No Time to Die

No Time to Die ½

Discourse on a non-white James Bond has always been weird to me in the sense that it appeals to a neoliberal fantasy of inserting marginalized people into positions of power that are capable of genocide and imperialism, and apparently having poc as an agent of capital is the kind of "good" representation we need in mainstream media? What's even more bizarre (and amusing in a way) is that right-wing/conservative weirdos will hyperfocus on what skin color James Bond will have since that's the only kind of "politics" they really care about instead of the larger implications of engaging in such representational politics. The reason why I bring this topic up is that even though this is supposed to be the last Bond film starring Daniel Craig, there will be more Bond films, and when it comes to the various negotiations wrt who should be represented on-screen, it would logically make sense for the next film in the series to introduce a non-White James Bond (they were even testing the waters with Nomi being a temporary 007). But if the Craig films are indicative of anything, it's fair to assume that the Bond franchise will always embody a certain kind of reactionary politics that pander to Britain's inflated and insecure self-image where this declining imperial power could still have a chance at staying relevant as an imperial power. Makes sense considering that the books were written in a post-war Britain, and the British Empire ofc was declining as the series progressed. Each of the books and movies incorporates this notion of nostalgia as a longing for former imperial and colonial glory - doesn't help that they were also basically made as anti-communist agitprop entertainment (you can even notice some of the usual images/allegorical modes of anti-communist rhetoric in this film). Yeah even Skyllfall, everyone's favorite "deconstructive" Bond film, reaffirms this idea of Britain's continued "relevance" and the need for MI6 or the British Secret Service to continue toppling foreign governments and maintaining some sense of Western hegemonic influence #MakeAnglosGreatAgain 🤮 Craig films, in particular, try to start and facilitate this conversation regarding Britain's anxiety over its changing status in the post-imperial world yet they always have this theme of returning to and maintaining the status quo. Like how many times has James Bond been "reinstated?" These films reveal this idea of a continuing reluctance to abandon the certainties of imperialist chauvinism. No Time to Die is really amusing to me because it takes this corrective approach where it attempts to recontextualize Bond's problematic legacy as an alcoholic, a misogynist, and a tool of British imperialism, yet a lot of these are still there - they've just evolved into a more palatable form cuz obviously this is a part of the renegotiating process of representational politics, most of which adopts the usual neoliberal aesthetics that continue to uphold the capitalist status quo. Like the recontextualizing appears to be altruistic, but in reality, it's parochial and even destructive. It's imperial nostalgia again except it's in a form of nationalism masquerading as internationalism or something more cosmopolitan. And even if the next Bond is non-white, it's probably gonna be more of the same bs. Honestly just make original stories where poc aren't being used to spout out this pro-imperialist nonsense. Also I fucking lol'd when they brought up the Jack London quote about the "proper function of man is to live heehee hoohoo I'm gonna use my time wisely" or whatever. Like I s2g all the western (white) filmbros who act like champagne socialists are gonna be like "ah yes indubitably *sips tea and eats biscuit* No Time to Die is a socialist critique of Western imperialism" but don't realize that Jack London is anti-Asian and supports eugenics ☠️

But yeah even ignoring the politics, this movie just sucks. The editing is uncalibrated, the filmmaking sacrifices the clarity and grace of physical motion in exchange for flavorless set-pieces, the geographical and geometrical relationships between the scenery and the on-screen subjects are lacking any sense of visual or aural poetry, the imagery is sterile, etc. etc. It's a form of stylistic competency that's aggressively unexceptional with film grammar. Dramatic and emotional devices don't fit at all with the coordinates of the film's narrative. At least Rami Malek was goofy af so it was funny to watch him suck at acting 🥰

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