Die Another Day is unanimously lauded as an awful Bond picture as in the vein of Moonraker, and having invisible cars and Face-off plots is not going to help the defence of those involved. This is somewhat a shame because having reassessed Brosnan’s Bond films I have come to the conclusion that they are not as bad as I had thought and are actually quite entertaining. His first three films did contain some silly moments (diving into a falling plane- Goldeneye), two dimensional bimbo’s (Christmas Jones), and ridiculous villains (Elliot Carver) but they delivered some of the best action choreography. Brosnan who was perhaps born to play Bond gives us his most mature version of the spy yet still retained that bad ass quality inherent of the character (Moore failed to do this), while never taking the series or character quite as serious as Dalton. Though this is considered the worst of the brosnans bond’d there is still much to like about it.
With Die Another Day I have found that the plot of the first half of the film works well, only when we get to Iceland more specifically in the ice palace that the film buckles under the weight of preposterous. The pre title sequence seems different to what we are most used to, normally this is a separate episode to the main plot of the film where Bond comes out the victor. However this is a worthy prelude to the main storyline and ends with Bond in captivity in North Korea getting tortured and sporting a beard. Daniel Craig’s new facial fluff in Skyfall has nothing on Brosnan’s hobo chic.
Bond is a political prisoner involved in a trade off between the east and west. His people have abandoned him, his very existence denied. As Bond is finally released in a prisoner exchange, but then imprisoned by his superiors while the interfering Yanks calls him a traitor; he escapes and Bond’s mission changes to clearing his name as a renegade spy. Themes of loyalty and trust are prevalent within the Bond films and this comes into force at the beginning. Bond did not give in under torture yet when a top American agent is executed they believe that it is because of information given under torture by bond. If we would have followed on from the renegade angle it would have been a much better film.
“It’s pathetic that you British still believe that you have the right to police the world, but you will not live to see the day all Korea is ruled by the North.” Colonel Tan-Sun Moon
The movie’s main themes are laid out from the beginning; British and western imperialism, blood diamonds, and trading in illegal arms. That the cold war is still important to the series just goes to show how out of touch the franchise has become. Though it is regarded as a poor film there are still moments and scenes that I particularly like. Knowing that it is always difficult to get one over Bond the scene with the charming Mr Chan owner of the prestigious Hong Kong hotel emphasises this point. Offering special treatment to Bond and a complimentary masseuse called ‘Fountains of Desire’; who as she stipulates is not that kind of masseuse. A swift move shows him disarm fake bit of totty and then fling an ashtray to break a two way mirror that Mr Chang is hiding behind. Clearly he is not that kind of customer and he was always wise to Mr Chang being a member of Chinese intelligence.
Although my favourite Bond girl of the film ‘Fountains of Desire’ (played by Rachel Grant) had a brief but short appearance, we are introduced to some another Bond babe in a desperate effort to rekindle the Ursula Undress scene from Dr. No. Fresh from her award winning performance as Sharon Stone in The Flintstones, Hale Berry’s Jinx (because she was born on Friday the 13th, seriously who comes up with these names?) comes out of the water with all the grace of a manatee whilst Brosnan a the dirty old man that he is
perves peers on with binoculars. You might get away with that in the 60’s mate but not in 2002. Still the excuse that he is just here for the birds; literally speaking he is an ornithologist seems enough to get away with it. So within the space of less than 5 minutes there are in bed together and the resultant sex scene is prettay risqué even by 007 standards. Though Miss Moneypenny having an orgasm to a simulated encounter with Brosnan nearly tops it. Bond shows that he is somehow on my level with his advances towards Rosamund Pike’s Miranda Frost. It is actually quite entertaining to watch the ladies man’s sure proof chat up lines crash and burn on Ms Frost, and though he is persistent his disdain stops short at calling her a lesbian.
Die Another Day is a movie of firsts. The bullet projecting straight at the spectator being a first and there is a more subtle one that other blogalongbonders have failed to pick up. There is a scene on a plane where Bond is coming back to London on a British Airways flight and source music is playing. The song? London Calling by The Clash . Somewhere during the course of the movie we see Madonna WTF! Still if Craig’s Bond can converse with the queen then anything is possible. Invisible cars? Anything is possible. And on to the next subject: as much as I love Monty Python and Faulty Towers John Cleese replacing Desmond Llewelyn just shows how much Desmond owned that role of Q. Having died three years earlier, his minor character was sorely missed.
So to recap. An insomniac villain who does more than a convincing job of changing ethnicities than Michael Jackson, North Korea, invisible cars, Madonna, and surfing. It has been emotional Mr Brosnan but I believe it is time for you to bow out gracefully. My criticisms of Brosnan’s Bonds were that they were too standard and that they tried to rigorously to follow the precedent set by the previous Bond films instead of trying something new. This complaint does not hold up with DAD because they are doing something different and they have got to be commended for trying. It doesn’t always work, but it is still a decent film.