Die Another Day


Ah, Bond films. A guilty pleasure of mine, I have to admit. And in general, I’ve enjoyed the Brosnan films as much as the Connery films, which naturally makes me an outcast from any ‘serious’ Bond discussion. But no one’s going to tell me to shut up here, are they? So I’d better get this reviewed before we put any irritating ‘comment on this review’ boxes on this website. There are a few key elements to a Bond film, so I’ll go through them individually.

Opening Sequence

Nice work. Far better to my mind that of ‘The World is not Enough’, and with a twist ending too. I liked this a lot, but unfortunately it ends with Madonna’s not so good title song. I quite enjoy the song in a general level, and I’ve seen it put to good use in other places, but it just doesn’t work here. For a start, it doesn’t have enough of a recognisable melody to run through the rest of the film, which is a pity as I really enjoy it when that happens. A good example is the theme from k.d.lang’s ‘Surrender’ that pervaded ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’.


Generally good, with exciting stuff in the opening sequence and an excellent sword fight between Bond and Graves that is one of the high points of the film. However the ball is dropped somewhat at the end when the whole thing degrades into a punch-up between the two, with Graves taking rather longer to get around to using his cool electro-zapping gear than I would if I were fighting a cool super agent.

It happens.


I should probably mention Halle Berry’s entrance here — it can’t be denied that she is a very well put-together woman. But acting-wise, she doesn’t seem to be putting that much effort in. In fairness to her, some of her dialogue is rather lame — her meeting with Bond being a prime example. She does however get a good fight at the end that almost makes up for the snorefest going on elsewhere with Bond. I’ve been puzzled by the peculiar publicity her character garnered however. “An equal to Bond, an agent from another country”. This is no first. Have people forgotten ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ and the inimitable Michelle Yeoh? I can’t remember enough about ‘The Spy who Loved Me’ but I suspect there was a dynamic female spy in that too…

Rosamunde Pike comes across as a rather superior Bond girl, and not just because she’s cuter (which she is). Her amusing comments on Bond’s charms and subsequent conquering by them were very enjoyable, as were her icy exchanges with Bond and Jinx.


Brosnan is looking fairly assured in the role, though probably starting to approach the ‘too old’ stage. I give him one more. And he needs to watch his weight a bit. 14 months of torture doesn’t normally leave you in such… healthy shape, but then, he is Bond. He remains a cross between a fun loving Bond who glories in the action and an angry emotional Bond that will kill with much vengeance if necessary. Sadly he is not offered much in the way of closure concerning his ordeal at the start of the film, and the movie suffers for this. Indeed, after the first half things are almost Roger Moore-esque, Bond included. A less important point is the editing out of his joyous expression at performing a cool stunt in his Aston Martin on the ice. It was in the trailer, but doesn’t appear in the actual film, which is a shame. One of my favourite parts of ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ was his obvious enjoyment of the carpark chase, and I like the idea that Bond gets off on his crazy action as much as we (theoretically) do.

I also wasn’t particularly impressed by his cajoling Jinx’s frozen body to wake up. I like my Bond just a little less flappable than that.


John Cleese fits perfectly into the role, with dutiful nods to his late predecessor, Desmond Llwellyn. The Q scene in fact becomes probably one of the best parts of the film, and is the funniest one since ‘Goldeneye’.


Hee hee.

Oh, you’re serious?

Well, things aren’t as solid as they were in ‘The World is not Enough’. There’s this guy with diamonds, and he uses them to make a big destructo ray in the sky, with apparently no complaints from any authorities. I do hope people can’t really do that. There were many complaints about the portrayal of North Korean baddies in this film, but considering that we are also offered the villain’s wise, cautious father as a postive portrayal of a North Korean makes this all seem a bit odd. The suggestion of the film seems to be that it was the English influences on Graves that made him peculiar in any case.

Overall, I found myself loving the first half of the film, and being intensely bored by the second half — reminding me somewhat of ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’. It’s a shame, because after raising the stakes at the start, they could have taken this movie anywhere they wanted. What a pity they decided to take it to ‘Moonraker’.

DVD Review

Bond’s first 2-Disc set! There’s a few informative documentaries. It’s embarassing seeing all the effort that went into the opening surfing sequence, when you know that the audience completely forgot it ten minutes later. Somewhat more interesting is the information about the ice-based car chase. What with warming temperatures, and driving at breakneck speed across 30 centimetres of ice, it seems a lot of risk to go to simply to make a Bond film. On the warmer side of things, there’s a fairly well publicised ‘easter egg’ in which we are shown Halle Berry emerging from the water… from all three angles, on loop. Presumably this to allow all the Bond fans to compare it frame by frame to Ursula Andress’ similar scene in ‘Doctor No’.

‘Die Another Day’ is also the first Bond film to have Bond give an audio commentary. Pierce Brosnan and Rosamunde Pike both provide fairly interesting insights, but sadly were recorded in separate rooms. Pike tends to gush about the whole experience in places, but she’s so damn cute I really don’t care. Brosnan is worthwhile too, speaking of how sometimes he’d like to do an all out, gory, sexy, R-rated Bond film. He also appears to have an orgasm when seeing the ice-bound car chase.

I’ve not yet heard the director’s commentary, so I’ll update the review at that point. But so far, it seems a decent release.


2 Responses to “Die Another Day”

  1. Halle berry is wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy better looking than the mousy rosamunde pike-there’s no contest.

  2. I said “cuter”. Halle Berry is almost certainly hotter, but does she have a British accent? No.