Ian’s Bond Education: Part 6
Tomorrow Never Dies
Now for what may be the most generic of all the Bond movie titles…
Tomorrow Never Dies opens well, as Bond has to fly a nuclear missile out of a terrorist mountain camp before the whole place explodes. it injects adrenaline into the movie as it is meant to. I also liked the plot set up where a secret organization is trying to start a war between China and Britain, even though this gives us quite the stretch with no Bond.
However, I found that this set up was mostly disappointing. They keep hinting throughout the movie that China and the West are tat the brink of war, but that tension is never really felt at all. We only get a couple headlines here and there. I also didn’t like Jonathon Price’s villain, playing a sinister William Randolph Hearst. It felt like the filmmakers here wanted to say something clever about media mogulism, but it wasn’t very compelling.
But here’s my biggest problem with the movie (which is my same problem with the title): its generic. There’s really nothing special or interesting about this particular Bond installment. Action scenes are scattered throughout, but they’re pretty plain Jane. There is a motorcycle/car/helicopter chase which is very run-of-the-mill. There’s a part where the movie oddly turns into a kung fu movie for about 3 minutes. Then there is the climax on the stealth boat with is just more of the same: James shooting guns while running as things around him explode.
TND is not incompetent, but there is absolutely nothing special. Except maybe that part where he pretends to give a guy a light and instead punches him in the face.
The World is Not Enough
I was expecting World is Not Enough to be truly awful. I guess I just associated the non-Goldeneye Brosnan films as being trash. This wasn’t that. It also wasn’t entirely compelling either.
The movie is about someone stealing a nuke to put on their sub and blow up Istanbul, or something. As far as evil schemes go, its not quite destroying the gold in Fort Knox. But its really just an excuse for some set pieces involving odd vehicles, such as spy boats, weird parachuting skidoos, a hot air balloon, and some sort of pipeline sled?
I guess the biggest problem I had with TWINE is that its pretty dull and uninteresting. Maybe its because Brosnan’s Bond is pretty much a cardboard cut out with some cheesy lines here and there (“See you at the lodge!”). i did like Sophie Marceau but the twist with her character wasn’t exactly mind-bending. Denise Richards as Lara Croft: Nuclear Scientist was good for a chuckle. But this is very much in the category of forgettable action movies.
Only one more left!
Die Another Day
Well, I’ve now seen all of the Bond movies. And what a masterpiece to cap it off with. Die Another Day is really ridiculous. Really ridiculous. Though to its credit, its not as boring as its two preceding films. I’m not cutting it any slack for that however.
Where to start? Perhaps with one of the worst title songs in the series, and probably THE worst opening credits sequence. Then there’s the “cool vehicle” concepts that reach new levels of ludicrousness with the surfing boards (serious, how far out did they start surfing in from??) to the ice roadster to those weird skydiving plane board thingies. oh wait, I almost forgot the invisible car!
Speaking of ludicrous, the less said about “DNA transplants” the better.
I thought this movie was really poorly directed. So many awkward pace and tone shifts. Like when Bond was remembering his captivity: are we supposed to feel like that’s deep? Kinda hard to do in a movie which has a massive sun-death ray able to target people from space, or actually uses the idea of transplanting someone’s DNA (oh damn, I already forgot… less said…) Meanwhile, we get these random slow-motion shots in the action scenes. And we get “London Calling” playing over the scene of someone skydiving into Buckingham Palace. Yup…
Halle Berry. Okay, its clear she was trying for something unique, but wow did she ever feel like she was in a completely different movie than everyone else. Wow. Also, wasn’t the dialogue in this film just terrible? The sexual innuendo was so ridiculously broad. “Is he showing you his Big Bang Theory?” “I think I get the thrust of it.” Subtle ladies, subtle.
Oh and hey, how about those virtual reality goggles?