Today heralded the long-awaited announcement of the title for the twentieth James Bond film, Die Another Day. The film is based on a new script from Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, and while it is not taken from the original books by Ian Fleming, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson assured fans that it would "remain true to the spirit of Bond."

Little is known about the plot for the film, although it will be set against a background of the Cold War tension in North and South Korea. The customary introduction sequence is set in Hawaii and filming has been underway there since January. The film itself is set for a simultaneous US and UK release on November 22nd - it is no coincidence that this marks forty years since the release of the first Bond flick, Dr. No.

Pierce Brosnan returns for his fourth outing as Agent 007, which may be his last if mkb is correct. The ubiquitous Bond girl is Halle Berry as Jinx, while Bond's latest nemesis is the North Korean "Zao", to be played by Rick Yune, himself part-Korean. Little is known about this character, except that he is facially disfigured - reminiscent of the classic Bond enemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Judi Dench and John Cleese return as Bond's affiliates M and R.

Madonna has confirmed that she will be joining the long list of acts to produce the Bond theme, and it is rumoured that work on this has already begun.

Credit For This Write-Up
So many websites I've lost count, plus a good old-fashioned knowledge of all things Bond.
Thanks also to whoever created this nodeshell - such things are occasionally inspiring

Making of: Die Another Day

Die Another Day is the latest James Bond film. It came out on Nov. 22, 2002. It was shot at Pinewood Studios in England. Pinewood has been the home of the Bond series since Dr. No. Lee Tamahori directed Die Another Day. The Director of Photography was David Tattersall. He also shot Star Wars: Episode 2.

Pierce Brosnan again plays James Bond, having a multi-movie contract. His sexy female companion is Jinx, played by Halle Berry. The main henchman of Col. Moon is Zao, played by Rick Yune. James spends a lot of time fighting him. M is played by Judi Dench.

Behind the Scenes and Equipment (spoilers ahead)

The camera work was on the extravagent side. Die Another Day was shot anamorphically. They used primarily Panavision cameras and Primo (expensive) lenses. They used Kodak Vision 320T 5277 film stock for some of the chase scenes, they used a FlyingCam, a remote controlled 30 pound helicopter with a camera on board. They used three dimension stabilizing camera mounts for many of the chase and action shots. They also used laser rangefinders to focus. Rumour has it that the chase scenes are something very special this time around. Also, there are some specific tribute shots to Dr. No in the film.

Lighting was another huge issue on the set. The Icarus weapon, the doomsday weapon of the film, output 160,000 watts over Pinewood's backlot. It had to be started in banks, so it wouldn't overload the dedicated generator the crew had to rent. The Ice Palace (Col. Moon's, lair) scenes were all made of acryllic and other plastics. Constructing an actual ice palace would have been to Speilbergesque. The crew used a 200 foot long sound stage to make the set, and it had to be lit 360 degrees so that shadows and reflections could be controlled. There is a chase scene through the ice palace involving an Aston Martin and a Jag.

This is the first Bond movie to use CG extensively. It worked out quite well. Mara Bryan supervised FX. Especially impressive are the scenes from the Icelandic coast, as water is one of the hardest things to do well in CG, along with fire. Pixar and some of the other graphics houses sell some of their custom computer programs for upwards of $25 000. A lot of the other scenes were modified and tweaked with computers.

There are several interesting stories about the making of Die Another Day. Tamahori is quoted as saying "David (refering to David Tattersall) and I went all over the world scouting these locations, only to end up faking them at Pinewood." The computers played an important roll in that as well. Also, there is a kick ass shot of an experimental Boeing helicopter coming out of the back of an AN-124 Russian cargo plane. When the producers rented an AN-124 from the Russians, the Russian mafia seized it, and held it ransom. The crew then went to the Ukranians and rented a plane from them. The Ukranians were kind enough to deliver a plane with a special tail number: UR(for Ukraine)007. Also, the director of Panavision London came wondering into Pinewood. Tattersall asked "what are you doing here"? He replied "I figured you were shooting something interesting when I noticed you had 26 cameras booked out." The replacement cost for a Panavision camera and anamorphic lenses is between $50,000 and $150,000 per camera.

Yes, there are hovercraft in the movies. They went through 18 of the things filming the hovercraft chase scenes. Yes, there are cool cars. Ford supplied them all. Bond is back in his classic Aston Martin. The villans are stuck in Jaguars. Ford also converted the cars to all wheel drive, beefed up the suspension and powertrain and added snow tires. A chase scene takes place on a frozen lake in Iceland.

I got most of the info here from the November 2002 issue of American Cinematographer and The Nov. 18th Newsweek.

Die Another Day supposedly features either a visual or auditory reference to every James Bond film (with the exception of the unofficial Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again). Some are quite obvious, while others are hidden in the background. If you can help fill in this list, please /msg me. Minor spoilers follow.

There's also a line of dialogue that, while not a reference, I found interesting. After Bond returns from 14 months in North Korea M says to him "While you were away, the world changed." If you think about world events since 1999's The World Is Not Enough, you'll find the line has an interesting double-meaning.


References:
http://www.orlandosentinel.com
http://www.imdb.com
http://www.CommanderBond.net
Actually seeing the movies
BrianShader
DejaMorgana
RalphyK
malcster
sekicho
JayBees
Master Villain
Your name here
This James Bond flick, starring Pierce Brosnan as Bond and Halle Berry as Bond's flavor of the week, Jinx, is, in a word, decent. If you like James Bond movies, you'll find this watchable; if you're a James Bond aff afficti afictoi fuck it fan, you'll love it.

It's got everything you could possibly want: explosions (Montgomery Burns-style!), hot cars (including an Aston Martin that cloaks and a Jag with all the fixins), a member of the Axis of Evil to battle (North Korea!?), a bad guy with nasty scars (Zao, played by Rick Yune), homages to plenty of earlier films...you get the idea. There is also a fair amount of swordplay, if you get my drift....yep, fencing!

There are a bunch of plot twists that are surprisingly...well...surpising. Bond movies are not known for their unpredictability, but this one makes you blink at least once.

BUT.

The end of this movie gets....stupid. Don't get me wrong--I wasn't pissed off by the ending. I did leave rather annoyed at the scriptwriter. While some parts were certainly cool--surfing, and an amazing car chase--some hokey fx and even hokier dialogue (for Bond!) sort of breaks it at the end.

Conclusion: It was, overall, a good movie, with some crap stuffed in--possibly the producers wanted to keep Halle Berry from winning any more awards any time soon?

                               (reserved)
        +---------------------------------+
        | Nebuchadnezzar Seal of Approval |
        |               :)                |
        +---------------------------------+

Afterthought: AWD+big engines=excellence. Watch the snow from under the tires in the chase scene--beautiful.

If this had not been a Bond movie it would have been.... acceptable.

Steven Notley, creator of Bob the Angry Flower, said in one of his movie reviews that the problem with this movie is that the real world headed Bondward and the Bond franchise responded by running away from the real world. This is the largely echoed criticism that follows so many movies, the fear of reminding people of the real world and losing money (remember Spider-Man reputedly had a scene removed because it featured the World Trade Center). Unfortunately the choice of villain in this one has come back to bite the Bond team, but more on that later.

Massive Spoilerage

As a movie Die Another Day has some cool things going on, but it just fails on a few counts to be believable in the context of the James Bond world. We're expected to believe that in a world where MI6 knows everything they fail to do a background check on an agent, who turns out to have been at Cambridge with the son of the North Korean general. This simple oversight is of course fueling the whole movie, but it just feels weak - weaker still is M's "If you'd only told us...." line to the head of the CIA - Bonds MI6 relies on the CIA for information about what goes on in he UK! Weak! Just like how someone can have gene therapy to change their appearance and then build a sattelite laser all in the space of 14 months - when it's just been established their ill-gotten gains were all spent on fast cars and hovercraft (and just how the hell did the US not spot this base in the demillitarized zone? I know in the Bond universe the United States are frequently incompetant, but this is a stretch).

Another grating point is the idea of surfing into North Korea - I felt like I'd walked into XXX. Bond escaping a collapsing glacier via a parachute and makeshift surfboard was okay but still felt like a desperate grab for some new market share. The whole movie seems to be struggling to maintain a bunch of things that other Hollywood movies have - This is the third Bond movie in the last four to feature an Englishman as the villain. Technically Gustav Graves is not English but the outward presentation is all you notice. There's also a shot of a rank of sports cars in bright colours which raises another question - how did they all get there. Later you wonder why someone who obviously knows he's not meant to have all those flashy symbols of Western decadence is so eager to help the regime.

Opportunities are missed all round, when you have four villains it's hard to work in enough of them to give a satisfying movie. With the Main Bad Guy, the Evil Girl, the Freakish Henchman and the Oddjob Copy you're hard pressed to have good fight scenes for all of them. Surprisingly Oddjob Copy gets the best, and Freakish Henchman the worst - he falls into some water and gets crushed by a chandelier. Evil Girl exists so Good Girl can fight her, since women can't beat up men, y'know, and the fight scene is an excuse to show off some midriff. Actually that's what women in Bond movies are for but it still felt bad here, possibly because I can smell gratuitous a mile off.

Speaking of feeling bad, if you didn't like Street Fighter you're going to have flashbacks - the bad guy ends up with a suit of armour that electrocutes people. Ugh. Why does he need it, he could kick the crap out of Bond anyway - but Bond survives electrocution, which was a moment reminiscent of a Schwarzenegger movie. Another bad choice of events is Moneypenny reduced in status from "Woman who flirts with Bond" to "Woman who is after Bond" and she gets stuck as comic relief at the end. Dissapointing, as though she wasn't a particularly developed character to start with this makes her seem like just a horny secretary.

End Massive Spoilerage

The worst thing is the response the movie has garnered. Here's a quote reportedly from the North Korean "news agency"

"The film represents the real intention of the US keen on war as it considers the North as part of an 'axis of evil', fans up division and confrontation between the South and the North and insults and makes mockery of the Korean nation"

Despite misinterpreting (or misreporting) the movie as a United States propaganda vehicle it is a good point - There are people who will interpret this sort of film wrongly (one hopes that George W. Bush isn't this stupid) and support any action against North Korea. It's sad to say so, but movies should be more careful when using a current political situation. As for "mockery of the Korean nation" it's obscure, but probably a comment based on the presence of two psychotic Koreans backed by a group of warmongers - or likely just the fact North Korea is in the movie. I'm trying to be impartial but regardless of how much we don't like comments like "axis of evil" North Korea is still no shining, happy place. Judging any movie on what others think is a little silly, but this one has that uncomfortable feeling that it's grabbing a cheap target.

Hey wait a minute, where did North Koreans get a copy of a James Bond movie? Poor continuity in the real world! Yes, they probably just fired a statement off without seeing it.

13/1/03: As an aside, the fourth article in the list says Kim Jong-il is a film buff and Bond fan - Truth or fiction? Truth stranger than fiction?

That aside, South Korean activists are not happy with the timing of the film, and South Korean audiences in general are upset with the setting for the closing shag - a Bhuddist temple or shrine (I wouldn't know, but it's what they think that matters). Also upset about the representation of Korea the ticket sales flag and theatres are aparrently dropping it.

It's clearly a poor choice on the part of the producers to show the villainy in their movie so closely tied to a real group - in fact remembering back to all the real Bond movies only one has a political group linked to the actions of the villain - Goldfinger, featuring Asian backers for his plan, though it's not very clear - he might just have been after a handy nuclear weapon. Any Bond movie with the KGB involved usually has them as side players, and SPECTRE was substituted for Russia in some movies.

As I said at the start of this peice, if it had been any other action movie it would be possible to shrug off most of the movie as generic fluff, but as a Bond movie you have higher expectations. I wouldn't show this to people who have never seen a Bond movie - this one is for the die-hard fans so they can say they've seen 'em all. Hopefully the next one will feature a more subtle plot and less bandwagonish scenes - Closer to The Living Daylights than Moonraker.


  • Steven Notley's review - http://angryflower.com/dieanoth.html
  • Admittedly crap article - http://xtramsn.co.nz/news/0,,3782-2065211,00.html
  • But The Guardian one is worse - http://film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,12589,868313,00.html
  • Another NZ article - http://xtramsn.co.nz/entertainment/0,,3802-2068115,00.html

If anyone has any more articles about poor reactions to this movie please let me know.


Someone is no doubt about to /msg me that there was a Russian bad guy in Octopussy, The Living Daylights and A View to a Kill - go and watch them again, the villains are rogue agents. In For Your Eyes Only the Russians are after the SEATAC but they have paid some freelance guy to get it. All the movies represent a criminal, terrorist or fanatic group (Moonraker and The Spy Who Loved Me fall into the latter group).

Die Another Day
2002
Directed by Lee Tamahori
Starring:
Pierce Brosnan
Halle Berry
Toby Stephens
Rosamund Pike
Rated: PG-13
Running length: 120 minutes



Picture a middle school cafeteria. After negotiating unilateral trade agreements concerning apples, jell-o, and sandwiches, a group of 13-year olds begins to discuss the new James Bond movie, opening that night. “I bet there are lasers,” one says, a little boy with pudding on his face. “No, sunbeam lasers!” quips another, “and an invisible car! No, wait, hovercrafts!” A pretty girl with long blond hair pipes up, “I bet there’s a beautiful frost princess who fights with swords better than any man, and lives in an ice palace and gives her heart to no one.” Boys within earshot aren’t too receptive to this idea. Pudding-face expresses it best, “No, moron, James Bond likes girls who fight with guns. There’s probably one of those, and also a villain who shoots lightning from his hands.” Many hasten to remind him that he’s thinking of Star Wars. Pudding-face is sad, and mutters to himself, “Screw you guys, it would have been cool.”

Fortunately for these kids, all of their musings come true in Die Another Day. Unfortunately for us, they could have written the whole script. Attempting to appeal to a target audience ever younger than aging action movie protagonist Pierce Brosnan (50 years old when the movie came out), the latest Bond adventure delves a bit too deeply into childishness and leaves the audience confused more than it is amazed. For an example of the way director Lee Tamahori thinks, take a look at the bond girl du jour, Halle Berry. Tamahori was looking for a leading hottie who could also act, and apparently Berry’s work in Swordfish was just the virtuoso performance he was seeking. Yes, I know she won an oscar, but unfortunately, that piece of hardware isn't onscreen delivering lines. She is. It is worth noting that The World Is Not Enough director Michael Apted claimed that Denise Richards was chosen for her acting as well. Look people, “acting” is not the same as “breasts,” okay? Get it straight. Rosamund Pike (who also played Fanny in the recent adaptation of two Nancy Mitford’s novels entitled Love in a Cold Climate) as Miranda Frost is very good, but her character is so painfully one-dimensional, not to mention obvious, that her appeal is dulled.

In his latest adventure, James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) is sent to blow up weapons smugglers in North Korea, which sounds exactly like the type of shenanigans that British Intelligence would be up to. James isn’t quite as spectacular as he thinks he is, and despite a good bit of killing people, pissing others off, and generally being a nuisance, he is captured. Imprisoned and tortured by being forced to listen to Madonna, James believes himself to have kept his mouth shut, but British and American intelligence believes him to have given up information. No one can resist being forced to watch Madonna music videos for long, they surmise. They make a prisoner trade to get Bond back, but it is decided that he is useless now. It’s the end of the road for 007.

Then the plot begins, which is almost good enough to be used in a video game. Bond escapes (what, you think he’d go down that easy?) and convinces Chinese intelligence that they want to help him. Once they’ve provided him with some money, a passport, and probably a couple of boxes of condoms, he travels to Cuba to kill the man who was exchanged for him in order somehow redeem himself.

While in Cuba, he meets Jinx (Halle Berry, who delivers lines almost as jarringly (and looks almost as good) as Denise Richards did). After a covert attack on a secret hospital, which is easier to infiltrate than a dorm you don’t live in, Bond finds that his new friend isn’t all she seems to be. He also manages to let the man he came to kill escape, but not after pissing him off more. Oh yeah, he gets another clue also. Gotta drive that plot forward at all costs.

Eventually Bond sneaks into a few things, breaks some other things, kills a few people, has sex with a few other people, and what with one thing or another, British Intelligence wins in the end. The problem is that by that time, you just don’t care anymore. The music video direction confuses more than it stylizes, and scene after scene leaves the thinking audience member wondering, “How did that happen? What’s going on? Why would they ever do that, ever?”

Will the Bond franchise ever end? Probably not, but it would be nice if they could find some writers who can think of some new puns. The script is full of the types of lines that would be hilarious to only the youngest of audiences, and the same goes for the ability of the plot twists to surprise. Is it too late for the 007 flicks to become progressively more sophisticated, like the Harry Potter books have? Perhaps. This doesn’t mean that they should progress in the opposite direction, continuously seeking the teen market with lowest-common-denominator marketing to people who couldn’t actually find the lowest common denominator of two numbers.

Suspension of disbelief has never been more difficult. Fun the film might be at times, but it’s far from slick or sharp. Die Another Day might be a good option for mindless action, but those moviegoers with brains able to think twice might consider doing so before spending their rental money on the latest popcorn Bond.

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