Movie Review #687
Albert R. Brocolli’s Eon Productions Limited presents…
Studio: Danjaq — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) — United Artists
Distributor: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distribution Corporation (MGM)
Country: UK — USA
Spoken Languages: English — Korean — Cantonese — Spanish — German — Icelandic — Italian
Directed by Lee Tamahori. Produced by Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. Characters by Ian Fleming. Written by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade.
Rated PG-13 by the MPAA — violence, sexual content. Runs 2 hours, 13 minutes. Premiered in the UK on November 18, 2002. Wide release in the UK on November 20, 2002; and in the USA on November 22, 2002.
Featuring Pierce Brosnan as James Bond (007), Halle Berry as Jinx Johnson (Bond girl), and Toby Stephens as Gustav Graves (Bond villain). Starring Rosamund Pike, Rick Yune, Judi Dench, and John Cleese. Also starring Michael Madsen, Will Yun Lee, Kenneth Tsang, Lawrence Makoare, Colin Salmon, Samantha Bond, Rachel Grant, Ian Pirie, Mark Dymond, and Michael G. Wilson. Featuring an uncredited cameo appearance by Madonna.
“I thought it just went too far–and that’s from me, the first Bond in space! Invisible cars and dodgy CGI footage? Please!”
– Roger Moore
Love explosions? Well, here ya go. “Die Another Day” is really, really dumb, and since it makes the difference between terrible and decent, it’s also really, really fun. No one in cast or crew really seems to be paying much attention to the story’s logic. In fact, if something fails to make sense, expect deus ex machina to solve that problem. But the movie works, if for one purpose only: to entertain. Okay, if we consider that “Die Another Day” also wants to show us how über-sexy Pierce Brosnan is, then I guess that’s two succeeding purposes.
The movie has an alternate title in the critics’ world. Commenting on the excessive product placement, BBC and a few other sources began calling it “Buy Another Day”. I didn’t notice too much product placement, but to be fair, the marketing tie-ins were countless. If there’s anything just as distracting, it’s the self-referential humor. Bond picks up a pair of binoculars and tells Jinx (Halle Berry’s Bond girl) that he’s just an ornithologist, so he’s at the beach for nothing more than to watch birds. If you’re a relatively serious fan of James Bond, you’d probably know that the real-life person who inspired the name is an ornithologist named James Bond. Clever in some contexts, but in this one, I just couldn’t help my eyes from rolling. Another one is with John Cleese, whose portrayal of Q I have absolutely nothing against. He’s traditional, funny, and, you know, perfect. It’s just that when he appears, he has to bring back the Python days with a “flesh wound” joke. Maybe if he’d killed the Black Knight earlier in the film, I’d have smiled.
James Bond’s 20th outing is really cheesy. In the same ways, it’s also exciting. Brosnan isn’t as good as the better Bonds, but his delivery does top much of the rest of this cast, to whom he, Cleese, and Berry are a collective saving grace. He has enough charisma, to be sure. “Die Another Day” plays our as half fashion show, half video game. It’s long and soaked with innuendo and PG-13 sex. But even at 2 hours, 13 minutes, it seems worth its while.
Hit the jump for an announcement regarding the 2nd Annual Cinemaniac Awards:
Movie 43 has won 2014’s Cinemaniac Award for Worst Motion Picture of the Year. Congrats to all 43 stars and all 13 directors for making a movie that was so unbearable, even a film critic had trouble saying he’s seen worse. Congrats to the film, as well, for exceeding the limitations of “so bad, it’s good” (because Movie 43 was absolute torture) and for earning such prestigious honor as “the Citizen Kane of awful.” Stay tuned for tomorrow’s announcement for Best Documentary or Foreign Motion Picture of the Year.