Wednesday, January 19, 2022

In Retrospect: No Time To Die

Here we go.

We get to have a chat now folks. I'll try to be concise but this is most likely gonna be one of those long reviews, covering almost everything from opening shot to end credits, so shall we begin. Excellent gunbarrel sequence despite the lack of blood, second only to Casino Royale in my opinion for the Craig era. Opening sequence dips it's toes in some horror and really that whole scene is directed so wonderfully and easily ramps the tension high with Safin quite brutally and yet mostly unseen killing Madeleine's mom, it's just muy bien. I will level with you, after that scene and we meet up with James and Madeleine when he says "We have all the time in the world." and those opening chords of that song started playing all I could think was, f*** she's gonna die. She's gonna die! She's gonna get shot in the head or poisoned or some shit, oh God! I know Bond films don't really rip each other off, even in the case of Moonraker being a more space orientated, science fact, remake of The Spy Who Loved Me it doesn't tread the same waters. But that genuinely was my first impression. Bond visiting Vesper's grave really hit for me, when he tries to find the words and says I miss you, I was friggin' getting teary eyed man. I mean who knew least of all Eva Green, how big and impactful this character would be 4 movies after Casino Royale. The car action with the DB5 is awesome, best car action since Die Another Day. Yes, I said that. Also best use of the DB5 since Goldfinger, well done writers. Now for the opening titles. I don't follow modern music, I have never heard a Billie Eilish song in my life before this and it is definitely one of the more moody, downbeat, kinda depressing Bond songs. But not really in a bad way, it works real good for this movie and the animations presented are maybe my favorite of the Criag era. We're gonna come back to the story but I wanted to give the cast some love real quick. Daniel, best performance of his movies in this series hands down. All our returning MI6 personnel, good as always and it's nice to see Tanner again. I still don't fully buy the whole big love story of Bond and Madeleine but Lea Seydoux has a lot more to do in this movie and therefore gives a much better performance. Rami Malek is such a great villain in the more, quiet, soft spoken, yet still utterly insane and threatning way. As a man who loves Javier Bardem a good fair bit, and still says Rami is more my favorite goes to show how well he did this role. Lashana Lynch as Nomi, I didn't necessarily hate though I did love that total f*** you jab to all the people who were like, let's make James Bond a woman. Well there you go, a lady 007 and it's canon, so toddle along and play with your crusades elsewhere. Fine actor, really felt the character however was not so much in a playful workplace banter sort of relationship and honestly hand over my heart, felt kinda man hating. I really don't like even thinking that, it's such a stupid pile of motherf***ing bullf*** to hate or discredit people based on gender period, but man it just seemed she despised everything about James and constantly wanted to be the best. I did not get the Ana de Armas love, I saw her in Blade Runner 2049 and really really liked her in that and her character Joi was super lovely, I saw her in Knives Out and was behind her character all the way and thought she was a total wee sweetie pie, but citizens of the world I do declare....I get it now after seeing her in No Time To Die. I love everything about her, her skills, her humor, her personality, the dress, mother of God have mercy on me I was crushing quick and hard folks. Christoph Waltz comes back one last time and while not having much to do, did good work and on second rewatch I like his final scene more. Plus I'm just a sucker for when the producers take bits of Fleming's works and injects them into the story, so the whole 'die Blofeld die' thing I liked. Back to the story with my man, my loved and appreciated man, Jeffrey Wright back as Felix and it hurt to see him die. It really should have occured to me sooner how this all was gonna end with just how many people, big characters bite the dust in this movie. First Felix that hit like a sack of bricks, then Blofeld which really floored me that they had the balls to do that. So the whole Cuba sequence is super well done and I love it, onwards to the Swann household. I did actually catch Madeliene placing her hand on her stomach during the pre-titles sequence, and I was thinking are we really doing this? Yes, yes we are. James Bond has a daughter in this movie, I don't truly hate that and again it's showing the producers and writers really pushing the envelope for this series. The shootout in the foggy woods is beautifully shot with such good cinematography and delivers another super cold kill by Bond reminding me of Dalton and even Moore in For Your Eyes Only. Now for the finale, 10/10 best villain base since like Moonraker for me personally, I know it owes so so much to Dr. No and the work Ken Adam had in the concepts of all those big villain lairs, but this is a whole other level and is designed to perfection. Both encounters Bond has with Safin are very well written and do such a good job showing how out there he really is, and once again a pretty brutal cold kill for Bond. Okay. This I'm sure is what everyone wants to know what I think. James Bond dies. That's a pretty big deal, and when it happened in the cinema my reaction was exactly, "Are you kidding me? R-really??" because all I felt was shock and disbelief. Obviously I knew this was Daniel's last hurrah and considering how tightly knit the story and continuity was I really had no idea how the movie could have ended. I also know Ian Fleming basically for a time did kill James Bond in the books, he was posioned and was dying on the last page of From Russia With Love and like Arthur Conan Doyle with Sherlock Holmes brought the character back for more stories. So I know technically this has happened before, kinda sorta, but to see James be obliterated by missiles and have some down time to see the emotional fallout of that has impact. And I have no idea who said this but it is so undoubtfully true but they said, people are going to remember this is the film that killed James Bond and not the film where he was given a family, and that hits hard man. I mean hearing the whole song of We Have All The Time In The World in particular the orchestral score right before end credits really made the tears fall, it hinges a bit on viewers who have seen On Her Majesty's Secret Service which is like top 5 Bond films for me for that song to mean something. But obviously it worked on me effortlessly, and yes both those movies share a very depressing ending which I will let the readers decide which is sadder. James cradling his dead wife from a drive by shooting remarking we have all the time in the world, or James telling Madeliene you have all the time in the world and knows his daughter has his eyes before being incinerated. I can't truly fathom the audience reaction seeing Majesty's in the cinema, and I could tell a lot of people in my theater didn't really know how to take it. I've heard stories of audience members hearing people say well I guess there aren't going to be more Bond movies, but I bring good news. At the very very very end of the credits we still have it, James Bond will return, thank Christ. But where do we go now? I hate to see our MI6 cast be dropped but...I mean, what can you do? If I was speaking my mind, and I always do, I'd give it 5 years before the next James Bond movie even starts production. I do appreciate, enjoy, and understand the movie better than the first time so I do bump my grade up to 4 stars, 8.5/10. I know this is a tricky movie for folks to get their definite views on and rightfully so but the stuff I genuinely love is in abundance and even with something that would never ever be so casually thrown into a script, people take a lot of consideration when doing stuff like that. You don't kill James Bond, or Luke Skywalker, or Superman on a whim unless you damn well have good reason for it. I don't like seeing it, but that doesn't mean I hate it from a storytelling aspect. There is a difference and people need to make that distinction. If you're still with me thank you so much for joining me, and tomorrow we dig into another possible lengthy discussion with Halloween Kills.

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