Editor’s Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of The Collegian.
A well-dressed gentleman enters the bustling room. His gaze darts from person to person as he approaches the bar. He is direct with his drink order, which remains forever unchanged.
When he finally begins to introduce himself to the partygoers, he has little to say. His suave British accent pairs beautifully with his natural charisma, and he quickly has those around him in a trance. When asked for his name, he pauses. He utters only three words.
“Bond. James Bond.”
Those three iconic words have remained pseudonymous with the charming, badass British secret agent who has solidified his presence in cinema since the 1960s. With 27 films pertaining to Bond and his adventures, it has been quite the journey.
“No Time To Die,” the newest and final film in the Daniel Craig Bond saga, gives audiences the opportunity to say a final farewell to the actor who has portrayed the special agent since 2006. Having grown up alongside Craig’s Bond myself, it was sad to see him say goodbye to the character.
The film opens shortly after “Spectre,” with Bond and his romantic interest Madeline Swan (Léa Seydoux) enjoying their quiet life together as they travel the globe. With gorgeous shots of the pair traveling through Italy, Bond seems happy with his retirement.
However, their tranquil life is quickly thrown into chaos when Bond’s past catches up to him. With intense chase sequences and incredible cinematography, Bond’s final chapter is an engaging ride that pays homage to the prior films in the series.
Yet, I do not consider the film to stand out from prior Bond films. Unlike moments such as the famous poker scene from “Casino Royale” or any number of scenes from “Skyfall,” “No Time To Die” attempts to pack a full-length Bond adventure and a proper conclusion to Daniel Craig’s performance as Bond into one film. I think it succeeds in giving Craig a proper goodbye.
However, the other aspects of the film suffer as a result.
This includes the character development of the film’s main antagonist, Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek). Safin is meant to serve as a perfect counter to Bond. He is incredibly intelligent and views himself as the hero of his own story, something he often compares to Bond and his own escapades. I will say that Malek gives a terrific performance as the villain; however, his character and his introduction into the franchise, especially with it being the last film, feel rushed. Additionally, he is not the only villain Bond is dealing with in this film.
It felt as if Malek’s character was specifically made to cause some sort of conflict that would help wrap up the franchise nicely, which was accomplished. But his character is not given the same kind of development or emotional weight as others in the franchise. “Casino Royale” spent the entire film exploring the nuances of what made its main villain tick. That is why the final poker scene is so memorable. The audience has not seen Bond and his antagonist come face to face in that type of situation before. There is unaccountable tension in the encounter, and it is what made Le Chiffre a great villain.
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Yet, Malek’s character is only given a fraction of this character development. The only obvious character motivation is his history with Madeline Swan. Beyond a few flashback sequences and some brief monologues, Safin comes across as the generic intelligent -- yet sinister -- Bond villain, and I wasn’t capitaved by his master plan.
Director Cary Fukunaga has managed to craft an exciting, tender goodbye to one of the longest tenured actors to hold the 007 baton. With plenty of classic lines, gadgets, action tropes and vodka martinis (shaken, not stirred, of course), “No Time To Die” is also one of the most beautiful films I have seen in the past year. The cinematography is excellent, the vistas are serene and Bond’s suits remain as sharp as ever.
“No Time To Die” may be Daniel Craig’s final Bond film, but his time as the legendary secret agent will forever be remembered. The film is currently being shown in theaters and maintains an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. With his conclusion and goodbye to the character, Craig is now one of seven actors to hold the title of James Bond. I will be eagerly awaiting the next Bond film, and I cannot wait to see who will hold the mantle next.
Contact columnist Quinn Humphrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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