Daniel Craig has described the final cinematic journey of his James Bond as “spectacular”, with critics agreeing the pandemic-delayed film was well worth the wait.
The blockbuster’s stars including Craig, Lea Seydoux and Lashana Lynch joined with a quartet of leading royals, celebrities such as Stormzy and young US Open champion Emma Raducanu at No Time To Die’s world premiere in London.
“Bond movies are to be seen in the cinema and this one especially. It’s spectacular,” Craig, who is stepping back from the role of 007 after five films since 2006, told the PA news agency from the rainswept red carpet at the Royal Albert Hall premiere.
The sentiment was shared by reviewers from The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Times who all gave the movie five stars, with the final newspaper’s Kevin Maher describing the Cary Joji Fukunaga-directed effort as “magnificent”.
The Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge lit up the red carpet but Craig had eyes only for Kate, with the actor telling the duchess “You look jolly lovely” in her sparkling gold Jenny Packham gown.
Tennis sensation Raducanu, who herself looked stunning in a long gown, was among the guests joining a number of healthcare workers and members of the Armed Forces at the event as a thank you for their work during the Covid pandemic.
The movie was due for release in April 2020 but it was postponed as the first wave of Covid-19 broke and repeatedly pushed back as the pandemic took hold.
With the cinema industry in the doldrums, the keenly anticipated film, which will be released in UK cinemas on Thursday, is expected to herald a major return of filmgoers.
Its director Fukunaga told PA he was delighted audiences would be able to enjoy the movie on the big screen.
“I was so happy people are getting to see it in a cinema,” the American said.
“We made this, especially shooting on Imax and all the work we did on sound, all the sequences were meant to be seen larger than life on the big screen and shared with audiences for that contagious feeling of emotions when you’re in a cinema.”
Damon Smith gave No Time To Die an 8/10 rating in his review for PA.
He said: “No Time To Die is the most emotionally satisfying chapter under Craig’s guardianship and the subtle nods to the past 20 years sever some ties to the past and provide exciting opportunities for reinvention in the future. Bond will return and he or she will be a better person for it.”
The film takes place following the capture of villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld, played by Christoph Waltz, when Bond and love interest Madeleine Swann – played by Seydoux – ran off together at the end of 2015’s Spectre.
It finds Bond after he has left active service, enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica, although it seems the couple are not guaranteed a happily ever after.
Actors tipped to replace Craig include Venom star Tom Hardy and Bridgerton’s Rege-Jean Page.
On his advice for his successor, Craig said at the premiere: “Just make it your own, be brilliant. Take it somewhere wonderful.”