The press previews of Die Another Day began last night in London, and CommanderBond.Net can bring the worlds first review of Die Another Day.
BOND 20: DIE ANOTHER DAY
Empire, Leicester Square, London, England.
8 November 2002
Rating: 8.5/10 or 4/5 or A-
Fast paced and action packed DAD has one of the best beginnings and endings of any Bond movie ever, with special effects truly worthy of the Bond franchise. Unfortunately the movie is let down by contrived links between elements of the story in order to fit in so much. Brosnan recently said that the movie is one and half Bonds packed into one, and that is the problem. But the movie has many strengths. Following the changed gun barrel sequence, with faster paced music and a CGI bullet that flies at the audience through the gun barrel, its opening teaser sequence is perhaps the best ever with amazing explosions and huge amount of destruction. The credit sequence has Bond going through a terrible ordeal viewed through the dancing bodies of women made of fire and ice, with the radio edit of Madonna’s Die Another Day played over it. But what follows that is a film with more humour, that actually works, than normal and as the publicity has already said, a Bond who is no longer a 00. He is an outcast who must reclaim his identity. Using his contacts and knowledge of MI6’s global network he is able to avoid the people who once employed him and on the way meet Halle Berry who is definitley one of the more tougher, capable and credible Bond babes, Jinx. Bond also discovers more about the bizarre nature of the villains he is facing. Culminating in a return to London, with Bond landing to the tune of the Clash’s ‘London Calling’, he gains MI6s help to chase who he thinks is his arch nemesis. But not before a rather flat cameo from Madonnna that proves once again she just can’t act. At this point Toby Stephen’s portrayal of Gustav Graves also becomes worrying. A mixture of Hugh Grant and Tim Curry, Stephen’s villain is the weakest of all the Brosnan era bad guys. Robert Carlisle’s Renard is still number one in my book. With Bond back on the road to reclaiming his old job he witnesses Graves demonstration of how the great industrialist will ‘save’, or is that fool, the world and gets to make ‘proper’ contact with Miranda Frost, played ably by the absolutely stunning Rosamund Pike. Investigating Graves lair for the truth behind the apparent philanthropy he finds himself having to help a friend and then escapes, performing perhaps the most extraordinary, or is that ridiculous, stunt of the entire franchise. You have to see it to believe it. But this does begin the final chapter of this eye candy extravanganza and fortunatly for the viewer, the end of the weaker moments that undermine what could have been Brosnan’s Spy Who Loved Me.
Chasing after the men who want to bring total war to the Korean peninsula Bond and his ally face a weapon of mass destruction that is out of control. Ultimately of course Bond’s girl falls to his charms and we leave 007 in her arms to return another day. Judi Dench is fine as M and Mike Madsen is a good tough as nails NSA chief. The end credits music is a remix of Madonnna’s theme tune but I couldn’t say which one. Its not ‘very’ mixed so take your pick. So where does DAD come in the all time top 20. Slightly higher than TWINE but certainly not better than Goldinger, OHMSS, YOLT, Moonraker, or Goldeneye. But I’m sure Bond fans view’s on that list will be different.
Tamahori’s direction is largely good but what detracts from it is his apparent need to use slow mo where it isn’t needed and some sort of ‘time shift’-esque scene switching. In interviews he claimed that he has created a film that is half thriller and half action. Utterely wrong. Its a straight action film and for my money Martin Campbell is still the best Brosnan era director so far.
Overall an enjoyable but flawed Bond 20. Here’s to another 40 years!