her predecessor. Thank goodness Nomi is a strong female character next to past female Bond characters like Natalya Simonova from “Goldeneye” & Wai Lin from “Tomorrow Never Dies.” I’m also relieved she didn’t show some skin like Halle Berry’s character Jinx from “Die Another Day” as an excuse for attention.

Safin isn’t a generic Bond villain, he has an interesting backstory and motivation.

Primary Themes are Truth, Deception, Family, Relationships & Legacy. Every single one is handled maturely.

There’s so many twists and turns. I cannot reveal juicy details.

I refuse to tell you how it all ends. You’re gonna have to see for yourself. This review is CLASSIFIED. All I can say is Bond’s character arc closes the book.

The End Credits plays a familiar song.

Rejected: I couldn’t find any problems with this movie. I’m giving The Cast And Crew an Extra Point for making a grand finale as flawless as possible.

The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!

No Time to Die is an intense emotional roller coaster worth a year long wait. Daniel Craig delivers a phenomenal performance in his swan song as James Bond. If you’re a James Bond fan like me, I strongly recommend it. I think it’s time for the franchise to take a 10-year hiatus in favor of an original intellectual property as a sign not to rush things. It’s gonna be very hard for somebody to fill in Mr. Craig’s shoes. We shall see in the future.

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