Friday, October 08, 2021

Fairly Short and Hopefully Spoiler-Free Review: No Time to Die

No Time to Die was on my "should probably see on the big screen, but I'll live if I don't" list. Now that I've subscribed to Regal Cinemas' "all you can eat" plan, I'm making the most of it. Hopped on the bicycle this morning and rode the 5.9 miles to catch the 11am show. I'm glad I did.

TL;DR: This is the best movie I've seen in years. Not just the best James Bond movie, the best movie period.

The writing is great. The music fits (theme by Billie Eilish; I'm not a big fan, but good job). The action and effects are superb. The acting is spot-on. The plot includes all the essential Bond elements -- fast cars, beautiful women, gee-whiz weapons/tech, a villain aspiring to world-endangering skulduggery,  double-dealing on all sides, you name it. And in keeping with the Daniel Craig era ethos, the characters and their relationships are more than just cardboard cutout scenery for the action. They're characters worth caring about.

Warning: You won't have to be a James Bond super-fan to enjoy No Time to Die, but you're going to have to know the basic lay of the land to get much out of it. That is, you're going to have to know what Bond does / is, remember who Vesper Lynd was, and recognize M, Q, Moneypenny, Blofeld, SPECTRE, Madeleine Swann, and probably Felix Leiter. Otherwise you'll be pretty lost. At the absolute very least, I suggest seeing Spectre,  if you haven't already, before going out for No Time to Die.

If I have any complaint about the movie at all, it's that Rami Malek seems somewhat under-utilized in his role as Lyutsifer Safin, the villain. He's utterly convincing, but I wish he'd had a more convincing  back-story / motivation, and more screen time to develop and explore his character's sad creepiness.

It's a minor complaint, and I see why we didn't get more of Malek -- at two hours and 43 minutes, No Time to Die is the longest movie in the Bond franchise. It's tight as a drum at that length. I don't recall the franchise ever offering any "director's cuts," but if they want to start this is a prime candidate.

If you watch movies, watch No Time to Die. If you watch movies at the theater, get out for this one. If you don't watch movies at the theater, reconsider (unlike most releases lately, it is not available to stream, other than in bootleg format).

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