No Time to Die: 2020 James Bond Spy Film

No Time to Die: 2021 James Bond Spy Film

Movie Name: No Time to Die
Directed by: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Starring: Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux, Ana de Armas, Lashana Lynch, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes
Genre: ActionAdventureThriller
Release Date: 30 September, 2021
Running Time: – Minutes
Rating:

A soaring send-off for Daniel Craig’s James Bond; a tragic tear-jerker for his fans

No Time to Die is an upcoming spy film directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, and the twenty-fifth installment in the James Bond series to be produced by Eon Productions. The film features Daniel Craig in his fifth outing as the MI6 agent James Bond. Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, Jeffrey Wright, Léa Seydoux, and Christoph Waltz reprise their roles from previous films, with Rami Malek, Ana de Armas, Lashana Lynch, David Dencik, Dali Benssalah and Billy Magnussen joining the cast. It will be the first film in the series to be internationally distributed by Universal Pictures, following the expiration of Columbia Pictures’ contract after Spectre.

Development of the film began and confirmed in 2016. Universal Pictures and United Artists Releasing acquired the distribution rights internationally; in the United States, United Artists Releasing holds the rights, and Universal will also release the film on home media domestically. Danny Boyle was originally attached to direct and co-write the film with John Hodge; both left due to creative differences in August 2018. Fukunaga was announced as Boyle’s replacement a month later. The majority of the cast had signed on by April 2019. Principal photography lasted from April to October 2019.

The film is scheduled for theatrical release on 2 April 2020 in the United Kingdom and on 8 April in the United States.

Premise:

James Bond has left active service when his friend, the CIA officer Felix Leiter, enlists his help in the search for a missing scientist. When it becomes apparent that the scientist was abducted, Bond must confront a danger the likes of which the world has never seen before.

Film Production:

Development of No Time to Die began in the spring of 2016. As Sony Pictures’ contract to co-produce the James Bond films with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Eon Productions expired with the release of Spectre, another major film studio was expected to land the distribution rights to release the film. In April 2017, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures and Annapurna Pictures entered a bidding competition to win the distribution rights. It was announced that MGM had secured the domestic, digital and worldwide television rights to the film. Universal was announced as the international distributor of the film and holder of the rights for physical home entertainment distribution.

The scriptwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade—who had worked on every Bond film since The World Is Not Enough—were approached to write the script in March 2017. Sam Mendes stated that he would not return as director despite the success of his previous two Bond films, Skyfall and Spectre. Longtime favorite Christopher Nolan ruled himself out to direct. By July 2017, Yann Demange, David Mackenzie and Denis Villeneuve were courted to direct the film. In December 2017, Villeneuve opted out of the role due to his commitments to Dune. In February 2018, Danny Boyle was established as a frontrunner for the directing position and Boyle’s original pitch to Broccoli and Wilson saw John Hodge brought onto the project and writing a screenplay based on Boyle’s idea, with Purvis and Wade’s version scrapped. Hodge’s draft was greenlit, Universal secured the film’s distribution rights, and Boyle was confirmed to helm the film with a production start date of December 2018. However, Boyle left the production in August 2018 due to creative differences, and the film’s release date became contingent on whether they could replace Boyle with a suitable director within sixty days. A spokeswoman for Hodge confirmed that he also was no longer involved. With Boyle’s departure, several directors from film and television were considered for the position, and Cary Joji Fukunaga was announced as the new director in September 2018 via the official James Bond Twitter account. Fukunaga became the first American in the history of the series to direct an Eon James Bond film. Linus Sandgren was hired as cinematographer in December 2018; Dan Romer was hired as composer in July 2019, having previously scored Fukanaga’s Beasts of No Nation and Maniac.

With Boyle’s departure, Purvis and Wade were brought back to rework the script in September 2018. Casino Royale screenwriter Paul Haggis was brought in to rewrite Purvis and Wade’s script in November 2018. Scott Z. Burns was brought on to work on the screenplay in February 2019. At Craig’s request, Killing Eve writer and creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge provided a script polish in April 2019 to add more humor and to make the characters more believable. Waller-Bridge is the second female screenwriter credited with writing a Bond film after Johanna Harwood co-wrote Dr. No and From Russia with Love. Producer Barbara Broccoli announced that Bond’s attitude towards women would change in No Time to Die as a response to the Me Too movement. Waller-Bridge argued that the character of Bond had to stay true to its original creation and that it was the responsibility of the wider film industry to treat women more respectfully.

Release:

No Time to Die was originally scheduled for release on 8 November 2019. Following Danny Boyle’s departure, the release date was pushed back to 14 February 2020. The release date was pushed once again to 30 September, 2021. The film is due to be released outside North America on 3 April.

The film entered production under the working title Bond 25. No Time to Die was announced as the name of the film via the official James Bond website and social media accounts on 20 August 2019. No Time to Die shares its title with a 1958 film directed by Terence Young, produced by Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli and written by Richard Maibaum, the original director, producer and writer of the James Bond films.

No Time to Die Movie Trailer:

Trailer #2:

No Time to Die Movie Review:

With sheer brute force and emotional complexity, Daniel Craig bids farewell to James Bond on his own terms.

Hiring Hans Zimmer for a project is a spoiler in itself. Here, the legendary German composer has been given essentially the same responsibility that he had on The Dark Knight Rises; being a companion to a character on their last legs, holding out a hand when they need it the most, and providing support when they’re all by themselves. Besides star Daniel Craig himself, Zimmer’s score has perhaps the greatest impact in the moving final moments of No Time to Die, the actor’s fifth and final film as Commander James Bond; a melodrama masquerading as a muscular action picture.

It’s a second bite at the cherry, almost. Because Craig sat on the fence about his future as Agent 007 the last time as well, Spectre was hastily dressed up as a swan song. Forgettable as that film was, you’re going to have to remember certain elements from it if you want to understand what’s going on in this one. That might be a difficult task, considering that an entire American presidency has run its course in the six years since Spectre disgraced our movie screens.

No Time to Die is almost worth the wait. Overlong and often very silly; visually stunning from start to finish and, in its final act, unexpectedly emotional, director Cary Joji Fukunaga’s film isn’t so much concerned with reinventing Bond as it is with reshaping the world around him. No Time to Die opens with a glorious pre-credits sequence set in Italy and filmed in IMAX. Bond and Madeleine Swann’s romantic getaway is rudely interrupted by a slew of henchmen with connections to the evil organisation Spectre.

His past, as it were, refuses to let him be. In an early scene, Bond, by force of habit, looks over his shoulder when he’s out with Madeleine in quite the fairy-tale environment. She calls him out on it. But that’s the man he is; always on the run — sometimes from grotesque villains, but mostly from himself. Bond is still struggling with the trauma of losing Vesper Lynd all those years ago, and perhaps that is why he has erected an emotional barrier between himself and Madeleine, for fear of not going through the same heartbreak once again. On the two occasions that the carrot of a regular life was dangled in front of him, he swatted it away.

But this implies one very important thing, that James Bond, as played by the now 53-year-old Daniel Craig, has a heart. And reasserting this, in a nutshell, is the sole reason for this film’s existence.

The lines on Craig’s face are more pronounced than they were 16 years ago, when he first earned the license to kill in Casino Royale. He still has that swaggering confidence when he walks into a room — any room — but Fukunaga makes the wise decision to not hide his age, especially in the action scenes. Craig’s Bond has always favoured brute force over mind games — George Smiley he is not — but on so many occasions in No Time to Die, he lets out an ‘oof’ when he is punched. And crucially, he doesn’t immediately spring back up when he is struck down.

A single-take stairway shootout in the film’s final moments pushes Bond to his absolute limits as a human being made of flesh and bone, and also penetrates his psychology with unusual deftness for a film in which a character kills another by dropping a car on them. This isn’t the same Bond who was motivated by rage in Quantum of Solace, or the man who was driven by duty in Skyfall. Now, with decades of service behind him, James Bond is moved by love.

No Time to Die is almost operatically tragic, and despite hitting more than a few false notes in its meandering second act, it regains its composure so confidently that you’ll be reminded of that shot from Skyfall, when Bond lands feet-first onto a moving train coach and makes sure he’s looking dapper before he continues fighting. If you’ve stuck with the Craig era from the very beginning, No Time to Die might even have the same impact that, say, Logan or Avengers: Endgame did.

Credit must therefore be directed towards Cary Fukunaga, who in the first (and most) mainstream project of his career embraces genre conventions with little hesitation and zero shame. Villains proudly deliver soliloquies about their master-plans, Bond asks for a vodka martini (shaken, not stirred), and the iconic line ‘Bond, James Bond’ is uttered not once, but twice — but in surprising ways. Perhaps in a sign of how out of touch he is with the evolving world, however, 007 makes presumptions about female characters that make him look almost foolish more than once.

This would never have flown even six years ago, but that’s all in the past. Progressive gender-politics in the script aside, there is a spark to the dialogue in No Time to Die that perhaps wasn’t there before.

Bond’s old chum Felix Leiter tells him in an early scene, “I’m not just a pretty face,” and 007 shoots back, “I stopped trusting pretty faces a long time ago.” I’d like to think that this is the doing of co-writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, but who’s to say. Bond can still be a chauvinist pig sometimes, and that’s fine, but the film not only creates room for important female characters, it gives them things to do — this wasn’t always the case with these movies. Both Ana de Armas and Lashana Lynch are memorable despite limited screen time.

Ironically, it’s the sole Oscar-winner in the film’s cast who gives the weakest performance. I blame it on the poor sound mix and the nonsensical plot the villainous Safin has been saddled with. Or perhaps the truly baffling move on the filmmakers’ part to restrict Rami Malek’s role to basically an extended cameo. After making just a couple of brief appearances across two whole hours, we see Safin properly only towards the end. But by then, it’s too little too late.

No Time to Die might be the first villain-free Bond movie, at least as far as I can remember. The conflicts in this film are internal. But haven’t they always been for Craig’s Bond? Years from now, when learned people study millennial moviemaking, they will all point to the Craig era as being the turning point in the portrayal of masculinity in mainstream Hollywood cinema. And funnily enough, his adversaries are the ones who understand him the best. Ernst Stavro Blofeld in one scene tells Bond that he has always thought him to be a sensitive soul, and Safin reminds him that his troubles are all of his own making.

It’s true. This was a Bond who didn’t hesitate before crying in the shower in a moment of vulnerability, nor is he insecure about being replaced by a younger agent in No Time to Die — perhaps a knowing dig at the discourse that was always bound to surround the film’s release.

But all this pales in comparison to a shot at the end of this film, in which Daniel Craig picks himself up one last time, and stands proudly against the setting sun with Zimmer’s score hitting a crescendo in the background; the Walther PPK on his side replaced by something more valuable. It’s the lasting image that No Time to Die leaves you with, one that perfectly captures Craig’s run as the iconic British spy. A more satisfying send-off will be difficult to find.

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