Bonding with Bond, Day 22: Die Another Day

One intrepid RT editor is watching all of the James Bond films in order.

by | November 11, 2008 | Comments

We come to the end of the Pierce Brosnan era, and he exits the Bond universe in a flurry of silliness.


Die Another Day (2002) 58%

DieAnotherDay1

When I went to the video store to pick up my last two rentals in this series, the guy ringing me up said, “How are you gonna rent Die Another Day and Casino Royale at the same time? Casino Royale was off the hook, but Die Another Day has an invisible car!” With that over-the-counter assessment in mind, I set off to embark on the wild ride that is Die Another Day, the final Pierce Brosnan installment and one that would yield more scribbles in my notebook than any other thus far.

The opening action sequence is the first one in a while that failed to impress me. There are hovercrafts and exploding diamonds, and it was novel (if not ridiculous) to see Bond surfing his way onto a North Korean beach, but it wasn’t very exciting. It’s also the first time we don’t see Bond escape at the end of the preliminary scenes, and as the opening credits roll by to an awful Madonna song, we see glimpses of Bond’s life in captivity, slowly transforming into Robinson Crusoe. When the song dies down and a scraggly Bond is trotted out before a North Korean general, you almost expect him to be carrying a volleyball with a face painted on it.

Usually, I can forgive lapses in logic if the execution of the story is strong enough to merit it, but this was not often the case in Die Another Day. Take, for example, the first encounter that Bond has with the central villain, Gustav Graves (played by Toby Stephens). Graves is practicing a bit of fencing in what appears to be a fancy private studio when Bond comes strolling in — we’re not even clear how either of them got here, as the last scene has Graves on his way to meet the Queen, with Bond standing in the audience as Graves drives away. Bond sidles up to the fencing instructor, played by Madonna, and after a mere exchange of names, she offers to introduce him to Graves. Why? Who knows?

Then, after the ensuing introduction, Graves and Bond engage in a friendly fencing match — okay, fine. But after Bond ups the ante with a controversial diamond from Graves’s company, Graves insists they raise the stakes, fence with real swords, and choose a winner based on who draws blood first. They do so, and everyone simply watches for about 5 minutes before Graves’s assistant steps in and stops the fight. This makes absolutely no sense. If I walked into a private gun range where Bill Gates was engaged in target practice, then challenged him to a duel at twenty paces with live ammunition, and nobody did anything to stop us, that MIGHT come close to what took place in the aforementioned scene.

If you can, with good conscience, chalk these up to subtle, innocent oversights, then consider what else Die Another Day offers. There’s the poorly constructed set pieces that look like they were built by high school drama teams in their garages; there’s Q branch’s incredible leaps in technology, like a seamless virtual reality battle simulator and the infamous invisible car; there’s Bond surfing on a tidal wave caused by a collapsing glacier; there’s Graves’s ice palace and electrified Nintendo Power Glove. I’m sorry, but when did they bring Joel Schumacher in to direct a Bond movie?

And what about the acting? Well, in all honesty, it wasn’t that bad, but there also isn’t a whole lot of opportunity for actors to emote in any of these Bond films. The “acting” here mostly consists of thinly veiled (emphasis on “thinly”) double entendres, lots of scowling, some screaming, and a few lines of expository dialogue. What’s sad is that, even with such a simple script, there is still room to screw it up, which Halle Berry (as Jinx) does on numerous occasions. Now, this might be personal bias, but I wouldn’t place Berry much higher than Denise Richards, and I never have, Oscar win notwithstanding. I have never thought she was a great actress, and she did nothing to convince me otherwise in this movie, so it was pretty much par for the course.

Overall, I thought this was an absolutely ludicrous and unnecessary addition to the Bond series. It felt like they hired the writers of the James Bond Jr. cartoon series to pen the script for Die Another Day because everyone else was too busy working on movies that actually required some logic. However — and this is a big “however” — if you’re able to turn your brain off completely, or if you’re the type of attention-deficit viewer this movie was obviously aimed at (and which I can be from time to time), it will certainly keep you occupied for a couple of hours. It’s silly, it’s inane, it’s excessive, and sometimes it’s even downright stupid, but when you break it down, it pretty much follows the same formula shared by many of the Bond films, so if you rent it, you know what you’re getting into anyway.



Favorite line: Zao: “Who sent you?” Jinx: “Yo momma.” This, ladies and gentlemen, is quality dialogue.

Favorite moment: There’s a touching scene at the end when Graves reveals his true identity to his father, the aforementioned North Korean general. The audience already knows this, and as the general enters the room, Graves is standing with his back turned to him. He turns to face his father, but all suspense is ruined when we see he’s wearing a ridiculous pair of goggles to match his Power Gloves. I actually laughed out loud.


Other Articles:

Tag Cloud

Britbox Extras Red Carpet Food Network Star Wars GLAAD Oscars Musical Rocky NYCC Esquire Nat Geo IFC Films DC Comics A&E DC Universe TV Land National Geographic Masterpiece Horror docudrama Country aliens Winners Syfy IFC Awards Sneak Peek TNT Comic Book TCA 2017 SXSW President Columbia Pictures Music 45 Polls and Games HBO GIFs Video Games Box Office WGN crime thriller Apple Lionsgate Superheroe Holidays RT History TCM ratings El Rey Interview Marathons Thanksgiving Podcast CMT DirecTV CBS comiccon Grammys Showtime streaming spy thriller blaxploitation Pirates Freeform crossover Calendar Comedy Central First Look Schedule 21st Century Fox medical drama X-Men crime Rock social media Western SDCC BBC America American Society of Cinematographers based on movie unscripted Rom-Com political drama Nominations Ellie Kemper 20th Century Fox TBS Martial Arts Cosplay 2016 Super Bowl politics TruTV E! Sundance TLC Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Infographic Bravo Countdown Mystery Valentine's Day serial killer Superheroes composers Dark Horse Comics Christmas USA Network DC streaming service Kids & Family Writers Guild of America Lucasfilm sports Netflix History adventure BET Spike Crackle Biopics cults Reality Trailer historical drama cats war biography mutant talk show Marvel CBS All Access transformers festivals Set visit Premiere Dates FXX harry potter OWN discovery science fiction 007 PBS technology Shondaland Musicals FOX Hulu zombies Summer golden globes finale Sundance Now Lifetime ABC E3 CW Seed Starz APB Mindy Kaling AMC VH1 Universal cinemax Logo Tomatazos zombie hist binge San Diego Comic-Con Adult Swim Paramount Network Disney YA Tumblr Ovation Creative Arts Emmys thriller dceu Nickelodeon supernatural cooking Animation Comedy travel police drama Trivia Fantasy NBC GoT 2015 sitcom Star Trek Spring TV MSNBC TCA ESPN Reality Competition Mary Tyler Moore Certified Fresh vampires ABC Family Amazon robots LGBTQ FX Year in Review Best and Worst The Arrangement YouTube Red Pop Toys doctor who Cartoon Network TV CNN Fox News SundanceTV Teen period drama justice league Fall TV Acorn TV Winter TV TIFF Character Guide Ghostbusters YouTube Premium Pixar cops Song of Ice and Fire Emmys ITV Drama dc PaleyFest Watching Series diversity See It Skip It Action what to watch 2017 USA 24 frames psycho VICE Sci-Fi boxoffice Opinion BBC singing competition Photos romance MTV Disney Channel Election Paramount The CW dramedy Warner Bros. Sony Pictures Walt Disney Pictures crime drama