Writing Movie “WRONGS”
By Jim West
James Bond: No Time to Die
Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga
Written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Cary Joji Fukunaga, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Connery, Moore, Brosnan, and now solidified as perhaps the best is Craig. Daniel Craig has brought to the big screen a series of Bond films that dive deeper into the character often known for being just a ladies man with a gun. This level of depth has worked well since Casino Royale (2006). For 15 years Daniel Craig has delivered solid film after film, and breathed new life into a aging franchise. This 25th Bond film in this franchise is his last to don a tux, drive a Aston Martin, and save the day. What a ride this has been!
Here comes the spoilers.
Four writers on this film. The standout is easily Phoebe Waller-Bridge. She is most known for her phenomenal BBC show Fleabag. I wonder what parts of this film were her contributions? With her work on another series, Killing Eve, she obviously has a great sense of action and comedy. This film opens with a retaliatory killing of the wife of a hitman who murdered his own family. A young girl, Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux), shoots the killer in the face, but he survives to find her running across a frozen lake. She falls in and under the ice and he rescues her. We jump to present day. She is with James Bond as they move town to town to stay ahead of people who want Bond dead. As he visits a tomb of a past love he is ambushed and attacked by assassins. Believing she has betrayed him he takes her to a train station and says goodbye. Five years later, Bond is retired in Jamaica, and gets contacted by CIA agent Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) to find a scientist who got kidnapped along with a bio-weapon named Hercules. At first he declines, but after realizing this was the work of MI6, he agrees to help Felix much to the dismay of MI6.
Bond meets with another CIA agent to intercept the scientist at a Spectre meeting in Cuba, but instead is a trap for Bond as Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) orders his people to kill Bond with the bio-weapon. Instead of killing Bond, the nano-wepaon which targets a persons DNA kills everyone else instead in the room but Bond. Several double crosses ensue in the chaos, and Bond is back in London working again with MI6 to try to get Blofeld to talk. Bond meets Swann as she is Blofeld’s psychiatrist, but before this meeting a man form her past visits her and tells her to infect Blofeld with Hercules. The man is Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek), and his plans are to kill millions of people. Yet the motives are never clearly understood. This is the point where the films loses some steam. Safir doesn’t appear to be manic or wants to see the world burn. His care of the little girl shows he has empathy. This is the point of the film we needed a clear motive of what his vision was for the world. Just about everything else fit story-wise and works. Yet this one major point of unleashing this bio-weapon on the world wasn’t driven by greed or hatred it seems. Safir needed more development. Rami Malek needed more to work with as an actor. More insight to who he is would have been key to understanding his motives. That is where a writer needed to show us some insight into his madness or his vision. Let us empathize with the villain to a degree. With four writers this seems to have fallen through the cracks. The devil is in the details and the devil of Safir definitely needed more details.
Overall this is a fitting film to end the 15 years of Daniel Craig suiting up as Bond. I welcome what’s next for this long running franchise, and expect they will continue to keep things shaken not stirred.
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