October 11, 2021 Canadian Thanksgiving. Bond

No Time to Die:  Daniel Craig puts on the tuxedo as James Bond for one final turn.  Finally released after many Covid-19 delays, it has arrived in North American theatres a week after Europe.   I saw this in IMAX in a mostly full theatre, as in Ontario they just as of midnight Saturday allowed full capacity.   It was invigorating to be back in a full theatre.  At the same time it seems many people have lost all their sense of etiquette for attending with others.   I like assigned seats generally but it means people arrived 15 mins late in the dark disturbing others.  Others can’t seem to hold their bladders and were up and down multiple times.  Also disturbing.   

Now to the movie.  It was first and foremost long at almost three hours.  I had not anticipated that length.   It felt it too.  I found myself wondering the end scenes were actually the end.   

Craig of course is an excellent Bond and he delivers.  He finished Spectre with his foster brother nemesis lying lame on Westminster Bridge in London as he throws his handgun into the Thames and leaves with Lea Seydoux character (Mr White’s daughter).   I have to admit that I don’t see any chemistry with those characters at all.  In Spectre she goes from loathing him and the life he leads.  Minutes later she is professing his love for him.   You can’t unring that bell, and it means she her character’s emotions likely more than they should go at that time.   It doesn’t really work.  

The Spectre storyline is explored further and resolved in a way that is quite surprising.  It is disappointing at the same time.  With Blofeld behind maximum security bars the audience is left to wonder how such a man can have influence in the criminal underworld.  What kind of criminal organization is it that would allow him to even try?  Presumably there is a Number 2, to borrow from Austin Powers?   

We are introduced to a new character played by Remi Malik.  He can be difficult to understand.  He mumbles in crucial parts.  I am fuzzy with his role and how it interacts with Spectre.  Yes he had a family loss as result of Spectre but the details of it were not clear.  Add to that how this man gets the money and power to formidable person that he is, raises a few eyebrows.   But asking too many questions doesn’t help reconcile the story.   So I will wrap up plot discussion at that point and just go with it.  

This isn’t the best Craig Bond film.  I think that Casino Royale is.   A close second is Skyfall.  Quantum of Solace the worst.   A documentary on Crave on Being Bond explains that filming for Quantum started at the beginning of a writers strike in Hollywood.  They had no finalized script.  It deeply impacted that film.  

I like Bond.   I was unimpressed by the “new” 007.  She seemed to just have a chip on her shoulder and that is not a personality.   Rather this tension with Bond feels forced as he is not really bothered by being retired and her presence.   The more interesting person was the American agent that Bond meets in Cuba.  Played by Ana de Armas named Paloma.  She was interesting, showed tremendous skills (especially wearing high heels and a skimpy dress) and arrived and disappeared far too quickly.   

In the end, things that haven’t been done before with a Bond character were done here.  They are appropriate.  This series of Bond movies were not just stand alone movies against bad guys.   They were driven by more back story and character development with Bond himself.  We have learned a lot more about him as a man.   He was more an action hero than at any time.   Sean Connery would not being jumping off cranes or riding a motorcycle like he does.   Pierce Brosnan didn’t have the hand on hand combat that Craig has.  Craig has left his mark and in a very good way.   Where the franchise decides to go after this will be interesting.

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