Phil: On the basis that there isn’t enough talk on the web about the new James Bond film, No Time to Die, Candice and I decided we’d add our thoughts having seen the film at the weekend. I’m going first, La Nolan follows up next week. She’s promised not to read mine before putting finger to keyboard too.
Warning: This post contains spoilers. If you haven’t seen the film, and don’t want to know what happens, then stop reading NOW!!!
OK, there is a lot in this film for the Bond nerds. Since I am a nerd, that means I enjoyed it quite a lot and I can see myself getting more from it each time I watch.
For example, there are the cars. Obviously, we start with the Aston Martin DB5 (the silver one) because you can’t have a James Bond film without it. Except the ones where we did, but let’s not pick holes. Car buffs have complained that there’s no way the DB5 could hold it’s own against the cars chasing it, but they forget that Q Branch has rebuilt it several times and may have taken the opportunity to do something about both engine and suspension when fitting machine guns etc. Also, that this is not a documentary.
But, the DB5 is replaced after the opening sequence with the V8 Vantage last seen in The Living Daylights. With the silver machine away for repair, he heads off to a lock-up and whips the cover of this car. In the lock-up is some assorted other junk including the little bulldog Bond inherited in Skyfall. Interestingly, in that film, he had a lock-up with the DB5 in it. Does he have them all over London with every car he’s driven stashed away? Is the submersible Lotus Esprit tucked away somewhere? What about that 2CV?
Anyway, there’s a lot for the book Bond fan here. He retires to Jamaica, just as his did after On Her Majesties Service in the books. Ian Fleming was a resident in the country for a while, which is why his creation loves it so much. He’s a damaged man in the film (broken in the books) and has to be persuaded back to work by his replacement, a (gasp) woman.
The biggest problem for me with the film, is the villain, or at least his master plan. After acquiring a poison containing nanobots (killing Hugh Dennis along the way), he bumps off everyone in Spectre and then appears to be planning to poison the whole world. This requires lots of poison vials to be encoded with lots and lots of people’s DNA. Why bother? In Moonraker, Drax just lobs some poison globes out of a space station with pretty much the same aim, a much simpler scheme. And Drax plans to repopulate the Earth, Safin doesn’t seem to have any real plan, he’s just upset that Spectre killed his family. I mean, it’s sad and all, but you can’t help feeling that he could have done a bit more planning.
Other stuff: Landrover has released a special edition Defender and Range Rover to tie in with the film. There is a lot of product placement for these, but since most of them end up on the roofs or otherwise destroyed, and Bond beats them all in a 25-year-old Toyota Landcruiser, you have to wonder if it’s the advert the boys from Solihull were hoping for.
There’s a lot of fuss about Lashana Lynch becoming the new 007 in the movie, but she doesn’t seem to do that much. Certainly nothing like the fighting that Michelle Yeoh managed to pack in during Tomorrow Never Dies. Even Ana de Armas manages more punch (and some funnies as well) in a rather pointless, but superb, scene in Cuba. Managing to take on numerous baddies in high-heels and not fall out of her dress, is incredibly impressive.
But, the biggie. The ending. Seriously, if you haven’t seen the film, look away now.
At the start of the film, we have the refrain “We have all the time in the world” from OHMSS – the music that comes in just after Bonds’ wife has been gunned down in front of him and George Lazenby gets to emote like no Bond had done before, and wouldn’t again until Craig. At the time, Bond and Madeleine were heading off, very much in love. You might have thought that finally 007 had found happiness again. After all, same woman for several films, so quite a change.
But there is another important takeaway from OHMSS. In the opening sequence of that film, Lazenby says at the end of a fight, “This never happened to the other fellow”. Huh? What other fellow? OK, the actor has changed, and would change back for Diamonds are Forever, but we thought we were watching the same person, even if he looks different every few years.
Anyway, at the end of NTTD, Bond stands on the top of the evil lair, waiting for the missiles to arrive that will destroy both it, and him (told you there were spoilers). He can’t go home for he is infected with nanobots that will kill both Madeliene and his daughter, so sacrifices himself for both of them.
Does this mean the end of the franchise? I think not. You see, if Bond were one person, he’d have been spying for 60 years. I appreciate Roger Moore looked old, but never that bad, not even in A View to a Kill.
So, if we remember Lazenby’s line, could it be that the name James Bond is a codename? That everyone who takes the job gets the name? OK, there is an issue with the history of Skyfall and the books, where it certainly appears that Bond is one person else how could they have that back story? But, in Skyfall, I recall there was a mention that the service preferred to recruit orphans, the lack of family ties making them better agents.
So, I don’t think this is the end for Bond. The clues are in the film, just just have to be nerdy enough to spot them.