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No Time to Die (2021, but really 2019)

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  • No Time to Die (2021, but really 2019)

    Here it is, the latest movie that "theaters are counting on to prove they're still relevant" according to the media, which seems to have forgotten about the success of such movies as Shang Chi, F9 The Fast Saga, Jungle Cruise, Wonder Woman 1984, Black Widow, The Croods: A New Age, Venom 2, Free Guy, Quiet Place 2 and however many other expectation-beaters that have come out in the last 10 months. After each of these movies outperformed the predictions of the experts, the media reported that "Theater owners breathed a sigh of relief this week." Just how many times do we have to prove our relevance, anyway?

    So James Bond is finally back, and I have to say the movie was an enjoyable, if a bit convoluted, one. The story seemed all over the place with a few unnecessary twists and turns, but it all seemed to fall together about mid-movie when the tension really ramps up. Daniel Craig does a nice understated turn in his final Bond movie, and the rest of the cast is equally decent, creepy, sexy or whatever the plot calls for at the moment.

    The opening sequence is really good, in fact you pretty much forget you haven't seen any opening credits because they don't appear until about 24 minutes into the film. When they do finally show up, they are disappointing, because that's usually one of the sexiest parts of a Bond movie -- but this time the credits consist mostly of sand, clock gears, an hourglass, pencil sketches of the characters, and the hands of a clock. Most of these are related to "time" of course, but I miss the sexy Bond credits of the past. Can't have that anymore though, not in today's "woke" Hollywood.

    At least Bond gets laid within the first half hour of the movie, so that hasn't changed. And the action sequences are as good as it gets for the genre, although I did get a little tired of seeing bad guys pump hundreds of rounds at Bond and being unable to even wing him, while he could knock out bad guy after bad guy with one shot apiece while on a dead run (or riding a motorcycle).

    The story has fallen prey to the same thing that's plagued the Marvel movies of late, which is that the object of the movie is to SAVE THE WORLD, as opposed to a few people or a country. The movie seems as if it's ripped from today's headlines, as the major issue is a virus that is highly contagious, easily transmitted by just touching a person who has it, and other Covid-like features, plus an extra added bonus: This virus has been weaponized to the point that individual people can be DNA targeted according to their nationality, religious beliefs, or just about any other criteria you could think of. If this movie hadn't been completed in 2019 before Covid came along, you'd swear that the writers took cues from the actual pandemic and threw in the thoughts of a handful of conspiracy theorists.

    The ending is kind of a shocker, and I won't spoil it here, but it packs an emotional wallop, I can tell you. The last 40 minutes of the movie are good edge-of-the-seat stuff, it's just too bad the earlier bits weren't this tight.

    At the beginning of this movie, James Bond is retired from service, and there are some not-so-subtle hints that James Bond might look very different next time around... at one point, they make a point of the fact that "007" is "just a number" and assign said number to a black woman. However, at the VERY end of the credits after every soul has left the building, the familiar JAMES BOND WILL RETURN appears on screen, so it looks like Bond will still be a male the next time. Although I did grow up with a neighbor girl who was named "Bobbee Jim" so I guess anything is possible.

    The sound mix is standard action movie stuff (some nice use of surrounds, but could have used more thump in the bass for my taste) and the score, by Hans Zimmer, is his usual fine work. The title song, by Billie Eilish, is not one of your more memorable Bond tunes for my money, but it has the appropriate tone for the movie.

    It was a little over-long, but Bond doesn't like to rush, we know that. In due time, he gets the job done. 3.5 stars out of 5 from me.

  • #2
    I hope someone like Tarantino picks up the franchise and does what he promised: Just make a good old-fashioned Bond movie again.

    I guess in all the drama around Hollywood we've lost that movies are just what they are: stories told using picture and sound. Since when did a movie need to reflect the perfectly balanced ethnically responsible nirvana we'll never see in any real society either?

    Bond is an arrogant sleazebag that never accounts to anybody but himself and screws at least 2 beautiful girls an hour.

    I guess that picture of a man has always been a caricature, no matter the zeitgeist it was produced in...

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Marcel Birgelen View Post
      I hope someone like Tarantino picks up the franchise and does what he promised: Just make a good old-fashioned Bond movie again.

      I guess in all the drama around Hollywood we've lost that movies are just what they are: stories told using picture and sound. Since when did a movie need to reflect the perfectly balanced ethnically responsible nirvana we'll never see in any real society either?

      Bond is an arrogant sleazebag that never accounts to anybody but himself and screws at least 2 beautiful girls an hour.

      I guess that picture of a man has always been a caricature, no matter the zeitgeist it was produced in...
      I'll give a full review later when I have time but you hit the nail on the head. Now, I thought this was a good, entertaining movie but it has completely gone away from what made James Bond, James Bond. It is more of just an action movie with a guy named James Bond as the protagonist.

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      • #4
        According to the media theaters are on their last death gasps and streaming is the glorious future.

        Kind of like PC gaming and how its been "dying" at least once a year since the original Xbox came out

        No doubt the theater market is undergoing a contraction thanks to COVID, but it's still far from dead.

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        • #5
          It's only dead (or even "dying" in one place, and that's the media. They keep using phrases like "holding its breath" and "breathing a sigh of relief" and "hanging on" to describe the industry. All we need are a bunch of good freaking movies THAT AREN'T ON HOME VIDEO and we'll be just fine.

          The media also needs to stop using movies that don't do well as further indicators that the theater industry is circling the drain. We've ALWAYS had more flops than hits, it's the name of the game. Throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.

          The biggest problem with the media and much of the "online" community is, they latch on to an "idea" and then keep repeating the same nonsense over and over until people believe it. Whether it has a basis in reality or not makes no difference.

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          • #6
            At some point I'll get time to write a full review of this movie. One thing I wanted to mention is that we saw it in Dolby Cinema at the AMC Pembroke Lakes Mall 9 in Pembroke Pines, FL. My wife, who is no audiophile or videophile was absolutely blown away and said it was the best sound and picture she's ever experienced. Now, we saw "The Dark Knight" in IMAX 15/70 so the picture part she may not remember. The IMAX shot scenes in that film were incredible projected via IMAX film. The auditorium was well designed with no light reflected onto the screen from aisle lights or exit signs. Through T-Mobile, somehow we only had to pay $4 on a promotion but my wife, whos default is go to the cheapest possible matinee said that she'd be more than willing to pay full price ($17) to see movies in that theatre in the future.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Mike Blakesley View Post
              It's only dead (or even "dying" in one place, and that's the media. They keep using phrases like "holding its breath" and "breathing a sigh of relief" and "hanging on" to describe the industry. All we need are a bunch of good freaking movies THAT AREN'T ON HOME VIDEO and we'll be just fine.

              The media also needs to stop using movies that don't do well as further indicators that the theater industry is circling the drain. We've ALWAYS had more flops than hits, it's the name of the game. Throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.

              The biggest problem with the media and much of the "online" community is, they latch on to an "idea" and then keep repeating the same nonsense over and over until people believe it. Whether it has a basis in reality or not makes no difference.
              Maybe they shouldn't stop.

              They often say there isn't something like bad attention and this may somehow be true, at least in this case. I don't think that the media declaring the movie theater industry dead will actually harm the industry, quite to the contrary, it keeps the exhibition industry in the picture, so people know that despite it's been dying for the last 100 years or so, movie theaters are still a thing.

              Comment


              • #8
                Saw it in a LieMAX theatre here in the UK on Saturday. Full house, many of whom stayed in their seats for that familiar line at the end of the credits!

                Not the best Bond movie, but well worth the price of admission.

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                • #9
                  The trailer made this seem like pretty average, middle of the road Bond (and I wasn't all that interested in watching it), but man was it wrong. I'd say of the Craig movies this is the second best behind Casino Royale (which is pretty much perfect). Way, way better than Spectre and Quantum of Solace, and even better than Skyfall.

                  Bond feels more grounded and even 'real' here. He is given real emotional stakes in the events of the film, and Daniel Craig acts his ass off at every turn. While he's done his service to the franchise and has certainly earned his exit, it's still sad to know that this is the end of his run as 007. His take was unique, primal, and very human (when the scripts allowed him to be). He is matched scene for scene by Lea Seydoux, and Ana de Armas and Christophe Waltz have memorable scenes of their own (Armas' is damn hilarious). Oh and there's also a new 007 and Jeffrey Wright's Felix Leiter in there too.

                  Yeah it's a long, complex movie, and a lot of plot happens in it. Rami Malek's Saffin is the only major weak link. The man has an interesting motive, but he's poorly developed and falls back into generic "Bond Villain 101" mode far too often to be threatening or even memorable.

                  Cary Fukunaga does an excellent job marshalling this massive monster of a film. The many action scenes are very good and have a decent level of tension in them. In addition the film looks phenomenal, with beautiful, moody lighting and set design. The sound mix is big, dynamic and clean, but I do agree that the low end was pretty weak. It's not bad, but coming right after Venom it's definitely underwhelming.

                  So how good was this movie? Well I started previewing it at 10:00 (we're not opening it until next week) thinking "I'll just watch the first half". Ended up getting home at 1AM because I couldn't turn it off.

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                  • #10
                    I wonder if they would be shooting themselves in the foot by changing 007 to a black woman in the future. Perhaps this is a way to test-drive the concept and see what reaction they get?

                    James Bond 007 is the brand, though, and J. Random Whoever 007 doesn't have the same name.

                    Modern James Bond movies are just action movies that ride on the brand name. Without that branding you have a standard issue action movie and there's no particular shortage of competition in that area.

                    I don't think Mary Smith 007 would get the same amount of attention from the public even if it was a story of the same duration and quality as James Bond, simply due to a lack of name recognition.

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                    • #11
                      I guess I don't understand the whole need to change everything all of a sudden. We've seen a few movies already that prove it usually doesn't work. (The all female Ghostbusters being a good example.)

                      You want a Black secret agent character, then create one. James Bond is what he is. If he suddenly looks like Denzel Washington, he won't "SEEM" to be James Bond anymore. I remember when there was a big furor over the idea that Daniel Craig wouldn't be a good Bond because he had the wrong color of HAIR, ferpetesake.

                      There's a big deal going on right now about Superman suddenly going to be bisexual in a comic series, so I guess nothing's safe from the Change Police anymore. Even decades-beloved characters.

                      Of course we know that it's all about money. It's way cheaper, and less risky, to market a known quantity than to create buzz about a new character. Still, if they make Bond into a Black character, then I guess we'll probably see a campaign for a white Black Panther, or a male Wonder Woman. I mean, fair is fair.
                      Last edited by Mike Blakesley; 10-14-2021, 07:50 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jon Dent View Post

                        So how good was this movie? Well I started previewing it at 10:00 (we're not opening it until next week) thinking "I'll just watch the first half". Ended up getting home at 1AM because I couldn't turn it off.
                        I always preview the films Thursday afternoons while I take the time to mop the entire auditorium. I had to mop it later that day, I started it and never got up.

                        Not one person has come out with the slightest negative comment.

                        This one has landed in my top 3 to join Skyfall and Goldeneye as all time favorites.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mike Blakesley
                          At least Bond gets laid within the first half hour of the movie...
                          With someone of the opposite sex (and who was born that way)? My, my, the wokesters have fallen down on the job!

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