Die Another Day retrospective


#1

16 years on, is Die Another Day still as awful as we originally thought (well except for zencat :wink:). I remember walking out of the theater and being so depressed, I thought James Bond was dead. I absolutely hated the ending. When the plane hit the sun beam and nearly sustained any damage, my feelingsad that was it. This, on top of, Jinx, the entire ice palace sequence, the terrible CGI (and not just the ice wave, but also the first time we see icarus), the invisible car, Zao’s name not being Korean, the theme song, etc.

However, there so much to like in this film too. Rosamund Pike is excellent as Miranda Frost and gorgeous as hell. Toby Stephen’s gives a great performance, doing his best to save some fairly weak material. I feel that Graves/Moon is an underrated villain in the canon as it is. The first half of the film is excellent with Bond being captured and disavowed and then investigating in his own. I’ve learned the except the invisible car, even if it’s another example of this film’s over-reliance on awful CGI. The car chase in Iceland is great, but I wish they had chosen a real place instead of building an Ice Palace. All we see of Iceland is an empty glacier. That sequence could’ve been set anywhere. The plane finale isnt terrible and I actually enjoy the fight between Bond and Graves. I would much rather have seen Bond kill Frost though, instead of Jinx. Overall, I think the film has aged a little better, than its initial impression would suggest.


The World is Not Enough. Is it really that bad?
#2

Call me naive, easy to please etc, but I never had a problem with DAD. Not with the narrative, the theme song, the characters, the fanciful technology - nothing. Just at the point when I was wondering ‘Is Bond going to go around looking like Robinson Crusoe for the whole film?’ he arrived at the Rubyeon Royale and got cleaned up.

To all those who say the story ‘falls apart’ upon Bond’s arrival in Iceland, I ask ‘How would you have ended it?’ and I would expect a different answer from each of you, and none of you would be satisfied with the others’ ideas.

Yes, I take issue with the CGI parasurfing scene, but I think it wouldn’t have been as bad without the bombastic blast of the JB theme. That should be reserved for live stunt performers doing something spectacular. Rewarding some computer nerds with it is as insulting as the slide-whistle effect over the barrel roll in TMWTGG.

Invisible car? Too perfect - that’s all. That technology is a lot closer to being than is stuffing a submarine conversion into a Lotus Esprit (admittedly, another of my favorite gadgets). I’d often wondered what Bond would do if he encountered a villain with a similarly-equipped vehicle, and now I know. Well done.

As for the climax, well, why not? Instead of the usual static location, three of Brosnan’s films featured a mobile platform that was in danger of self-destructing with him aboard. That adds to the tension in my book.

Plus, I admit I have a soft spot for DAD because it was integral to a time of my life when big changes for the better were happening. I can’t say that about any of the other films.

I suppose I could repeat this post in the ‘Which film do you defend to the death?’ thread.


#3

It’s always fun to see Pierce Brosnan in the role, no matter how outlandish his adventures get. The beginning of the movie is very exciting, and I enjoy seeing Bond on a mission in North Korea. Things take a wrong turn during the opening credits with Madonna’s unfortunate song. Things pick up again when Michael Madsen makes his humorous enterance. Bond’s escapades in Hong Kong and Havana are entertaining. Halle Berry’s Jinx is gorgeous, but the script gives her bad dialogue. The sword fight is fun, and Toby Stephens is actually very good as the villain. Then Bond meets with Q and gets his invisible car, which is a little too much sci-fi for a Bond movie. The Iceland scenes are good with the exception of the laser battle with Mr. Kil, which is just cringeworthy. The other exception is the surfing scene, which has some really bad special effects. Things get back on track with the car battle between Bond and Zao. The rest of the movie is very enjoyable, with a few flaws here and there. Overall, it is a decent movie that is not nearly as bad as many claim it is.


#4

For me DAD is a classic game of two halves,
the first half is not too bad, everything up to getting to the Ice hotel;
some nice stuff in HKG, London, Cuba etc
the second half is just awful


#5

I totally agree, I saw it at the cinema, and loved the opening,as it felt like a Flemming novel,that gritty feeling of dispair and isolation in the cell in North Korea really felt like Flemming’s James bond. When he got back to London and the invisible car turned up, I thought "oh no! He we go!’ And I was right!


#6

For the sake of discusssion…

I agree with everyone, except my good friend AMC Hornet of course, that the 2nd half of DAD is off the rails. All the reasons listed - invisibility, dodgy CGI etc (though to be fair, the “it’s still just a case” line by Graves is a perennial favourite of mine).

But is the conventional wisdom that the first half is really that much better, actually accurate?

Bond as Robinson Crusoe? (not Brozza’s fault, let me stress) Halle Berry? Dodgy CGI Halle Berry? Madonna? (aurally and orally). Even more blatant product placement than usual. Michael Madsen in a Bond film? “Saved by the Bell”? Gustav Graves as mysterious industrialist cover story (as ludicrous as any plot hole in SF)? First VR reality scene (completely random with no sense of build-up whatsoever, existing merely to set-up the cheap Moneypenny gag of the ending). London Calling (a classic. As is Bond, but sometimes classics are not improved by putting them together). A general sheen of basic cable TV set-design and cinematography?

I’m not a fan of MR with it’s coffin boat chases, pidgeons, and fakest snake ever, but it still feels like classic EON Bond. DAD, with it’s desire to imitate the XXX vibe (whatever happened to that guy?) is, for both hours, an awkward and failed attempt to be “cutting edge” and echo classic Bond at the same time.

The second hour is definitely the worst, IMHO. It’s just the first isn’t really that much better.


#7

Please can we all take a minute to remember Pierce and Halle at it with a fig and a knife… truly horrible in every conceivable way… lest we forget.


#8

I think it’s Brosnan’s best performance, and because of the hyperbolic hate the film as a whole receives I considered it underrated. It’s worth checking out again as a loosened up adult. People talk about the perceived bad things at the detriment of the good things. I see 2004’s Everything or Nothing along the same lines as DAD. Big, blockbuster entertainment with Bond rappelling down buildings (biodomes in DAD).

I’ve give some brief thoughts on what I enjoy:

The surfing sequence was something new and made for great visuals.
Bond being captured was a great plot point while it lasted.
Prisoner transfer and hospital escape – both great.
Bond walking into the hotel soaking wet and unkempt was hilarious.
Brosnan having a shave and ‘becoming Bond’ again makes me smile.
Raoul is a solid ally, and it’s a shame we didn’t see more of him.
“I don’t need a goddamn wheelchair? – “you do now”. Such a cool scene.
Halle Berry isn’t to everyone’s tastes but I loved her back in the day.
Rosamund Pike is fantastic.
Bond walking through the patient’s room and having a grape is also cool.
‘London Calling’ is used effectively, and the cameo from Deborah Moore is nice.
The swordfight is easily one of the best fight sequences in the franchise.
We get to ‘see’ Bond in his office, which is rare, and the scene itself allows for a dramatic scenario.
As a videogame fan I loved seeing him use the laser watch, and swim into the hot springs.
The sonic ring is a great gadget and used appropriately.
“Hey boss, he beat your time”. That’s pure Bond right there.
I’ve touched upon the ice wave in another thread. I don’t outright hate it. But the CGI is poor.
The car chase is one of the last ‘fair dinkum’ vehicle scenes in the franchise, sans QoS.
Zao’s death is gruesome, and the adaptive camoflauge is used for dramatic/clever effect.
Love the concept of the Ice Palace.
“Time to face gravity”. I found that satisfying in 2002 and I still do.
The VR scene with Moneypenny is harmless, and in the end, a great way to say goodbye.


#9

I agree that Everything or Nothing is absurdly over the top, but so is Nightfire. The fact is, they are games and they were written to be games. Die Another Day feels like a game that became a movie instead. As I stated above, I definitely don’t hate it like I used to, but it’s still in the lower half of Bond films for me.


#10

Ironic that Die Another Day is the only Brosnan movie that wasn’t made into a video game.


#11

007 Legends includes Die Another Day.