Hans Zimmer’s No Time to Die (2021) | Review
Words on the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
by Ryan Raitt
Everyone knows the iconic theme written by Monty Norman. It has cemented itself as one of cinema’s greatest soundtracks since its creation in 1962. Therefore, it must be an incredibly daunting task to compose a Bond score. For the most recent adventure, No Time to Die (2021), legendary film composer Hans Zimmer delivers a surprising, inventive, and wholly classic addition to the Bond music catalogue.
Opening with ‘Gun Barrel’, Zimmer showcases that he understands the importance of Bond’s musical history, providing a lavish and rousing version of Norman’s iconic opening. The love for the franchise shines throughout the first half of the album. ‘Matera’ and ‘Good To Have You Back’ beautifully incorporate musical cues last heard in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), while ‘Square Escape’ perfectly encapsulates the high intensity soundtracks of Daniel Craig’s tenure. The pace brilliantly matches the excitement you get with each passing track.
However, while the opening feels like a celebration of Bond, the second half feels like cues leftover from Zimmer’s previous work. The compositions are solid, yet they feel uninspired; what keeps it afloat is the incorporation of musical motifs from Billie Eilish’s titular theme song.
‘Final Ascent’ closes Zimmer’s score and does so with gravitas. A seven-minute emotional piece, filled with sombre strings and a contemplative use of No Time to Die’s main notes; not only is it the perfect cap to Zimmer’s score, but it also feels like a perfect send off for Craig’s Bond.
As a whole, No Time to Die feels divided. It is both an exciting celebration of Bond, and a safe and familiar score from the legendary composer.
The pros certainly outweigh the cons, with No Time to Die featuring some of the finest pieces of music in the franchise since David Arnold’s Casino Royale (2006). Zimmer takes over the reins quite confidently and delivers a Bond soundtrack for the ages.