johnlink ranks DIE ANOTHER DAY (2002)
With DIE ANOTHER DAY having opened in November of 2002, it has been over 10 years since Pierce Brosnan graced the big screen as James Bond. I revisited one of the weaker efforts in the series last week in THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH. Not sure what exactly has inspired this Bond kick of late, or the action kick which has overwhelmed these pages so far this year, but it is what it is. Onto the article…
I watched DIE ANOTHER DAY (2002) on 2.24.13. It was my third viewing of the film, and first since I picked up on DVD back in ’04 or so.
Why do I like this movie so much more than THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH? I can’t quite put my finger on it. DIE ANOTHER DAY, to be sure, has plenty of silly action which is laden with unnecessary CGI, culminating in a supremely silly scene in which a computer generated Bond surfs a computer generated giant wave.
But the journey to that point is so much more rewarding, and the action set pieces are so much more focused than in THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH. Bond being tortured through the opening credits was fairly new ground for the series, though it has since been overshadowed by Craig getting whipped in the nuts in CASINO ROYALE. In DIE ANOTHER DAY, Bond is out for revenge, and that is when he is at his best.
The dialogue in this, to be sure, is so overly silly as to become asinine. I’m all for witty double meaning in my dialogue, but the stuff between Pierce Brosnan’s Bond and Halle Berry’s Jinx lacks any kind of nuance or playfulness. It’s all just a series of single-level sex jokes. And, often, the same joke multiple times!
Despite that, I didn’t mind the series attempting to turn Berry into a sort of female-American-Bond. She isn’t the best Bond girl, but certainly not the worst. I actually prefer Rosamund Pike as Miranda Frost in this movie. You can absolutely see the twist for her character coming, but I appreciated that so much of the performance she gave felt restrained rather than one-note. I’d probably put Miranda Frost in my top 10 Bond girls, if I had such a thing.
A swordfight scene in this is top-level fight choreography, even if the inclusion of Madonna as a trainer is the ultimate in gimmicky casting. As much as the torture of Bond – seeing Bond as a beared Jesus-looking guy and playing M (Judi Dench) against him – as much as that helps ground this film, it is the return to two guys fighting in a non-CGI world which makes this movie work. I can forgive the eccentricities of Bond surfing away from the satellite redirecting the sun’s rays to torch him as long as the movie has earned the ability to do so. DIE ANOTHER DAY earns that right by the time it gets there.
There is, for me, no questioning the fun factor this movie brings. There is certainly an attempt to both play the Bond game and to do some new things. I, for one, like this Brosnan entry into the series.
FILM: 5; MOVIE: 8; ACTING: 6; WRITING: 4; BONUS: 1
That swordfight is worth its own bonus point. I love it.
FINAL SCORE: 6