Last Tuesday, for the first time since 14 February 2020 (when Nora and I, both dateless, saw Parasite in Winchester), I set foot in a cinema again. Do you remember the first lockdown, when we all had plenty of time to reflect on the experiences we missed and how much we took for granted? Going out to see a film, as I recall, was one of the most-cited examples, used as evidence that you never quite know what you’ve got until it’s gone (to paraphrase Joni Mitchell). As more and more time passed without the magic of the movies, that sense of anticipation you feel as you creep through dimly-lit corridors towards the right screen was slowly forgotten – so imagine how special it was to feel it again last week, and for a film we should have seen 18 months ago before something came up.
I’d seen both of the James Bond films immediately preceding No Time To Die – Skyfall and Spectre – in the cinema on their respective release days. I couldn’t continue that trend this time around, because I had to isolate for a short period after my operation, but I was still keen to see it as soon as possible, so I wasted no time in booking tickets for Mum, Dad and myself at the earliest opportunity. Luckily, I was able to get a wheelchair spot I could easily cruise into for the 7.40pm showing, one which I believed to be a pretty important part of the whole experience. There’s something more special for me about going in the evening, and especially when it gets dark at this time of year. It makes the whole thing more atmospheric, and it gives us an excuse to have dinner beforehand – which I also paid for, earning me extra Brownie points with Mum and Dad. They were pretty pleased when they found they had the special reclining seats too, even though that was just a stroke of luck!
Ultimately, of course, the later start time meant we could finish off the day with a great film, and without saying too much, No Time To Die was most definitely worth the long wait. It might have been two hours and 43 minutes long, but the most immersive cinema experiences make even the heaviest films pass in the blink of an eye, and this was one of them. Daniel Craig will be a hard act to follow, but I look forward to seeing who does take that plunge, and I’m glad I could witness his swansong on the big screen at last. It might have been a while since that trip to see Parasite, but once I was settled, it very much felt like I’d never been away.