No Time to Die should be the last James Bond film for a very long time. That’s because MGM/EON/etc has finally found a way to drain the last drops of life out of 007. I’m not going to spoil No Time to Die for you. Most of England, the Internet and general baddies will do that for you. Honestly, you should have been able to guess what happens by now.
Before we get into that No Time to Die mess, let’s talk about something else real quick.
Special Gaming Announcement: James Bond Returns to Rocket League on October 7
Psyonix, the San Diego video game developer, in collaboration with Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) and Aston Martin, announced that 007’s Aston Martin Valhalla will be available in Rocket League beginning October 7, on all platforms!
007’s Aston Martin Valhalla, the first hybrid car in Rocket League, will be available in the Item Shop for 1100 Credits and will come with 007’s Aston Martin Valhalla Engine Audio, 007’s Aston Martin Valhalla Wheels, and a Reel Life Decal specific to Valhalla.
In addition to the Valhalla, the Bond 007 Collection will be available in the Item Shop at the same time for 2000 Credits and will feature 007’s Aston Martin DB5 and 007’s Aston Martin Valhalla. 007’s Aston Martin Valhalla and the Bond 007 Collection will be available from October 7 until October 13. There will also be three new in-game Challenges players can complete to unlock the 007’s Aston Martin DB5 Player Banner, Agent 007 Avatar Border, and the 00 Agent Player Title.
Lastly, Rocket League community members will celebrate the return of James Bond by facing off in the Agents Vs. Villains event which can be viewed live on the Rocket League Twitch channel on October 8. More information will be revealed on the Rocket League Twitter account at a later date.
Whatever Happened to 007?
Bond took the world by storm in the 1960s as yet another icon of the Cold War. Spinning out of the popular espionage novels of Ian Fleming, the character was given his cinematic bones by United Artists. Serving as a darling favorite of John F. Kennedy among others, the character rode to greatness up until the mid 70s. The one-two punch of giant sharks and space opera put a damper on Bond. What had once been debonair, now plays as old hand. Sorry, Bond…but space killed the Western, what chance did you have?
No Time to Die brings Blofeld and Spectre back into the mix more out of obligation than satisfying storytelling. Don’t believe me? Watch that ball/gala in Havana again and tell me what the point was of wiping out the Spectre remnants in that way? Back in the 80s, Marvel used to use Scourge to get rid of comic villains they didn’t like. When Scourge got to be too much, they whacked him as well.
The point is that you can’t have a rival villain only to reduce him to cannon fodder a movie later. In a way, it’s pretty close to the problems that faced The Rise of Skywalker. You can’t walk back story elements that you don’t enjoy anymore, then race against the clock to wrap up a story arc before its inevitable conclusion. That’s only going to end up with a product that everyone hates. Well, when you get past the initial wave of fanboys claiming they love it for a few days/weeks/moments.
What does it feel like to watch everything you love die again?
I’m not the first to give Red Letter Media praise, but sometimes their finger is square on the pulse of everything. Western culture is hitting a point where the mix of endless nostalgia with the lack of commercial viability in new product has created something beastly. An entertainment space where a mix of foreign and domestic interests are trying to make a base entertainment opportunity to appeal to everyone while also recouping back money against their Financial Arms Race demands.
Between the Pandemic delaying everything and the general decline of quality entertainment, it was an inevitability that beloved pop culture favorites would get stuck in the quagmire. While spy movies are a fun reprieve from the endless onslaught of capeshit and reality garbage, Bond doesn’t work anymore. Hell, I’m not sure if they could make a Jason Bourne movie work in this climate. So, what’s the catch?
Rami Malek feels like the answer to a question nobody asked
Rami Malek is a great actor, but terrible Bond villains. It’s fine, as he joins a proud line-up of actors ranging from Charles Gray to Michael Lonsdale. But, going after Malik’s performance as Safin is a cheap move. There have been bad Bond villains before and yet the movies survived. It’s just we’re entering the endgame of what Goldeneye posited back in 1995. Where does Bond go in a post Cold War environment?
The attempts to adapt him has led to Brosnan on a surfboard, Dalton fighting the War on Drugs and Daniel Craig feeling like a Johnny Come Lately after the Children of Bond have multiplied like oh so many Flints and UNCLEs. No Time to Die races to wrap up plot points because Craig is leaving. Honestly, it’s not a moment too soon.
But, Bond fails because No Time to Die can’t ever have a shot in Hell at succeeding. A 60 year old franchise doesn’t get repaired overnight, much like one film doesn’t make up ground and provide a capper to an acting era in a character’s life. Whether it’s EON, MGM or someone else’s fault, the problem with Bond is that he needs time to rest. Those delays in releases always produce immediate results, but even then the follow-up is lacking.
No Time to Die offers a gift to Bond that few other legacies/franchises receive. It’s a chance to breathe and rethink a concept before it’s too late. Bond has had generations stick with it as part of an evolving fanbase. Star Wars, various horror franchises and even more than that have lost people due to over saturation and general distaste for direction. Something as open as Bond invites people to eventually come back. I just ask that EON or Amazon or whomever takes the time to think about what comes next.
Nobody Does It Better. Well, at least two people did it better
The Daniel Craig era as Bond ends with No Time to Die. It’s a great thing, as Craig doesn’t work anymore as Bond. That’s not his fault, just the nature of the time. In fact, No Time to Die bares the burden of having to entertain with a man out of time that no one can question. Give or take a stupid bioweapon plot, what worked with Craig is still there.
So, why doesn’t No Time to Die work? Well, it’s because you can only promise stakes so many times before you finally have to deliver. No Time to Die raised the stakes as high as they can go, now it’s a matter of what comes next. No Time to Die fails for the next Bond to fly.