Credit: Nicola Dovel © 2019 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Before I start this review, I have to make a confession: Until NO TIME TO DIE landed on my doorstep, I had never seen a James Bond movie from the Daniel Craig era. There’s been a few, but until recently I had only seen the Pierce Brosnan-starring Goldeneye. One of the benefits of living during a pandemic era is the increase of free time available to watch everything I missed. This helped fill a void that is my vanity as a movie fan and finally embark on two franchises I was alien to –  James Bond and Star Wars. With Bond, I was attempting to catch them all prior to the theatrical release of NO TIME TO DIE, but there were more than I anticipated and so far left off at The World is Not Enough. I will fill in the gaps soon enough, but I was anxious to watch this one as the reaction from fans was polarizing which only makes it more enticing.

NO TIME TO DIE starts with Bond retired and trying to live his life with partner Madeleine (Lea Seydoux, The Lobster). His assistance is required to help find a rogue scientist that proves connected to a larger picture. Rami Malek also stars which means there’s more of a psychologically driven villain via Lyutsifer Safin. Safin is using the scientist’s technology of nanobots to spread a virus bioweapon.

Due to the pandemic, NO TIME TO DIE was one of the biggest movies shoved around as the studio was determined to make this an exclusive theatrical release.  It eventually made its way after a much-publicized marketing campaign that started in 2019 and didn’t exactly leave a mark at the box office. The numbers aren’t really to be blamed on the film itself as nowadays it’s unpredictable what’s going to be hit during COVID. The benefit to this is that we get a quick home video release.

The 4K set comes with the Ultra HD disc, Blu-ray, and digital copy. Typically, mainstream releases like this don’t have too much to say on the extras, but NO TIME TO DIE finds itself inside a handsome package. While there’s a handful of small features on here, one of the incentives to purchase the 4K set is the documentary “Being James Bond.” Noted as a UHD exclusive, this is a 46 minute retrospective of the Daniel Craig era featuring him and producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. They cover in chronological order all his films and are honest about fan reactions to his casting as well the individual films themselves. It’s a perfect sendoff for the Craig timeline and fans will love this.

In terms of technical aspects, Universal delivers on the 2160/Dolby Vision UHD presentation. As far as I could tell, I saw no encoding issues, and the various set pieces shine through the format. With car chases and many explosions, NO TIME TO DIE brings its Dolby Atmos track to life. Helicopter scenes utilize every speaker and all action sequences create an immersive experience.

As for the movie itself, that’s debatable. While watching it, I couldn’t stop thinking how grim it felt. The earlier incarnations had Bond having the time of his life, playing with new gadgets, and exploiting beautiful bodies. In NO TIME TO DIE, it was all seriousness and a villain that didn’t feel so out of touch. When asking around, the consensus is that this is how all the Craig films felt. No spoilers, but this one ends on a super sour note which wasn’t how I planned to feel when I started watching.

NO TIME TO DIE is debatable as to where it stands as one of the top Bond films, but Universal went out of their way to make their 4K set a worthwhile purchase.

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