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…

Die Another Day Bond Girl Fur Coat

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.

SCORES

FILM: 5; MOVIE: 8; ACTING: 6; WRITING: 4; BONUS: 1

That swordfight is worth its own bonus point. I love it.

5+8+6+4+1=24

FINAL SCORE: 6

 

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~ by johnlink00 on February 25, 2013.

7 Responses to “johnlink ranks DIE ANOTHER DAY (2002)”

  1. Nice review man, even though my opinion differs to yours. I have many issues with this film, but they can be summed up in two words really: invisible car.

  2. Nice review but this is definitely one of my least favourite Bond films of all. I remember coming out of the cinema angry because it was so bad. For me, this very nearly destroyed the Bond franchise. Thank God for Casino Royale!

    • I remember being so-so on it in the theater. I think I can forgive its problems (and it certainly has problems) BECAUSE the new ones exist. This old Bond world is sort of quaint. Like I said above, I really have no idea why I am ok with this movie but really did not like The World is Not Enough. It is one of the great mysteries of the world…

  3. Nice review John, it’s interesting to hear your points on the positives of this one. Sadly this is the Bond film that I’d have to say is my least favourite of all; I was exactly like Chris above, came out of the cinema so disappointed by the CGI wave surfing, the invisible car and Madonna’s cameo appearance. I guess the original Bourne trilogy changed the game for Bond and sparked the appointment of Daniel Craig as a tougher, harder-edged version of the character…Die Another Day is the Bond film that suffers the most for me, having been released six months after The Bourne Identity.

    • Great point about Bourne. That franchise does not get enough credit for how much it changed the genre. Taken out of the context of its release, this was not as offensive as The World Is Not Enough (though, I referenced the context of Austin Powers having just come out in skewering that movie).
      I really like the first act of DIE ANOTHER DAY. I could have stomached Madonna (lovely image) and the invisible car more easily if the ice palace sequence was cut in half and the redirected sun and the surfing were cut out. For me, that sequence uses up every bit of good-will capital the first act and that nice swordfight had built. For many, many people, there was not enough here to keep them in it. For me, there was JUST enough to justify some of the inanity in the third act, even if I spent much of it rolling my eyes.

  4. […] to say? You betcha. Not only is he a cool dude(I really need to stop saying dude), but he runs a cool website that has reviewed a lot of my favorite, and least favorite movies. He, like many of the great […]

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