Bond certainly has a license to thrill on Screen X! Before I dive into this review, there may be mild spoilers, so if you haven’t set your Goldeneye on the latest instalment in the Bond saga perhaps come back to this article when you have. Let’s face it, there’s no time for spoilers in this digital age!
No Time To Die sees what has been billed as the final instalment in Daniel Craig’s 15 year career as Bond, the gentleman spy who has certainly stood the test of time. Craig is now the longest serving Bond from his debut in Casino Royale, he is possibly the grittiest Bond we have seen so far.
Arriving at the cinema you’re greeted and present your ticket; there’s a lobby that could rival the Starship Enterprise to relax in if you’re a little early. I noticed that poster collectors will have a hard time obtaining cinema posters as they have been replaced with high tech screens that display both movie posters and adverts.
Walking into Screen 9, nothing really seemed different, the walls looked lighter and the chairs were a very plush leather but apart from that you could be in any screen, you’re aware that the walls look different than a traditional blacked out screen but you don’t get the true effect when the screens are idle.
However once the movie starts you’re immediately sucked into the experience and immersed into what can only be described as an almost virtual reality experience. With all three screens illuminated the audience is thrown into the action.
Screen X, for those who have not yet had a chance to experience it, is a 270 degree projection which is exclusive to Cineworld. Imagine a traditional cinema screen and then two screens that flank it on either side. It’s immense! Cineworld have stated that the experience is suitable for adults and children alike and while I can’t recommend this movie for young children I really do encourage you to take them to suitable showings in Screen X, they will thoroughly enjoy it!
At the beginning of the movie we see super villain Lyutsifer Safin in the harsh snow filled tundra. It is not immediately clear but we are taken through a harsh yet surreal flashback in the mind of Madeline Swann. With three screens illuminated and throwing cold white light at the audience, I genuinely felt cold as we followed Safin trudging through the snow. You don’t miss any of the action as the screens wrap around into your peripheral vision as though you are present in the scene and immersed in the action.
The two additional screens are not active throughout the whole movie, they phase in and out according to what’s happening on the screen. There were moments where there was only one screen and I hadn’t realised there had been a transition, the effect is such that it completely engages your attention. After encountering the bitter cold of our new villain we are thrust back to the ghosts of the beginning of Craig’s career. Bond is engaged in a tender moment with Madeline Swann and agrees to visit the grave site of Vesper Lynd – a very explosive visit which sets not only the tone for the movie but also sets events in motion.
What follows can only be described as a rollercoaster of emotions and violence. We see a lot of endings in the movie, the demise of the long-established Spectre organisation and death of beloved character Felix Leiter who has intermittently featured in past Bond movies. We do however meet a number of dynamic, new characters along the way, including a cast of powerful women who would say Dr No to any of Bond’s nonsense.
We meet the capable yet inexperienced agent Paloma and new, yes Bond’s designation was reassigned, 007. While these women do not fit the traditional ‘cast’ of bikini clad women falling at Bond’s feet, they add so much to the action simply through their presence and capability. Paloma, although inexperienced, can handle herself. This is a real testimony to the progress of cinema and the franchise.
It’s unclear what is more unsettling, Blofeld who seems to have a supernatural grasp over events including the main overarching threat, a bio weapon called Heracles from his impressively high tech prison cell. Or the manipulative and strong presence of Safin who is not only obsessed with cleansing the world but also controlling Madeline Swann and her daughter – Bond’s daughter. He certainly has a View to a Kill with his poison garden and he will have you on the edge of your seat as he taken Bond’s daughter into this garden with a long and creepy monologue.
There are a lot of threads which do pull together by the time we reach the final act of the movie. For long time fans there are many easter eggs. It was a nice tribute to hear a soundtrack that featured not only the new Billie Eilish theme but themes littered through the movie from older Bond movies, from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as an example.
The immersion of Screen X did scare the Living Daylights out of me on a few occasions and I jumped a few times watching the action and hearing the shooting, but this is not a negative point but rather a testimony to the immersion of the screens. Although the movie was 2.45 hours long it didn’t feel any longer than an hour or two as the action moved quickly to the final act of the movie, the seat was also to be thanked for this. The seats in the Screen X screens are so comfortable and would fit most people very comfortably, there is also plenty of room for your snacks! (I recommend the popcorn.)
Overall both the movie and Screen X experience were absolutely mind blowing and I highly recommend you see No Time to Die in this screen before it disappears. The cinema at the White Rose Centre is where I had the privilege of viewing the movie but you can check the Cineworld website for showings and locations near to you. Diamonds are forever but cinema showings are not! Book now!