JAMES BOND 007: NO TIME TO DIE - Reviewed By Movies Zilizotafsiliwa Kiswahili

My earliest recollection of seeing a James Bond movie in the theater was 1981’s “For Your Eyes Only.”

I remember the day pretty distinctly because the movie was about to end its run at the local “99 cent” Gemini Twin Theater — the movie house where I saw “Raiders of the Lost Ark” 30+ times over the course of several months. 

I was in third grade at the time. 

In order to make the showing of “For Your Eyes Only,” we had to leave a youth soccer game I was playing in early. 

I don’t think my departure impacted the team (the Rockbrook Rockets). As I’ve said before, some people are destined to be athletes, others are destined to be fans. I’m in the latter category. My teammates were telling me how good the latest Bond film was as I left the field that evening at Sunset Hills Elementary. 

I had watched 007 movies on TV with my family. They aired on ABC at the time, and I’d developed a love for the spy franchise. 

Watching a movie in the theater is a unique experience, and that viewing of “For Your Eyes Only” at the Gemini ranks as a fond movie memory. 

So here we are — a little over 38 years after after I saw that movie in the theater — being treated to the first trailer for the 25th installment in the James Bond series “No Time to Die.

Daniel Craig is back as 007. There was some doubt a few years ago as to whether he’d renew his license to kill as James Bond. 

I’m glad Craig is back. I love what they’ve done with the 007 franchise since he’s played Bond. 

I remember when Bridget and I saw “Casino Royale” at AMC Oakview 24 in early 2007 (after the movie had been out for a while). I was really surprised how well the finished product turned out. 

More than that, the attendees at the showing (in a small auditorium) actually clapped at the end (something you don’t often see for a movie that’s been out several weeks). 

Unlike early Bond films, the Craig series has featured “intertwined” plot lines. There is a certain risk in doing that, but it has worked out well for the franchise (in my opinion). 

The last time fans saw a new Bond movie was 2015’s “Spectre.” At the end of that movie, Bond had decided to hang up his Walther PPK and drive off into the sunset with Dr. Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux). 

Bond and Swann appear to be together at the beginning of “No Time to Die.” 

There have been rumors 007 will marry in this movie. The trailer doesn’t indicate whether or not that happens. 

It would be an interesting development. The last time James Bond wed theatrically was 1969’s “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” — the one and only time George Lazenby played 007. In that movie Bond wed Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg), and it ended tragically. 

I think “On Her Majesty's Secret Service” is a underrated Bond film. Despite the awkwardness Lazenby brought to the role, the film managed to get a lot of things right. 

Keen observers watching the “No Time to Die” trailer will notice Bond uncovering what looks to be a 1969 Aston Martin DBS. If I’m right, it is the same model Aston Martin that Lazenby drove in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”  

It is also interesting to note that the trailer for 2015’s “Spectre” featured a newly orchestrated version of John Barry’s “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” score (starting at the 1:13 mark):

There is a new female “00” agent in “No Time to Die” played by Lashana Lynch (who played Maria Rambeau in “Captain Marvel”). Hard to tell if this is a setup for a reboot of the franchise in the future or not:

Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) is back (behind bars this time), and still seems to be manipulating 007. The revelation in “Spectre” that Blofeld was the mastermind behind the events in all of the Daniel Craig Bond films suggests his influence might still wreak havoc for Bond in “No Time to Die.”

A new villain named Safin (Remi Malek) is at the heart of the narrative in “No Time to Die.” His presence appears to be related to a long-held secret Madeleine Swann has kept from Bond. I’d put my money on him being Swann’s brother, but I can only speculate at this point:

Both “Spectre” and “Skyfall” (a film I thought deserved an Oscar nomination for Best Picture) were directed by Sam Mendes. 

In my opinion, those two entries were visually stunning productions. In particular, the cinematography in “Skyfall” (done by the brilliant Roger Deakins) aided in the film rising above typical action fare — with several shots looking like they’d make lovely still photos. 

Handling cinematography duties for “No Time to Die” is Linus Sandgren, whose credits include “La La Land” (read my review) and “American Hustle.” If the trailer is any indication, the new Bond outing should have a beautiful look.

For a first trailer, the new “No Time to Die” trailer is pretty meaty (the movie opens April 10, 2020 in the U.S.) 

It is hard to get a clear picture of the plot, but I figure Bond will have to navigate a world dealing with the fallout of the “Nine Eyes” intelligence initiative — something that was at the center of events in “Spectre.” 

“No Time to Die” is directed by Cary Fukunaga, who is probably best known for his HBO series “True Detective.” He wrote the screenplay for the horror film “It,” and was director/writer/cinematographer for the Netflix film “Beasts of No Nation.” 

If this is Craig’s last outing as Bond, I hope the filmmakers send him off with a bang. The venerable 007 franchise has managed to stand the test of the time at the box office. 

I’m just happy they’ve managed to evolve the series to a point where each film strives to be more than the sum of its parts. 

Like recent entries in the “Mission: Impossible” series (read my review of “Mission: Impossible - Fallout”), the James Bond franchise has focused on practical effects over CG. 

That creates verisimilitude in the narrative. 

Add in a luscious production design and stylish costumes (everyone looks like they stepped out of an issue of GQ Magazine), and the result is a tasty cocktail that is both shaken and stirred. 

The ability to continually reinvent the prototypical James Bond film for successive generations has been impressive. I’ll be waiting with baited breath to see what comes next.