For months, it looked like the newest James Bond film, “No Time to Die,” had no time to be released. It was originally slated to come out in April 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world and caused the film release to be postponed three times. However, this 25th installment in the James Bond series has finally hit theaters, and it was worth the wait.
“No Time to Die” had its world premiere at the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London on Tuesday, Sept. 28. The premiere was followed by a wide theatrical release in the United Kingdom on Thursday, Sept. 30. U.S. theaters will start presenting the film on Friday, Oct. 8. The Royal Albert Hall premiere was attended by a wide array of celebrities and royals, most notably Prince Charles, Prince William and Kate Middleton.
The Villanovan spoke about the premiere to junior Kendall Hayes, who is currently studying abroad for the Fall 2021 semester at Boston University in London.
“People were preparing for the premiere for days,” Hayes said. “Two of my friends found a way to get tickets and were able to go to the actual premiere. From my doorstep, I saw celebrities such as Madelyn Cline and Daniel Craig walk the red carpet. I also saw the Royal Family come on the red carpet for the premiere. It was insane.”
“No Time to Die” had a massive budget of between $250-300 million, making it one of the most expensive films ever made. The film is expected to make major returns at the box office, especially when it reaches the U.S. market. If the film ends up grossing more than $1.2 billion worldwide, it will make Daniel Craig the most successful Bond actor of all time, overtaking the iconic original Bond actor, Sean Connery.
In “No Time to Die,” Bond is enjoying his retirement, when his old CIA friend, Felix Leiter, asks for his help. Bond is pulled back into the spy world, as he tries to rescue a scientist kidnapped by the henchmen of terrorist leader Lyutsifer Safin. While there is some information from previous Bond films “Casino Royale” and “Spectre” that would help one better understand the plot intricacies of “No Time to Die,” you won’t get lost by coming into the theater without any prior knowledge.
The film has a 163-minute long runtime. However, it did not feel very long at all. The action in the film is just the right amount of suspense and will impress any fans of the action genre. Some car chase moments are laughably unrealistic, but in the moment, one will likely be too captivated to care.
The cinematography is stunning. The natural landscapes of Italy and Jamaica were bound to make this film beautiful, but there is no doubt that the cinematographer Linus Sandgren did masterful work. The camera movements are also incredibly smooth and creative. When the camera rotates 180 degrees, you feel like you are turning upside down yourself. One long take in the latter half of “No Time to Die” is reminiscent of the iconic continuous, long takes found in the film “Children of Men.”
There were some genuinely clever one-liners and amusing Bond-series references scattered in the film here and there. However, most of the jokes in “No Time to Die” resembled corny Marvel movie humor. This is disappointing, given that one of the screenwriters of the film is the typically witty Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Yet, this film has further demonstrated what once caught audiences off guard and provided audiences actual comic relief is now an unpleasant cliché in the action genre.
Another weak point in the film’s writing is its lack of convincing motivations for the main villain. In most Bond films, this is such a recurring weak point that it is almost to be expected.
“No Time to Die” marks Craig’s final appearance playing Bond after 15 years. Craig gave his typical calm and understated performance in the film. For the most part, it works. Still, there are certain highly-charged moments in the film that definitely should have demanded more of a reaction from Craig.
Lea Seydoux, who plays Bond’s love interest, Madeleine Swann, makes up for Craig’s lack of emotion. Seydoux gives the most impressive performance of the entire cast. Her character deals with not just life-threatening situations, but also deep-seated trauma, and Seydoux perfectly conveys the vulnerability needed for the role.
Rami Malek plays the main villain, Lyutsifer Safin. Malek’s performance is not terrible, but it’s certainly not his best. Through Malek’s performance, we never actually learn anything about what Safin is like, except for his backstory and that he is “the bad guy.” If you want to see a memorable main villain, “No Time to Die” will not leave you satisfied.
With that said, all of the minor roles in “No Time to Die” are charming and well-executed. Lashana Lynch, Christoph Waltz and Ana de Armas are the biggest standouts. When it comes to breakout star Ana de Armas, though, don’t let the trailers deceive you. Her role in the film, while a welcome addition to the Bond world, is very minor.
Bond films are now more than just about the plot and the acting; they are also about the music. Billie Eilish had the honor of singing the Bond theme this time around, making her the youngest artist to record a Bond theme song. She was 18 years old when her eponymous song, “No Time to Die'' was released on Feb. 13, 2020. It won the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards on March 14, 2021. The song is definitely a good one, especially if you’re a fan of Eilish’s unique, sultry style. But it is no “Skyfall” or “Goldfinger.”
The score was composed by Hans Zimmer. His beautiful and elegant composition is obvious from one of the first sequences in the film, when Bond and Madeleine are driving along the cliff sides of Italy and a string orchestra soars in the background. Bond film scores add to the feeling of the film series as not being just another action franchise, but being in a classier league of its own.
Overall, “No Time to Die” was a great last hurrah for Craig. It perfectly toes the line between serious and entertaining and introduces fresh faces without discarding too many of the ones we’ve come to know in the past few films. The film’s ending is sure to surprise viewers in numerous ways.
“No Time to Die” comes on the heels of major speculation and controversy regarding who is going to play the next Bond. There has been circulation in the media that the next Bond may be played by a woman. However, Craig and Bond film series producer Barbara Broccoli have both questioned the need for Bond to be played by a woman, when there could instead be new, different roles for women in spy and action films.
Regardless of who plays the next Bond, let’s hope that the next era can continue to provide the movie magic that audiences were given over the past 15 years with Craig.