No Time to Die: does a new trailer mean 007 is finally ready for action?

A third official trailer for the Bond film in two years promises action, suspense, intrigue … and that’s just over whether the release date will change again

Last modified on Wed 1 Sep 2021 04.50 EDT

A new No Time to Die trailer was released yesterday, which can only mean one thing: Covid cases are about to surge and we’ll be back in lockdown in a fortnight.

Because that’s No Time to Die’s thing, isn’t it? Its release date was originally supposed to be in April 2020, but then there was a lockdown and it got shelved. So the date was changed to November 2020, but then there was another lockdown and it got shelved again. No Time to Die is currently slated for release on 30 September. Logic dictates that we probably shouldn’t hold our breath.

Hopefully this is it, though. For the sake of whoever is tasked with the impossible job of editing a new trailer each time the release date gets booted off into the distance, hopefully this is it. Because this really isn’t how trailers are supposed to work.

If we cast our minds back to last spring, in the giddy days when everyone was allowed outside and people paid for things with cash, the first No Time to Die trailer was a masterpiece of tradition. We were intrigued by the whereabouts of James Bond (on holiday, pensively staring at the horizon). We were introduced to the baddie (Rami Malek, creepy mask, nondescript accent). And we were shown glimpses of the centrepiece sequence, in which Bond variously flies over and leaps off a bridge in Italy. Action, suspense, intrigue … that is how you make a trailer.

The second trailer, meanwhile, posed something of a challenge. A new release date meant a reintroduction to No Time to Die was warranted, but should the studio have cut together a rehash of the first trailer and risk boring the audience, or throw in a bunch of new footage and risk giving the entire movie away? In the end it opted for the latter, and in the process created a miniature masterpiece.

In that trailer, we were allowed to see the peripheries of the Italy sequence. We saw Bond scared and confused. When he jumps off the bridge, we saw how much it hurts. There was a shot of Moneypenny looking flat-out exasperated with him, and glimpses of a sequence in which he totalled an entire showroom’s worth of Range Rovers. The beats were the same but the details were just that little bit more exciting. The 007 in that trailer was twitchier and funnier. It was the first time I got properly excited about the film.

This latest trailer, meanwhile, has less to work with. Making a film look fresh and new for a third time in two years would stretch even the most talented editor, so we only get snatches of new footage. Nestled among the Italian sequence, and the bit with the plane, and the bit with the ice, and the bit where a Swat team abseil down a skyscraper – which at this point feel familiar to the point of boredom – we see a bit in which Bond appears trapped inside an exploding oil rig, a clip in which M bemoans the lack of state-sponsored terrorists these days, and, perhaps in a sign that the film is running out of big set-pieces to utilise, a shot of a car driving through a puddle.

It isn’t the most gripping trailer in the world – it matches neither the huge announcement of the first No Time to Die trailer, or the witty readjustment of the second. But it is nevertheless a very capable advertisement for a film that, perhaps more than any other this year, is going to get people out of their homes and back into cinemas.

Unless, that is, we’re all forced back into lockdown when scientists discover the C.1.2 strain is resistant to vaccines. Which is bound to happen, because No Time to Die is cursed. Let’s see what they do with the fourth trailer.

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