Time Past: The Other Bond Review
I found another review written under the one I posted; a side effect of having a partially working brain, I suspect. I must have knocked it out in the dead of night and forgotten about it, so I include it here as passing interest.
Here’s how you write a film script: Get commissioned. Have everyone tell you your first draft is a work of brilliant genius but we can fix it. Script becomes unrecognisable and ‘needs a bit more punch’ so the first of five new writers is brought in to add improvements. Final draft bears no resemblance to where you started. Director chops everything to bits and restitches it together with new bits added, creating Frankenscript.
‘No Time To Die’ has a Frankenscript. Taking leaves from the MCU and the Star Wars franchises, it is the perfect fan service film, all boxes ticked with callbacks from across the Craig series and more oddly, from Connery and The Greatest Film Connery Never Made, ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’, which would put Craig in his low hundreds.
We’re back in the world of unlikely names (Craig’s partner here is the Proustian Madeleine Swann) the disfigured supervillain (pockmarked Rami Malek, surprisingly low-key) and a master plan to destroy everything as we know it, some nonsense involving nanobots, viruses and er, bombs. Bond girls? There’s a plethora of them, paying the faintest of lip service to a woke world. Feminism? The talents of Phoebe Waller-Bridge are nowhere to be found. If this is a brave new world for women then why are there none over thirty?
Never mind, here we have M burbling plot points, Q fannying about with one-use gadgets, Moneypenny with…well, nothing, chases for bike, plane, car and boat, trips to Norway and Japan and Cuba and Jamaica and a small child, carted around between so many loud gunfights that she must now have perforated eardrums.
There are missteps; a pointless Hannibal Lector moment for Christophe Waltz that feels like a leftover from an earlier draft (I doubt many maximum security jails have designer uplighters), some awkwardly heartwarming sentiment, too many ideas left half-explored, like the explosive pellets and the poison garden, an actual Fleming invention.
Craig has a nicely vicious moment involving a car and a tree, but mostly just drifts through it all, although he emotes toward the end by crumpling his face. Much of the time he simply purses his lips in a way that reminds me of Tony Curtis in ‘Some Like It Hot’. The women are young and skinny and beautiful and therefore interchangeable, the exception being the fabulous Ana de Armas, who gets to laugh and exchange gunfire while wearing an alarmingly tiny dress. The director is Cary Joji Fukunaga, who does a terrific job of knotting everything together.
In the Evening Standard Charlotte O’Sullivan reviewed it by talking about Bake-Off, Craig’s pants and Fleabag, which is what you get if you send a girl to review a boy’s film. I’m joking, I’m joking, don’t write in.