Daniel Craig with his latest James Bond 007 No Time to Die is at the cinemas and it was about time. I’m so looking forward to legendary cars, a briefcase of gadgets, and a stylish wardrobe. But to seeing more of Bond’s more human, vulnerable side too.
I love a good thriller, book or movie, the kind that has that escaping quality about it. The kind that takes you to exotic locations, or uncovers cyber terrorism and power play, and media intrusion too – socially relevant themes but still a fantasy for the average bystander.
Six actors, among them curt Sean Connery, refined Roger Moore, cerebral Timothy Dalton, and dashing Pierce Brosnan personified James Bond so far.
On Daniel Craig’s James Bond and the Bond Girls
And Daniel Craig, who embodied the most believable Bond hero for me, one who cried, bled almost to death, nearly gave up, and even performed with a broken leg (Spectre).
We could say that Daniel Craig reinvented James Bond by rebooting his character. He pealed back layer after layer, that impervious hardness we were used to see around 007, revealing a character that is vulnerable on a psychological level. James Bond is no longer the cool humanizer we were used to, but someone who allows himself to be human (thus we can relate to) by falling in love. So deeply that he is willing to walk away from being James Bond, license to kill, to share a mortal’s fate, all in the name of love.
I am looking forward to No Time to Die as I hear that Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), Bond’s second chance to love from Spectre, returns. Will she still remain a mystery? If not, how will this put Bond in danger?
Another reason why I’m looking forward to watching No Time to Die is for the surprise 00 Agent of MI6, Nomi (Lashana Lynch). Skilled, but also intuitive I hear. Empowered and opinionated, this is the 21st century after all 🙂 and she gives them a run for their money.
I quite liked the character of Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) too (Skyfall, Spectre). She is Moneypenny with a difference, feisty, yet strong, and less infatuated with James Bond. She goes out in the field (Spectre) and although she accidentally shoots James Bond, he till trusts her and they have this complicity going on between them, more friendship than flirting (see past James Bond characters). Moneypenny speaks up her mind and she even puts her job on the line for Bond (Spectre), I was pleasantly surprised to discover how solid their friendship has become. I look forward to seeing more of their interaction.
James Bond’s enemies, villains, and friends
I think that each one of Bond’s enemies has a scene that defines them. A scene that will fascinate and gross out. Bond’s torture by Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) in Casino Royale; Silva (Javier Bardem) revealing his true facial features to M (Judi Dench) in Skyfall; the recurring Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) who in Specre aims to erase Bond’s memory. What will happen in No Time to Die?
A hero is only as memorable as his villain. Dark and driven, I am kind of curious to discover a new tortured Bond enemy. In No Time to Die, as a new twist, we are faced with a younger villain, Rami Malek – I remember him from A Night at the Museum where he portrayed a memorable Ahkmenrah. In what ways will a younger enemy challenge James Bond? I remember an interview with Malek and he admitted having dropped his line when he first faced Daniel Craig, because James Bond was standing in front of him.
During the last 007 movies Bond’s team at MI6 slowly became his friends and his family: Q, Moneypenny… Daniel Craig’s Bond fights for them too. He is not alone and unapproachable anymore, he can be vulnerable in this way too, through his extended family.
James Bond Exotic Locations
The exotic location are a desirable character in any James Bond movie. And Jamaica, where the first Bond movie was made and is “Bond’s spiritual home” and Bond’s safety net (he retired there) was a must, I hear, for No Time to Die. Not a place I would visit on a holiday any time soon, so I am looking forward to experience it this way.
James Bond’s Music
Ah, what would a Bond movie be without its official tune of blaring horns and twinging guitar riffs. Bond’s tune had been set by Monty Norman who wrote the original theme tune for the first film, Dr No, in 1962, and was arranged by John Barry.
Daniel Craig as James Bond, 007, his story thus far
In Casino Royale James Bond is promoted to a 007 agent (receives his “00” license to kill). Bond disturbs terrorist’s Le Chiffre’s mastermind plan who thus suffers a huge financial loss as a result of Bond’s involvement. Le Chiffre plans a poker tournament to recover his losses, but James Bond wins it all – including the girl, Vesper. The secret organization Quantum is also after the money Le Chiffre lost and Bond won. Vesper betrays Bond (we think), passes the win to Quantum, but looses her life.
In Quantum of Solace Bond captures Mr White, the leader of the Quantum organization. He also discovers another Quantum leader, another villain – and Bond goes after him. How else 🙂 But also fueled by revenge for Vesper. M pulls James Bond off the field, but Bond goes on anyway – with the aid of old and new friends. No Bond Girl here (not the way we knew them anyway), and eventually Bond is reinstated in MI6.
Skyfall – James Bond and Moneypenny are on a mission together aiming to retrieve information that otherwise will release the names of all MI6 agents on the field – Bond fighting for his family here. He is accidentally shot (by Moneypenny ) and falls off the face of the earth – returns as a shadow of the man he once was, but does it nevertheless to protect what was left of MI6. A new Q, Quartermaster (Ben Whishaw), is introduced here. Eventually Bond discovers who was behind the theorist attack aimed at MI6: Silva, former MI6 Agent obsessed with his vendetta against M. James Bond lures Silva to Skyfall, the Bond family estate. Silver is taken down, but so is M.
Yet M leaves Bond a private message and in Spectre Bond follows the trail to terrorist Sciarra. Ralph Fiennes is the new M who suspends Bond from field duty. But Bond follows through and we fall in the middle of another terrorist organization. Looking into its leaders with the help of Moneypenny Bond discovers that one of them is none other but Mr White (Quantum of Solace). Mr White’s dying wish is for Bond to protect his daughter, Madeleine Swann, who is also the only lead Bond has to this new terrorist organization. Spectre. We find out that past Bond villains were all its members… Oh dear. Can Bond eradicate all the villains, once and for all? It all comes down to Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), Bond’s stepbrother and also the one responsible for the deaths of Bond’s first love, Vesper, and M… Bond wins and leaves the 007 program in pursue of a quiet, normal life, and a second chance to love alongside Madeleine Swann. The kind of existence that we, the spectators have.
Yet it appears that there is No Time to Die for James Bond. Or maybe No Time to Die as long as there’s one more job that only James Bond can fulfill. But is it James Bond the agent or the man – this last time? This is the 25th James Bond in nearly 60 years, and Daniel Craig’s farewell to 007. Will this story be more about Bond the man?
No Time to Die and other James Bond movie titles – their history and meaning
Goldfinger – the title was inspired by man 007 creator Ian Fleming knew, Ernő Goldfinger.
Thunderball – originally thunderball was a word invented by Ian Fleming so when lyricist John Black came on the job for the theme song, he used it in a comparison, having troubles finding a rhyme for it.
You Only Live Twice – it was 17th-century Japanese poet Matsuo Basho who inspired Ian Fleming this time:
Diamonds Are Forever – was actually a 1947 phrase coined by Frances Gerety for a De Beers Diamond campaign.
The Spy Who Loved Me – as a James Bond movie title make sense if we consider that the novel is written through the perspective of Viv Michel, a fictional character.
Octopussy – was the name of a small boat made of woven and wood, a coracle, gifted to Fleming by his Jamaican neighbor.
A View to a Kill – was the title of one of Fleming’s short stories, and not one about James Bond. But the title is written into the script as a short dialogue.
License to Kill – was changed at the last minute from License Revoked, since in this 007 movie James Bond (Timothy Dalton) is suspended from duty by M. Yet it appears that the American audience found License Revoked uncomfortably close to the notion of a driver’s license being confiscated…
Golden Eye – was the name of Ian Fleming’s estate in Jamaica that was possibly named after a WW2 Operation with which Fleming had been involved. Or perhaps after a novel by Carson McCullers that Fleming read, or a duck.
Tomorrow Never Dies – was initially named Tomorrow Never Lies, referencing to a Tomorrow newspaper featured in the story. Apparently the scriptwriter Bruce Feirstein was, in turn, inspired by the Beatles song Tomorrow Never Knows. And indeed it does not, for the fax containing the James Bond movie title was sent to MGM with a typo…
The World Is Not Enough – is a quote from Alexander the Great’s epitaph.
Die Another Day – would have been inspired by the 1896 poem by A. E. Housman, The Day of Battle:
“Far I hear the bugle blow
To call me where I would not go,
And the guns begin the song,
‘Soldier, fly or stay for long.'”
“Comrade, if to turn and fly
Made a soldier never die,
Fly I would, for who would not?
‘Tis sure no pleasure to be shot.”
“But since the man that runs away
Lives to die another day,
And cowards’ funerals, when they come
Are not wept so well at home.”
“Therefore, though the best is bad,A. E. Housman (1859 – 1936)
Stand and do the best my lad;
Stand and fight and see your slain,
And take the bullet in your brain.”
Quantum of Solace – was the title of a Ian Fleming short story involving James Bond. A quantum is the minimum amount of any physical entity. For James Bond it represents the instant a relationship has lost its spark. After that moment, there’s no gran of joy, or comfort left.
SPECTRE– is the name of a fictional terrorist organization. Initially Fleming had set James Bond against SMERSH (acronym for Smert Shpionam, “death of spies”), and truly a part of Stalin’s KGB and the equivalent of the Gestapo. Worried that upon the end of the Cold War his novels will look dated, Fleming decided to create a network of spies and assassins as new enemies of the British Secret Service. SPECTRE is thus an acronym for Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion.
No Time to Die – what does it refer to?
No Time to Die brings out, more than any other Bond title , the terms of 007’s employment. At the end of Spectre, Bond had decided to retire from MI6, to leave active service, and – hopefully – find peace and love alongside Madeleine Swann. But we do expect it, don’t we, for Bond to be yanked out of his peaceful existence, one way or another. He’s not done yet. Ironically, there’s No Time to Die for James Bond.
Yet there’s also urgency in this title, suggesting that there’s no time to die in front of a new villain and a new threat. I am sure that after watching the movie a new explanation for this title will emerge. No spoilers here…
We all kind of grew up with Bond. Even if we haven’t been active fans, it was endearing to discover that a new 007 movie is out, following the same pattern or challenging the franchise the way Daniel Craig’s James Bond did. James Bond always remains a classy and a classic – and No Time to Die is the last movie to be released by the old Bond franchise as we knew it, chaired by Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson.
Enjoy James Bond 007, No Time to Die. I know I will.