Die Another Day not as Bad as I Remembered

Posted on December 14, 2023 by Richard Goulter

Still slowly re-watching through the James Bond movies.

Just finished “Die Another Day”, Pierce Brosnan’s last Bond movie. My wife likes him as Bond as he’s the most handsome James Bond.

I was surprised that the movie wasn’t as bad as I had remembered it.
Perhaps partly that’s because upon rewatching the other Brosnan movies, I realise they’re not as good as I remember them.

I had pretty much remembered the broad plot: something about Bond in North Korea, at some fancy medical clinic in Cuba, fencing in England, and then in some icy location with an orbital beam of death, and somehow the climax of the movie is on a plane. And something about the bad guy being “DNA swapped” of a Korean guy.

It’d be a bad idea to judge the Bond films by the worst moments (seeing as how I think what lingers is generally the positive parts), but “Die Another Day”’s worst parts are definitely its early-2000s CGI.
The CGI happens to work for the invisible car.. but it really doesn’t work for a part in the movie where Bond is para-surfing away on the waves from a collapsing ice shelf. – It’s stupid, but not fun.

Whereas what I didn’t remember all that much was the spy-car-vs-spy-car car chase.. I think maybe in the open tundra this car chase was a bit dull; but I thought it surpassed the bar for “rule of cool” by the time the chase went through the hallways of the ice hotel.

Putting it that way.. I think the film’s premise sounds pretty cool: James Bond has to face off against a villain who has transformed himself into a mirror image of James Bond (gadgets and spy car included).

I think the Bond films are the at their most engaging when there’s some tangible threat that Bond has to track down and stop. (Whereas, without a known threat, it just feels like ‘stuff happens’, and Bond moves from one place to the next). – In “Die Another Day”.. although the supervillain’s doom weapon comes as a late surprise, throughout the film Bond always has a clear target and makes progress towards it. Good.

That said, there’s something very cringeworthy about the film’s premise, too. The bad guy race-swaps himself from Korean to being British. … It’s just really weird.

Some parts of the film are fun. I love the gag where Moneypenny finally gets to make out with Bond.. only for it to be revealed that this was just in the computer simulation. (The gag doesn’t really fit well in the plot; but it’s such a great gag).

Halle Berry’s character is pretty cool in this. She competently does a bunch of spy stuff, doesn’t overshadow Bond, and doesn’t mess things up. – My wife’s usual disapproval for the way Bond women are written is “they’ll have sex with Bond and then turn stupid” (where perhaps the best example of this was the Bond girl in “License to Kill”; if not “Diamonds are Forever”).

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