Time to watch Bond

Lachie Harvey, Staff Writer

Photo by Glyn Lowe via Wikimedia Commons

It’s been a grueling wait for Bond fans but fortunately for them, the wait has, mostly, paid off.

The new James Bond film “No Time to Die,” directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, was released to theaters on Oct. 8. The film was delayed from early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Daniel Craig’s performance as Bond is the most essential part of the film. This is Craig’s final appearance as Bond, with “No Time to Die” marking his fifth film in the franchise. Needless to say, his performance had high expectations tied to it.

Craig’s last cinematic appearance was in the 2019 film “Knives Out” for which he received a fair amount of praise. Craig makes that performance look pedestrian when compared to his latest outing. He shined in “No Time to Die,” bringing emotion, depth and endless charisma to the character of Bond.

While it is a masterful outing for Craig, it does differ from his other performances in the Bond franchise. He was 51 years old when the film was shot, quite old for the quick and energetic spy he has portrayed over the years. Craig embraces this, as does Fukunaga. Bond takes a far more calculated and wise approach to situations he encounters in the film. That being said, Craig still leaps around scenes as if he was still in his 30s. Overall, Craig is easily the most valuable and memorable part of the film.

Nomi, the new 007 played by Lashana Lynch, does exceptionally well in every respect. She perfectly bounces off of Craig throughout the runtime, while never overstepping to drag the viewers’ attention away from its titular character and the core story. Lynch is also the first Black and first female 00 ever seen in the franchise.

Unfortunately, the same praise cannot be given to the film’s villain Lyutsifer Safin, played by Rami Malek. He does fairly well with the material he is given, but his character feels far less genuine and more like an odd choice of antagonist with no real purpose within the narrative. Again, this isn’t truly a reflection on Malek, who by no means performs poorly, he just doesn’t quite fit the role.

Paloma, played by Ana de Armas, doesn’t get a lot of screen time in the film, but she does well with what she has. Her dialogue was a little out of place when compared to everyone else around her. A few of her lines had me scratching my head, but she covers all the bases she needs to.

The rest of the supporting cast performs well, but none really stand out from the crowd.

This film’s visuals are exceptional. Like its 2015 predecessor “Spectre,” long-sweeping landscape shots are sprinkled throughout the film and they are utterly gorgeous. Cinematographer Linus Sandgren, who also worked on “La La Land” in 2016, deserves immense applause for his work in “No Time to Die.”

So, where does this film sit within the rankings of Craig- led bond films? Right in the middle. It solves the slow nature that plagued “Spectre” with a handful of fast-paced action sequences and avoids a dull plot like the one that ruined “Quantum of Solace.” It also can’t quite compete with the thrill ride that is “Skyfall,” or the intricate and well-crafted story told in “Casino Royale.”

As a huge Bond fan, it’s nice that I got to say goodbye to Craig with a good final entry.

5/7 Double 00’s

Illustration by (Connor Lawless)