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‘Die Another Day’ – The Very Best, and Worst, of James Bond

‘Die Another Day’ – The Very Best, and Worst, of James Bond


“Die One other Day” (2002) is among the many most noteworthy of the entire James Bond movies.

It was helmed by New Zealand’s Lee Tamahori, the director of “As soon as Had been Warriors. The lead is well-liked Bond actor Pierce Brosnan, in his swan track because the character. The Bond lady du jour is current Oscar winner Halle Berry.

Additionally, this 007 thriller begins as one of many strongest, grittiest entries in your entire sequence, then goes within the actual wrong way.

It oddly begins on Maui, standing in for North Korea (!), as Bond is seen browsing like true wave god…and since Brosnan’s stunt double for this temporary introduction was browsing legend Laird Hamilton. In the course of the wild prolog, Bond manages to create chaos in direction of the North Korean navy however, nonetheless, is captured and turns into their prisoner.

Bond is brutally tortured, a montage that performs over the opening credit. I consider it’s the primary time an expectedly surreal 007 opening credit sequence connects with the storytelling, because the startling imagery (I really like the “fireplace” and “ice” dancers and ample scorpions) performs into the grueling views of Bond’s harrowing endurance take a look at.

It’s a knockout and most sudden technique to begin issues off.

Different firsts: right here’s a 007 film that makes use of The Conflict’s “London Calling” and, a lot later, there’s a Moneypenny love scene that have to be seen to be believed. It’s additionally the primary 007 film with a intercourse scene that really seems like one and never actors rigorously posing whereas kissing.

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Bond repeatedly has run ins with an NSA agent named Jinx (Berry) and pursues a rich British movie star named Gustav Graves (performed by Toby Stephens as if Tony Blair and Steve Jobs had been concurrently portrayed by Hugh Grant), whose recognition stems from public stunts and a larger-than-life persona.

Grave’s assistant, Frost (Rosamund Pike, already akin to her “Gone Woman” character) intrigues Bond. So does the whereabouts as a killer named Zao (Rick Yune), and a fistful of diamonds.

As soon as John Cleese’s Q is exhibiting Bond round and introducing him to the newest devices, the primary hints floor that the movie is about to run into bother.

Since that is Brosnan’s closing entry because the character, we get overt references to the prior Bond entries, a joke that labored in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969) however not right here. The prop humor provides technique to the reveal of Bond’s invisible automotive. Then we’re within the villain’s ice palace evil lair/ social gathering palace, the final place on earth anybody would wish to have a mixer.

There’s the ludicrous reveal of a villain’s true id, using an electro go well with and even a browsing scene that brings to thoughts Peter Fonda and Kurt Russell’s charming faux wave using in “John Carpenter’s Escape From L.A.” (1997).

“Die One other Day” is astonishing and never for good cause.

Witnessing how this robust, refreshingly completely different form of 007 thriller turn out to be a cartoon is a jaw-dropping expertise. The grim nature of the opener and the absorbing rebirth of Bond after 14 months of torture are seemingly forgotten.

RELATED: Was Timothy Dalton the Finest, Most Correct Bond?

There’s a sword duel, presumably staged to the mom of all onscreen fencing battles, that’s admittedly excessive however appears grounded and believable in comparison with the bonkers third act. How on Earth did Brosnan wind up in half a film, the place one half is a crowning achievement as his signature position, whereas the opposite half is among the many most embarrassing within the franchise’s historical past?

Audiences naturally flocked and turned this into, on the time, the highest grossing of all of the 007 movies. The start of “Die One other Day” (in truth, your entire first hour) is so excellent, I wish to overlook how the painfully corny third act and wrap up looks like a completely completely different film hijacked an excellent one.

A facet of “Die One other Day” that unquestionably holds up is the casting of Dame Judi Dench as M; neither her predecessor Bernard Lee nor subsequent Ralph Fiennes can maintain the display screen like Dench, whose casting within the position wasn’t simply impressed however important to the success of the Brosnan period.

Dench is so fierce within the position, it provides the movie a middle, even because it goes spectacularly off the rails.

However, even the dramatic weight of Dench and the 100 watt charisma of Brosnan can’t counter how the third act embraces camp in a what-me-worry vogue. It’s like the primary hour was written by Ian Fleming and the final hour was penned by Akiva Goldsman of “Batman & Robin” infamy.

Maybe the thought was join with the 007 film lineage, although that is way more bonkers than something in both “You Solely Dwell Twice” (1967) or “Moonraker” (1979).

The ample CGI results seemed faux in 2002, with the electrical energy showing because it does in “Superman IV: The Quest For Peace” (1987). If that sounds imply, simply contemplate the standard of the visible results in Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report,” launched the identical 12 months, and evaluate it to this far dearer film.

Tamahori is a gifted filmmaker, although a few of his decisions right here questionable, like pointless use of gradual movement and committing to a grand finale not too far faraway from “Mighty Morphin Energy Rangers.”

Madonna’s controversial title track is one other divisive ingredient, although I discover it a lot simpler to defend than the movie itself. Sounding like her “Music” however with calculated CD skips and spare lyrics suggesting the boastful psyche of 007 (“Sigmund Freund, analyze this”), it’s a self-consciously unusual and hypnotic observe.

Madonna’s prolonged cameo look within the movie might have been a bit a lot however her extremely debated track is unorthodox and terrific.

The highs of “Die One other Day” are so good, it’s tempting to counsel viewing this for 70 minutes, then stopping. Nonetheless, should you watched simply the final 50 minutes of “Die One other Day” out of context, you’d ask why Brosnan was starring in a lavish toy business and questioning when Adam West and Burt Ward will present up.

Brosnan’s closing stint as 007 is an odd beast: one half of the best Bond film ever, the opposite half absolutely the worst. No less than the ultimate closing title card didn’t lie: fortunately, the franchise did stay as much as its concluding promise:

“James Bond Will Return.”

Initially Printed by – Barry Wurst

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Written by Harry Rosen

Harry Rosen is an accomplished explorer, photographer, creative director, speaker, and author.

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