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The 2002 movie, ”DIE ANOTHER DAY” marked several milestones in the James Bond franchise. One, it was released during the 40th anniversary of the cinematic Bond, which began with 1962’s ”DR. NO”. Two, it was the first time that a non-white actress portrayed the leading lady in a Bond film. And three, it happened to be Pierce Brosnan’s last Bond film for EON Productions . . . at the moment.
”DIE ANOTHER DAY” starts out with a mission in which Bond has to kill a North Korean army officer named Colonel Moon, who has been illegally selling military weaponry in exchange for African conflict diamonds. Betrayed by a MI-6 mole, Bond is swept up in a chase and shootout that results with Colonel Moon being killed by Bond before falling over a waterfall. In a departure from the usual Bond formula, the agent ends up captured Colonel Moon’s father and the North Korean military. He spends the next fourteen months being tortured for information. Disavowed by his superiors upon his release, and his status as Double-0 Agent suspended by M, Bond sets out to find the mole on his own. He eventually uncovers evidence that overtakes his personal vendetta, and M restores his Double-0 status and offers MI6 assistance to help him uncover what he has found. Bond’s search eventually leads to billionaire businessman Gustav Graves, who is actually Colonel Moon surgically altered via gene therapy. Graves/Moon has been collecting African conflict diamonds for an orbital mirror system that uses the diamonds as a source of solar energy for a small area to light the Arctic nights and, if the investment goes well with buyers, provide year-round sunshine for crop development. In truth, the orbital mirror system is actually a super weapon to be used to clear a path through the minefield in the demilitarized zone that separates North Korea from South Korea. Needless to say, Bond discovers the MI-6 mole who had betrayed him and with the help of American NSA agent, Jinx Johnson, destroys Graves/Moon’s weapon and the latter’s scheme.
Since the release of the latest Bond film, 2006’s ”CASINO ROYALE”, a harsh backlash against Brosnan’s tenure as James Bond and especially, DAD in particularly has grown considerably. In fact, DAD is now regarded as the worst Bond movie in the franchise’s history. Personally, I do not agree with this harsh assessment. I do not consider DAD to be a masterpiece or even among the better Bond films. But I certainly do not view it as the disaster that many are claiming it to be. I can honestly say that my assessment of DAD has improved slightly after my last viewing.
Pierce Brosnan had to wait three years after 1999’s ”THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH” to portray James Bond for what turned out to be the last time (so far). I do not think I would consider his performance in ”DIE ANOTHER DAY” to be amongst his finest. Yes, he had some very good moments in the film that were featured in the following scenes:
-his confrontation with M aboard the British frigate in Hong Kong Harbor
-his last meeting with General Moon before being released and exchanged by the North Koreans
-his first meeting with Gustave Graves at the Blades Club
-and his discovery of Miranda Frost as the mole
But I did have problems with certain aspects of his performance – especially his second meeting with M inside one of the London Underground tunnels and some of the sexual innuendos that he was forced to spout. In fact, that second scene with M left me with an uncomfortable feeling that dramatic angst might not be Brosnan’s forte. And I find this ironic, given his superb peformance in an old 1980 TV miniseries called ”THE MANIONS OF AMERICA”. Perhaps he simply was not up to par during the days when he shot that particular scene.
EON Productions seemed to have better luck with the movie’s leading lady, Hollywood superstar, Halle Berry. Many fans felt it was improper for her to co-star in a Bond film – viewing her as a bigger star than Brosnan. I do not know if I agree with this assessment. Both Honor Blackman (”GOLDFINGER”) and Diana Rigg (”ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE”) were already well-known thanks to the successful TV series, ”THE AVENGERS” when they shot their respective Bond films. So, I cannot really see the harm in Berry following in their footsteps. She portrayed Giacinta “Jinx” Johnson, a NSA agent investigating the whereabouts of one of the villain’s henchmen, Zao. Her investigation leads to a sexy encounter with Bond in Cuba and eventually a showdown with Graves and Miranda Frost in Korea. Due to her current unpopularity with Bond fans, many of them view Berry as the worst Bond girl ever. Why? I have no idea. Perhaps in some way, she does not fit their image of what a Bond girl should be. Personally, I thought that Berry gave an excellent performance, despite some of the bad sexual innuendos that she was forced to spout. In fact, I really enjoyed Berry’s take on the competent, yet humorous and very sly Jinx. She made the character a fun person to know. And she performed her action sequences in a competent manner. Granted, I did not feel impressed by Berry’s “homage” to Ursula Andress’ watery entrance in ”DR. NO”. But I was never that impressed by Andress’ little moment, either. Although I would never list Berry among my top five Bond ladies, I would certainly list her in my top ten. Probably at number six.
British actor, Toby Stephens portrayed Gustav Graves, a billionaire with sinister ties to North Korean agent Zao, a DNA gene therapy machine and a supply of African conflict diamonds that provide energy to a new destructive weapon called ICARUS. Graves turns out to be the same Colonel Moon with whom Bond had clashed (and allegedly killed) in the movie's pre-title sequence. Stephens had the double task of portraying a credible villain against Brosnan's Bond and recapturing Will Yun Lee's performance as Colonel Moon during Graves' private moments. Personally, I felt that Stephens did a pretty good job. Not only did he managed to portray Gustav Graves' overblown persona, he also succeeded in recapturing Lee's portrayal of the scheming and arrogant Moon, who also longs for his father's approval. Unfortunately, being sixteen years younger than Brosnan, there were times I felt that Stephens seemed too young to be considered as an equal adversary for Bond. And quite frankly, some of his dialogue seemed overblown . . . even when Moon was not doing his Gustav Graves' impersonation.
MI-6 agent Miranda Frost turns out to be the mole who initially turns Bond's life, upside-down by betraying his mission to Moon and the North Koreans. Rosamund Pike gives a subtle peformance as the treacherous Frost, who seemed to blow hot and cold toward the sexually interested Bond. Her performance, in fact, strongly reminds me of American actress Grace Kelly's performance in the Hitchcock film, "TO CATCH A THIEF". However, I did have problems with Pike's love scenes with Brosnan. She seemed to come off as a little too breathless . . . and fake. Perhaps that breathless quality was meant to be an indication of Frost's fake (or real?) ador for Bond. If so, I feel that Pike may have overplayed her scene a little bit. Sophie Marceau did a more subtle and superior job in "THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH". And like Brosnan, Berry and Stephens, Pike had to endure spouting some bad dialogue. Rick Yune portrayed Zao, Graves/Moon's right hand man, who is wanted for terrorist acts by the Americans and the Chinese. He is the very Zao who is exchanged by the Americans and the British for Bond at the North/South Korea border. Aside from his imposing presence, I did not find anything particularly unique about Yune's performance. All I can say is that he did a competent job. On the other hand, I found myself being very impressed by Will Yun Lee's performance as Gustav Graves' alter ego, Colonel Moon. Like Toby Stephens, he did a beautiful job in capturing Moon's arrogance, impatience and great need to impress "Daddy". And speaking of Moon's father - namely General Moon - it seemed a pity that the latter did not turn out to be Bond's main adversary. Kenneth Tsang portrayed the North Korean general as an intimidating and intelligent man that no one would want to trifle with. Even Bond seemed to feel the presence of his forceful personality after a joke failed to make any impact. I must commend Tsang on an impressive performance.
Judi Dench returned as M in "DIE ANOTHER DAY". By this time, she had made the role of MI-6's director as her own. But I must say that I did not find anything unique about her performance in this movie. John Cleese went from Q's assistant to the Quartermaster in his second appearance in the Bond franchise. And if I must be honest, I enjoyed Cleese's performance very much. Unlike his role in TWINE, he did not ruin his character's sharp wit with ridiculous slapstick. I realize that I am about to commit an act of sacrilege, but I found myself preferring Cleese's Q to the one created by the role's original actor, the late Desmond Llewellyn. Do not get me wrong. I thought that Llewellyn did a great job. But I simply preferred Cleese's more acid take on the role. Colin Salmon returned as M's assistant, Charles Robinson. I like the guy, but I barely noticed him in this movie. I did notice Michael Masden's performance as Jinx's NSA boss, Damian Falco. Who could help but notice? The Falco character came off as an aggressive blowhard. It seemed a shame that I found Masden's performance appalling, considering his reputation for portraying his past characters with more subtlety. I can only assume that he was forced to adhere to the Bond franchise's cliche of "the Ugly American". And finally, there is Samantha Bond as Moneypenny. Poor woman. Poor, poor woman. I disliked her sexual innuendo-spewing performance in "TOMORROW NEVER DIES". But I had to wince through that embarrassing sequence that featured Moneypenny's holographic dream of being seduced by Bond. Personally, I feel that Ms. Bond managed to reach the nadir of her tenure as Moneypenny in that scene.
I think that it seemed fitting that "DIE ANOTHER DAY" marked the Bond franchise's 40th anniversary. In many ways, the 2002 movie reminded me of its 40-year counterpart, 1962's "DR. NO". The older movie featured Sean Connery's first performance as Bond. "DIE ANOTHER DAY" featured Brosnan's last. Both movies featured the first appearance of the leading ladies, emerging from the water. Both featured Asian or part-Asian villains. And both seemed to be hampered by what I feel were schizophrenic plots and production styles.
Actually, that is the main problem I had with "DIE ANOTHER DAY". Like "DR. NO", its story was presented in a manner in which the first half seemed more like a spy thriller and the second half, a fantasy adventure reminscent of Bond movies like "GOLDFINGER", "YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE", "THE SPY WHO LOVED ME" and "MOONRAKER". And instead of the two styles blending seemlessly into a solid movie, "DAD" nearly became a schizophrenic mess. I enjoyed the first half very much. Bond's capture by the North Koreans, his and Zao's exchange and the search for the MI-6 mole who had betrayed him felt like a genuine spy thriller . . . well, except for that ludicrous moment in which Bond appeared in the lobby of a Hong Kong hotel. Unfortunately, screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade really screwed up the movie's second half in two ways - they had Q present Bond with that invisible Aston-Martin, which still makes me wince; and they sent him to Iceland and that ridiculous ice hotel. Even worse, they subjected fans to that ludicrous ice duel between Bond (in the Aston-Martin) and Zao (in a Jaguar XKR). The second half also featured the uninspiring fight between Bond and Graves/Moon aboard a military transport over Korea. The only scenes that truly made the movie's second half worthwhile were the tense scene that featured Miranda Frost's revelation as the mole and her deadly fight with Jinx aboard the transport.
Lee Tamahori ("MULLHOLAND FALLS" and "ALONG CAME A SPIDER") directed "DIE ANOTHER DAY". I thought that his direction was not that bad. But I suspect that he may have been hampered by Purvis and Wade's schizophrenic script - especially the movie's second half. Speaking of the script, I think I may have already said a lot about it. On second thought, perhaps not. For example . . . the dialogue. Yes, the movie had a some good lines. But like "DR. NO", it pretty much sucked. To be more specific, the dialogue containing sexual innuendos pretty much sucked. But that seemed to be the case in most of Brosnan's 007 films. If "TND" seemed annoyingly peppered with bad innuendos, "DAD" seemed to choke on them. I truly felt sorry for Brosnan, Berry and Pike who had to spew them every now and then. Cinematographer David Tattersall had beautifully captured the exotic color of Cuba and London's elegance. But that is as far as my admiration can go. I simply could not drum up any excitement over the Korea and Iceland sequences. Madonna sang the movie's title song (penned by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzar) and made a cameo appearance as a fencing master named Verity. Many fans raised a fuss over her contributions to the movie. Frankly, I found their fuss a waste of time and Madonna's contributions - both the song and the cameo - rather mediocre.
On the whole, I disagree with the prevailing view that "DIE ANOTHER DAY" was the Bond franchise's worst movie or one of the worst. Frankly, I have seen worse Bond films. In fact, I have a slightly better view of "DAD" than I do of the movie it was supposed to be celebrating - namely "DR. NO". But it seemed a shame that Brosnan's last Bond film had to be one of sheer mediocrity.
Pierce Brosnan gave a great performance as James Bond. Pierce had good chemistry with both actresses And this was a good Bond film for him as far as his last outing as 007. (Even though he deserved a 5th Bond film) I really enjoyed Toby Stephens performance as Sir Gustav Graves. He was arrogant, confident, but also a serious threat to the world & could handle business himself in a hand to hand combat.. The only thing I would have done was improve the character by having Sir Gustav Graves as the main Bond villian after the death of Colonel Moon. I also liked Halle Berry as Jynx. IMO, Halle Berry's best performance was playing Jynx. Rosemund Pike was really good as Miranda Frost. She was a good challenge for Jynx. Of course Dame Judi Dench gave an excellent performance as M. Rick Yune was good as the main Bond Henchman Zoe. (I always enjoyed his sparkling personality. LOL!)
The locations were beautiful, & I loved the Car Case scene between 007 & Zoe. Overall, Die Another Day was a good Bond film & doesn't deserve so much hate. This was also the 40th Anniversary of James Bond. Overall, Die Another Day does have flaws (Thanks a lot Purvis & Wade), & might not be as good as Brosnan's last three Bond films, but it's still a good Bond film. I would give Die Another Day a 7.5/10.
Pierce Brosnan gives a great performance (in some scenes you can really see him bring Fleming's Charater to life- the scene with him and Judi Dench in the ship stands out "Im going after him" or when he is been traded for Zao), some scenes like punching the annoying man in the hotel was absoute comic gold and well it was rather unfortunate to see him leave after DAD because he would have done extremely well for another Bond Film
Rosmund Pike and Judi Dench also gave good performances- Pike in particular while Miranda Frost was not a fleshed out charater; Pike gave all she got, if i could change one thing was to make her come to her senses and stop Graves- i thought from the scene where Bond is getting dressed and she gives him the gun that she would have been a better bond girl than Jinx...initally at times i could see hints between her and brosnan the same relationship that Holly Goodhead had with Roger's Bond...sort of a realtionship that takes time for them to get to really trust each other but alas it was not meant to be and she was killed by Jinx...
Zao is probarly the last decent henchman we could have, Rick Zune gives a great performance with meanice and probarly is more likable than his boss Gustav Graves who initally didnt win me over but i did enjoy his "Bird Strike" death (Zao also looks awesome with the embedded diamonds in his face- to hell with Realism it looks darn awesome
The First half of the film and the Pre-credits fight were rather well done- at the beginning with the surfing as a kid i felt that i wished the agents surfing with bond were 00 agents (like a tribute to The Living Daylights) but its okay...i did love the hooverboat chase that was one of my favourite moments especially with the heart pumping bond theme while Colonel Moon and Bond fight on the hovercraft
yes i know Madonna's autotuned vocals arent the best..but they are certainly more listenable than Another Way to Die...seriously but to really enjoy the credits i reccomend muting the video and playing in the background the insturmental theme of Die Another Day where the orchestra really gives it a kick
So in Conclusion Die Another Day while not as fantastic as Goldeneye or Casino Royale is still a worthy Bond film..the whole may not be as good as the sum of its parts but its still a rather good bond film and its a shame that it was Brosnans Last film...
Let’s start by examining Pierce Brosnan’s final performance as Bond. After the somewhat harder edged Bond of the previous film, viewers would surely be expecting much of the same. To a certain extent, Brosnan and the film deliver just that. The film’s first twenty minutes or so see a Bond behind enemy lines, betrayed, captured, tortured and eventually handed back over to his own side that doesn’t trust him anymore. For these opening minutes, and indeed the film’s first hour, Brosnan shines even when the rest of the film isn’t (more on that later). The second hour of the film feels like Brosnan, like Connery and Moore before him, simply going through the motions to earn a paycheck. It’s a shame as Brosnan shows he clearly could have been better in his last outing.
The rest of the cast though are mixed to say the least. Take Halle Berry as Jinx Johnson, the NSA agent turned Bond girl, for example. Both her performance and the writing feels like a walking, talking cliché of the “tough but sexy” woman stereotype seen in countless films. It also doesn’t help that Berry, despite winning an Oscar in the middle of filming, can’t seem to deliver a single one of her clichéd lines in a fashion that isn’t cringe worthy. Much the same can also be said of Toby Stephens as Gustav Graves and Will Yun Lee as Colonel Moon, the film’s villain split across two different characters, who both barely manage to play their respective roles on the very thin line that is parody. All of these characters come across as little more than clichés and caricatures, something made even worse by most of their counterparts in the other Brosnan films.
The supporting cast isn’t much better. One can through the characters and spot characters better done in other Bond films be it Rick Yune as Zao, Emilio Echevarría as Raoul, Michael Gorevoy as Vlad or Michael Madsen as Damian Falco who is little more than a clichéd, gung-ho American. There are some bright spots such as Rosamund Pike who absolutely shines as Miranda Frost, playing what is frankly the best role in the film that isn’t Bond, Judi Dench’s M and John Cleese making what would sadly turn out to be his only appearance as Q. The cast overall then is mainly disappointing.
What about the rest of the film then?
Well production value wise, the film is mixed as well. Peter Lamont’s production design work is up to his usual standards ranging through the film’s various locations including North Korea, Cuba, London and Iceland. The editing of Christian Wagner, an editor best known for working with Tony Scott and John Woo, is a major problem however due to an editing style that tries to bring the editing characteristics of those director’s (including “speed ramping” at what can only be described as odd and random moments) into a Bond film with results that are frankly disastrous and do nothing but damage the film’s pacing. That is only the start of the film’s issues.
The film’s action sequences are another issue. Some of the problem is down to Wagner’s editing (especially in the car chase and climatic plane based fights in the climax). The big problem is that they feel stale. The surfing sequence in the film’s teaser lacks any kind of danger or tension while the big hovercraft chase that follows it feels derivative of the boat chase that opened the previous film. Derivative is the word that also describes the other two aforementioned action sequences as well as both have had variations done far better in other Bond films. That’s also without mentioning the oft-ridiculed CGI iceberg surfing sequence either which is exactly as bad as its reputation suggests. Oddly enough the film’s best action sequence, the sword fight that comes midway through, is the one that is done the most traditionally and the most effectively. It seems sad that a sword fight, arguably one of the biggest action film clichés, feels the most original amongst more complex, and ultimately derivative, sequences.
Derivative is also the word that best describes the film’s script as well. The film’s various plot points (diamonds, villain’s changing identities, Bond going rogue to get revenge, etc.) all have the feeling of having been just torn at random from other Bond films and then clued together to make a plot. For the first hour or so, the film gets away with it for the most part. Once Bond, and indeed the film, goes to Iceland though, the film becomes little more than a series of Bond film clichés stuck together. It also doesn’t help that perhaps the biggest plot twists of the film are given away not by Bond but by bad writing and editing. The script also isn’t helped by the fact that it is filled with the worst one liners and indeed basic dialogue in a Bond film post-Moore era. In fact, it’s the weakest script the series has had since A View To A Kill nearly two decades before.
Where does all this leave Die Another Day, both as Brosnan’s last Bond film and as a celebration of the Bond legacy? Between its various faults, this is the weakest of Brosnan’s Bond films by far. As a celebration of the first four decades of 007’s film adventures, this much is clear: the film is indeed embracing the series’ legacy but doing so with all the wrong elements. While this isn’t the worst Bond film by any means, it is clearly apparent why many felt that a change was in order. And indeed change was coming…
Continuing my Brosnathon I watched his much maligned sign-off to the series.
I hadn't watched this in a long time. Thanks to my sister I attended the New Zealand premiere of DAD which included a red carpet walk from director Lee Tamahori and the actor portraying Mr Kill. Then I saw it when I bought the 50 year blu ray box set in 2012 so before today I'm going to guess I have seen this film a grand total of two times which is definitely an unmatched low in my Bond viewing patterns.
The film suffers from structural issues. The first thirty minutes is simply background build up. Devoid of a true narrative drive for any of the characters including Bond. When the film gets to Cuba and the much denigrated Jinx character is where the story actually starts to blossom. Bond and Jinx interplay is cringe worthy but their individual storylines are more intriguing and the film works best when they're separated in these sequences investigating the clinic. While the film has pace to it in the action scenes - it doesn't in the dialogue. The dead air in the opening conversation between Bond and Jinx only lets the poorly written innuendos fall further and flatter.
John Cleese gives a more measured performance as Q in this film than as R in TWINE. He and Brosnan have good chemistry - Brosnan especially good at delivering the line 'perhaps you've been down here too long' when Q reveals an empty platform as a new form of transport.
The sword fight with Graves is good fun - but surprisingly free of banter in the actual swashbuckling - and perhaps mercifully - considering the quality of the other one-liners in this movie. Toby Stephens as Graves is given the lion's share of awful lines in the film. Bad puns, ham-fisted threats and awkward word play that may have read ok on paper but sink like a lead balloon on screen. His hatred of Bond doesn't quite add up, their brief PTS interaction seems disproportionate to his motivation of basing his 'character' on all the apparent horrible symptoms of British hypocrisy and elitism that Bond manifests.
Both Zao's off screen attempt at disrupting the Chinese negotiations and Miranda Frost's on screen seduction of Bond don't make sense. There is no benefit in saving Bond from being captured and holding off his investigation. It's sole purpose is so there is an Mi6 triple cross reveal when Bond finally confronts Graves.
Rosamund Pike is an excellent presence - but her character only highlights the complete stupidity of Mi6. Not realising that she was on the same fencing team as Tan-Sun - seems absurd especially seeing as the most rudimentary background check would reveal this. Also Frost's sudden turn from ice queen to seducer unable to resist Bond only telegraphs her betrayal even more.
Also - for the third consecutive film Brosnan lingers over the body of a dead woman in an unsettling way. The first time was Paris Carver, so his tenderness is understandable. The second time was Elektra King and it doesn't work - because she is a villainous mastermind who committed patricide and just moments before killed Zukovsky, tortured and attempted to kill Bond, his boss and wants to detonate a nuclear bomb. But at least the film made some attempt to craft a romantic relationship between the two earlier and Bond seemed quite taken with her. This time around - he has no connection with Frost, the plane is going to crash and he doesn't know where Jinx is - yet he takes time to mourn over Frost's corpse. It is a strange choice - and one that never sits well with the silliness swirling around the character.
And that wanton silliness that pervades the film is in step with the action films of the time. As is the awful green screen work of Jinx's dive or Bond's surfing the tsunami. In fact - watching the awkwardness of this sequence I'm surprised that it wasn't cut. But I also suspect we may have been more accepting of these dodgy effects fourteen years ago than we are today.
At the heart of this is Brosnan - there are moments when you can see him strain to draw the drama out of the scene. Particularly from his reunion with M after being released from the Korean prison. But they feel like first takes. He falls back in to an Irish accent, points to himself when he says 'me' and to M when he says 'you'. This is where Tamahori is derelict on duty as a director. He could have moulded this scene more carefully. A dramatic scene where two central characters of the franchise are trading in mistrust and suspicion layered with hurt. We have one decent actor in Brosnan and one great actor in Judi Dench and yet the scene barely raises a pulse.
Speaking of raising pulses - Brosnan's escape from here is laughable. Slowing down a heart rate to flat-lining levels through concentration is cartoonish even for Bond. But the DNA replacement therapy while ridiculous has a Diamonds Are Forever ring to it. With it's albino Zao, rainbow sleep mask and changed Graves. It reminds me of Blofeld's voice changing boxes implanted in throats and clone conversion mud pools. So 'out there' it's almost to be applauded. So maybe Die Another Day just needs time to become the weird campy mess that DAF became celebrated for?
Now now now before I get flamed for this here me out, this film is just really entertaining to watch, let's get into why shall we? To start off with the characters here imo are all very good as a whole with even the weakest one (Jinx) being decent. The film also has that classic Bond humor and class that Brosnan just naturally has about him. We see John Cleese for sadly the only time as Q (He was R in TWINE) and what a performance he made, rather than just be annoyed by Bond's remarks and take it like desmond, Cleese over here actually has some smart remarks to counter Bond's smart remarks which is a really interesting dynamic for Bond and Q but it was done extremely well, Cleese being a comedy genius also helps (see Monty Python).
This film also just had really amazing action sequences all throughout, I mean from the PTS, the fencing fight and that Bloody amazing and Just fantastic Car duel that us Bond fans had always wanted, are all great, and there's many more. I also have to say amazing work by David Arnold on the soundtrack for this film, like every track fits the scene perfectly and a few of em had me jamming out due to how awesome they were, imo it's David Arnold's finest hour as a bond composer (my favorite Bond score of all time) and his other scores were all amazing to begin with.
And last but not least I just really appriecated the whole wacky over the top fun tone here, it's the 40th anniversary film so what better way to celebrate this then by going all wild and basically having a crazy fun birthday party for Bond? I just love it
Now with that said there are 3 issues I do have with this otherwise Joyride of a bond film. A little bit ago I mentioned how Jinx is the weakest character and there's a good reason for that. While I feel she's an ok character and Halle Barry does a good job portraying her, the character itself isn't to exciting and her lines are almost all just beyond cheesy or just plain awful which ruin the character imo. "Yo Mama" is a prime example.
Another issue is that the CGI is just bad, now granted it doesn't take away from the film but the CGI effects can make the film look a bit bad sometimes and it can take you out of the experience but it's nothing bad like say the shaky cam and annoying number of quick cuts in Quantum Of Solace for example.
Now my last issue..is Bond's gun being unloaded by Miranda frost, the reason I bring this up is simple. For starters how did she even have time to unload it without him noticing? As far as we know he never even left the bed and as we know Bond would never take his eyes off the girl for very long, secondly how does Bond not notice that he's out of ammo? I mean it's his gun so shouldn't he at least notice? Not to mention they seem to forget about this when he kills Zao as he had thrown away his gun at that point and certainly didn't find any ammo. Though it's entirely possible that he had a spare in his vanquish but it's not explained so it's an issue in my book but honestly it doesn't take away from the great kill I assure you.
Now I think I should briefly mention one tiny error and that's the gene therapy stuff. While it doesn't annoy me there are issues with it, mainly the first one being that gene therapy does not work like this film shows. Granted it's not supposed to be realistic but I do feel that if you're going to include science like this then it should be medically accurate
But as a whole Die Another Day is a really fun film, sure it may not be the best made bond film but in terms of entertainment value? It's very damn good at its job in my eyes and I can Always turn it on if I need something to entertain me for 2 hours
My final rating is a 9/10
Then, after about an hour, the movie goes completely off the rails. Suddenly there are invisible cars, deadly lasers, lightning-shooting gloves... Before you know it, you're no longer watching a Bond-movie, but an instalment of Spy Kids.
This is also where the movie starts to rely heavily on CGI (including the now infamous tsunami kite-surfing scene), and where director Lee Tamahori keeps doing that speed it up, slow it down again thing that was popular in movies for a while, but was already old hat when this one came out.
By the time you get to the CGI finale on the CGI plane that is on CGI fire, suspension of disbelief has snapped so many times, you no longer care who lives or dies.
It's not good, but I still prefer it slightly over the previous one: there was a pretentiousness to The World Is Not Enough; it aspired to a greatness it never achieved.
One thing you can say about Die Another Day: it does not aspire to greatness.
Right off the bat, I’ll say that it’s so hard to find new things to say and criticize about this movie when it’s been done to death already. So this is less of a review, but more of a rant about the negative repercussions this film had on the series.
The film that ended the original 20 film run of James Bond. The film that jumped so far beyond the shark, the series required a hard reboot to continue. Die Another Day has, for better or worse, cemented itself and its place in the series. Unfortunately for me, this was the very first Bond film I owned on home media, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I loved it when I was younger. See after playing lots of Goldeneye 64, and 007 Nightfire, along with Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies being my introductions to the film series, Die Another Day was just more of what got me into Bond. Big, bombastic action set pieces, and a hero capable of doing absolutely anything and everything that he sets his mind too. How did that love fade? Well for me it was discovering other Bond films that I simply loved more, and as time went by, Die Another Day just kept getting lower, and lower down my rankings. It’s flaws becoming more apparent with age, as I began to prefer the more grittier, down to earth Bond adventures. I’m not somebody who dislikes when Bond goes over the top. On the contrary, Goldeneye is a perfect blend of a serious, darker tone, mixed with the fantastical elements found in films like Dr. No, or You Only Live Twice, and it results in a Bond film that sits happily in my top 5. The problem is when the series go too far into excess, and it’s an issue that has happened time and time again.
Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson found themselves in an interesting predicament. They’ve successfully brought Bond into the 90’s. The smash hits of Goldeneye, TND, and TWINE brought a new wave of Bondmania that was incomparable to any other wave of popularity the series experienced (save for the 60’s wave of Bondmania), and Pierce Brosnan was beloved by the public. But rather than prevent themselves from going too far out, they’ve unfortunately found themselves falling into the same trap Cubby Broccoli had time and time before. How far out there can you go? How long before you become a pastiche? Rather than craft an interesting story with plausible circumstances, EON instead opted to bathe in the glory of Bond films of the past, to create a film meant to celebrate 40 years of the series. Rather than combine the best elements of Brosnan’s previous three films to create a Bond story that encompasses everything great about his portrayal, the filmmakers went for cheap Nostalgia bait. Rather than create a Flemingesque tale for Brosnan to stretch his acting abilities, we’re given CGI Kitesurfing and DNA Swapping. What makes Die Another Day disappointing isn’t just the stupid contrived moments and Easter eggs, it’s how it lets down its films star, and how it has perhaps tainted the vast majority of his era.
Everything that can be said about the elements of this film, has already been said. Halle Berry is not a great Bond girl by any means. Toby Stephens comes across as too hammy. The henchmen are forgettable. Miranda Frost is an obvious femme fatale from the moment you first see her on screen. There is nothing subtle about the film at all, in fact everything about this movie falls apart the moment Bond stops his own heartbeat. But yet, the one element that works in the entire film, is Brosnan. His performance in this film is what makes the film at least watchable, what stops me from turning the TV off, because Brosnan is a great Bond, he always was, and no amount of bashing can change that. He nails the character of Bond just as well as Connery in my opinion, he’s my second favorite Bond, and yeah, nostalgia plays a huge part in that, just as I’m sure it would for fans of any other actor who played Bond. So while Brosnan elevates this film, the script really gives him the shaft in ways his previous scripts hadn’t.
The idea of Bond being betrayed by a turncoat MI6 agent, resulting in his imprisonment and near execution, is perhaps the biggest development you could give the character at that time. To actively make him question MI6, and his loyalty to them after being tossed aside and abandoned. To have him pursue the person who betrayed him and perhaps restore his own status as Britain’s best after an experience like that. All of that amounts to nothing but wasted potential. And that’s what sucks I’m afraid. It’s a blight on Brosnan’s tenure as Bond, in the same way that I feel both QOS and SP are blight’s on Craig’s tenure. It doesn’t drag my enjoyment of Brosnan’s Bond down at all, but in a way, I feel like the reputation of this movie, combined with the less than stellar reputations of Brosnan’s previous two films as Bond, has really soured people’s perception of Brosnan. Everyone kind of just throws all the praise at Goldeneye, which fair enough Goldeneye is amongst the best this series has to offer, and even then, I’ve seen some people online be very edgy and contrarian by chalking up Goldeneye’s success purely down to the video game.
This current wave of bashing Pierce’s performance as Bond, from ridiculous assumptions about how EON felt about having Brosnan in the part, to those who nitpick certain aspects found in his performances, to those who will just flat out take any opportunity to swipe at Pierce and how they feel about his Bond, all seems to have started after the release of this film, and certainly became more amplified in the wake of Craig’s tenure as Bond. It looked like that kind of rhetoric had somewhat gotten louder as Craig’s time came to a close, but for a while, it honestly sucked as a Bond fan seeing so many bash the Bond I liked, the one who introduced me to this wonderful world, and it sucks seeing that Craig will perhaps have to endure the same thing once the next guy enters the frame, I mean the guy already is after NTTD. But I think with a little more time, Brosnan’s Bond will become more appreciated, and hopefully his first three films will enjoy some sort of renaissance. GE, and to a lesser extent TND and TWINE are everything that I could ever ask for/want in a Bond film, and despite how some may feel as Brosnan’s era, the failures of Brosnan’s era, are ultimately what allowed Craig’s era to blossom. Brosnan’s Bond isn’t for everyone, but for an entire generation, Brosnan was our introduction to Bond, and if there was any opportunity to really win over the biggest of his detractors, it was DAD, and unfortunately, it fails on every level. But that failure shouldn’t define what Brosnan did for the character/role. For me, two faces pop into my head whenever I think of James Bond, one is Sean Connery and the other Pierce Brosnan.
I don’t really have much else to say about this movie. It’s never one I go and revist much, it really isn’t much of an enjoyable experience for me at all. I guess I don’t find it as bad as the likes of QOS and AVTAK, mainly because I find it slightly more entertaining than those two films. Therefore, my rating is 4/10.
Next time, I’ll be much more enthusiastic seeing as how I actually had some fun with this next film. 1979’s Moonraker.
Despite all That there’s a half decent story in there somewhere. In the hands of both a more competent director and writers this could have been a TSWLM.
Things I like
- bond entering the hotel
- The Cuban guy
- The fencing
- When it’s over
Right off the bat something was very off about the movie. IIRC it was the clearly greenscreened shot of Bond and the two Korean agents running off the beach with their surfboards. Usually in Bond movies you don't get those kinds of sloppy visuals.
The opening was decent otherwise, though all too typical of the Brosnan era. Lots of explosions and automatic gunfire.
Bond getting captured and tortured was a surprise. It hadn't been done before to that extent, and all of the sudden the movie became interesting. But the visual issues persisted, namely with more bad greenscreening during the prisoner exchange sequence. Why was that even green-screened? Weren't they shooting on an actual bridge?
Moving onto Bond's reunion with M. Here there are more problems. Brosnan's acting is off, in my opinion, for the first time in the series. I remember being actually confused as to why he didn't seem like he knew what he was doing in the role anymore.
Bond somehow induces a cardiac arrest and escapes the ship. I remember chuckling at this scene because Brosnan literally just jumps off the set and we hear a splash like it's a 40s comedy. Couldn't they have at least had a shot of a stuntman jumping into the harbor? It just seems lazy.
Cut to another bad special effect of Bond emerging from Hong Kong Harbor and it was clear that this simply wasn't a well-done movie. Bond's check in was very amusing and remains my favorite scene in the film. Then it's followed up by another bad scene where some Chinese agents are hiding in a...closet? Did they think he'd never open it?
Onto Cuba where things improve somewhat, as Bond meets with cigar guy and we get some old school Flemingesque intrigue. Here Brosnan is back in form as Bond, calm but alert, the way Bond should be when he's in the field.
Then Jinx happens. Enough people have torn into this character already so I won't bother.
Bond's method of breaking into the clinic is amusing but too easy. I'll let it pass since DAD isn't meant to be a serious spy movie. The action in the clinic is clunky, minus a few cool shots here and there like that low angle shot of Bond walking down the hallway with the revolver.
Things pep up a bit back in London. I have to disagree with the Gustav Graves haters, I think Toby Stephens is one of the few good things about the movie, especially his scenes with Rosamund Pike. Stephens does ham it up but when you consider that he is playing a Korean who is essentially mocking the idea of an English gentleman, his OTT snobbery makes sense.
The sword fight, as others have said, is a highlight of the movie. Well-shot and well-edited, surprisingly enough.
Bond's second reunion with M is also a highlight, featuring a very nice retort from Bond when M starts lecturing him about how the world has changed while he was away, clearly a reference to 9/11. The VR training bit is dumb and pointless (and only there for the joke with Moneypenny at the end) but honestly the scene with Bond and R has to be one of the most enjoyable in the series. I don't even mind the invisible Aston Martin, I actually continue to get a kick out of it to this day.
The action moves to Iceland, where we get, in my opinion, an underrated set piece with the ice palace. Right here it almost seems as if DAD is going to become a decent Bond entry, flawed yet fun, with more imagination than the previous two entries. I like Bond and Graves chatting about Donald Campbell, a brief exchange that sheds light on how the two characters view the purpose of their lives. DAD gets a lot of (deserved) flack for bad dialogue, but there's actually some decent stuff scattered in this movie.
But things fall apart fast. Jinx is reintroduced into the plot, bringing with her bad acting and woeful dialogue. The laser fight probably looked good on paper but is not competently-shot or edited. Bond's confrontation with Graves is one of the stronger scenes in the movie but it's stopped short by Bond's very silly escape scene.
Apart from the "boss, he beat your time" quip, which got a big laugh from the audience, the Icarus/rocket car chase is like something out of Star Wars, and the shot of the car flying off the cliff shocked me at how fake it looked. The tsunami sequence itself doesn't really bother me compared to the bad acting and dialogue that plagues DAD. The SFX are on par with what we were getting in 2002.
The supercar battle is entertaining and unusual, at least. It's interesting how we didn't have that kind of action sequence sooner in the franchise. At this point DAD could have ended up a fun but awkward Bond movie if only it could stick the landing by having a killer third act. Unfortunately what we get is one of the worst finales in the franchise. No need to go into it further.
To reiterate, my initial reaction was mixed. Lots of problems but also some good stuff. Beneath all the CG-enhanced goofiness there's some genuine depth in the rivalry between the Englishman and the fake Englishman who has used wealth and image to buy his way into the British elite. Something like this must really irk Bond, who is ultimately a nobody who serves the very elite who are catering to Graves/Moon. This, coupled with a few good action sequences, a lively score by David Arnold, and vibrant cinematography almost make DAD a dumb-but-fun Bond movie like Moonraker.
However, as time went on I started considering DAD as one of the worst. The direction, editing, and acting are simply second-rate. Sometimes they're third rate. Supposedly half this movie was directed by its second unit, so it's difficult to tell who's to blame. DAD definitely feels like a movie that was produced but not directed, or at least directed by someone who didn't have the sensibilities for a Bond anniversary movie. Or a Bond movie in general.
I don't think DAD is the worst Bond movie from a technical standpoint- I think that (dis)honor belongs to DAF- and I don't think it's the most damaging Bond movie from a franchise perspective, but it is the Bond movie that sh*t the bed and made the producers realize that they needed to make drastic changes before the franchise became a full-blown parody.
i'm confident i've never seen the last act of this movie. I have no recollection of it whatsoever.
But man what a good movie! Ok so a few action scenes at the ice palace are pretty absurd, but the car chase is killer. And maybe the solar mirror and face-off thing and the unnecessary exo-suit are far-fetched, but no time to die also has a ridiculous plot about blood genetics murder, or something, so that argument is likewise illegitimate.
In the meantime, we've got a sword fight through centuries of history! A hover craft chase! Michael madsen! Madonna! The movie just hits one blow after another. And i don't mean that sarcastically. The action is exciting and presented well.
I love brosnan's bond, i love both jynx and frost, and i'm fond of graves. He's like a caricature of a bond villain, and once you've seen the movie you'll understand why. The direction of this movie is highly underrated.
You want to have a good night? Find your nearest blockbuster and get tarantino to recommend you a vhs worth rewinding.
Review from january 2019:
another one that starts off pretty good but loses all of its steam in the second half, therefore becoming relegated to one of the worst bond films yet. I honestly don't have much to say. Watch the opening 30 minutes or so and then just stop. The ice chase scene has its moments too, but i personally would have preferred more racing and less weapons matching. Oh, and the concept of the ice palace melting was really cool too, and well done, i thought. And the sword fight scene was cool. So it wasn't a total loss.
Otherwise, if I never have to lay eyes on this film, it’ll be too soon.
I pretty much disliked everything from the gun barrel onwards.
I, for one, am always happy to see some love for the film, despite its many weaknesses.