NO TIME TO DIE (2020) Reviews [28] of James Bond blockbuster

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“You can imagine why I’ve come back to play.”

No Time to Die is the 25th James Bond action-thriller film and the fifth movie starring Daniel Craig as British secret agent 007.

Directed by American filmmaker Cary Joji Fukunaga (Sin Nombre, Jane Eyre, Beasts of No Nation) from a screenplay co-written with Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Scott Z. Burns and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, very loosely based on Ian Fleming’s books and characters. Produced by Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson of Eon Productions.

The cast includes Jeffrey Wright as Felix, Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, Ben Whishaw as Q; plus Rami Malek, Ana de Armas, Léa Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Billy Magnussen, Rory Kinnear and David Dencik.

Plot:

Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.

Reviews:

“There are a few bright spots and some fun to be had, mostly in the film’s rousing opening segments. But once the main storyline kicks in, a grim and dreary haze falls over the entire proceedings that lingers right through the film’s final moments. Fukunaga knows his way around action sequences, but fails at capturing any sense of humanity with this massive cast…” Bad Feeling

“Powering the film from the off is Craig’s ageing spy. His brooding intensity is still there, but there’s also a sentimental vulnerability as well as a romantic side that makes this his most accomplished Bond performance so far. For those lamenting the lack of humour in his films (what are you on about, there’s loads!), No Time to Die features many funny moments including quips and one-liners that are just missing a Roger Moore raised eyebrow.” For Your Films Only

No Time To Die is startling, exotically self-aware, funny and confident, and perhaps most of all it is big: big action, big laughs, big stunts and however digitally it may have been contrived, and however wildly far-fetched, No Time To Die looks like it is taking place in the real world, a huge wide-open space that we’re all longing for.” The Guardian

“What director Cary Joji Fukunaga has managed to do here, which is harder than it seems, is capture the essence of Bond without contrivance, all the while bringing the character and world firmly into the present day. No Time to Die feels different to other Bonds, and yet very much has the identity that fans will desire. Helped along by the occasional nod to old Bond productions…” HeyUGuys

” …the multi-handed screenplay has a certain ungainliness, even if its just-under-three-hours runtime tends to pass quickly and lightly. That opening gambit is overlong, unwieldy and something of a downer […] Craig, in his final turn in the role, makes Bond not just vulnerable (he’s managed that before) but someone with a sense of humor […] It’s that wink, here and there, that makes No Time to Die stand out.” Movie Nation

” …a film that is worthy of Daniel Craig’s excellent performance as James Bond. The series has moved on to a form that is more realistic but still has exciting action sequences that are key to spy films. The idea that the world is in danger and that spies with a license to kill are out there protecting all of us has been rejuvenated with a plot and performances that have more emotional heft and a realistic base.” Nightmarish Conjurings

” …some of the best action set-pieces of the series thus far […] and is brought to life superbly by Linus Sandgren‘s piercing camerawork and Hans Zimmer‘s typically vibrant score. Peppered with some brilliantly pithy notes from Phoebe Waller-Bridge‘s screenplay (alongside Fukunaga and regular Bond scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade), there’s a vibrancy and panache that harks back to the Connery and Brosnan eras without crossing too far into full-on Moore camp.” The People’s Movies

“Craig is really fired up for his final go. Not only does he look absolutely jacked, but he seems energized for the gamut of emotions he gets to bring this time around. This is not icy cool 007, shooting his way through every problem. There are legit stakes and he has to play this one with his heart as much as his trigger finger. I believe this is the best he’s ever done as Bond, along with No Time to Die possibly the best film of the Craig era.” Punch Drunk Critics

“As Bond super-villains go, Safin is on the wrong side of memorable, the result of an underwritten, reactive character, and Malek’s lifeless, somnolent performance, as risky as it is, is misguided […] As a globe-trotting send-off for Daniel Craig, No Time To Die certainly manages to conclude Bond’s personal arc with a stirring, moving emotional payoff. Whether it hits audiences as much as director Cary Joji Fukunaga and the producers intended, however, is another matter.” Screen Anarchy

No Time to Die feels like a love letter to Craig’s iteration of 007, bringing in new characters who make a mark while thoughtfully and carefully wrapping up Bond’s storylines. The action, the personal subplots, and the generally good pacing will keep audiences in their seats, with the ending of the film being one fans of the franchise will be talking about for some time to come.” Screen Rant

“ …No Time To Die is Daniel Craig’s best incarnation of an iconic role, an iteration that sees Bond travel to emotional spaces the character has never been to before, at least not since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service or in certain passages of Ian Fleming’s books. You feel all the wear and tear on Craig’s body and face, all the strain on Bond of having to save the world one last time (again) yet also all the tantalizing freedom of someone approaching the end of a long run.” The Wrap

Release:

Having been originally scheduled for release in April 2020, Universal/MGM scheduled No Time to Die in Europe on November 12th 2020 followed by North America on November 20th. Now it’s September 2021 for most of the world.

UK censorship body, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), has awarded No Time to Die, which premieres on 28th September 2021, a ’12A’ rating.

The BBFC’s notes for No Time To Die indicate that there are “a number of scenes of violence, including crunchy blows, an arm-break and shootings, but these lack any focus on detail.” There is “occasional sight of injuries resulting from violence, including cuts and grazes”.

Previously, the unelected and unaccountable censorship quango demanded for the removal of an eye violence scene from Spectre (2015) and a “sadistic” torture sequence in Casino Royale (2006), in order to secure a 12A rating.

In the latest 007 adventure: “There are mild sex references and innuendo, as well as occasional discreet establishments of sex.” said the BBFC.

Any suggestions of racial stereotyping of black and Chinese characters are no longer permitted. “A racist remark is made to a black character who meets it with a very firm and forceful challenge,” in No Time To Die.

The f-word, first uttered in a Bond film by Judi Dench in Skyfall, returns alongside words such as “damn” and “Jesus”.

One sequence in No Time To Die which apparently might concern parents of younger children is the release of a “weaponised biochemical substance” that causes victims to “choke”. Their “flesh becomes disfigured and bloody,” the BBFC warned.

Main cast and characters:

Daniel Craig … James Bond
Rami Malek … Lyutsifer Safin
Léa Seydoux … Madeleine Swann
Lashana Lynch … Nomi
Ralph Fiennes … M
Christoph Waltz … Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Ben Whishaw … Q
Naomie Harris … Eve Moneypenny
Jeffrey Wright … Felix Leiter
Billy Magnussen … Logan Ash
Ana de Armas … Paloma
David Dencik … Valdo Obruchev
Rory Kinnear … Tanner
Dali Benssalah … Primo

Technical details:

163 minutes
Audio: Dolby Surround 7.1 | Dolby Digital | 12-Track Digital Sound | Auro 11.1 | Dolby Atmos| IMAX 6-Track
Aspect ratio: 2.39: 1

Trailers:

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