Tomorrow Never Dies

Tomorrow Never DiesSynopsis: Pierce Brosnan returns as the fearless, cunning and devastatingly cool Secret Agent 007 in this thrilling adventure! When a ruthless media tycoon (Jonathan Pryce) tries to destabilize the world economy by orchestrating a deadly standoff between world superpowers in an attempt to achieve high ratings for his media conglomerate, Bond must step in to prevent World War III! Co-starring the gorgeous Teri Hatcher and Michelle Yeoh, this high-tech action-adventure will exhilarate Bond fans of all ages!

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Welcome to The Critical Eye’s ‘Mission Briefing Version’ commentaries of the James Bond movies.

Via thirteen key categories, over the course of the next few months we will rate and/or comment on each picture in brief. These MBV blurbs will also sometimes feature guest commentators, Bond fans and non-fans alike, thus offering a variety of perspectives on this iconic series.

We hope that you will enjoy TCE’s unique take on the world of 007.

Tomorrow Never Dies

Date of viewing, February 20, 2014

1-
Opening credits

The Thorn: 8.0 – The 007 theme returns to the gun barrel intro! Yay!!! The opening sequence at the illegal arms market is ridiculous but totally in keeping with Bond – it’s fun, exciting. As for the opening credits, it’s certainly one of my series favourites: I love the X-ray and digital motifs of the credits, and I love that it and the music are full of nods to previous Bond films.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – The cgi woman is well done; however I’m not a fan of those dancing in giant bullets.

***

2-
Story

The Thorn: 8.0 – It’s a Bond film for the times, centered around the ploys of a megalomaniacal media mogul. It incorporates Sino-British relations, which is also fitting. I like the core story, but could have done without some of the contrivances along the way – most of which revolve around Paris Carver in some fashion or another.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – In this movie, the villain is a media mogul who uses his assets to manipulate and distort information for his own benefit. The idea is ok, but its implementation is a bit extreme.

***

3-
Banter

The Thorn: 8.0 – The banter in this one remains juvenile but at least it’s droll (“cunning linguist”), sometimes even clever (“edifice complex”). It’s the wittiest Bond film in a long, long time. Not that the dialogues and one-liners are brilliant, of course. It’s just that the bar’s been set lower and lower over the years, making this a shining star by default.

The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – Funny. Improvement from last movie.

***

4-
Villains

The Thorn: 7.5 – I like the fact that Carver is a media mogul because it sets him apart from all the other Bond villains. And I like Jonathan Pryce in it, but he is rather hyperbolic, chewing the scenery as much as possible (Imagine: Anthony Hopkins was first offered the part! That would have been something). His side-kick, Stamper, was a bland, poster boy version of Necros, but the cameo by Vincent Schiavelli as Dr. Kaufman was brilliant.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Carver, the villain is OK but really doesn’t look like an evil genius. He’s too annoyingly enthusiastic. Im guessing the actor was chosen because he looks like a computer geek. The best hired henchman in the movie is doctor Kaufman; if I must be tortured, I want to be “taken care” by him. He is calm, polite, professional, and has a great sense of humour. He would be a great main villain.

***

5-
Bond Girls

The Thorn: 8.0 – I’m no great fan of Teri Hatcher. She’s beautiful, but her delivery lacks conviction and passion (Sigh… Monica Belucci was turned down for the part *weeps*). I hate that her character knows Bond. I mean, I know he beds everyone, but it’s too small a world when your ex is now the bad guy’s girl. I love the character of Wai Lin, though, and especially the fact that Michelle Yeoh incarnates her; she is puny, but beautiful, and she can kick ass, hold her own. Sadly, it’s not her greatest performance. Oh, and there’s that Scandinavian tutor that’s worth a mention, even if we only see the back of her. Um… especially because.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – This movie features one of the worst and best “Bond girl”. I don’t like Teri Hatcher, playing Paris. I don’t find her attractive nor a good actress. There is supposedly a love story between Paris and Bond but it is so not believable; same goes for her marriage with the villain. Wai Lin, played by the delicious Michelle Yeoh, is a great secret agent; she is independent, strong, resourceful and is the only character that I know who is totally impervious to Bond godly charms. She does kiss him once but I believe it is out of curiosity.

***

6-
Gadgets

The Thorn: 8.0 – This Bond adventure has only a few gadgets, but some of them are used quite a lot: a mobile phone with fingerprint scanner, stun gun, lock pick, remote control for Bond’s car; watch with a detonator inside; lighter with an explosive charge inside; lockpick earring; wristband grappling-hook; spike fan. It’s not too far-fetched or corny this time, which was nice. With one exception: the lame cable-cutter on the BMW (see ‘Vehicles’). And I hate that Bond traded in his Walther PPK as of this movie.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Both Bond and Wai Lin uses a panoply of gadget items: car, phone, watch, jewelry, etc. Although there are a lot of them (I prefer less) and some are designed specifically for some scenes (digit scanner, and taser), they are not cheezy.

***

7-
Vehicles

The Thorn: 8.0 – I really liked Bond’s gadget-filled BMW; it looked good and all of the gadgets were useful (although how they crammed so much into such a small car is beyond me). But I wasn’t too keen on the stealth boat, which looked like a rejected Christopher Nolan Batboat; its ability to remain stealthed was dubious at best. Aside from a cameo by the Aston Martin, none of the other vehicles did anything for me. I liked the chopper, despite reservations about its use.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – The stealth boat is the lamest idea ever. Building a boat made of the same design and material as a stealth bomber doesnt make your boat invisible. They simply should have used a submarine. Not only is the boat not stealthy, but it also uses a magical torpedo drill that can cut through anything in seconds. I am not a big fan of the BMW given to Bond (I prefer his Aston). I do like how it is packed with cool gadgets. However I hate the scene where Bond uselessly trash the car. I share Q pains.

***

8-
Locales

The Thorn: 8.0 – There are a lot of really nice shots throughout this film, but most of the nice ones were in Thailand. Sure, they basically ripped off ‘The Man With the Golden Gun’ in one scene, but it was so beautiful that it was okay by me. I also liked the interiors, such as Carver’s party, the posh hotel Bond stays in, …etc. The only one I disliked was the interior set for the so-called stealth boat; that was cramped and didn’t impress in any way.

The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – Settings for the motorbike chase and the search for the stealth boat are great. Rest is ok.

***

9-
Stunts

The Thorn: 8.25 – There were a number of superb stunts along the way, including an exciting (if rubbish) chopper/motorcycle chase and a parking lot car chase that was a tad too long. But my favourite stuff was with Mai Lin. Although Yeoh wasn’t allowed to do her own stunts, she was quite excellent at doing the martial arts and acrobatics bits. There were some nice aerial and underwater sequences too.

The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – The scene with the bike is noteworthy; the chase culminate with a totally useless but neat jump. Fighting by Michelle Yeoh is very well performed.

***

10-
Soundtrack

The Thorn: 8.5 – After legendary Bond composer John Barry turned down the opportunity to return to the series, he recommended David Arnold in his stead. He was the perfect choice. Although his style is techno-based, a major departure, he was extremely respectful of the series, incorporating classic themes (even the latest, “GoldenEye”). He would become the mainstay composer for the next four films. Rightly so: he’s top-notch, and is only bested by John Barry himself. The Sheryl Crow theme song is pretty decent – neither stellar, nor merely average.

The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – Great! Finally they decided to reuse old but classic tracks.

***

11-
Best Bond moment

The Thorn: As much as I enjoy this film, no moment truly blew my mind away. But I remember how excited I was when I heard the James Bond Theme make its return in the gun barrel opening when I first saw it: it basically told me that Bond was back (remember: the Bond theme was barely heard in the previous film). It still does that to me to this day. SWEET!!!

The Horrible Dr. B: The shower scene with Michelle Yeoh; I would love to wash her hair everyday like that, even if she handcuffs me to a rotten pipe.

***

12-
Worst Bond moment

The Thorn: First worst moment: I hate that Bond walks into an obvious trap (he even seemed to acknowledge this fact before walking off with the security guards) at the Carver event and lets himself get beat up. To make matters worse, it so happens that they brought him to an area that would allow him to shut the power down. Suuuure. Second worst: The notion that Paris knows about a “secret” lab, even though she admits she’s not supposed to (yet mysteriously does) and also knows about the rooftop hatch leading into it. What? Third worst: The banner jump.

The Horrible Dr. B: Beside Paris, and the lame stealth boat, the worst moment for me is when the bad guys tilt a chopper down and start using its blades to slice and dice people and buildings while chasing bond. Really? I’m no expert but I know this is not possible.

***

13-
Overall impression

The Thorn: 8.0 – This is a pretty good James Bond movie by any measure, and it reflects the ’90s perfectly, with its overall gloss, focus on technology and techno soundtrack. Sure, it’s full of holes and the ending is anti-climactic, but it’s definitely the best of the Brosnan Bonds. Sadly, Pierce’s James Bond tries too hard to be tough/intense: he sports a shorter, almost “brush” cut, and postures too often – like throwing down his shot glass when Paris comes to visit him in the hotel (Oooh! Big man!). Dalton’s Bond didn’t have to fake it; he WAS intense. Oh well… it sure beats Moore’s Bond. And it’s my go-to Brosnan 007 film.

The Horrible Dr. B: 8 – Although I have a lot of complaints, it is a decent movie. Actually it is the best Brosnan Bond movie. Beside the soap-opera scenes with Paris, he plays the character better than the last movie. However, the main appeal of the movie is Michelle Yeoh; without her, the movie would be boring.

James Bond will return inThe World is Not Enough

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