I may add to this over time, but for now I wanted to jot down some thoughts after screening 3. You can hear the podcast discussion with spoilers in the player below. I’m joined by Matt Spaiser of Bond Suits, Z from Tie Another Day and Daniel Gaster as we discuss No Time To Die. This is a spoilers episode so please do not listen if you have not seen the film. We discuss the positives and negatives and did No Time To Die go too off-book?
We really get to see Bond be Bond in that final twenty minutes. I much prefer Bond being solo kick ass Bond, and starting from when he sends Nomi, Madeline and Child off in the dingy is the best bit. By the way does Madeline really need to be rowed away by Nomi? Surely Madeline could have rowed herself off the island. I mean she blew a guys fucking head off earlier in the day. Gunplay is terrific. Music comes in, lots of Dark Knight echoes in the soundtrack but that’s fine. There is even mild bits of humour and arrogance ‘Bond is 9 minutes going to be enough? ‘plenty of time plenty of time’ he replies.
Learn more about the style of James Bond in the book From Tailors With Love: An Evolution of Menswear Through the Bond Films, available on Amazon.
Is Bond back?
It also recalls one of my favourite scenes from You Only Live Twice when Bond is escaping Kobe docks. When he is on his own, not only does he find the right gear, but the audience does too. We like to see Bond at his true bad ass self, and the gun play is amazing. One long scene, which I didn’t really notice first time around, but it is one long scene when he’s going up the spiral staircase. Recalling some touches from the pre-titles of Spectre.
The ‘blew his mind gag’ I’m onboard with, the humour throughout this film is very good, and him and Q are given a lot of latitude with the dialogue and humour.
So I’m not against Bond dying, although I initially didn’t applaud the ending at the premiere. I don’t get onboard with the cause for which he died for. The fact that he couldn’t touch or kiss Madeline or his child? I would have preferred Bond being Bond, and being broken, and dead inside because he couldn’t be with her. The chipped cup, tortured soul. Etc.
I’m more traumatize with the reasons for Bond dying, than Bond dying himself.
This love affair with Madeline, still feels a little retro fitted and whilst its by and large fine, its, just not as fleshed out or layered as the Vesper romance. Which one can totally subscribe to.
Some of that is nit-picking, but I’m trying to factor in why I’m not emotionally knotted up as so many other people are about the ending. I should caveat that with understanding that those that have young children very much feel a connection and were emotionally torpedoed by that ending. Maybe if Bond had a Cockapoo I would have been … anyway.
On the Bad Guys & Cuba
Some great points made about the bionic eye are made on the James Bond Radio chat. I completely missed that Blofeld had one (even on 3rd viewing) and that’s how he controlled things from Bellmarsh prison. Though I disagree with the comments that the bionic eye is too ‘Austin Powers-y’. If Bond has licence to be derivative, it has earned the right to do so in its own franchise and not a parody thereof. Also of all the characters they should have brought back Mr Hinx would have been the best.
The Cuba fight scenes felt a little flat, despite Ana De Armas doing great things and the music having a menacing pump when the gunplay starts outside the club. If Bond was confronted with a Mr Hinx rematch inside the Cuban club that would have been the worth the price of admission alone.
Also the ending, I wish that M would have had a bit more to do. I think Ralph Fiennes is doing everything by doing nothing. Yes, I love him closing the eyes, and the Ian Fleming speech followed by a ‘back to work’ chink of the glass. But I would have loved M trying to get wrestle the intercom and order Bond to evacuate the island. ‘A direct order Bond.’
Moneypenny also was given such little to do. Throughout the film really. I’m surprised her character arc has regressed so much after Skyfall. She has become more peripheral, almost like the original Moneypenny Louis Maxwell.
If only we could have seen her listening in on the intercom in another room, and sobbing? Or running out the room to collect herself. Having her, Tanner, M, and Q just stunned and looking in shock – I don’t know. The whole thing was good, worked, but I would have been interested in seeing something different.
A note on the style
The suits have been tight since Skyfall, although these are less so than Spectre which went too far. It’s a shame because Quantum Of Solace was the perfect in terms of fit for Daniel Craig, and we thought we were onto a winner with that Tom Ford template. Then it all got a little snug.
For this I believe there to be 3 reasons.
- Vanity. Daniel Craig is in body builder shape, much more pumped than Sean or any other Bond. Although it’s the way to do it, a tight fit in his mind at least will accentuate his bouldering physique.
- The fashions of the time. Since 2010 suits (as you know) went through a spray-on look phase. The skinny trousers, the short jacket. Although it’s not a classic look, it represented the times. And Bond has always been a reflection of the times in terms of style. Although I love the 70s Moore look myself, I would not be a fan of seeing an imitation of that for Craig or any other Bond because it would be derivative and not representative of the times we live in.
- Age. We have to see Bond as slightly anti-establishment. Ralph Fiennes looks exceptionally tailored in his Timothy Everest suits. Yet Bond can’t look to be as highly polished as M. There has to be a division that separates the two. And because there isn’t actually a very big age gap between Daniel Craig and Ralph Fiennes, they have to give Daniel a much more youthful and tighter cut to show some sartorial immaturity.
The goods far outweigh the positives in this film. Anastasia’s first comment was, ‘the most beautiful thing in that film was the music,’ which isn’t really a compliment to THIS film. She also said that Madeline is no Tracy no matter how bad-ass they make her out to be with killing a guy in the forest. She doesn’t have the class of a Tracy. But then again who does? But Lea Seydeux is acting her socks off in this movie, and has brought other elements other than class that make her an excellent Bond girl. Mystique, vulnerability, and great hair!
Finally she reflected, that they really did throw everything at this film. And that can’t be denied. There is a lot here for Bond fans, and a good Bond film always has to go slightly off-book. But has it gone too off-book?
What’s Next For Bond?
Craig could still come back and do ‘Whoring in Jamaica – The Lost Years of Bond’ he spent five years in Jamaica after the Matera sequence, you know he shagged everything on that island.