Review: No Time To Die - Cineworld Screen X
I'm almost ashamed to admit it but I've never been much of a James Bond fan. I watched the odd one or two in my youth but was never minded to see all 25 films.
However, the hype surrounding Daniel Craig's latest offering No Time to Die and the fact that it featured Land Rovers as well as Aston Martins, intrigued me to such an extend that I dragged myself along to Cineworld in Castleford to see it.
I was also enticed there by the promise seeing the film on the cinema chain's Screen X billed as a 'state-of-the-art atmospheric experience' which 'surrounds you in your seat with innovative 270° projection'.
In our party of four, one found it distracting, one was was so busy concentrating on the main screen he didn't notice the side projection and the other two thought it added greatly to the experience.
It's not the whole film - just selected highlights that are shown in this format but if ever there was a film suited to be watched in 270° projection then this is it.
The fight scenes and the majesty of the Italian landscape work particularly well.
Daniel Craig is superb and before 10 minutes was out I determined to revisit his back catalogue - shame this is his last outing as 007. He is handsome without being pretty, suave without being smarmy and caring without being mushy.
Bond films don't take themselves too seriously and there are moments of comedy that lighten the mood.
The plot is convoluted and contrived but, as it often does, hangs on world domination. There are goodies and baddies and it's not always apparent which is which.
The big finale was heartstopping - the entire cinema held its collective breath in the final moments as they tried to predict if Bond would live to see another day
As a form of entertainment No Time to Die is a great spectacle and eminently watchable - the 2:43 hours running time going by in a flash - and I came out of the cinema feeling my night had been well spent and that the two-year wait for its release was worth it.
It is of course a festival of absurdity and complication, a headspinning world of giant plot mechanisms moving like a Ptolemaic universe of menace. Perhaps nothing in it measures up to the drama of Bond’s rage-filled hurt feelings at the very beginning. But it is very enjoyable and gleefully spectacular – Craig and Seydoux and Malek sell it very hard and you can see the pleasure everyone takes in this gigantic piece of ridiculously watchable entertainment which feels like half its actual running time.
We’ve been expecting you, Mr Bond … No Time to Die premieres in London – in pictures
And the big finish shows that the 007 franchise-template is still capable of springing a surprise on the fanbase – and it could be that the world of Bond has taken something from the Marvel and DC universes, with their own sense of cartoonish grandeur and mystery. No Time To Die is startling, exotically self-aware, funny and confident, and perhaps most of all it is big: big action, big laughs, big stunts and however digitally it may have been contrived, and however wildly far-fetched, No Time To Die looks like it is taking place in the real world, a huge wide open space that we’re all longing for.
No Time to Die is released on 30 September in the UK, 8 October in the US and 11 November in Australia.
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