by Tyler Glover
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Starring: Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Lea Seydoux
Runtime: 2 hours & 43 minutes
There are certain things that make a James Bond movie a James Bond movie: the villain with a diabolical plot to take over the world, the beautiful “Bond girl,” the stylish tux, exotic locations, and the iconic line: “shaken, not stirred.” These criteria almost became like a checklist through the years as new James Bond movies came out. As a result, the franchise became stale. When watching “Die Another Day” with Pierce Brosnan as the iconic Bond, it just felt like any other action flick that I would shortly forget after watching. The Bond movies became something that I only watched if there was nothing else to watch that day.
This all changed with the introduction of Daniel Craig as Bond in 2006’s “Casino Royale.” In the film, Craig is asked if he would like his drink “shaken or stirred,” and he responds with “Does it look like I give a damn?” At this moment, it became clear that the franchise was going in a different direction: one that was exciting to see! When Craig was first announced as Bond, there was a little bit of controversy because of the blonde hair and blue eyes. Part of what made Bond Bond was the dark hair and brown eyes, right? Craig quickly proved everyone wrong!
Now, we are coming to the end of that journey with Craig’s final outing in “No Time To Die.” As I look back, it truly is his amazing performance and sophisticated writing that elevated the franchise to new heights. Every film has started with a killer opening scene that has commanded attention from the very beginning and the spectacular writing holds you until the very final frame. In “No Time To Die,” the opening scene is probably the most chilling opening act that almost feels like it should be the beginning to a horror film. However, it sets up an interesting story that has us think about the fact that to other people, we can be the villains too.
In “No Time To Die,” Bond is called out of retirement when an MI6 scientist is kidnapped. With M’s approval, the scientist, Valdo Obruchev, developed a project called Heracles, which is a bioweapon that contains nanobots that infect its victim like a virus and are tailored to an individual’s DNA so that it will kill them, but be harmless to others. This bioweapon in the wrong hands could claim the lives of countless innocent victims so it becomes especially important to stop it from going global. The villain behind it all is Lyutsifer Satin (Academy Award-winner Rami Malek). Safin is out for revenge because his entire family was murdered when he was young by Mr. White. Bond becomes reacquainted with former love Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) and goes toe-to-toe with Blofeld (Academy Award-winner Christoph Waltz) as he prepares to stop Safin in his evil plot. This film may have a two-and-a-half hour running time, but it is absolutely thrilling from start-to-finish. In fact, this film has one of the most exciting third acts that I have seen in years.
Craig’s performances in all the Bond films have helped to elevate the stakes. In this film, you feel the intensity and the suspense as you watch him make his next move. Of course, most of these moves are split second decisions that Craig pulls off perfectly. “No Time To Die” also has some surprising plot twists that you may not see coming that made it even more of a thrill. It was a perfect sendoff for an actor who was arguably the best Bond of all time. The best thing that the Bond franchise did was hire him because by things being “shaken” up, the franchise “stirred” up more fans.