Die Another Day retrospective

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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!

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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007 Legends includes Die Another Day.

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Been listening to David Arnold recently, and had to share this feeling I had.

Kiss of Life is an awesome track. My favourite part? The moment Bond is flatlining and supposedly near death, with images of his NK torture present in him mind, and the music becoming very dramatic. But then a confident, modern techno beat swaggers in, with the very origins of the cinematic Bond (the Dr No gunbarrel sounds) resurrecting him. I get chills thinking about it.

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Rewatched DAD recently. Forgot how much I enjoyed it.

The performances from the whole ensemble are better than the characters they’re playing deserve (imagine Graves or Jinx in the hands of two lesser actors)

Arnold’s score is phenomenal

As is Peter Lamont’s production design.

Apartment from Madonna, the stuff at Blades is brilliant.

Again the acting, but I want to single someone out - Toby Stephens, who is playing the most over the top character in a very over the top film, is both believable and threatening - that should be impossible given his story, yet Stephens gives the strongest counterpoint to Brosnan since Sean Bean - his parents, the acting legends Dane Maggie Smith and Sir Robert Stephens, should be proud.

As stated several posts above, my stance has somewhat softened on this film in the 16+ years since its release (gosh has it really been that long?). There are very redeemable parts to it and the cast is great and does what it can with a weak script and poorly written characters. Halle Berry deserved so much better as Jinx should have been one of the greats, but as a result of the cringe-worthy one-liners and that painful sex scene, she comes off as one of the weirdest and worst characters in the franchise. Will Yun Lee/Toby Stephens are great as the main villain. Col Moon/Graves is a vastly underrated villain in the canon (as are most of the main baddies of Brosnan’s tenure). Graves is likable and very menacing. I love how easily he can be provoked. Not to mention, Toby Stephens is clearly just having so much fun in the role. Miranda Frost is the better written of the 2 Bond girls, but giving her the last name Frost was such a dead giveaway that she’d be the femme fatale. Rosamund Pike is one of my favorite actresses and, at least for me, is one of the highlights of this film. The first half is superb, with the excellent PTS, the torture sequence in the main titles (whilst muting Madonna’s song), the fight at Blades, Cuba, Bond’s escape. But once it hits Iceland, it just collapses in on itself. Tamahori relies way too much on CGI and horrible bits of slow-mo. I wonder if he didn’t have time for proper filming as he was too busy with his other career… Anyhoo, the best part of the Iceland sequence is definitely during the Icarus demonstration and Bond, instead of looking at the light, is just staring at Graves. The best moment of a weak sequence and honestly one of the better Bond/villain moments in the series. The ending is honestly, not that bad. I love the fight between Bond and Graves in the plane and how Graves’ cockiness leads to his downfall. Overall, it’s a film that isn’t as bad as you remember, but one that, in the hands of a much more competent director, could’ve been so much more.


I remember seeing this at the cinema, and thought the start of it was great! The credits scene showing Bond undergoing torture and his appearance after his 14 month incarceration were pure Flemming, it was simply great… Until the invisible car

Just rewatched DAD. A strong attempt to pay homage. PB still enjoys playing the role,and uses my personal favorite handgun S&W Model 10 .38 calibre.


I never hated this movie as much as other people on this site. The first hour is damn near perfect. But the gene replacement story in Cuba and Jinx’s CGI dive into the water were foreboding of the disappointment to come. Still, Blades was cool. Ice Palace was interesting. If only there were a big army battle there instead of the plane finale we got. Still, if it weren’t for the CGI wave, the ending wouldn’t be that bad. It’s just that the Craig era to follow showed how good a serious Bond movie could be.

Brosnan I thought did his best in this film. He’s Connery cocky (“Put your back into it”) and the “So you live to die another day … Colonel” is delivered with the same calculating menace as Bond to Dent in Dr. No. Wish Brosnan was granted one more go at it.

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I, more or less, consider the game Everything or Nothing to be Brosnan’s 5th.

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Still don’t understand the notion that the first half is any good. DNA-replacement therapy, then. Re-engineering every single cell in the body, not least those in the brain, but one retains one’s memories in full? I suppose it’s a notion that the mind, the soul, is distinct from the physical flesh. Perhaps there’s a quasi-religious message in there. Perhaps it’s utter bollocks.

Meanwhile, here’s the ostensibly outrageous invisible car to stop you asking questions about the DNA thing. even though the car is (a stretch of) something potentially plausible (the likelihood of cameras in the glass and tyre rubber, and the pointlessness of hiding behind it, aside).


I also remember that the director wanted to make the James Bond Codename theory canon. Thank goodness for small miracles.