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) 57%

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

President latino Rocky Comedy Central Binge Guide FXX Sony Pictures Trivia politics mutant Dark Horse Comics zero dark thirty screen actors guild PaleyFest Song of Ice and Fire Country FX crossover nature period drama Musical OneApp Infographic TV Musicals BBC America Acorn TV what to watch TCA Winter 2020 reboot CBS All Access Paramount Network The CW Action Endgame Marvel Television Television Academy Paramount Hallmark Christmas movies indie Epix rotten movies we love cooking Adult Swim sitcom revenge Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt cinemax strong female leads social media Podcast travel slashers Pride Month Extras History Holidays sag awards spy thriller Lifetime aliens Awards Nominations Mystery technology Sci-Fi sequel Disney+ Disney Plus cops comiccon finale Classic Film OWN Trailer Marvel USA Network blaxploitation dramedy spider-man Premiere Dates Lucasfilm Fox News Hallmark unscripted Cosplay Netflix Family NBC name the review Elton John thriller dragons TCA 2017 Quiz The Arrangement Star Trek robots golden globes Shudder SundanceTV Brie Larson Certified Fresh FOX kids science fiction TCM Warner Bros. Mindy Kaling Polls and Games video YA Stephen King Cannes werewolf Lifetime Christmas movies Best and Worst medical drama YouTube Red spinoff Schedule true crime New York Comic Con CW Seed Nickelodeon cats joker doctor who Set visit YouTube Premium Freeform WGN Tomatazos Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Marathons Star Wars Anna Paquin Rock 2019 Ellie Kemper dceu APB tv talk Emmy Nominations Grammys PBS justice league Pirates Hulu based on movie political drama ghosts cancelled television VH1 canceled TV shows VICE DC Comics Film HBO MSNBC TIFF Columbia Pictures Disney Nat Geo HBO Max cancelled television south america stand-up comedy NYCC Heroines facebook Esquire Superheroe comics RT History disaster DGA MCU Tarantino Holiday Spectrum Originals Discovery Channel directors Amazon Prime Video documentary 24 frames 45 Masterpiece TCA 2015 movies christmas movies ESPN Spring TV adventure Character Guide Fantasy Creative Arts Emmys Kids & Family spanish language game show Mary Tyler Moore hispanic The Purge YouTube game of thrones adaptation Showtime crime thriller Comics on TV Turner Classic Movies romantic comedy MTV natural history festivals DirecTV boxoffice Cartoon Network Christmas Comedy Marvel Studios Election Thanksgiving Sundance Now independent discovery CBS toy story richard e. Grant Super Bowl Academy Awards Animation TNT Fall TV The Walking Dead Countdown Oscars Black History Month serial killer TLC children's TV Sneak Peek Reality spain Disney Channel comic anthology Photos casting Disney Plus Ghostbusters book CMT ABC Baby Yoda space 20th Century Fox DC Universe Trophy Talk Mary poppins National Geographic cartoon Shondaland TV Land Superheroes cults composers Writers Guild of America TruTV E! Pet Sematary witnail Valentine's Day Tubi DC streaming service 2018 batman Arrowverse 2020 El Rey versus Pixar zombie quibi teaser Bravo renewed TV shows Apple TV+ mockumentary 71st Emmy Awards award winner cancelled TV shows American Society of Cinematographers Avengers Black Mirror BET WarnerMedia GLAAD docudrama screenings Vudu Walt Disney Pictures elevated horror Year in Review Teen Amazon dc animated X-Men AMC 2016 Amazon Studios 007 harry potter Crunchyroll SXSW Awards Tour Music LGBT foreign Reality Competition breaking bad Sundance Biopics historical drama RT21 Captain marvel Pop E3 crime Syfy Watching Series Peacock cars Film Festival USA The Witch IFC crime drama free movies IFC Films Universal war A&E Toys CNN Summer San Diego Comic-Con ratings Chernobyl Crackle Women's History Month Horror Martial Arts movie Winners Comic Book SDCC Winter TV anime Britbox Western canceled Apple talk show Mudbound Food Network Ovation sports See It Skip It singing competition police drama Emmys theme song ITV hist miniseries Rocketman Disney streaming service TBS zombies GIFs Interview Turner Apple TV Plus Amazon Prime Sundance TV binge biography Opinion diversity Video Games Red Carpet psycho Spike Mary Poppins Returns psychological thriller GoT Calendar Logo First Reviews cancelled TV series series supernatural Box Office Netflix Christmas movies 21st Century Fox ABC Family jamie lee curtis transformers Starz Rom-Com Lionsgate dogs streaming Drama blockbuster BBC First Look LGBTQ green book vampires A24 romance TV renewals Tumblr halloween 2017