The 20th movie in the Bond series, the fourth and final one to star Pierce Brosnan as the fictional English (MI6) secret agent. A landmark movie as it was the last in it’s current running timeline for the past 40 years. Bond goes rogue defying M to find who had sabotaged his mission and landed him in a North Korean prison. The plot is run-off-the-mill with nothing much new being offered except for the other movie references, but the movie being mostly remembered for the rampant use of CGI, commercialization and the invisible Aston Martin Vanquish.
|Directed By: Lee Tamahori|
|Produced by: Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli|
|Screenplay by: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade|
|Release date(s): 20 November 2002|
|Running Time: 2 hours, 13 minutes|
|Bond Series: 20/23|
|Distributed by: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 20th Century Fox|
|Budget: $140 million|
|Gross Revenue: $431,971,116|
|Preceded by: The World is not Enough (1999)|
|Succeeded by: Casino Royale (2006)|
JAMES BOND – Pierce Brosnan (4th and final appearance)
Halle Berry as Jacinta “Jinx” Johnson, an NSA Operative
Rosamund Pike as Miranda Frost, MI6 Agent who goes double
Rachel Grant as Peaceful Fountains of Desire, Masseuse in Hong Kong
MI6 and OTHER ALLIES
M (Judy Dench) Still cold and abrasive towards Bond.
Q (John Cleese) – Still humeros,
Moneypenny (Samantha Bond) – Still pines for Bond
Mr Chang (Chinese Intelligence)
Antonio Lopez (Cuba)
Jinx and other NSA operatives
Other Supporting Cast – Madonna as Verity, Kenneth Chang as General Moon
Col. Moon was a North Korean army Colonel, educated in Oxford and Harvard. He trades in illegal conflict diamonds and dreams of defeating South Korea. Presumably killed by Bond, he survives and flees to Cuba where he undergoes DNA restructuring treatment to make him look European and reinvents himself as Gustav Graves, a British adventurer who supposedly struck it rich in the diamond mines of Argentina. He is in control of the satellite weapon Icarus, which he intends to use to defeat South Korea.
Associate – Zao (Rick Yune)
Zao is a terrorist working for Col. Moon who blew Bond’s cover in North Korea, when an explosion in Bond’s diamond suitcase left his face maimed leaving it encrusted with diamonds. He is captured after trying to blow up a summit and is traded for Bond after which he escapes to Cuba to undergo DNA restructuring treatment. Bond follows him and stops the procedure before being completed. He escapes from there too and joins Gustav Graves in Iceland. He is later killed by Bond in the ice palace
Henchmen – Mr. Kil (Bodyguard, torturer), Dr. Alvarez (Runs the DNA clinic in Cuba), Vladimir Popov
Villain Scheme – Destroy the minefield in the De-militarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea, which will allow for a full scale invasion and defeat of the South by North Korea.
Means – A Satellite named ‘Icarus’ with a reflecting mirror of diamonds that concentrates sunlight into a navigable laser style beam, which is to be used to blow up the minefield
Bond Car Equipped With – Remote Steering, Missiles, Guns, Bullet Proof, Tyre Spikes, Ejector Seat and Adapted Camouflage (Invisibility)
Gadgets – Glass shattering hyper frequency sound emitting finger ring, Omega Seamaster Chonograph
Locales – North Korea, South Korea, Hong Kong, Cuba, London UK, Iceland
MOVIE 007 STATISTICS
Direct Kills: 4, Vodka Martinis: 2, Captured: 2, Tight Spot Escapes: 5, Romps: 3, Chases: 3, Fights: 6
VERY PUNNY, Mr. BOND!
“Can I expect the pleasure of you in Iceland?”
“Vodka Martini. Plenty of ice, if you can spare it.”
“So you lived to die another day”
“My friends call me James Bond.”
Verity: I see you handle your weapon well.
James Bond: I have been known to keep my tip up.
James Bond: You know, you’re cleverer than you look.
Q: Still, better than looking cleverer than you are.
Raul: One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.
M: “If I had my way, you would’ve still been in North Korea.”
Miranda Frost: “I know all about you, 007: sex for dinner, death for breakfast, well it’s not gonna work with me.”
Miranda Frost: Really? I take it Mr. Bond’s been explaining his Big Bang theory?
Jinx: Oh yeah, I think I got the thrust of it.
STORYLINE (Caution, Spoilers!!)
James Bond is sent to Colonel Moon’s lair in the guise of a diamond baron to investigate his alleged trading in conflict diamonds, but his cover is blown after someone betrays him. A high decibel gunfight and hovercraft chase later Moon falls off a cliff and into a waterfall, is presumed dead and Bond is captured by North Koreans. 14 months of captivity and torture later, Bond is released for Zao (who was captured by MI6) in a prisoner exchange. M informs him that his services are no longer required and his 00 status is rescinded. Determined to find who had set him up in N.Korea, Bond escapes and goes after Zao who he learns is in Cuba. There he meets Giacinta ‘Jinx’ Johnson (later revealed to be NSA). Though Zao manages to escape, he leaves behind some diamonds with the engravings of Gustav Graves. Bond returns to England and confronts Graves who invites him to his ‘Ice Palace’ in Iceland. There he finds Jinx and Miranda Frost, Graves’ assistant who is MI6 under cover. Graves unveils his satellite (weapon) ‘Icarus’ and Bond finds Zao and Graves (revealed to be Col. Moon) together. After a lot of (CGI) action, Bond kills Zao but Graves/Moon escapes with Frost who Bond learns had turned rogue and also had betrayed him. Bond and Jinx stow away on Graves’/Moon’s plane. Jinx kills Frost and Graves/Moon is sucked into a jet engine killing him and destroying Icarus. Jinx and Bond escape the disintegrating aircraft in a mini helicopter and are later shown making love among scattered diamonds.
SNIPPETS ABOUT THE MOVIE
- ‘Die Another Day’ is the 20th Bond movie and marked 40 years of the James Bond franchise.
- The movie incorporates references to memorable incidents from all previous 19 movies within it’s storyline as a tribute. The main antagonist theme of the villain acquiring a new identity, smuggling diamonds and the use of a satellite-laser harks back to “Diamonds are Forever”. Bond being disowned and working rogue goes to “License to Kill” and so on. For an entire list of references to other movies, click here.
- Bond also finds where all the equipment used in previous movies are used.
- This movie was the first Bond movie to use the title song to further the plot of the movie.
- For the first time the villain car also has Bond-matching gadgets.
DIE ANOTHER DAY – SHAKEN AND STIRRED (REVIEW)
The plot is auto-generated and the movie in it’s entirety has nothing new to deliver, other than probably being the most action-oriented of all Bond movies. The movie was classic Bond till the first half. Bond getting captured, the escape, he waltzing into the Hotel in Hong Kong dripping wet in his hospital overalls, the scenes in the hotel room and he gaining entry into the clinic in Cuba – all well worth it. But it all starts going south the minute he meets Graves. A totally unnecessary violent sword fight and an even more unnecessary Madonna as a “fencing instructor” with cheesy lines put the first sour taste in the movie. From Iceland, Bond and the storyline take a backseat and it is all blinding lights and explosions, lengthily and irritatingly drawn out chase sequences (the rocket car and the one-on-one face off between the Aston and the Jaguar) and the totally ridiculous cartoonish “ice-wave surfing” scene (rated the most ridiculous Bond scene ever). The climax fight is equally ridiculous, how the plane could fly through the beam without exploding is beyond me. Another thing I felt is that the central theme of the movie, the ‘betrayal’ thing, is not emphasized upon well enough, which creates a bit of confusion in the beginning. Also is Zao’s capture not well articulated enough. There was a definite fatigue setting in as Bond movies were getting predictably repetitive, and well, not worth the second or third watch. And this movie was painfully stupid.
IS THE NAME BOND, JAMES BOND?
James Bond is a spy. Or more elaborated, a secret agent. But Bond here seemed to have lost the plot and was concentrating less on spy work and more on blowing things up. Subtlety is thrown out of the window, the story and plot (or the lack of it) and even James Bond is relegated to a side show. Yes, it was a good “action movie” but I would rather go with Michael Bay, John Woo or even Roland Emmerich movies if I would want to watch senseless action and explosions. James Bond movies are not supposed to be “action movies”. Not to mention the umpteen product placements in the movie. Lot of things look just artificial.
Pierce Brosnan looks old, buts till manages to pull it off with elan. He shows the unmistakeable swagger, the care for nothing in the world, the ego, high levels of endurance, and of course, the women. But his puns are far less memorable and the wit and emotions are missing. Jinx will be remembered for the Ursula Andress-esque bikini scene, but overall the Bond girls are extremely forgettable as being there for the sake of being there. The franchise seemed to forget that James Bond should come first, then the plot and everything else including cars and gadgets should be part only to forward the plot. Gun fights, explosions and mindless violence is NOT James Bond.
CONTRIBUTIONS AND TAKEAWAYS
If you would look at the evolution and time line of the James Bond franchise, I would consider “Die Another Day” the most important of the series. The movie was the last in it’s running timeline and in the framework of the usual James Bond template which was getting increasingly repetitive and boring with only the villains, their schemes, gadgets and girls changing but everything else remaining the same. And with invisible cars and ice palaces obliterated by sunlight concentrating satellites, the template had gone through the ceiling without any further scope for expansion. What would outdo an invisible Aston Martin? Bond needed to get back to what he was supposed to do: spying. The producers sensed the template had hit it’s saturation and said “Screw it!” rebooting the franchise. Casino Royale took on an alternate timeline, starting with showing the beginnings of James Bond, him becoming less-larger than life and more real-worldly with no accessorized cars and gadgets.
THE VERDICT – THE GOOD AND THE BAD
The Good: Pierce Brosnan, The first half, References to other Bond movies
The Ugly: Deviation from the ‘Bond’ theme, CGI, Product Placement, The car and chase, Soundtrack, Madonna, Ugly fight scenes
Bond Scale: 20th Best in 22 Movies, 4 stars out of 10
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