Fan Reviews - Die Another Day

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"Die Another Day" by Garry Hitchens

Released on the 40th Anniversary of one of the longest lasting franchises of all time, we were expecting big things from James Bond’s 20th outing. Trailers prepped us for what should have been one of the greatest films to date. When settling down to watch this film, we will expect all the ingredients we have grown to love in a Bond film. Exotic locations, beautiful women, evil villains, dastardly plans and the usual banter with Moneypenny, we are not disappointed, as, luckily, this film includes all of the listed. But, a great British institution has been drawn into a world of disbelief.

The last 19 were reasonably believable and could possibly happen (to some extent), but a satellite in space that sends a powerful laser beam down onto the Earth’s surface by harnessing the Sun’s power is highly implausible. And an invisible Aston Martin ‘Vanish’, as Q would put it, in this day and age is very unlikely. The introduction of this car is what signals the downfall of the film. But the good thing about this film is its like brandy…it improves with age. On a second viewing, the film improves, slightly.

The stuntwork on this film is, as usual, top standard, and Vic Armstrong, stunt coordinator, does this film proud. A fantastic hovercraft chase, similar to the boat chase in Michael Apted’s ‘The World Is Not Enough’, opens what is a rather dismal film. A brilliant sword fight follows later on, the first of its kind in this series, and does not fail to impress (forgetting the (shocking is the only way to describe it) cameo by Madonna, who also provided the equally shocking title song). Lee Tamahori has (some would argue) successfully brought some great action sequences to this film, maybe going too far, and losing the roots of the film, throwing in the series' first CGI scene. After watching this you would wish the Bond producers would leave it to the people at ‘Star Wars.’ Tamahori’s talents have now been taken to a much more suitable film, ‘XXX2: State of Union’, a dire parody of James Bond. Tamahori’s use of quick editing does make for a very successful, classic, fast-paced car chase, and includes a car to rival Bond’s.

Brosnan reprises his role as the number one British secret agent, and is now fully accustomed to this role, seeming at ease on the camera, unlike ‘Goldeneye’, when he was just ‘fitting in’ to the shoes of Timothy Dalton. Brosnan is now also the first Bond to have a passionate moment with Moneypenny, well, sort of! Brosnan brings an action packed Bond to the role, unlike Dalton, who was more serious and closer to Fleming’s Bond. Moore’s Bond was more tongue-in-cheek, with the raising eyebrow and Connery was the original suave, sophisticated agent. Lazenby, on the other hand, brought nothing to the role. Halle Berry takes the role of Jinx, similar to that of Michelle Yeoh's’s in ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’, the dominant woman, who can pull her own punches and be an equal to Bond. Unfortunately, the script gives Berry a one-dimensional character to work with.

The film features several classic, rather aged cliches, like the large rock being disturbed by a big explosion, blocking the window that Bond needs to leap out of, as well as the pointless laser scene. Similar to that of the classic ‘Goldfinger’ scene, (but much, much worse, and should not really be compared to it at all) the laser scene features some dodgy dialogue.
Jinx is out cold, and Zao hands Mr. Kil a gun. “Let’s make it permanent,” Zao tells him. Mr. Kil replies, “Let’s use the laser!” This sort of thing would be expected to be found in a Bond spoof nowadays.

This series has been going strong for 40 years, and even with all the faults in this film, it is likely to last for a long time to come. Many attempts have been made to steal the box office profits from these films, but none of them even come close. And with Bond returning to his Fleming roots, like he did in ‘For Your Eyes Only’ and ‘Licence To Kill’, for his next outing, ‘Casino Royale’, it looks like it’s going to be another hit for MGM. But they do say, nobody does it better.

By far, not one of Brosnan’s best outings, but can still satisfy the biggest Bond fan, as well as a movie buff. With brilliant stunts, this is up with the best of them. But, with a confusing plot, full of plot holes, leaving you asking How? or Why? and too many advanced gadgets, this film is a weaker entry into the series.


"Die Another Day" by JobeGDG

Licence to Kill's detractors usually cite that "it doesn't feel like a Bond film" as a primary cause of their malice. I don't agree on that score, but Die Another Day makes me understand how they feel. Die Another Day doesn't feel like a Bond film. It feels like a cartoon. The special effects are ridiculously flashy, as are the story and production design. Writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have referred to the twentieth Bond film as their own personal Moonraker, but ultimately it's much closer to The Man With The Golden Gun.

As with The Man With the Golden Gun, the real star of Die Another Day is the production design, and as it was in the 1974 Bond film, it is (with the exception of the pre-title sequence in North Korea) it's one brightly-colored, over-the-top, vista after another. Even the supposedly-refined setting of the Blades Club appears over-decorated and over-saturated. Only in the underrated Diamonds Are Forever has such gaudy design ever really worked for Bond, and even then only because the gaudiest place in the world (Las Vegas) was being depicted. But in Die Another Day, everything from the plastic-looking doors and props in the ice palace to the surreal, computer-generated Hong Kong skyline to the spinning mirrors in the gene-therapy clinic (Scaramanga's fun house, anyone?) to the countless, unnaturally-streamlined, computer interfaces throughout the film (the security alerts, the villain's doomsday device interface, the screen within Bond's new Aston Martin, etc.) are so animated that they merit (or at least, demand) more attention than the action happening around them. Similarly cartoonish are the costumes and all-too obvious computer-generated effects, all of which give the viewer the impression that, despite the copious amounts of CGI, Die Another Day was made thirty years ago, and that director Lee Tamahori was more interested in making the most expensive B-movie he could than making a Bond film (though the series' detractors would argue that they are one and the same).

But all attempts to categorize the Bond franchise aside, even B-movies can have their charms, but ultimately, Die Another Day isn't even enjoyable on this level (though, like most B-movies, it does have countless plot holes big enough to fly a plane through), because it would appear that Tamahori was so busy goading Peter Lamont (long-time Bond production designer), Lindy Hemming (costume designer), and the CGI team (whom he apparently let slide on quality control) into having copious amounts of fun, that he forgot to say anything about it to the cast. Fortunately, some of them were able to figure it out on their own. John Cleese adds his own comedic touch to the role of Q and does as fine a job of filling Desmond Llewelyn's shoes as anyone could be expected to. Toby Stephens' ridiculous sneer serves him well enough, and Rosamund Pike's aggressive, parodying, taunting is fun enough to watch, but it's basically too little, too late, and the people who should really be having fun—our heroes—are thoroughly po-faced. Pierce Brosnan turns in his worst performance as James Bond, having no fun at all in a film that desperately needs it to stay afloat (but then, this is a task that even Moore, the most lighthearted Bond, also failed to pull off in The Man With The Golden Gun). As for our lead Bond girl, Halle Berry fulfills the physical necessities of being a Bond girl, but beyond her figure, everything about her is strictly one-dimensional. (Berry's talent is pretty limited to begin with, but here it's quite clear that she's not even trying.) Ultimately, Brosnan and Berry blend in with the vastly more compelling scenery around them (one wonders why Bond needs that invisible Aston Martin).

Many of the critics that favoured Die Another Day (and even some who didn't) praised Tamahori's ability to "cover all the bases." Technically, this is true, but it feels as though it was only because he was given a checklist. As a Bond movie, Die Another Day barely even goes through the motions of the formula, and the closest it gets to going beyond the formula is during the title sequence, during which we see Bond tortured for fourteen months by some terrible song.


"Die Another Day" by Alec_006

As the year 2002 rolled the world waited with great anticipation the release of James Bond in the new millennium. Once the wait was over some people were left asking "this was what we were waiting for?"

The story in itself had the ability to be a truly great adventure. Centring around North and South Korea made it an up to date plot with an over the top method of achieving the villainous goal: the union of Korea under Northern colours.

The movie starts solidly with a massively entertaining hovercraft chase through a minefield and over a cliff where a corrupt Korean colonel falls to his "death". The action seemed to set the tone for what could have been an exciting movie. This was followed up with Bond chasing the korean terrorist (and colonel moons right hand man) Zao to cuba and to a gene therapy clinic. New identities courtesy of science. This is where it reaches the point of make-believe.

The second half took Bond to a spectacular ice palace in Iceland after a tense sword fight in London. The villainous Gustav Graves reveals Icarus to the world as a satellite to help the world. Naturally it does the complete opposite. The climax on Graves plane looked spectacular and capped of the movie rather well until the helicopter fall showed up.

But we cant blame the cast. Brosnan was back at his best at was close to being his best performance as Bond through his four movies. He played the betrayed, lone ranger style spy nicely but was constantly surrounded by a poor story and horrible CGI ideas. What proved to be his last film proved to the modern fans he would be hard to replace. But in my opinion the most under-rated actor was Toby Stephens. He was suave and charismatic but could turn on his evil looks at will. Along with Rick Yune who did his best with a two dimensional character, made a balanced pair of evil doers. The big surprise was Rosamund Pike who played the double agent Miranda Frost. For an actress with little film experience she played her part superbly and made a better Bond girl than the main one. Which brings me to Halle Berry. A good actress in the wrong part. Her american attitude mixed with a cliched character mould left us disappointed by her and the role.

All in all DAD was destroyed by the horrible CGI scenes, a too outlandish story and predictable characters. A good attempt but fell short of Brosnan's previous efforts


"Die Another Day" by Luds

“To hell with tradition and style, we’ll just copy some B level action flick and throw in tons of useless action and CGI for the kiddies and make lots of money!” This no doubt must have been director Lee Tamahori’s exclamation when hired by producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.. For Pierce Brosnan’s final outing as Bond, MGM/UA and Bond high-ups decided to forget everything Bond movies stood for and copy rival company Sony’s movie xXx, Sony’s own James Bond rip-off. Yes, a copy of a copy, wonder why the content is so bad? Indeed, Die Another Day (DAD) is an absolute travesty of a movie, a shameful, disgraceful, and despicable addition to the Bond Franchise, an abomination in every single possible way. Correction: DAD is really kewl to most 13 year old kids.

As the 20th Bond movie, and 40th anniversary of Bond on the big screen (the 1st movie Doctor No was released in 1962), those responsible for writing this mess (do they really qualify as “writers”?) Neal Purvis and Robert Wade spent about 99.95% of their time thinking of ways to place so called “homages” of all previous 19 Bond flicks and 0.05% of their time on thinking of an actual storyline, and it showed throughout the painful experience that is to watch this worthless movie. Also, continuing on a trend that has considerably deteriorated the last 3 movies, Bond high-ups decided to cast another immensely popular yet utterly untalented American actress for the lead Bond girl, accepting to obtain a lesser product for a possible higher revenue. This stain on the Bond franchise is none other than the laughably overrated and incompetent Halle Berry (following the clueless Denise Richards in the previous movie).

The nightmare that is DAD surprisingly starts well with a decent opening sequence as James Bond travels to North Korea only to get captured by General Moon (Kenneth Tsang) who believes that Bond killed his son Colonel Moon (Will Yun Lee). An intriguing start indeed as Bond has never been captured and taken prisoner before.

The torture starts as viewers are now forced to endure the atrocity that is washed-up has-been Madonna’s theme song, easily the worst theme song of all Bond movies. It is rather hilarious that she was chosen to the dismay of Bond fans in order to bump up soundtrack sales. Madonna’s name was a huge seller, but this appalling song wasn’t... Bond is then exchanged against a British prisoner: Colonel Moon’s henchman Zao (played by Rick Yune of the forgettable yet popular amongst teenagers “The Fast And The Furious”). M (Judi Dench) explains to 007 that he was exchanged as MI6 assumed he had cracked under torture and started to leak British secrets to the enemy. In a rather incredible sequence, Bond lowers his heartbeat to a level which set off the medics to revive him. The ploy worked well, Bond escapes, and travels to Hong Kong where he decided to clean up and shave.

This sums up the “acceptable” part of DAD. The rest is complete rubbish. The monstrosity starts off when Bond travels to Cuba, looking for Zao. In a scene that will make millions of Bond fans cringe, a rip-off (homage) to the classic Honey Rider bikini scene, will introduce the absolute worst and utterly useless character of the entire Bond franchise: Jinx (Halle Berry). A worthless performance that will forever be a thorn on the great franchise. The Jinx character’s only purpose was to add popular boobs to the picture. Another tendency in the last few Bond movies is to try to create a female “Bond equal” characters to quiet feminists. In this case, Jinx is a member of the NSA. Halle Berry as an NSA agent is without a doubt the greatest miscast in the Bond franchise. She is the plague in this forgettable movie. An NSA agent who needs to be saved three times by Bond as she is utterly incompetent, or is it that the incompetent writers simply didn’t know what to have her do? One of these sequences is simply outrageous, as Bond saves Jinx from being cut out in pieces by Graves’ modified laser table (yes, another rip-off, this time Goldfinger (1964)). The following quote describes Berry’s performance to a tee:

“As super-duper American NSA operative Jinx, Halle Berry is laughably miscast. I could suspend disbelief were she playing practically any other part - Russian computer programmer, the Queen of England, Ernst Stavro Blofeld - other than what has been hyped as the "female James Bond". First of all she's utterly incapable of projecting the least bit of physical toughness. The pouty little expression she gets on her face while we're supposed to believe that she's engaged in secret agent stuff reminds one of the look his toddler daughter gets when she's refusing to eat her vegetables.”

Following the Cuba sequence, Bond learns that Zao was carrying some diamonds cut by Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens)’s company. Sadly, Graves is one of the most boring and forgettable villains in the series, making The Spy Who Loved Me’s Stromberg seem fascinating. The entire storyline of DNA transplant is just ridiculous and lame. It would have been perfectly fine to have Colonel Moon’s character come back as Will Yun Lee’s performance was much more powerful than the inept Stephens. Even classical Bond moments like the Q scene was sub par in said installment. John Cleese gave a very good performance that was ruined by the absurd gadgets (invisible car anyone?) and annoying homages to every single gadget ever used in any other Bond movie.

Another sequence from this dismal piece of cinema history that will make every Bond fan regurgitate is Madonna’s cameo as fencing instructor Verity. Not only do fans have to suffer throughout her endless song that ruins the titles, but now they have to undergo the cruel task of watching her stain the already tarnished movie as she attempts at acting. The worst part is that her dialog is just as horrific! “I don’t like cock fights”. And there you have it. Another classic part of the Bond formula that is violated. Not only does Madonna have a “one liner” in this movie, but every single character has multiple. Zao’s “How’s that for a punch line”, Jinx’ “Yo Mamma” and “Bitch!”, and Miranda Frost’s “Big Bang theory” are simply intolerable, not to mention Brosnan’s complete incompetence in delivering his own, as always. Those play on words that were usually kept for Bond and the main villain, such as Thunderball (1965)’s “I think he’s got the point” are now thrown by every single character…

Miranda Frost (Rosamund Pike) is the most interesting character in this poor excuse of a movie. Sadly, the character is not developed enough as the writers preferred to show more Berry cleavage scenes and Jinx needing Bond to save her life for the seventeenth time. As Graves' ally working for MI6, viewers aren’t supposed to be able to tell that Frost is a villain. However, these writer geniuses forgot that they offered the exact same storyline in their previous Bond movie (The World Is Not Enough) as Sophie Marceau’s character of Elektra turned up to be a villain and Denise Richard’s character of Christmas Jones was the good girl, a scenario somewhat surprising for these actresses as Marceau always portrayed good girls and Richards, villains in the past. The character of Miranda Frost is just another failure in the script.

What else could be wrong one might ask? Well, everything! Stunts for instance. Bond films have traditionally used real stunts and miniatures to deliver more believable action sequences. DAD‘s CGI is so terrible, it looks like it was made by a 10 year old who is using a computer for the first time (such as the painful para-surfing sequence, with a fully CGI Brosnan!) As if this wasn’t bad enough, editor Christian Wagner decided to further rape the franchise by inserting all kinds of Matrix-style real-time to slow-motion back to real-time edits for various scenes, such as in the Iceland car chase. Not only is he ignoring history and tradition, he is spitting on it, violating it and dumping on it. That’s what Die Another Day is to the Bond franchise.

But we’re not done just yet! The writers decided to have Bond escape from Graves’ ice palace only to return and then to escape again, and flee and come back for a third time. Why? Well simple! To have more big bang action scenes! They just couldn’t figure out how to have Bond have a speeder chase and a car chase any other way! People won’t mind right? And then Bond has to go back after the villains.

Later on, in villain Graves’ plane, Bond meets Robocop. Graves is now wearing an outfit reminiscent to a 1987 10$ Robocop Halloween outfit purchased at K-Mart. This magical outfit sends shocks to Bond (yep, just like Palpatine did to Luke Skywalker). As Jinx fights (and kills) the Olympic gold-medal fencing champion Miranda Frost in a sword fight (remember? Jinx is the “girl Bond” so it’s OK if she’s better than the gold medal winner even if she needed to be rescued fifty-three times so far), Bond defeats 10$ Robocop and escape from the plane seconds before You Only Live Twice (1967)’s diamond laser that Graves must have found in his back yard burns the plane and it’s passengers.

Is there anything good about Die Another Day? Well it’s actually shocking that since this movie is so pathetic, one must consider any single sequence that doesn’t absolutely stink as being “good”. That way, yes, there are some good parts to Die Another Day. The intro sequence in Korea is pretty good, Bond walking to a hotel in Hong Kong is also acceptable, the Q scene (dialog only, not the gadgets) is fine, Miranda Frost is acceptable, and the end credits. Yes, the end credits are the high point of the flick, which signifies that the nightmare is over. David Arnold’s score is acceptable, far from John Barry’s worst score still, but better than what would be expected from such a horrendous movie. One must also note that Pierce Brosnan’s work as Bond was possibly his most convincing performance. Brosnan will be remembered by Bond fans for getting such pathetic scripts that revolve around explosions, bad stories, bad dialogue and cleavage rather than acting, suspense and storyline.

The movie was in fact so bloody awful that the producers went on a three year hiatus of brainstorming and analysing everything following the well deserved horrendous reviews for the movie. Surprisingly enough, they understood that the public (other than the kiddies) rejected DAD and wanted the movie to head in a new direction, even if DAD actually made money. But to continue on such a pathetic direction certainly would bring the franchise to it's knees. The aging and whining Brosnan was given the pink slip, GoldenEye (1995)'s director Martin Campbell was rehired, Daniel Craig was signed as Bond #6. Other notable changes were the removal of most gadgets, no more Q and Moneypenny, and a focus on the early days of James Bond in the 00 service. The next movie, would finally bring to the big screen the only Fleming novel that EON had never been able to shoot before as legendary producer, the late Cubby Broccoli didn’t own the rights for: Casino Royale.

Indeed, Die Another Day will be remembered by Bond purists and mature fans as the absolute worst thing ever produced around the James Bond world. Die Another Day was a cheap, disgraceful B level action movie that makes Vin Diesel movies look like masterpieces. It was clearly made for teens and tweens as the younger audience certainly don’t need anything more than action, CGI, and T&A to enjoy and love movies, even if it’s bad action and bad CGI. In any event, following the abomination, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson decided not to prostitute themselves and Cubby’s legacy any longer. Verdict?


"Die Another Day" by Tubes

Die Another Day is not as bad as many people think. It's primary problem is that it is confused as to what kind of Bond movie it wants to be. Die Another Day starts on a stereotypical note, with all the bangs and booms one expects from a Bond. Then, once Bond gets captured, the movie shifts gears completely, with great results.

Bond being imprisoned in North Korea is a wonderful idea that isn't developed well enough to have any impact. His betrayal, however, is the defining plot point in the beginning of the movie and it works very well. Bond hasn't had to fend for himself in enemy territory since, well, LTK. Brosnan pulls off all of his scenes with a fresh style that hasn't been in the series in a long time. The scenes in Cuba and London are well shot and the movie starts off superbly.

Then Bond goes to Iceland and the movie goes to hell. One can tell the direction the movie is going by the speed ramped opening shot of Iceland. In Iceland, DAD is just another Bond film, complete with all the trappings. The laser fight is wasted, the unveiling of Icarus comes off flat, and all this sleuthing around the ice mines just comes of as cliched. The horrible downfall finally reaches it's end when Bond escapes certain death by turning into a CGI model and parasurfing a tidal wave. At this point, one covers their eyes and cries, "How much worse can this movie get!".

Fortunately, DAD attempts to come back. The car chase is thrilling and superbly filmed, both outside and inside the Ice Palace. Bond's rescue of Jinx, no matter how bad the character is, is heartwarming. All is going well until Bond and Jinx board the Antonov The Jinx and Miranda fight is one of the better ones in the series, but the Bond and Graves fight is just slow and muddled. The movie drags on more than any Bond should after a villains death. On a positive note, the Moneypenny scene at the end was a nice surprise, which just had to be offset by the worst one liner to ever end a film.

As for characters, Jinx and Miranda are the more one dimensional Bond girls out there. They do not evolve at all during the story, nor do they do anything special other than what the script tells them to. Coming off one of the better girls (Elektra), this is a disappointment. Graves is slightly better, with a high class sneer that is typical for all rich Bond baddies. The rest of the supporting cast (save Raoul) is nothing special.

The set pieces are where DAD really shines. The hovercraft chase is nifty (if a bit long), the sword fight at Blades is awesome, the car chase is, as I mentioned, superb. Kudos for Vic Armstrong and his team.

The editing really tears DAD apart. Christian Wagner decimates the film with speed ups, slo mos, quick cuts, and other tricks more befitting The Fast and The Furious than a Bond film. Tamahori decides to direct this film with a pseudo Michael Bay approach, with all the speed shots and all. For once, I would rather have Bay in this position, considering he has a personality that Tamahori cannot replicate. Instead, the movie feels bland.

DAD scores a lot of points early on, loses some ground in the middle, and pushes one last time for the goal line. Unfortunately, it comes up short of a touchdown. Despite all that, DAD is still a good watch on a rainy Saturday afternoon when all you want to do is sit back, shut off your brain, and be entertained.


"Die Another Day" by Mr E

Maintaining great quality in a long running movie series is near impossible and falling off the ball will eventually happen. I can understand how the writing and direction will slide after years, natural and understandable. One thing I can't understand is how a film can be created were it becomes a stereotype of the series it is from, Die Another Day in the James Bond film series is one. DAD marked the 20th film and 40th anniversary of the series. You would think a celebration of the Bond film franchise will inspire something truly grand, instead loyal fans get slapped in the face. The very worst of Bond is glorified in the abortion that is Die Another Day. All the bad stereotypes of Bond films are here, an over flow of bad one liners, highly over the top plot, and a one dimensional and bland villain who tries to be sophisticated and menacing. This is the only Bond film I can safely say it is directly aimed at the fourteen and under crowd.

The main characters all have the same problems, under developed, one dimensional, talking heads that spew bad one liners every other minute. Jinx, played by Halle Berry, was simply an excuse to get in some stereotypical black slang such as "yo momma". Jinx is just as horrible as Mary Goodnight in The Man with the Golden Gun, a character who simply got in the way and shouldn’t have been in the film in the first place. The main villain Gustav Graves has a very absurd origin, he is actually Colonel Moon played by Will Yun Lee who faked is death earlier in the film. Moon had surgery to turn himself into Graves, who is simply an annoying, ill tempered pretty white boy played by Toby Stephens. Turning Moon into Graves was pointless. The henchperson Zao, played by Ricky Yune, is another lame character who is just there because somebody needs to be the main henchperson. Zao becomes deformed when Bond ruins his operation to become a white guy, he will probably only be remembered for his bizarre appearance that is better suited for a freak in one of The Matrix films. What is it with this turning white stuff? Are Zao and Moon self hating Koreans? Also notice how the main villains were not yet or barely over thirty and younger and both stared in films or shows popular with teenagers? Boy, what was I thinking when I said this film was aimed only at the fourteen and younger crowd! Pierce Brosnan once again fails to convince me as a great Bond, he brings nothing to this film. Yes Brosnan is given bad material but that isn’t an excuse, he is obviously quite comfortable playing the role as one-dimensional playboy who can’t deliver a good line. Miranda Frost, played by Rosamund Pike, is actually the only half way decent character in the film; you know don’t what side she is on but when you do find out, you really don’t care why. Frost was not only another under developed character but she simply a rip off of Elektra King the previous Bond turkey, The World is Not Enough. John Cleese is Q here for the first time but he dose the part wrong. Q is supposed to ignore 007’s one liners, he only is concerned about his own work he is not suppose engage in battle of wit's with Bond . This Q scene was also just an excuse get in all the gadgets form the old movies stuffed in one room.

The lines and moments are mostly recycled from all the old Bond movies, they are not even used right; they are all just stuffed in there like pushing a lot of clothes in a small suit case. One excellent example of screwing up the old material was Jinx’s first appearance on the beach; this scene was copied from Honey Rider’s famous entrance in Dr.No. The reason why Honey’s entrance was so grand was because it was beautifully subtle, Honey naturally walks up on the beach and it didn’t feel forced. Jinx’s entrance was not only slow motion, which felt incredibly forced, but it was obvious the director told her to act like she was being shot by a camera, ruining the beautiful subtleness of what could have been a well done homage scene. The movie starts off good with something unexpected and actually interesting at the end of the pre-title sequence, Bond is captured and tortured. The torture itself is nothing to speak of really; you barely see it in the title sequence because it’s being drowned in CGI effects, which by the way had an awful song by Madonna. You think you got enough Madonna in the film? Hell no! She then makes an appearance saying her thankfully few stomach turning lines. Getting back to the torture, as in Bond being held in North Korea to be specific because this whole film is torture, he seems really unaffected by this allegedly horrible ordeal, you pretty much forget it happens not too long after. I will admit I like the escape Bond pulled off from custody of MI6 but then the film slides. There was no room in the horrible script that called for a development of any plot or character, similar to Moonraker and cheap imitations of Goldfinger, Gustav Graves has a massive army and resources without any real explanation at all. CGI was the name of the game here and didn’t look that good all; just look at the ice palace scene. The ice palace part of the film was there simply there as a ground for a lot of badly done action work,no advancement of the story at all. The mess of bad action includes, three poorly done car chases, a rip off of Goldfinger involving Jinx being tortured with several lasers, Bond fighting Mr.Kil, who is another bland henchman, with multiple lasers going off in the back round moving as they fight. One car chase even included a Matrix style slow motion bullet dodging, good lord. What franchise was this again? Let’s not forget the cartoon gadgets which include an invisible Aston Martin and a blatant rip off of the holodeck from Star Trek. The scheme itself was, of course, the use of a giant laser to lead to world domination. Didn’t we have enough blasted lasers in this film? The final confrontation is Jinx, Frost, Graves and Bond on a plane. Graves is fighting Bond in a damn robotic suit ! This is the Robocop series? No. Probably the Matrix film series? Nah, Bond? That’s it! James "Neo" Bond! Frost and Jinx have a sword fight that wasn’t all that bad. However, both confrontations are more about battles of who can deliver the worst one liners. Wow and what a way for Graves to die! Right after the five passengers get sucked out of the plane, ripping off Auric Goldfinger’s death about five times in a row, Graves gets sucked out as well but is shredded in the engine just to be slightly original. Then Bond and Jinx escape the crumbling plane just like Bond and Kara Milovy escaped a plane in 1987’s The Living Daylights, except that the jeep is now a helicopter and the stunt is 100% worse thanks to our old friend CGI. Man, the creativity in this film is amazing!

At the end of the day you can’t believe this train wreck was a Bond film. This celebration was just an overblown manure balloon, filled to the brim with what Bond is not. There is not an excuse in the world for Die Another Day, I wouldn’t even take profit as one because that is just basically admitting you are a whore for money. How can anyone defend this film? Even Moonraker actually have a few redeeming moments I would watch again. I watched DAD in 2002 I wasn’t much of a Bond fan and saw this film but I was not impressed even back then. If I was a Bond fan like I am now in 2002 I would have knocked on Kevin McClory’s door and asked him to save this film series. Yes that’s right, the man who produced Never Say Never Again !


"Die Another Day" by Algernon

Die Another Day is quite simply put a bad film...well, at least half of it is. People claim the whole film is a sham, full of rubbish but I would disagree. The pre-titles sequences are quite good as are the performances in those scenes. The title song is awful but the visuals were quite entertaining, something new for the 20th film. The film still remains enjoyable with scenes such as the "bridge crossing" and Pierce Brosnan's scene with Judi Dench, reminiscent of their scene in GoldenEye. I'll just list the good parts from there...the hotel scenes and even the Cuba scenes are well shot with Brosnan really showing the suave side of Bond. Great characters such as Raoul, and later Miranda Frost, are introduced but the second half of the film really stinks. The lack of good villain or henchman, combined with the re-used double agent plot, makes the ending unimpressive. The use of CGI was bound to happen sometime but due to Lee Tamahori wanting an "out-of-world" ending, it's overused and doesn't fit with what Bond is all about.


"Die Another Day" by Simon

There is a new definition of disappointment. Sheer and utter blankness. A dullness of the senses, complete disbelief mixed with a variety of shellshock and anger. The turning point of this new definition stems from the root THE greatest hero in cinema history, James Bond, and is of course Die Another Day.

In a series where even the most ridiculous films can be entertaining, where the worst scripts can be saved by good action or one liners, DAD stands out like one legged man at an a*se kicking contest. To start with, the plot. A megalomaniac with no history appears, finds diamonds in ice and builds a big satellite. That's it. The whole military background could've provided a much more grandiose plot, but instead, it comes down to a man with a gun. Think of the legendry Goldfinger scene, which lasts about 3 minutes, and try and stretch that over 2 hours, and you've pretty much got the idea. Its a lazy coating to smooth over some obvious and ill-thought homages to celebrate a meaningless anniversary - unless I've missed something and 40 is a magic number.

Next, the characters. Oh yes. A Bond-film strong point, no? No. DADs James Bond has bad lines, bad scenes, and bad people to play off of. Add to the fact Brosnan looks bored and wondering where his payslip is adds to the fact that for possibly for the first time in a Bond film, we want the bad guy to win just to get him to buck his ideas up. Only we don't really, because Gustav Graves is far more appalling a character. Making a smooth transition from a young, energetic, ill-tempered Korean into middle-aged well tempered Argentinean/English toff in 14 months actually seems reasonable compared to most aspects of his character. Toby Stevens may have well have been Tony Robinson, because he seemed more suited to Blackadder than Bond. The props departments collectors edition Robocop suit didn't help matters, either.

All this, however, pales into complete insignificance. It can almost be forgiven, in fact, and even tolerated as a one off, compared to the next character. All the ills of DAD so far could just be unfortunate - a slight misjudgment here and there, adding up to make a poor film - which after 40 years I suppose is inevitable. Jinx, however, is in no way forgivable. 144 seconds of on-screen time before she beds Bond, that's after a couple of offensively poor homage's and line delivery. Halle Berry's character, on paper, is no worse than Gustav Graves, and her complete lack of any ability makes her infinitely more hateful. She cant act, do facial expressions, deliver lines (no matter how poor they were), or generally do anything.

The only redeeming features of this film I can think of are, at a push, the opening sequence, which actually manages to haul some true proper grit and suspense, however a few of the ham-wedged one-liners take the shine off of things, and Bond being captured is still as sacrilege as asking a nun for sex. Also, the music by David Arnold is pretty good. Doesn't match his earlier work on TND, but is still a good fit for the action theme the producers aimed for. This, of course, doesn't refer to the title song by Mad Donna. Feeding puppies through a wood chipper would provide a more pleasing experience than old Madge warbling her may through her title song. Sigmund Freud would probably agree.


"Die Another Day" by Agent JM7

It had been 40 years since Bond had first entered the cinematic world. It ushered a new type of film that pushed the boundaries in most forms. It had wit, violence, and sex appeal amongst other things. For the 40th Anniversary, producers decided it would be good to bring all those things back - but push them to the extremes of a 21st Century audience. Step into the frame Pierce Brosnan, the actor that had managed to bring Bond back to the 90's, but could he keep it fresh into the 2000's?

The film starts off well. A new departure from anything we've seen before pits Bond in the midst of the North Korean darkness. The surfing, the technology, and the gritty realism all set the scene for the next two minutes or so. In that two minutes, we are introduced to the first villain - Colonel Moon, but soon enough it turns to grave danger and a chase ensues. It ends with the capture and torture of Bond, which leads in to the main titles.

Madonna's score? Weakest of the series. There was the potential for something good by Madonna to bring an advantage to the film. Instead, a staggered techno-club remix comes into mind, with jerky anomalies interrupting what there is left of the "song".

OK, so we're back to the film, we get the same dark moments for about... five minutes and we head to Hong Kong. The weaknesses start to appear, the comicness of the way the scene is set up is frownable, but the production design is clearly well done here: Frigates, hotel lobbies, suites are precise in detail. However, in this scene, it begins to set up for the rest of the film form here onwards - so I shan't explain every single scene from now on.

In Die Another Day, there is little character. James Bond's presence and character is generally weak. Although he appears in multiple fight scenes, it far out-balances the acting, which is a shame - as there is a possibility for a deeper, more meaningful, character. Match James Bond with the main Bond girl, Jinx - and you have a recipe for disaster. Banal, cringeworthy, and ear-shattering lines make you want to shudder. It is clear that 'Bond equals' are definitely not the way forward. Miranda Frost's character is also shallow in substance, but is probably one of the stronger characters in the film.

Technology is the greatest downfall for this Bond film. Sequences such as the car chase rely far too heavily on gadgetry and technology. It also comes as a great shame to Bond fans, who have often admired the films for their realism and use of real effects and actors.

Locations are average. However Iceland is far too overused. In fact, there aren't a great deal of locations to review...

Plot? Nothing special. As with most of this film, there are areas for potential, and this is another. The North Korea element could be used alot more - and create an interesting plot. However, it reverts to a megalomaniac with a far-fetched laser plot and a "need" to destroy the west.

Overall, not excellent, not good, OK. Average. So-so. In between. A film with a man called James Bond created by Lee Tamahori, not Ian Fleming. A film worth a look, but not top of the list. Something that's good for the movie going audience, but not as good for Bond fans.


"Die Another Day" by Louis Armstrong

You're so good, especially when you're bad.

The film starts with Bond and a few other agents surfing onto a beach. They land, fiddle with some security system stuff and keep moving. Cool, I like espionage. Typical video game-quality dialogue with some bad guys. Bond's captured in Korea for fourteen months and MI6 leaves him for dead? Dark. An exchange, Bond for a British prisoner? Wow, what will 007 do once he's free? The possibilities are many. He's put in a hospital. Then, over a period of about ten minutes, he stops his heart, escapes, swims across a passage of water in his pajamas, shaves off his 'I-was-imprisoned' beard, cuts off his long 'I-was-tortured' locks, and throws an ashtray through a one-way mirror/window to find some people doing a crappy From Russia, With Love homage behind it. It's all downhill from here.

Die Another Day tries to be the Bond to End All Bonds (in more ways than one). As it wants to be at home amongst contemporary action blockbusters, the film's style is flash, flash and more flash. The fact that Madonna did the title song might tip you off to this. The main bulk of the story bends around spoofy satellite sci-fi discredited with only a moment's thought. Seriously - constant daylight? Does any normal citizen in the film who learns about the villain's project realize how much that would mess up the planet? It might be an acceptable cover for his plot, if only the movie didn't take itself so seriously. (Which it does, constantly dipping into clumsy dramatics, if only to lend its sensational proceedings a semblance of emotional purpose in the unlikely case that someone over ten years old is watching. Ironically, these attempts at thoughtfulness are so crude that no-one over ten is ever engaged.) The only element borrowed from one of the novels is found within this villain. Gustav Graves is like Ian Fleming's Hugo Drax in that he is an adored public figure, a British patriot who is not what he seems. The fact that Drax seems so well-intentioned hinders Bond's acting on intuition; in Die Another Day, there is no such dynamic between the equivalent characters. So much for that.

In a spiteful mockery of Bond's lifestyle, Graves models himself after the man to aid his transformation into a convincing Englishman. This explains away the villain owning a gadget-laden car, which is inevitably matched against Bonds'. The typical 'thinly-veiled battle of egos' between Bond & villain is botched: Graves brutally tries to injure Bond at a fencing club. Surely this would be reported on in the press. The writers continue their past-time of setting up characters and then betraying them when they make Miranda Frost an Olympic-level fencer...who just cannot win a match against the most incompetent NSA agent. It quickly becomes apparent that the writing is nothing but window-dressing to the action sequences. The one-liners sound like they were dreamed up by a horny teenager or for a children's spy movie, and as a result, none of them are tongue-in-cheek. Before Graves is killed, he has to rattle off three or four of these in succession, as if the writers couldn't choose which one sounded coolest. Note: they're called 'one'-liners for a reason. They shouldn't be used to construct entire conversations! When Bond girl Jinx arrives, she and Bond delve into a horrible innuendo competition, and for one of the only times in the series, I don't want to hear Bond and a woman seduce each other. For something that's packed with past-referencing pap, the film can't even do cinematic Bond cliches right.

As for that Bond guy. When Jinx and Miranda meet in the ice palace, it would be more likely for them to leave together instead of trading quips. What exactly prompted them to start talking like dopes? I guess that's just what women do when some dullard calling himself James Bond is within earshot. Also perplexing is that the drama of the climax focuses on Graves' daddy issues, rather than Bond having been betrayed by Frost. Apparently 007 forgets all about getting back at whoever set him up in Korea. The icing on the cake is when M declares that the release of Zao (a bald henchman with a diamond-studded face, played by flavour-of-the-month Fast and the Furious star Rick Yune) was 'too high a price' to pay for 007's freedom. In one line, the writers' immense lack of respect for forty years of Bond becomes all too apparent. Pierce Brosnan, despite having matured nicely since 1995, still hasn't been given instructions beyond 'look hot and be cool' and turns in another careless, unconsidered performance which yo-yos between cheap melodrama and the mannerisms of that breed of playboy far more common than Bond. He could never be called the film's weakest link, but he never elevates the material he's handed, either. And it doesn't seem like the filmmakers thought it was worth fashioning anything more than mindless action and pastiche for the man. It's a sad reflection of the character's state at the time when one considers how flat and smug a mirror like Graves was played. Whether it's Die Another Day's gimmick-drama attempting to destroy the myth, or its fan-boy gags painfully aware of the myth (neither of which would be enjoyable separated from the other - nevermind the disaster of their pairing), Bond takes a back-seat to everything in the film.


"Die Another Day" by James Clark

"So you live to die another day?"

There are those Bond fans who see the latest Bond film as the embodiment of fantasy and entertainment and those who wish to see a realistic portrayal of Fleming's hero with all the attributes we've come to expect. With the promise of something bigger and better once again in addition to the fact that Bond would be celebrating 40 years on the screen, Die another day was perhaps the most highly anticipated film in the series, and in November 2002 the disappointment filled the screen and enraged the most ardent of fans. Bond is essentially about both fantasy and integrity as an action adventure. By throwing everything into the mix, Die another day loses credibility after the first half an hour and becomes a farce in the same vein as Moonraker.

Madonna's title theme and resulting cameo are one of many misfires with Bond 20, to give it its original and actually more appealing name. The credits however, whilst teasing some kind of torture sequence rather than giving it to us on a plate, are actually quite cleverly designed by Daniel Kleinman. The idea of Bond for once being captured on a mission is also an appealing and well conceived one, even if he would look far more disheveled than that after 14 months. The film goes downhill from here with the introduction of the Aston Martin 'Vanish', the CGI which really is the worst thing to ever appear in the Bond series because of how totally unnecessary it is, and nonsense dialogue for an otherwise beautiful, dynamic Halle Berry. Giving her the name Jinx was the nail in the coffin for the character.

There are some great nods here and there to past Bond films – the best are the ones that are not forced in your face. The scene with John Cleese's Q interacting with Bond is actually one of the more enjoyable moments in the film. Seeing Rosa Klebb's shoe, the jet pack and the acrostar jet are great little memories of 40 years. A villain with shards of diamonds embedded in his face and an action sequence devised totally around lasers then completely undermine any of the great moments.

Die another day should have been a great balance of fantasy and intrigue. In moments this is achieved and Pierce Brosnan gives a largely charismatic performance as 007 but the 40th anniversary should have given us a film to remember and should certainly have given us a great swan song for Brosnan. As Michael Madsen's Falco orders, "You put your house in order" and bring us back to basics Bond. It seemed that despite fan opinion, James Bond would return to die another day. Cubby may have been turning in his grave at the CGI and crass dialogue but as we approach the 50th anniversary, all we can say is thank the lord for Daniel Craig and Casino Royale.