Luke Quantrill reviews No Time To Die
WARNING - This review is full of
spoilers so make sure you've watched No Time To Die before you read on.
Well, it has certainly been a grim few
years for the world but at least we can always rely on James Bond to
raise our spirits and provide us with fun filled escapism. Can't we? As
far as Bond films go, The Spy Who Loved Me will always be the one with
the underwater car. Thunderball will always be the one with the
jet-pack. Goldfinger will always be the one where the woman is covered
in gold paint. Live and Let Die will always be the one with crocodiles.
You Only Live Twice will always be the one with the volcano. As for No
Time To Die, that will always be the one where Bond becomes a daddy and
takes a cruise missile up the hooter because he's been infected with a
nanobot virus. And they say the art of screenwriting is a lost craft?
The film begins
with a tremendous Phantom of the Opera fan stalking a child across an
ice covered lake. I like to think of this as an easter egg pertaining
to Damien: Omen II. I wonder what happened to the kid who played Damien
in that film? The film then cuts to Bond in Italy with some French
bird. There's genuine drama and emotion in these scenes because Bond's
clothes have shrunk in the wash. You really feel for Bond because his
clothes are way too small for him and he must be in agony. It's like
the wardrobe department went to some fancy fashion house but only the
child's section was open. You can see the pain etched on Daniel Craig's
face in these constrictive outfits.
French bird tells Bond that he must visit Vesper's grave so he decides
to do this but the grave blows up and all these people with Marty
Feldman eyes keep trying to kill Bond and he's running away, jumping
off bridges, riding a motorcycle, on roller skates, a pogo stick. And
he's doing it all in clothes that are too small for him so it's taking
even more effort. If he was wearing normal clothes it would probably be
a lot easier.
Bond is angry now
because he thinks the French bird might have set him up. Bond is
confused. How did Spectre manage to recognise him? How did they know
where he was? If I had to hazard a wild guess myself I'd say it
probably had something to do with the fact that Bond is always driving
around in a vintage Aston Martin. It's not exactly inconspicuous is it?
We are about ten minutes into the film and the script is already making
Bond look like a right old thicko.
Bond and the French bird end up in the Aston Martin and all the Marty
Feldman people are shooting the glass and it's beginning to crack. Bond
isn't doing anything. He isn't sure he wants to live and no longer
trusts the French bird. And on top of that he's thinking about how his
clothes are too small and beginning to chafe. Bond eventually decides
to use the Aston Martin machine guns to shoot all the Marty Feldman
people and then he buys the French bird a one way ticket to Margate and
shoves her on a train.
theme song by Billie Eilish (verdict: sonic cold Ovaltine), the film
opens in London where a scientist named Valdo Obruchev is kidnapped
from a lab. This all has something to with Project Heracles. Heracles
is a virus with nanobots that, er, gives you a deadly virus with, um,
some nanobot thingys in it. Hey look, I didn't write this film. Ask
someone else about Project Heracles ok? Meanwhile, Bond now decides to
go and live in the West Indies. Jamaica? No, she went of her own free
will. Oh, please yourselves. Bond finds a nice gaff but the plumbing
isn't brilliant so he has to shower outside in a rock pool like one of
the contestants in I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Bond likes it
here because he has time to mope and the clothes aren't so tight.
Leiter turns up out of the blue with some other CIA bloke we've never
seen before. I'd watch out for the CIA bloke we've never seen before. I
don't think I trust him. Felix wants Bond to go on a secret mission in
Cuba but Bond is reluctant. Go away Felix, he says, I'm retired. Even
though he's James Bond 007 in a James Bond film, Craig's Bond is always
retired. He spends more time moping about retired than he does going on
spy missions. Call me Mr Picky but I tend to prefer James Bond having
adventures and going on missions than a James Bond who is always moping
around all depressed and constantly retiring.
around this passage in the film Bond meets Nomi. Nomi is pretending to
be a local but she's really a British spy. It turns out that Nomi has
inherited the 007 mantle and is a double-o. Nomi tells Bond to keep his
beak out of any spy business and threatens to shoot him in the leg. She
says Bond only has one leg that works and she'll shoot the good one. He
really would be in trouble then because he'd have to spend the rest of
the film in a wheelchair. I imagine it would have to be like the nifty
motorised wheelchair that Blofeld has in the PTS of For Your Eyes Only.
Bond would obviously have to be able to move around.
of the witty and entertaining games of one upmanship that Bond and Nomi
will now embark upon. The thrilling adventures they will share. But
they don't. The writers, having created this female 007 agent in the
first place, then seem to find Nomi a pain in the arse to incorporate
into their story. So they don't bother. They've got all this s*** with
the French bird to cram in and they don't really have room for Nomi. So
Nomi is left floundering on the fringes of the film.
they turn up at the MI6 headquarters later, Nomi is just there hanging
around with nothing to do. I honestly thought M was going to ask her to
make the tea and fetch the custard creams. When Bond is on the island
later and about to throw a seven, Nomi isn't even there helping him.
Nomi is largely left valiantly trying to act cool in a stupid pair of
sunglasses. To add insult to injury they give her the worst line in the
film. What time is it? It's time to die! Yo' mama!
Daniel Craig is at his lightest in the Cuba scenes. He seems almost
happy. I think I know exactly why this is. The Cuba scenes were shot
last. Craig is thinking - thank God this stupid film is nearly finished
because very soon I can go home to my New York penthouse and count my
money. Bond now teams up with Paloma - a young CIA agent. She's wearing
the same dress that Barbara Bach had on in the desert in The Spy Who
I like Paloma. I would
like to have got shot of the French bird and the female 007 and had
Paloma as the lead. They could have done that in one of the old Bond
films (you know, the ones they used to make before Barbara Broccoli
went mad) but they can't do that here. They have all the baggage with
the French bird to get through so there's no room for Paloma. And
Daniel Craig would look even more like Mr Magoo if someone this young
was his romantic lead for the whole film. So Paloma has to leave the
film almost as soon as she is introduced - which is a shame.
and Paloma have to infiltrate a Spectre birthday party for Blofeld.
Bond just walks in with no disguise wearing a tuxedo. Even Roger
Moore's Bond was more inconspicuous than Daniel Craig's 007. At least
Roger's Bond slapped on a fake mustache or dressed up as a circus clown
now and again. Craig's Bond drives around in a vintage Aston Martin and
walks around in a tuxedo and yet he's constantly amazed that the
villains keep recognising him. Bond walks around this plush Spectre
function communicating through a hidden earpiece. True Lies already did
this scene in 1994.
Bond has to
kidnap the scientist Obruchev and deliver him to Leiter on a boat. He
does this but the CIA bloke we've never seen before is a traitor and
kills Leiter before escaping with the scientist. Bond has to watch the
injured Leiter drown and this allows Daniel Craig to perform another
scene where he has to be anguished while in a large body of water. This
was something that Craig trained to do at acting school. They actually
used to bring in a large tank of water specifically so that Daniel
Craig could perform scenes in it. It seemed silly at the time but no
one was laughing later when Craig became James Bond and got to perform
a number of scenes where he's distraught and up to his neck in water.
it's RIP Felix Leiter. Craig's Bond is now Charles Bronson in Death
Wish V: The Face of Death. He's cursed and far too old for this s***.
At this stage I have a glazed vacant expression on my face but I'm
still (just about) awake. We had some action in Italy and I liked
Paloma. This is not a thrilling experience but it could be worse. It's
almost as if the Bond people now read my thoughts and boldly took up
the challenge of making the film worse.
know how people sometimes say the first hour of Die Another Die was
quite good but then it fell off a cliff? No Time To Die now falls off a
cliff, sinks to the bottom of the sea, and then burrows into the ground
like Doug McClure and Peter Cushing in At the Earth's Core. No Time To
Die now becomes like a plane in rapid descent. Every stupid idea that
anyone connected to this film has ever had about James Bond is now
thrown into the story. Hold onto your seats. No Time To Die is now in
Bond goes home
and sets up a meeting with Blofeld. What in the name of Victor
Tourjansky is Blofeld blabbering on about when he meets Bond? Does this
scene make any sense to anyone? In 1985, William Malone made a bargain
basement Alien rip-off called Creature (aka Titan Find). The big coup
of William Malone was persuading the German actor Klaus Kinski to
appear in the film. Kinski (who they managed to hire for one week)
gives, as you might predict, a very eccentric performance in Creature.
You can detect that he has some degree of contempt for the film and
having to appear in it. He rattles his dialogue off in a most carefree
way as if he has better things to do with his time and wants to get off
the set as fast as he can. So you have this (supposed to be) incredibly
tense situation and Kinski is munching on a sandwich and looking bored
by the whole thing.
Waltz in No Time To Die is Klaus Kinski in Creature! That's exactly
what he is! Waltz has no idea what he is saying or what he is supposed
to be doing. He's just bumbling through the scene and checking his
watch to see when he can go home. While Waltz is sitting back and
openly laughing at this film, Daniel Craig has decided that the Blofeld
scene is the moment where he's going to let it all hang out and show us
his acting chops. Craig murders this scene so badly that I wondered if
he was drunk. It's like he's in the wrong film.
also wondered if Ralph Fiennes was drunk in No Time To Die. Fiennes
seems to have decided that he didn't like playing Mallory in Skyfall
and Spectre so he's going to create a completely new character for
himself to play in No Time To Die. M in this film is like some
oleaginous villain who has ended up as the chief of the secret service
through some calamitous clerical error. I love the touching respect
between M and Bond in No Time To Die. When Bond meets M in this film he
barges in and says 'You still here dipstick? Lay off the sauce too you
kills Blofeld during his questioning. That's death number two. Let me
explain what is going on. Blofeld blew up Vesper's grave to make it
look like the French bird did it. Blofeld knew that Bond would put her
on a train to Margate and she'd have to spend five years playing penny
slot machines and viewing Tracey Emin art. But Bond has been infected
with the Heracles virus because the Phantom of the Opera man told her
to spread it to Blofeld. It turns out the French bird is Blofeld's
psychiatrist. What a stroke of luck that is for plot purposes eh?
where was I? The French bird's father is Mr White. Not the snooker
player but a character from Casino Royale. He was probably in other
films but I can't remember now and I'm certainly not watching Quantum
of Solace again so shut it. Anyway, Mr White killed the Phantom of the
Opera man's parents and Opera man has a grudge against Blofeld. And
probably a grudge against Bond and the French bird. And the virus you
see, um, what happened with this virus is that, er, let me see, erm.
Ok, I'll be honest with you. I have no idea what the plot of this film
is right? I wasn't paying much attention after Paloma left. Go and read
some other review if you want the plot.
is Bond so depressed and upset at the memory of Vesper. He didn't
actually know her for that long did he? Why is so depressed about the
French bird? Get a grip Bond. Stop moaning. Who cares? Bond now goes to
Norway and tracks down the French bird. Turns out she has a young
daughter. Oh great. Just when you think things can't get any worse we
now have a kid in the film. A kid in a James Bond film! That's the
stupidest idea in a Bond film since, well, since some berk decided to
make Bond and Blofeld step-brothers. They should do a prequel where
Bond and Blofeld are growing up together sleeping in bunk beds and
playing pranks on one another.
this stage in the film the story is now deeply and painfully boring.
The MI6 scenes are tedious and I don't want a Bond film where Bond
visits Q's house. Daniel Craig mugs this scene as if we are all
splitting our sides with laughter. The electric comic chemistry of that
legendary double-act Daniel Craig and Ben Wishaw. My sides are still
aching. Was Moneypenny in this film? Naomie Harris feels like she had
less to do than Caroline Bliss in Licence To Kill. Then they have a
scene where the Phantom of the Opera man is a patient of the French
bird and this scene goes on forever and he talks a load of mumbo jumbo
really slowly. This is where the audience starts to become very
fidgety. They keep checking the time to see how much more of this
tedium they have to sit through. Gordon Bennett. This film is becoming
an endurance test.
film is becoming dreary so they place a big action sequence in to make
sure no one falls asleep. The action scene is a chase in Norway where
Bond has to drive the French bird and the kid to safety with a load of
helicopters and cars and bikes in hot pursuit. This is action by
numbers. The car chases in umpteen other modern films are better.
There's no elegance or wit at all to the direction in No Time To Die.
Bond catches up with the CIA bloke we've never seen before in a forest
and drops a car on him. Take that CIA bloke we've never seen before.
Felix was my brudder.
Phantom of the Opera man kidnaps the French bird and the kid and takes
them to an island near Japan where he's got a deadly garden of death.
You can tell this is a garden not to be trifled with because he's
eschewed garden gnomes entirely. Bond has to go to the island and blow
it up because the Phantom of the Opera man wants to use the nanobot
virus to take over the world. Is that an accurate summary of the plot?
I have no idea. Why the Phantom of the Opera man wants to take over the
world is something that eluded both me and the many writers of this
film. It could be that he's just bored. He must have thought - why not?
There's nothing on the telly tomorrow so I'll take over the world.
is not alone though because Nomi has gone to the island with him. Nomi
decides to give Bond the 007 designation back. Nomi is redesignated as
007 ⁵/₃. The duo drop down into the Phantom of the Opera man's island
in a glider. Bond and Nomi shoot some people and creep around a Spy Who
Loved Me style set. Then Nomi kills the scientist geezer who has
appeared in the film already. And Bond ends up encountering the Phantom
of the Opera man and tries to persuade him to release the French bird
and the kid. The Phantom of the Opera man says he can't because it's
his duty to kill everyone and ban the sale of garden gnomes worldwide.
And Bond says they are kindred spirits because they've both suffered a
lot. Bond tells the Phantom man that only the week before his boiler
went on the blink and it took two days for a plumber to come out.
kills the Phantom of the Opera man by battering him to death with a
garden gnome. I almost forgot to mention that Bond has been infected
with the nanobot virus. What the side effects of this virus are I don't
know. It could be that Bond is now allergic to cheese. Bond is in
constant communication with Q and ends up pulling levers in a control
room after shooting some people. It's been thirty years since the last
Craig Bond film and the writers, who had (cough) all the time in the
world, couldn't think of anything more interesting than Bond pulling
levers in a control room and shooting people?
⁵/₃ manages to get the French bird and the kid to safety and Bond tells
M to ask the Royal Navy to blow the island up. It's the only way to
stop the entire world from becoming allergic to cheese. Imagine the
consequences. The entire pizza industry would be ruined. No one would
ever be able to have cheese on toast for their lunch again. Bond has to
open the doors for the missile strike and then goes outside to wait.
Jump off the cliff then Bond. You have (groan) all the time in the
world to escape. But Bond decides he isn't going to jump. He's got the
virus and so that means he can't interact with the French bird or the
kid. And the virus is incurable according to Q. Is Q a flipping doctor
now? So Bond decides he's going to let the missiles kill him.
they actually do it. The producers and the director, who seem to
despise Bond films, blow Bond up like a character in a Benny Hill
sketch. And they take forever to do this. They think this is the most
heart-rending scene in cinema history. Everyone in the audience is
dumbfounded - and not in a good way. Did these idiots just perform a
scorched earth policy on their own franchise? Bond will be back but
it's always supposed to be the same character - just in a different
era. Why is Daniel Craig's era so elf-contained? The ego of this man -
insisting that his Bond get a death scene. In a blimmin James Bond
film. You don't kill James Bond - even one as dull and depressing as
the one played by Daniel Craig in No Time To Die.
people at MI6 have a drink in memory of James Bond and then go back to
work. They've forgotten him already. So in this Bond universe,
Moneypenny sits at her desk in the MI6 headquarters but James Bond is
dead and will never walk through the office door again? Isn't that the
most depressing thing you can imagine? I don't even like Craig's Bond
and I'm annoyed by the ending of this film so I dread to think what
Craig fans feel like.
era feels like an increasingly bizarre experiment in how far they can
push the franchise away from Bond films while still calling them Bond
films. The problem with this approach is that, as No Time To Die
illustrates, you end up with Bond films that are largely Bond films in
name only. No Time To Die, despite its title, offers plenty of time for
everyone to kick the bucket. It also offers plenty of time to mope,
make Bond a depressed embittered loser, and bore the audience to death.
It could have been worse though. Look on the bright side. I'm just
relieved that Q's cats made it out of this film alive.- Luke Quantrill