Fifteen years have passed since the relaunch of the Bond franchise starring Daniel Craig was released in theaters. Royal Casino it signified the return of the seductive, drinking spy, who drank mixed but not shaken Martini and slept with women who never reappeared on the next adventure. Those responsible for the film tried a slightly cruder approach that seemed to drink in some aspects of the success of The Bourne Affair.
The new James Bond movie ends a way of understanding 007
The adventure has lasted five feature films. The stage has been gratifying, discussed to the point of passion when it comes to distinguishing its best or worst moments. Is the most outstanding work Royal Casino or Skyfall? Is the loosest delivery Quantum of Solace (of measured footage and direct approach) or Specter (more picturesquely pulp, with moments decidedly goofy, but not necessarily less enjoyable)?
No time to die it could be destined to occupy a quiet place within the saga, safe from passionate adhesions and bilious responses. Although the added emotional response that the farewell can generate in the fans, the emotional doping generated by multi-film narratives that benefit from the bond that has been cultivated between the characters and the audience (see Avengers: Endgame), you can propel it into audience preferences.
On this occasion, we meet a Bond away from espionage after the events reported in Specter. The antagonist Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christopher Waltz) has been defeated and imprisoned, and the agent has suffered a new adversity that (self) sabotages his love life. A member of the CIA, the usual Felix Leiter, approaches the hero to help him recover a science fiction genetic weapon, designed by British intelligence for the refinement of the dubiously selective assassinations so much to the taste of the American governments or Israelis. After some doubts, Bond ends up entering the game and crosses paths with Specter, with Blofeld … and with a new organization facing them.
A continuous closure
Daniel Craig’s latest adventure as Bond tries to balance a certain gravity with some moderate relaxation. The new installment is a notable departure from the digital mascletás of Fast & furious. And he does not clearly bet on that cordiality and choral comedy in the style of Mission Impossible, but it does continue the path of its precedents. The windows are opened a little to soften the possible peaks of solemnity, always through the appearances of the current and rejuvenated incarnations of Q, Monypenny and… 007? A boisterous Ana de Armas is added to the secondary repertoire as a spy who plays at being inexperienced and clueless, but she is another machine to shoot down enemies.
The new film is a work by producers that fits in quite harmoniously with the previous installments. Still, it could be considered that No time to die discreetly walks away from the outbursts of coolness visual that sifted the Skyfall and Specter signed by director Sam Mendes. The election as director of Cary Joji Fukunaga anticipated continuity in this regard. After all, the American filmmaker made a name for himself among the general public as a result of a long sequence shot that stood out within the first chapters of True detective.
Still, Fukunaga and his team seem to have opted for a certain sobriety. They do not indulge in aesthetic tinsel that draw attention to themselves. This time we do not see anything similar to the colorful and artificial sequence shot (made digitally) that opened Specter. Yes, the moments of sinister representation of a secret society that dotted that same film reappear fleetingly, which acquired a certain appearance of an advertisement for colonies. creepy starring Monica Bellucci and the hitmen led by Blomfeld.
The result is very worthy, surely satisfactory. Although, without falling into the aspect frankensteinian of problematic productions such as Chaos walking or Only, it just doesn’t seem quite stitched up. Perhaps it should be greeted as an opening gesture: an entertainment show can also have a certain space reserved for digression, for the vignette of drama and characters that delay the action for a few seconds non stop. Although it can also be seen as an unwanted remnant of imperfection caused by director changes, screenwriters’ ins and outs, and project reconceptions.
The hero and the twilight
The last films of the saga have staged some twists and turns around anti-terrorism and security. Skyfall was a blockbuster anti-political that defended the opacity of the intelligence services and the need for them to operate outside of any parliamentary control. Specter seemed to offset that message by warning of the risks of mass digital surveillance. Now, No time to die warns of the possibility of a government weapon with surgical pretensions becoming a source of mass destruction.
The moral could be extracted from all this that governments should stop investing in the industries of death, but those responsible do not finish leading us to that field. The centrality of the individual hero who corrects small deviations of the system, and who is prone to violent solutions and to follow his own instincts without putting them in common with anyone (although he requires and receives the collaboration of a group of collaborators) is still preserved. On No time to dieIn addition, the main thing is to culminate the dramatic arc that began in Royal Casino.
Under the writing of Neil Purvis and Robert Wade, along with other collaborators, the Bond universe has been reconfigured. The new film conclusively concludes this endeavor, unusual in the franchise but typical of a time when film productions are committed to seriality, to unfold an authentic saga with narrow continuity and where actions have consequences that resonate in subsequent adventures. The narration no longer resets fundamentally as it happens in the old soap operas, oriented to the enjoyment of self-concluding chapters.
On No time to die not only does the previous evil reappear, something that had already happened on other occasions. Like in Specter, threads are thrown again at Royal Casino and its successors. And even his lover from the previous film, Léa Seydoux, reappears. And the consequences to actions seen in previous installments take all kinds of forms.
The narrative bet emphasizes the dramatic veneer that has covered the character’s recent journey. And perhaps it will emerge that the classic Bond, the legend fixed in the first visual adaptations of 007 (leaving aside, of course, the comic version sixties from Royal Casino) and slowly but surely evolved, perhaps it can no longer exist in the context modified by Purvis, Wade, and co. That he does not fit into the slightly more human world that the scriptwriters have been building, that he cannot interact with characters who are no longer just vigilantes, spies and counter-spies, obsessed with national security. Perhaps the hero is tragic not only because he can err and even lose, but also because his myth is doomed to disappear along with the mythical universe that he had inhabited. And that will be reconfigured, more or less profoundly, in the next reboot.