Reaction Shot: NO TIME TO DIE
The 2nd trailer for the 25th James Bond film, No Time To Die, has been released, nearly 5 months after the film’s original release date. For once, the Bond franchise was progressive, in that it was the first major Hollywood film to delay its release as a result of COVID-19 from April to November. The trailer doesn’t give away much plot details, even with a lengthy 2 minute and 43 seconds which reflects the films whopping 2 hours and 43 minutes runtime. Below is a breakdown of the key takeaways from the trailer and what can be pieced together.
NEVER SAY NEVER ENOUGH ACTION
This trailer is crammed with action with between 5-8 separate action scenes. Even with a minimum 5, that is impressive for the Bond franchise with most of the Craig-era Bond films (the most action heavy Bond) averaging 3 major action set pieces per film.
The trailer opens with what looks to be the film’s opening action set piece, as Bond is chased through the streets of an Italian city. We saw this sequence in the first trailer which sees Bond try to escape on foot, then by a motorbike before attempting to flee in his iconic Aston Martin DB5. This is most likely where Bond retired to, after leaving MI6 at the end of Spectre, before someone tracks him down and disrupts that idyllic life with a rare returning character.
BOND GIRL’S ONLY LIVE TWICE
There are sadly only two roles for women in the Bond franchise (with exclusion to Judi Dench’s M); Bond sleeps with them and then they die because they are usually associated with the villain; or the movie ends with Bond sleeping with the woman, only for the woman to never return in later films.
This film is throwing that rule out with Lea Seydoux’s Madeleine Swann returning, and playing a pivotal role. Swann is a psychiatrist who Bond falls for in Spectre and who Bond retires with. Here we see that she has a mysterious past that is related to the movie’s villain and which destroys her and Bond’s relationship. We see Bond in the Italian village, likely prior to the chase where he dirties his suit, burning a note that says “Forgive me”, potentially from Swann after Bond discovers her past.
ERNST STAVRO BLOFELD
Bond’s archenemy is not alcoholism, or STD’s, but the head of the Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion, or S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Blofeld, in the older Bond films was a deformed man with a love for white, Persian cats. In the Craig films, he is the adoptive brother of James Bond and was captured by Bond in Spectre to obviously return and terrorise the world and Bond.
Instead, we get a Silence of the Lambs homage with Bond coming to a caged Blofeld, played by Christoph Waltz again, to seek help with the film’s villain. Blofeld comments that “Now your enemy, is my enemy”, implying that Blofeld has a personal stake in the game.
THE MAN WITH THE CREEPY MASK
Rami Malek plays the film’s baddie, Safin, a traditional Bond villain; cruel, plots world domination and deformed. He is seen wearing a ghostly, porcelain, white mask that hides his injuries which look like healed burn wounds. Later he’s seen wearing a fractured mask which feels reminiscent of The Phantom of the Opera mask.
Safin’s motivations, according to Madeleine Swann are “Revenge. Me” which is probably linked with the secret she is hiding. Swann is gifted the broken white mask in the trailer and Safin is seen leering over her sleeping body, implying they have a connection. Perhaps they were romantically involved or Swann worked for Safin’s masterplan.
Safin’s plan appears to be mass genocide, which he compares to Bond and how they “Both eradicate people to make the world a better place”. He just wants to be a little “tidier” with how he goes about it. Safin’s plan most likely involves some form of bioweapon which is a sensitive topic right now and could be another factor for delaying the film.
Safin may also be a rogue member of S.P.E.C.T.R.E, which is why Blofeld is called upon to help stop him. There is also speculation that he may be the first on-screen Bond villains, Dr. No. The reasoning behind why Safin might be Dr. No is based on the film’s title and the chance that Bond’s witty dispatch of Safin is ‘No, time to die’. Again, just a rumour but a fun way to honour the 25-film legacy by going back to the classics. Speaking of…
FROM CUBA, WITH LOVE
Bond films are always global adventures. Sure, he’s never been to Australia but has been to Outer Space and every other country around the world, but he manages to find himself in the most exotic of places. Here is no different as Bond makes his way to Santiago de Cuba, where he meets his CIA counterpart, Felix Leiter, a staple of the Bond franchise. He last appeared in Quantum of Solace, played by Jeffrey Wright who also returns. Leiter pairs Bond with Paloma, played by Ana de Armas.
Dressed in an elegant evening gown, Paloma is a badass as she duel-wields a pistol and sub-machine gun and kicks guards unconscious. She even shares Bond’s love for a drink as the pair celebrate their brutal takedown over a drink, which is a moment of levity missing from Craig’s Bond. Craig also shows visible exhaustion, showing a new side to Bond as a weary spy and why this will be Craig’s swan song. While his replacement is not announced as of this time, we do see a potential replacement.
THE SPY WHO REPLACED ME
Lashana Lynch, is credited with playing Nomi, who is revealed to be a new ‘OO’ agent for MI6. We know she is a ‘00’, but not if she is ‘007’, which fits given Bond retiring from the role. Many may hope that she becomes the new 007 in future instalments of the franchise, but series producer Barbara Broccoli (whose family have produced the Bond franchise since the beginning), definitively stated that Bond, “Can be of any colour, but he is male” in an interview with Variety. That doesn’t mean Lynch can’t return in later films as a recurring 00-agent, or even spin-off into her own series, but she won't be the next 007.
LICENSE TO THRILL
Ben Whishaw also returns as Q, who finally gifts Bond some proper old-school spy gadgets. Well, at least one. We see Bond and Nomi piloting a light-aircraft that ends up transforming from a small plane, into a jet-ski before sinking beneath the waves as a submarine. While it’s no car-submarine hybrid of the Roger Moore-era, it’s nice to see some ridiculous spy vehicles/gadgets again in the Bond series. Hopefully this is a return to that classic Bond and a step away from the Jason Bourne knock-off Bond we’ve seen for the last 14 years.
A KILLER VIEW
The trailer then ends with a montage of action set to a cinematic Bond theme which shows off the gorgeous cinematography from Linus Sandgren, who worked on La La Land and American Hustle. The trailer’s stinger is intriguing as Bond stalks through a misty forest before a SUV flips over Bond. Bond then aggressively shots the driver more than enough times. This wasn’t Bond doing his job, this Bond is pissed off.
Amongst all the stunning action set-pieces on display the key take away from this trailer for me was how Bond was emotional. Towards the end, Bond says “If we don’t do this, there will be nothing left to save” but his voice breaks as if he is upset by what is happening. It is a welcome sight to see Bond be affected by something instead of the stoic figure he has been for the last 4 movies.
Tonally, this looks different from previous Bond films as it doesn’t deal with Bond’s past or any traumatic history he has, but on Bond and MI6 working to stop a global genocide. His personal stake is his job to save the world which is all the audience need to know. There are also comedic moments which is rare for Craig’s Bond who rarely smiled. Bond feels like Bond again.
This trailer delivered everything you need from a Bond trailer; awesome action, sexy women, a sinister villain, international adventure, and Bond in a suit having a drink after taking out a bunch of henchmen. Add great cinematography and an emotional Bond, and you have the makings of a memorable Bond film and fitting farewell for Daniel Craig.