351

Re: Pros and Cons: Die Another Day

Had a good time rewatching this.  I know others might consider it one of the worst Bond films, but it entertained me.

My criticisms:

-They go a bit too far with the references to previous Bond films
-The laser fight with Kil looks cartoonish.

Nevertheless, I give it an 8/10.

"Hostile takeovers.  Shall we?"
New 2020 ranking (for now DAF and FYEO keep their previous placements)
1. TLD  2. TND  3. GF  4. TSWLM 5. TWINE 6. OHMSS 7. LtK 8. TMWTGG 9. L&LD 10. YOLT 11. DAD 12. QoS 13. DN 14. GE 15. SF 16. OP 17. MR 18. AVTAK 19. TB 20. FRWL 21. CR 22. FYEO 23. DAF (SP to be included later)
Bond actors to be re-ranked later

352

Re: Pros and Cons: Die Another Day

PROS
- First half is full of excellent stuff, some of it very original, even subversive for a BondFilm.

- Bond being captured at the end of the precredits, instead of triumphant, then tortured for 18 months, is particularly subverting the whole established BondFilm formula. 
- First opening credits to actually form part of the narrative. And that "concierge" is kind of cute for a torturer.
- Bond's release in a spy-swap is classic realistic spy thriller imagery.
- Newly released Bond, rightfully distrusted by M, who protects herself from behind a glass shield. This is all from Fleming.
- I actually cheered in the theatre as I recognised which bit of Fleming was being finally adapted.
- Even the use of scorpions in the credits sequence: the cover of You Only Live Twice (mid60s Hawkey edition) featured a scorpion!

- Bond entering the hotel lobby, again subverts the conventions of a BondFilm, and may be Brosnan's funniest moment ever.
- I like Bond's collaboration with Chinese intelligence when M won't support him. It makes sense he would have forged a relationship after working with Wai Lin, just as he forged the relationship with Gogol.

- We watch Jinx have an orgasm.
A first for our Bond films, where coitus is usually represented by two adults lounging round in a strategically positioned bedsheet drinking champagne and making puns.

- The idea of including at least one reference to each of the previous 19 films is clever in and of itself, and some of them are fun to spot.
- Bond picks up the book Birds of the West Indies.
- I just noticed the Players ad on the wall of the subway behind John Cleese.

- The sword fight is beautifully played, very dangerous looking. Along with the handcuff chase, and the boatchase on the Thames, this is one of the best action sequences from the Brosnan films.
- Of course James Bond should get in a sword-fight. He's the reincarnation of St George and Douglas Fairbanks.
You know he even had a bit of a swordfight with Blofeld himself in the YOLT book? And MooreBond had a quick swordclash wih Baron Samedi.

- The second half of the film adapts more of Moonraker than Moonraker did.
- I dislike the rocket car and the surfing as much as anybody, but the collapse of that cliff: that's another bit from Moonraker, the book!
- The ice palace and chasing round on snowmobiles may be from Gardner's book Icebreaker. Along with the villain being named Colonel Sun-Something, they are nicely paying tribute to two of the continuation authors as well as Fleming and EON's own legacy.

- If you switch the film off right after M meets with Miranda, it has actually been a pretty good Bond film.
- And as such is better than Tomorrow Never Dies.



CONS
- Another lame original title with the word Die in it.
- Madonna's song does not sound like a BondSong, and breaks a nice run of three in a row that had tried. And will be followed by two more that do not.

- Because this film has the most Fleming content since Brosnan started, it therefor disproves the rule Fleming content by definition makes for a better Bondfilm.

- All that CGI in the second half. Also Matrix-style bullet-time. Makes this look like a postStar Wars fantasy rather than a pseudo-realistic Bondfilm.
- So OK, the film is partially a remake of Moonraker, thus may require uptodate sci-fi style special effects. But the reason why Moonraker needed remaking in the first place is because the Roger Moore film threw out all the Fleming in favour of Star Wars style effects.
- In the old films, all those futuristic looking sets were built by Ken Adam or Syd Cain, and the stunts performed by Bob Simmons and his colleagues, which is to say it was all real, as fantastic as it might look.

- Bond isn't brainwashed and doesn't try to assassinate M. They started to adapt this plot, they should have gone all the way.

- Wai Lin doesn't reappear, even though I understand she was intended to. Where would she have fit in, the Hong Kong scenes, or was she intended to have Jinx's role?

- Bond's pursuit of a traitor within MI6 is mentioned enough, yet I never really noticed this was the plot until the third or fourth time I viewed the movie. It get buried beneath the CGI, Berry's bad acting, and all the high-concept fourth wall breaking.

- Second remake of Diamonds are Forever in only four films.

- The references to old films become distracting and undermine any suspension of disbelief. I think the first big one to appear is the camera in the hotel room, and it makes so little sense it immediately takes us outside the narrative.
- The films had long pastiched old plots (since YOLT), but these clever references we are challenged to spot are different, and would become an ongoing thing in the Craig films where they are just as distracting.

- Brosnan's own acting is very stilted, like James Bond is self-aware he is strutting through the ritual that is a James Bond film. Without the winking charm of Connery and Moore.

- Bond and Jinx's dialog, from their first lines, so heavyhanded in its innuendo it makes no sense as in-universe dialog.
BrosnanBond didn't pick up other chicks using these lines, why's he speaking to Jinx like this?
Does he already suspect she's a rival agent from his first sight of her? That seems the only explanation, yet we are shown no reason why he should until he sees her get on the boat in the morning.
- Halle Berry delivers her lines with such heavyhanded attitude, Jinx is both annoying as a character and is continually breaking the fourth wall.
I dont remember Halle Berry like this in other films, so this is an acting choice.

- Jinx was being hyped for her own spin-off series. And she actually does most of the investigative work quite successfully, while the hero of the film gets himself repeatedly captured, seduced by a villain, and then pursued on an irrelevant chase. Which is to say our hero isn't actually contributing much.
- We spend so much of the film watching their two parallel adventures, I think the passage of time gets confused. For example Jinx spends a very long time being drowned in the hotel room while Bond is driving over the edge of a cliff and surfing back onland, etc.

- Actually why does Bond steal the rocket car and try to escape? If he seriously intended to run away and abandon Jinx, why didn't he use his invisible car? None of this makes any sense and wastes about 15 minutes of the film.

- "He did you? I didn't know he was that desperate". This language is not Bondian.

- We don't see Miranda Frost have an orgasm.
Of course Frost probably doesn't normally have them, but if she found herself nonetheless experiencing a reluctant one it would have been all the more exciting, and indicative of Bond's Mojo.

- This was Brosnan's outro, and unfortunately this was his final chance to make a good impression. We know from interviews he would have liked to do a darker, more serious film, like Craig got to.
I suggest watching November Man to see where Brosnan could have taken Bond if EON had allowed him to.

Last edited by caractacus potts (15th Jun 2020 14:43)

353

Re: Pros and Cons: Die Another Day

Most of the Fleming-inspired material is in the first half (Graves parallels Drax closely, Frost parallels Brand, there's a duel at Blades analogous to the card game in the MR novel.) rather than the second. The first half is better than the second. Therefore the rule about Fleming content still stands.