Die Another Day
In my opinion, Pierce Brosnan got an insanely bad wrap for his work as Bond. He is easily one of my favorites, better than Moore, Dalton, and Lazenby by a mile. I always thought he was a perfect blend of humor and brutality in the role. They say most actors ‘play’ Bond, while Sean Connery WAS Bond. I feel the same about Brosnan. However, I have a huge amount of bias towards him because he was my James Bond growing up. Yes, I pretty much shot out of the womb and began watching Goldfinger, Dr. No, and From Russia with Love because my dad had bought the VHS box set of the films. I honestly don’t remember watching any films more than those when I was little. Except maybe Tim Burton’s Batman, but my parents hid that from me for quite awhile because they felt it was a bit violent. Today, my two big obsessions are Batman and James Bond, so there you have it.
I wanted to point out that I have a real soft spot for Pierce Brosnan as Bond, and while most people loathe his films (especially Tomorrow Never Dies for some reason), he is easily one of my favorites. I will also defend the fact that Brosnan is far and away the best part of this entire movie. The biggest problems of this movie can be summed up in just a few words…CGI, Madonna, Halle Berry.
First, CGI does not belong in a Bond film in any big sort of way. Removing wires for stunts, things like that I am perfectly fine with. When it is the main focus of the film, like the wind surfing scene, as well as much of the climax of the film…I have a big problem. Second, the Madonna autotuned song is absolutely terrible and her attempting to act in her cameo just makes it worse. Third, Halle Berry can be a great actress in some pretty great movies, but man is she terrible here. Story goes that they wanted to make a spinoff film with her Jinx character, basically having a female James Bond franchise. That never happened and I think it is due to her performance here. It is definitely not at the failure of the movie because it made a ton of money and didn’t do that bad critically, holding a 57% on Rotten Tomatoes (which is much better than a bulk of the Moore films). As far as the villain goes, Toby Stephens as Gustav Graves is one of the least memorable villains. Stephens plays him as a total brat as well, with a constant smug look on his face. Look dude, we know you’re the bad guy because you are trying to kill everyone with your satellite laser, you don’t have make us hate you any more than we already do. Seems like a missed opportunity as well, because Stephens is actually pretty great in the show Black Sails.
On to the better side. The action scenes are pretty great here, even with Brosnan starting to show his age. It opens with a great action sequence and a fun, if outlandish car chase. This is a pretty fun Bond outing overall, even with all of its missteps. It feels like the You Only Live Twice of Brosnan’s series, where it is over-the-top but still very entertaining.