DIE ANOTHER DAY - REVIEW
Hardly the most popular of the Bond films, Die Another Day marks the end of Pierce Brosnan's run as 007 and, by extension, the end of the super-suave, wisecrackin' agent with all the best (read: worst) puns this side of MI6.
Yes it was time for a change. After a great start to the Bond franchise, Brosnan's films started losing whatever little edge they had instead opting for a lighter, Roger Moorian cartoonish tone. Die Another Day is when Bond really became pure sci-fi. Which meant good news for fans of G.I. Joe but bad news for Ian Fleming purists.
To be fair: you are warned pretty darn quickly about what you're in for with Bond surfing his way to North Korea in a scene so implausible you'll be making faces long before 007 reveals himself as one of the surfers. The pre-titles sequence proves to be much more promising though with Bond ending up getting captured and tortured throughout Madonna's hit-and-miss theme song. So far, so messy. The key plot is an interesting one with Bond being suspected of leaking information to North Korea then going rogue to prove himself and find escaped villain Zao.
Oh and John Cleese gives him an invisible car lol
Bond girl Jinx (Halle Berry) is soon introduced and provides Bond with his first unlikely sex scene of the film not to mention the weirdest diving shot you'll ever see. You know the one I mean. Always freaks me out. Oh, also the puns Berry and Brosnan are given are pretty embarrassing and delivered awkwardly at best. So after a fun sword fight between Bond and villain number 2 Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens) supervised by Madonna and Rosamund Pike's Bond girl number 2, the action moves to the "ice palace" and that's when things start to really get wacky.
Expect face transplants, a henchman called Mr Kil, laser beams, a killer satellite, yet another unlikely sex scene and an action sequence in which James Bond outruns the SUN.
Well... the Icarus satellite.
Wind-surfing his way out of trouble, Brosnan does his best with one of the strangest green-screen/CGI shots you'll ever see in a Bond film. That said, there are some plus points to this second act: the Jaguar-on-Aston Martin car chase is a lot of fun... ok ONE plus point. For those in it just for the lols (me!) there's much more to enjoy, though, when Gustav Graves turns out to be more than what he seems and actually likes wearing glow-in-the-dark dream masks at night, dressing up as a robot and electrocuting people at random. Yes, our Bond villain has now become... a cross between a Scooby-Doo villain and an Iron Man villain...
It's all very absurd but looking back at Die Another Day there is a sense throughout that this is more of a hommage to the James Bond films than a serious outing. The 20th film in the Bond franchise, there is an attempt to fit in several references to past 007 movies and although that tends to hurt the film plot-wise (and tone-wise) it also makes it a lot of fun. This is one entertaining, if messy, compilation and not one to take seriously at all. Die Another Day will infuriate those up for a clever, serious Bond effort but, like I said, those in it for the lols will have a ball. For something a bit more substantial and much less cartoony I'd suggest Tomorrow Never Dies (or even GoldenEye I suppose).
Overall, Die Another Day is best seen as an unofficial best-of-Bond than anything else. Sure it's OTT, it's silly, it's absurd... it's stupid. But it's one of those guilty pleasures you go back to and lol throughout, secretly enjoying its nonsense while acknowledging its shortcomings.
More Moonraker than Live And Let Die I'm afraid.
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