NO TIME TO DIE
Cary On Bond
RELEASED OUT NOW!
2021 | 12 | Blu-ray (4K/standard)/dvd
Director Cary Joji Fukunaga
Cast Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes,
Léa Seydoux, Rami Malek
At the beginning of No Time To Die, Daniel Craig’s James Bond seems the most content we’ve ever seen him, the perma-scowl of earlier movies replaced by the summery smile of a man with love in his eyes. But there’s a question that NTTD struggles with throughout: if you jettison so many of those character tick points – the ferocious skirt-chasing, the extravagant drinking, the licence to kill – is that person even James Bond any more?
If Bond, James Bond, himself feels alarmingly unfamiliar here, at least the movie is happy to remind us what franchise we’re watching. Where Casino Royale seemed eager to junk those oft-mocked Bond tropes – the gadgets, the quips, the underground lairs – No Time To Die welcomes them back with an “all is forgiven” embrace.
Craig’s final film as 007 (though he isn’t even a double-0 for most of its running time) is a mostly successful marriage of the most trad Bond movie we’ve seen in 20 years and the most radical, pioneering one we’ve had since
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Purists will beam at Ana de Armas’s endearingly ditzy but kickass CIA agent and disfigured bad guy Lyutsifer Safin’s sleek, Ken Adam-styled base, even if they grimace at the sight of Bond preparing a fruit breakfast for Madeline’s toddler daughter.
This is Daniel Craig’s best performance, with even the Moore-like one-liners delivered with a twinkle. With No Time To Die, Craig has given us the most fully rounded, human Bond of all. Whether it’s actually the same James Bond we fell for nearly 60 years ago is a moot point.
Extras “Anatomy Of A Scene: Matera” (11 minutes) takes us through the crazily complicated pre-titles sequence. “Keeping It Real” (six minutes) is a more general look at the movie’s action sequences, with everyone keen to remind us how much in-camera work goes into making a Bond flick. “A Global Journey” (eight minutes) takes us on a tour of the locations, while “Designing Bond (11 minutes) explores the artistic choices the designers made for Bond 25. All of these are fine, if a little Youtube-y.
Much better is “Being James Bond”, a refreshingly candid 46-minute retrospective on the Daniel Craig era, in which the actor (alongside producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson) reflects on the “James Bland” and Craignotbond nonsense, and spills some fascinating titbits (he celebrated his casting with homemade vodka martinis, and later met his personal trainer while holding a bacon sandwich and a hand-rolled cigarette!). Important note: this doc is only available on the 4K release. Steve O’brien
For a stunt of Bond clearing a wall on a motorbike, Coke was sprayed to make the cobbles less slippery – 8,400 gallons!
Craig has given us the most fully rounded, human Bond of all