Sunday, October 03, 2021

Craig’s Top-Grossing Finale

Last week’s long-overdue debut of the 25th James Bond film, No Time to Die, occasioned a flood of reviews, both favorable and not. One interesting example comes from Forbes’ Scott Mendelson, who writes: “Yes, it’s a better 007 film than Spectre, and yes, it’s a better series finale (relatively speaking) than The Rise of Skywalker, but if anything, the two years of release-date delays may have helped the film. In October 2021, critics and audiences may be so thirsty for water that they’ll drink the sand, and frankly I don’t entirely blame them/us. Had this film opened in late 2019 or early 2020, it would have paled in comparison to other series finales and other ‘take stock in our legacy’ sequels that opened around that time.” The Spy Command has collected such early comments here and here.

Concurrently, the New York Post says No Time to Die “is shattering international box office records despite pandemic-related setbacks. In its weekend debut, the latest James Bond flick … reeled in $119 million from 54 international markets, including the UK, Germany, Spain, Hong Kong and Japan.” GQ magazine features this piece pondering how Daniel Craig’s five-film tenure as Agent 007 stacks up against the contributions of his cinematic predecessors. And in this post, novelist Christopher Fowler reflects on the new picture’s pluses (“It’s a greatest hits fan package”) and minuses (“As for the nods to new feminism, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s much-vaunted script input is not much in evidence—lip service only”), and concludes, “you’ll love [No Time to Die] because it’s everything you didn’t know you wanted.”

Finally, the blog Artistic Licence Renewed is up with a very thorough report on how Commander Bond came to possess the designation 007, which writer Jim Wright says “just might be the most famous number in popular culture.” The same site offers this post about a new non-fiction book by Ian Fleming’s nephew, James Fleming, “which looks at the world’s most famous secret agent from a completely different angle: through the eyes of the communist bloc.” Bond Behind the Iron Curtain is scheduled for release, in Britain, on October 20.

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