Trying to recall Pierce Brosnan’s second stint as Bond was difficult. After Goldeneye all the rest of Brosnan’s Bond films seemed too much alike to me and are all one big blur. Is this the one with Halle Berry? No that’s another one with “die” in the title. However re-watching it I had found that I quite enjoyed it, even though 70% of the movie was made with silly-juice ingredients.
The pacing of the film starts off incredibly slow and the pre title sequence was incredibly boring. It reminded me of Dr Strangelove but without the humour or suspense. Then the title sequence comes and I find out that I realise that I’m a secret Sheryl Crow fan because I’m at least humming to her theme tune to this film.
After this we are still Das Booting it, as the film’s pantomime villain is expertly playing the British and the Chinese against each other. Seriously the believability of this is fragile, because the economic relations between the British and the Chinese are too important or costly to jeopardise. I did notice that a young Gerard Butler as part of the crew on the HMS Devonshire.
We then venture onto Bond’s briefing, the Cunning linguist joke and then into what I believe is satire. Yes this film is a social commentary on the media and its negative influence on governments and events, with Brosnan’s Bond acting as a one man Leveson inquiry. As Elliot Carver; Bond’s arch nemesis, we have a media mogul figure thinly based on Robert Maxwell but more attune with the life of Rupert Murdoch. The headline “Rupert Murdoch pressured Tony Blair over Iraq” from Alastair Campbell’s diaries could have been taken straight from the plot of this film and just shows how ahead of its time the film really is…
Jonathan Price’s Elliot Carver play’s the world dominating media mogul and the Carver Media Company is kind of like the news corporation. What is the film trying to say you may ask? Maybe that is there really a difference between a media mogul and a Bond villain? The answer is no, they are both one and the same person because they both aim for world domination. Carver engineers a war to increase ratings for his organisation. Fittingly he targets China, the one country in the world where he is unable to secure broadcasting rights, which in itself can be seen as a metaphor forGoogle’s presence in China.
Carver quotes William Randolph Hearst who told his photographers -“you provide the pictures, I’ll provide the war”, while using a device that may have been the prototype to the iPad. In an ideal world Carver’s organisation would be the ultimate news system; giving the public newsworthy material before it actually happens. This film however was made before the invention of Twitter and YouTube. To conclude the Carver villain trenches itself head deep in Dr Evil territory and not in the Charles Foster Kane mould that it is clearly trying to allude to.
The problem with the entire plot is that nowhere is it grounded in reality. Fair play bar the Craig and Dalton ones, most Bond films are not; what with your castrating lasers and shark trap doors. However the efforts in making the unbelievable believable is clearly lacking in TND. This film is where I first noticed how prominent product placement was. Sure it was used in Bond films before this but this is where it became so in your face. A phone remote controlled BMW? There’s an app for that.Seriously I thought I was seeing BMW everywhere. The remote controlled BMW was a nice touch an idea sure to be taken on in the near future by Apple, nice one Q.
Tomorrow Never Dies also had Terri Hatcher in it, who was literally hot property after the picture below was downloaded on the internet on an average of 20,000 downloads each month for a six-month period in 1995. However all. I can say is not since Hitchcock killed Janet Leigh in Psycho has such a massive shock has been put upon the early demise of a female character in film.
Michelle Yeoh was also in it, which poses the question, was this the first Anglo-oriental romance committed on film? If so groundbreaking. In all seriousness though Yeoh is one of the plus points; fitting less into Bond girl misogyny than Hatcher who put-out after only ten minutes. No it will take the remainder of the movie for Yeoh to do the same.
I am starting to come to a realisation on my assessment of Brosnan’s Bond films. They may not be that good, but they are unrivalled when it comes to the action set pieces and action choreography. That falling off the building handcuffed to Michelle Yeoh and subsequent bike chase through. Saigon was adrenaline filled to say the least. Currently Rotten Tomatoes holds the film with a 54% rating which I can’t argue with. And yes I think I like it better than Goldeneye.