Die Another Day

Die Another DaySynopsis: James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) pulls out all the stops to take you on an unforgettable, adrenaline-pumping ride across the globe in this action-filled adventure! From a dark cell in a North Korean prison to the beautiful beaches of Cuba, 007 is on the trail of a diabolical genius who’s hellbent on slicing up the earth… literally. Now, it’s up to Bond, with help from a sultry American agent (Halle Berry), to put the evil mastermind’s plans to ice.

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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.

Die Another Day

Date of viewing: April 10, 2014

1-Die Another Day
Opening credits

The Thorn: 7.0 – A CGI bullet fired through the gun barrel, Ninja Bond surfing, an explosive arms trade gone wrong and a family-friendly torture-filled credit sequence. Oh, and Madonna. Actually, it’s more bearable than it sounds.

The Horrible Dr. B: 8 – I like it; it ties well with the story, and it is visually well done. The only weakness is the song which I don’t like.

***

2-Die Another Day
Story

The Thorn: 7.5 – After 14 months in captivity, The Bond Lebowski (drinking his White Russians shaken, not stirred) (Um, no), is traded for another prisoner – a man he thinks was involved in setting him up in the opening sequence. So he goes out to find him. But, first, he has to escape MI6’s clutches. Did I say “escape”? I meant just walk out. MI6: Least competent Intelligence Agency ever!

The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – The son of a North Korean general builds an ultimate weapon in order to destabilize world order. I like this trends started in “The World is Not Enough”, where we see a younger generation of villains trying to rise in power.

***

3-Die Another Day
Banter

The Thorn: 7.0 – Thankfuly, what there is is groan-inducing, but not all brain-melting. There’s god awful dialogues in this one, though, like the exchange between Bond and Jinx when they first meet. And even their final lines. These sequences are so unsubtle and unfunny that it’s embarrassing. Add the performances to the mix, and… wow…

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Overall it is good. The new Q (Cleese) is funny and plays well the role. However see worst moment.

***

4-Die Another Day
Villains

The Thorn: 7.0 – Gustav Graves is creepy and slimy enough (his toothy grin sealed the deal), but I couldn’t buy that this guy came out of obscurity in a few months and became the toast of the world without any questions. Zao was a good henchman – too bad the doctor forgot to get those diamonds out of his face. Hey, that would be such a great James Bond movie title: Diamondface! Um, no.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Graves/Moon is ok. I like his ambitions. However, I dont really understand his choice of transforming into a westerner, since this surely will be a problem when the times come to lead North Korea in taking over the world. His main henchman is loyal and able, however I doubt his intellect since he never removes the diamonds fragments in his face and keeps them even during the appearance transformation procedure. Frost is a great but obvious double agent.

***

5-Die Another Day
Bond Girls

The Thorn: 7.0 – I like the character of Jinx, and I find Halle Berry pretty hot, but her lines were f-ing horrible and her delivery was anything but natural (matching her figure, apparently). Frost was an okay character, but I hated the reason she broke character to bed Bond; it didn’t make sense at all. Sex as cover? I’m convinced! (But it wouldn’t take much) As for Madonna’s cameo? Her motto: act another day.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Rosamund Pike (playing Frost) is hot and smart! Unfortunately shes forced to play a very cartoony frigid person as her lame name suggest. It doesnt work. I would have preferred to follow her actions from the start as the double agent and see the story unfold from both Bond and Frost perspective. Unfortunately, instead we have to suffer Halle Berry (as Agent Jinx). She’s not my type, and she’s not believable as an agent: she cant hold a gun properly and cant do action scene. I bet she got the part because of her boobs which got a lot of screen exposure.

***

6-Die Another Day
Gadgets

The Thorn: 7.0 – This was probably the most techie Bond of all. Not that there are TONS of gadgets (aside from the cameos by past Bond gadgets, I mean), but they take up more space. There’s a holodeck… um, I mean, the virtual combat simulator. An exoskeleton armour. A dream machine. Lasers. A mirror satellite. My favourite? The glass-shattering ring: it wasn’t too far-fetched and it was actually practical. Destruction at your fingertips! Wee!

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – There are tons. Bond’s sonic ring is interesting and useful. Moon’s “battle” suit is interesting, however not very practical.

***

7-Die Another Day
Vehicles

The Thorn: 7.5 – As practical as they were, the hovercrafts weren’t that cool. Bond and Zao’s sports cars were cool but far too flashy for me. On top of that, Bond had an invisible car. INVISIBLE! Strangely the vehicle I liked the most this time was the Ford Fairlane that Bond drove in Cuba. It was simple, classic. And don’t even get me started on the gadget-filled surfboard: that didn’t hold water.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – There are tons. Both Bond and Yao have a fully stocked car; However I prefer Yao’s Jaguar.

***

8-Die Another Day
Locales

The Thorn: 8.0 – “Cuba” was total eye candy. The ice palace was cool (!). I loved the Reform Club; its classic Brit architecture was right up my alley. Even Iceland looked pretty in this film. There wasn’t much to be done about North Korea, however. What spoiled the scenery sometimes is that Bond was inserted via blue/green screen, instead through location shooting.

The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – Great: Best are scenes from Cuba and some locations in the arctic.

***

9-Die Another Day
Stunts

The Thorn: 7.5 – There’s a lot of superb stunt work (the sword fight was excellent, for instance), but there was far too much CGI in this one, and it looked unrealistic (ex: Bond’s kite-surfing and Jinx’s dive looked so much like a video game that it was risible). What was surprising was the amount of blood for a Bond film: at one point Bond and Graves both have blood all over their faces from their duel. Ooh… Bond is SO edgy! Of course, CGI and gadgets negate that edge.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – There are tons. I especially like Bond front flip during the laser fight.

***

10-Die Another Day
Soundtrack

The Thorn: 8.0 – I think that David Arnold’s style is perfectly suited to the techie/CGI Bond, given that he does a mean techno soundtrack. But he also incorporates a lot of classic elements, making the soundtrack well-rounded. Listen for that spanish guitar ode to the James Bond theme. Nice. As for Madonna theme song… it’s an awesome song. I adore it. But it’s not a James Bond theme in any way whatsoever.

The Horrible Dr. B: 8 – Beside the opening credit song, the rest is good.

***

11-Die Another Day
Best Bond moment

The Thorn: There aren’t tons of amazing Bond moments here. The closest thing for me is when Bond kicks away his foil before his fight scene: it was quick, slick, and the trajectory was perfect. I quite enjoyed the wheelchair moment (“I don’t need a wheelchair.” “You do now!”). But my favourite moment is probably when Bond gets punched in the gut after making a bad quip: “How’s that for a punch line?”, Zao tells him. Hah! Best Anti-Bond moment!

The Horrible Dr. B: There are two: The first one is the scene where bond cleverly uses his environment to pass guards in la Isla Los Organos clinic, and, very importantly, steals some grapes as a morning snack along the way. This is a clever, resourceful and funny Bond that I like to see. The second best moment is when Yao delivers a powerful punch in Bond’s guts which drops him to the floor with this line: “How’s that for a punch line?”: high five to Yao! That will teach Bond to torture us with lame jokes.

***

12-Die Another Day
Worst Bond moment

The Thorn: Wow… where to begin? The super-speed laserfight? Bond faking cardiac arrest and coming right out in two seconds? Jinx’s dive? Bond escaping MI6 too easily? The hologram sequences? Bond driving an invisible car? Bond fighting a guy in a cybernetic suit? Bond and Jinx dropping out of a plane in a chopper and starting it in mid air? Or Bond diving under the water in Iceland and not suffering from exposure? The film is filled with ridiculous and mood-killing bits.

The Horrible Dr. B: There are two: The first is the dialogue between Bond and Jinx: violent vomiting inducing torture. The second is the CGI abuse: for one, somehow the series has reached Star Trek level technology with a car with a cloaking device and MI6 having a holodeck. But the worst is the scene where Bond surf an arctic wave with a parachute; unbelievably fake.

***

13-Die Another Day
Overall impression

The Thorn: 7.5 – I remember, after seeing this film at the big screen, that I was done with Bond: the last one was bland, this one was trying too hard to be cool/edgy/relevant (painfully so), and the homages to the series (given that this was the 20th Bond and the 40th anniversary of the series) were underwhelming, mere afterthoughts. I was gutted. But, after going through the series, this one seems actually okay in comparison to some of the others. I’d even go so far as to say it’s Brosnan’s second-best. It’s not saying much, I know, but at least it’s a decent swan-song.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Unfortunately, the movie has too much gadgets, vehicles, actions, and specials effects. Fortunately, it is the last Brosnan Bond movie: yay! It is not Brosnan worst Bond movie but, he never really quite found his Bond role. I do recommend the movie for Bond’s geeks as it is filled with tons of references to the previous movies of the series.

James Bond will return in ‘Casino Royale’

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