Evolution of 007: Daniel Craig's Bond exits in big, brash 'No Time to Die' - Albuquerque Journal

Evolution of 007: Daniel Craig’s Bond exits in big, brash ‘No Time to Die’

Daniel Craig in a scene from “No Time To Die.” (Nicola Dove/Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures)

Welcome back, Mr. Bond. This is your most important mission yet. The fate of the movie business depends on your success.

That’s how it feels, anyway, so high are industry expectations around “No Time to Die.” The 25th James Bond adventure is finally hitting screens a year and a half after its originally scheduled April 2020 release date, and it’s central to Hollywood’s hopes of luring pandemic-weary audiences back into movie theaters.

Moviegoers certainly get a lot of Bond for their buck in Daniel Craig’s fifth and final adventure as the suave but by now battered secret agent. At 2 hours, 43 minutes, it’s the series’ longest film yet. Big, brash, explosive and occasionally even tender, the movie nods fondly to the spy series’ past while moving – somewhat – into a more diverse, less male-dominated and Eurocentric era.

And it definitely provides a respite from weary reality. The coronavirus does not trouble James Bond’s world in “No Time to Die.” Much else does, though, from terrifying bioweapons to family legacies of violence.

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the first American entrusted with this treasured British export, the film opens with two sequences strikingly different in tone. The first is a chilly Scandinavian horror vignette, beautifully shot by cinematographer Linus Sandgren, that introduces themes of imperiled children and poisoned inheritances that will ripple through the film.

The second sequence offers one of those brief idylls Bond is occasionally allowed. Bond is retired from the world of spycraft and relaxing in Italian splendor with Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux). Soon, though, the strains of Billie Eilish’s theme song swell over the opening credits, and Bond is back on more familiar and hazardous terrain.

All is not well in the world. There are strains in the U.K.-U.S. spying relationship, and a deadly feud among international evildoers. Bond’s old nemesis Spectre and a rival crew are fighting for control of Heracles, a DNA-targeting biological weapon that could wipe out humanity. (A potential killer inside us: Maybe the real world is not so far away after all.)

Daniel Craig, left, and Ana de Armas in a scene from “No Time To Die.” (Nicola Dove/Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures)

From there on, it’s a protracted but fast-paced thriller with a plot that twists like a double helix. All Bond films are made from essentially the same ingredients; what sets them apart is the chemistry of their combination. “No Time to Die” has all the required elements: gorgeous locales, from Cuba to Norway to a chilly, handsome London. There are gorgeous cars, including, of course, a supercharged classic Aston Martin. There’s cool and faintly ridiculous technology: Nanobots and a bionic eye both feature prominently.

Screenwriters Fukunaga, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Phoebe Waller-Bridge – some moments of left-field humor seem to bear the “Fleabag” creator’s stamp – satisfyingly tweak the recipe.

Female characters who are there to kick ass rather than tempt Bond include Ana de Armas’ unflappable CIA agent Paloma and Lashana Lynch’s Nomi, a Black double-O spy who has no time for Bond’s patriarchal platitudes.

There’s a respectful but playful sense of the series’ six-decade past. Craig delivers some of the mandatory lines – “Bond. James Bond” – with a touch of Roger Moore’s raised eyebrow. Bad guys speak Russian. Rami Malek’s facially scarred villain, Lyutsifer Safin, prowls a brutalist bunker lair that Dr. No would be proud of.

Rami Malek

Malek gives a performance full of quiet menace, although a British charity, Changing Faces, has chastised the filmmakers for equating disfigurement with evil.

The movie has a valedictory, “let’s get the band together one more time” feel, as Bond enlists old comrades – including Naomie Harris’ Moneypenny and Ben Whishaw’s Q – to destroy the weapon of mass destruction.

This is Craig’s swan song as Bond, a role he has played since “Casino Royale,” in 2006. Characters make frequent reference to Bond’s supposed decrepitude, although he seems nigh-on indestructible in the entertainingly elaborate, if sometimes visually chaotic, action sequences.

Craig brought a well-received muscularity to the part, along with a sensitivity that is particularly on display here. This is a Bond who mulls on his mistakes and even – gasp – talks about his feelings. One of the most enduring characters in the cinematic universe has evolved.

That feels like a good place to end. By the explosive finale, it’s clear “No Time to Die” is closing a chapter, if not the story, of James Bond.

Home » Entertainment » Evolution of 007: Daniel Craig’s Bond exits in big, brash ‘No Time to Die’

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

In an effort to raise awareness of Native language ...
'A Fistful of Dollars' will be ... 'A Fistful of Dollars' will be a special premiere screening at 7 p.m. Aug. 16, at the KiMo Theatre, 423 Central NW.
Happy Accidents named Best New U.S. Cocktail Bar
The 2022 Spirited Awards are presented ... The 2022 Spirited Awards are presented by the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation.
With a wildly-diverse menu, Luminaria is a shining star
Dining Reviews
Luminaria Restaurant features classic Italian staples ... Luminaria Restaurant features classic Italian staples made special with a New Mexico twist.
Darwin del Fabro finds inclusion on the set of ...
'They/Them' began airing on Peacock on ... 'They/Them' began airing on Peacock on Aug. 5 and stars Darwin del Fabro, Kevin Bacon, Anna Chlumsky and Carrie Preston.
Pushing boundaries: NM native selected for director's initiative
With each step, Morningstar Angeline is ... With each step, Morningstar Angeline is getting closer to her dream.For years, Angelin ...
Santa Fe-based Theater Grottesco explores the world through 'Survey'
Theater Grottesco will perform 'Survey' at ... Theater Grottesco will perform 'Survey' at the Outpost Performance Space, 210 Yale Blvd. SE at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13.
Phantoms to make tour stop at Salt Yard West
Phantoms will make a stop in ... Phantoms will make a stop in Albuquerque at Salt Yard West on Friday, Aug. 12.
Artist finds inspiration in fantasy, mythology and steampunk
George Hayes III is currently showing ... George Hayes III is currently showing at The Gallery ABQ and East Mountain Public Library
Florist coming to Meow Wolf for first NM performance
It takes time to create a ... It takes time to create a body of work in music.For the members of Florist, they weren ...
Cody Canada and The Departed coming to Red River ...
Cody Canada and The Departed are ... Cody Canada and The Departed are taking part in the 8750' BBQ and Music Festival in Red River.