1. Die Another Day – Paris Press Screening

    By Kevin Collette on 2002-11-15



    Writer’s note : I have purposefully OMITTED to delve about ‘surprises’ happening during the length of Die Another Day arc story – not to spoil anything for fans (of which I am…Still!)

    Friday, November the 15th.
    9h45 AM at the Normandie Cinema, up on the Champs Elysées in the luxurious 8th arrondissement of Paris…

    Word-of-mouth must have travelled faster than usual, for a huge queue of journalists (mixed with friends & fans hopelessly trying to get in) is already in front of the Cinema more than an hour in advance.The French’s love story with Mr Bond dated back from the 60’s, and is still hot these days.Pierce Brosnan, Lee Tamahori, Halle Berry, Barbara Broccoli & Michael G.Wilson are to attend a Gala screening by Tuesday, nov the 19th, following a huge Press conference.

    After careful checking on the P.R listings, we lucky members of the Press are let in – precious French Press-kit tucked firmly under the arm (Press kit being a true beauty in itself! A glossy hard bound 80 pages colour ‘Corporate’ magazine with a stunning cover). The Normandie being one of the best Cinema of Paris , it can house more than 800 persons , most of the Prestige Press Screenings happen here , from LORD OF THE RINGS : THE TWO TOWERS (which I’ll be seeing in two weeks) to AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER

    A buzz of excitement can be clearly heard in the vast area. Most of my colleagues wink at me (well, I’ve got a reputation), and after a 15 minutes wait, the room darkened…

    Heeeeere we go, I said to myself.

    Although I do know ‘practically’ everything about this film ( from rejected scripts sequences to Film Posters scrapped ideas), I still feel quite excited by this Bond movie. Almost as excited in fact as I was feeling back in Autumn ’77 when I discovered THE SPY WHO LOVED ME at the Paris Saint Germain Drugstore Cinema – skipping an entire day at school for the occasion!

    Being a sentimentalist , I cannot help thinking that both Mr Bond & I are reaching our forties this year …Surely a coincidence?
    Nah, ‘best of a Man’s years’, no doubt.

    Anyway… Onto business.

    From the innovative (and still affectionate) 21st Century version of the gun-barrel sequence to the (almost bearable) final rendition of Madge’s Die Another Day sure hit-and-miss song, D.A.D. is a great celebration of 40 years of 007’s onscreen adventures.

    It is a welcome return to a larger-than-life Bond, a Fantasy Bond – from the past times of DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER or YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE. A Super Hero Bond film, where our beloved secret agent can dive in an icy lake without instantly freezing, has an invisible car – which he didn’t totalled for a change (Q section will be happy!), manage in the nick of time to avoid a giant blazing laser beam coming from a deadly Satellite in the sky, makes love to Moneypenny …And, of course, gets the girl at the end!

    The audience roared with laughers, applauded many time (a behaviour usually not typical of Press & Media representatives), and yours truly had to be put on (heavy) sedative watching the Cuba scene of Jinx coming out of the sea.

    Speaking of which, the ‘Cuban arrangement’ of The James Bond Theme is a joy to hear, and , again throws the audience back forty year earlier – with reminiscences of Dr No’s Monty Norman Calypso score.

    The Villains are truly in the ‘over-the-top’ Fleming mould (think Sir Hugo Drax for Gustav Graves), the henchmen are sinister enough (One-armed function of a deceased Mr Kil is quite Bondian indeed!), and everybody in the cast seems to have done his homework and try – often succeeding – to deliver their lines in the most outrageous , yet utterly threatening Bond-style.And for those of you who read my interview with Will Yun Lee done back at the last Cannes Film Festival, well, let’s just say that this guy is the main villain indeed.

    Example: the Blade’s scene, truly one of the very best fight ever staged in the whole Bond series (second best to FRWL train fight , according to your humble writer) is a joy to watch. Madonna looks indeed twenty years older than she is, thanks to an awful make-up, but she’s okay as a Fencing addict (and deliver her lines with conviction). But the ensuing duel will bring back memories of classic movie swordbuckling fights (I even appear to think of Tim Dalton’s own in …The Rocketeer!)

    Surprise: despite an over-the-top Internet coverage by fan websites around the World, there are STILL some surprises in store for all of you (an homage to AVTAK pre credits stunt surf scene, for instance). Honestly speaking, despite being spoilt by Licensees from over the World, I stand by this: definitely the BEST Brosnan entry so far, and one of the BEST Fantasy Bond.

    GO & SEE IT (I will again, and again, and again!)

    – Kevin Collette