A new Bond has dawned and after this week’s glossy premieres, No Time to Die, Daniel Craig’s final outing as 007, was finally unveiled to the public on Thursday.
Barbara O’Leary and her son Evan went to see it at the Light House cinema in Smithfield, Dublin, on his day off, their first big blockbuster together since Covid. “We had to see it. It’s a real cinema film. Seeing it at home wouldn’t be the same,” says Evan. “It tied it up very well at the end,” he adds, careful not to give the game away. Barbara disagrees – she didn’t like the ending – but the first 20 minutes were terrific, with fabulous scenery.
She would like to see “the guy out of Bridgerton”, Regé-Jean Page, as the next Bond. “And I’m an auld one!” she laughs. Evan thinks the next Bond casting will be diverse. “I felt they were adding a lot more colour to it, which is a good thing. There were more black characters, more reflective of the world.” He predicts, enigmatically, the next Bond will be a character from this film. And, says Barbara, “it could be a woman as well”.
No Time to Die was shot in 2019, but producers avoided streaming it and held out for a cinematic release. The 163-minute film is showing continually across Ireland, with overlapping screenings of the familiar British spy franchise, which some are billing as the film that could save cinema.
James Wynne “liked it a little bit more than Spectre, but not quite as much as Skyfall”. He’s been to the cinema a few times since Covid. “If you’re a fan of James Bond, you’ll enjoy it. It’s satisfying and crowd-pleasing. But I felt the length a bit.”
This is John Burn’s first cinema visit since Covid and he’s “pleasantly surprised ... I didn’t have high hopes. There was so much controversy about it online: reshoots, and trying to make the thing overly woke and all that rubbish. But they seemed to turn it around. I thought it was a good send-off for Daniel Craig.” And the next Bond? “Tom Hardy is the only choice.”
James Grandfield has not been to the cinema in months, and the experience was “top notch. The seating plan, there was plenty of space in the seats either side. It’s well organised.” The film was “very impressive”, and he was pleasantly surprised. “I read a lot of reviews before I see a movie, but I try to stand back and see for myself. I wouldn’t be a huge Bond fan but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a fitting end for Craig’s last Bond. And the running length was well worth it. You wouldn’t have seen the time go.”
Plus, “they introduced a female Bond, a 007 agent, in the movie, who is African-American. It’s getting more modern. Previous Bonds in the ’50s and ’60s, it wasn’t exactly a woman’s world back then. It has changed with the times.”
Garry Carruthers and his son Luke are on their first cinema outing since Tenet last summer. “Brilliant, really really loved it. Great ending,” says Garry. They are big Bond fans, and Luke has just binged on all Craig’s Bond films again. He grew up watching them.
“I remember seeing [Casino] Royale as kid many, many times. What I love about the Craig films is they take the stereotypes of the other films and turn them around. They don’t objectify the women characters as much. And they bring ethnicity in as well, not in a major way but it’s still there. It goes beyond just a white, British man.” While Luke isn’t interested in speculation about the next Bond, Garry suggests “the Clondalkin actor who was in Poldark”, Aidan Turner.
Vera Creavin and her husband, Cyril, have just bought tickets for a Bond showing later on. Why did they come on opening day? “Because it’s a miserable day and we’d absolutely nothing else to do! I’ve never been to a Bond film in the cinema in my life, and I’m not a fan!” Vera says, laughing heartily. “We haven’t been to the pictures for years.” They’re in great form. They got the bus from Meath, so they’ll have a drink afterwards. “We’re retired, we can do what we like!”
Cyril, on the other hand, has been to Bond films. “It’s a boys’ thing,” he smiles. “It’s got massive reviews,” says Vera. “Though I think anything would get good reviews at the moment. People are just desperate for a bit of entertainment! I don’t like action movies but what the hell ... I’ll try anything once.”