James Bond: Classic, Cheese, or Crap? – “Die Another Day”

“Die Another Day”

2002

Bond: Pierce Brosnan

Classic, Cheese, or Crap?: CRAP

“Die Another Day” was Pierce Brosnan’s fourth and final Bond film.

Prominently featuring Halle Berry (at her zenith), sporting the latest techniques in special effects, and a themesong by the legendary Madonna, the movie was an enormous success. It grossed over $400 million worldwide.

It was also the moment I knew the Brosnan era needed to come to an end.

Like many other Bond films, I can say “I really like this one up til a certain point”. The movie opens strongly, with Bond in a great action sequence in Korea, then captured (captured!) and finally, escaping MI6 and tracking the villains to Cuba.

The moment Halle Berry takes that enormous swan dive off the Cuban cliffs, though, so does the movie. The narrative begins to get confused by introducing “Gustav Graves” without connecting the dots for the audience, there’s the horrifying Madonna cameo, and the product placement begins! Before you know it, Bond is in Iceland and the horror is underway…

Being the 40th Anniversary of the Franchise, and the 20th film in the series, “Die Another Day” attempted to incorporate nods and allusions to each of the 19 previous Bond outings. Notably absent though was any reference to quality.

The story is a mess (DNA replacement, conflict diamonds and Space Lasers do not mix) and the main villain is a tool. I do think the main henchman, Zao, was cool, but he’s wasted here. A great concept lost amongst the dreck. Berry is awful, and her character is no better. She’s reportedly one of the “Hold her own/Bond’s equal” Bond Girls, but she winds up needing rescue more often than Holly Goodhead, Stacy Sutton and Christmas Jones combined. One of my LEAST favorite Bond Girls ever.

But the primary charge in “Die Another Day”‘s long litany of offenses may just be the CGI. In any technological revolution, there are going to be casualties. Tragic missteps where the reach exceeds the grasp and the result is painful to watch. Not only did the CGI look poor onscreen, but the newfound capabilities led to outrageous creative choices, including Bond parasailing off of the melting glacier, and the ridiculous finale where Bond and Jinx each square off against their opposite numbers (with Graves in a robo-powersuit) as the plane is shredded by the Icarus space laser. (Sunbeam. Whatever)

There is a cheesy enjoyment factor in it for me, but the stench is undeniable and I couldn’t respect myself here if I didn’t classify it as crap. There ARE a FEW high quality elements, including the entire first third and the excellent car chase on ice sequence, but they can’t come close to overcoming a bad plot, poor villains, a sore thumb cameo, obnoxious product placement, an irritating Bond Girl and some of the worst visual effects ever seen in the history of Bond.

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36 thoughts on “James Bond: Classic, Cheese, or Crap? – “Die Another Day”

    • Agreed on both counts Lou. I think this film really greased the skids for the end of the Brosnan era.

      Lots of Bond goodness coming up here thus year, Lou, stick around! ;)

      Thanks for posting!

  1. My god this film is horrendous. I want to call it cheesy crap, but that in essence says that there’s some redeeming factor about the film. But no, everything from the surfing Bond (WTF?!) to Madonna’s song to the absolutely horrendous story and Halle Berry’s god awful Bond girl… just no, this is just CRAP.

    Am I wrong, but is every line of dialogue in this film some sort of innuendo?

    • LOL! At the very least every third line…

      And I enjoy some things about it. I like the car chase on ice, I like Zhao, Judi Dench is always awesome… but then there is so much gawd awfulness. People were crazy about Berry when it came out, but looking back, she doesnt represent well…

      • I think people went crazy over Berry when it was first released because there was a big fuss about her being one of the few “coloured” Bond girls. Ohfergawdssake!

        Judi Dench is brills. She can do no wrong.The great pretender that is Helen Mirren can carry on pretending!

      • I can’t vouch for the film, but part of the reason people were so crazy about Berry is that she was just coming off her Oscar win for Monster’s Ball. From Oscar winner to Bond girl… there’s an unexpected career path…. So people were expecting great things from her at that point, because she’d been tapped by the Academy as a great actress.

        One of these days I’ll have to see Monster’s Ball for myself so I can see whether she really was that good in it. Because in everything else I’ve seen her in, she’s been awful. I’ve seen five films with her in significant roles, and though it may be a bit unfair in that some of them would be awful regardless, I have yet to see a competent acting job from her.

      • Yeah, Catwoman’s one of the five I’ve seen as well. Swordfish is another, and while it’s not brain-bleeding bad, it’s still not a winner, and she’s still terrible. And, of course, the three X-Men films she’s in. I think we all know that she wasn’t much of an asset there.

      • I’ve seen Catwoman and Swordfish and oof to them both. In X-Men she had the same effect on Storm as January Jones did on Emma Frost.

  2. Jeez. I haven’t seen this one since it was in theaters (yes, I paid to see it in theaters. I’m so, so sorry), but apparently it hasn’t aged well at all. And I totally forget there ever being a powersuit fight. It’s a little upsetting.

  3. I have always disliked Pierce Brosnan as Bond. People try to convince me that he’s decent and although his previous bond films aren’t awful, he was the source of no possible positives, and it is this film which is why I find him so bad in the role. Bond is supposed to be cool, clever and impressive in every way, and Brosnan was never the right person to do this. The acting was shoddy; he sucked the life out of everything, he made even waterboarding seem incredibly dull and laborious (not that I’m saying it’s a fun actvity). He is the only Bond for whom I have egged on the baddies to kill him. Not only is he bad but the overall acting is painful, the plot seems to make virtually no sense, and it relies to much on the cheesy Bond aspect for any success. Maybe this is a slightly over-the-top rant, but I think I’ve made my point pretty clear; i don’t like this film.

    • Yup. Your point is pefectly clear TCT. “Die Another Day” = your favorite Bond film ever!

      Got it!
      :D

      LOL. I dunnnnnnno… I can’t agree on Brosnan. I know there’s a lot of Brosnan hate out there (and youre rant’s not over the top by any means) I just personally thought he was always the best thing his movies had going for them. And a lot of the problems weren’t his fault.

      At least that’s my take on the Brosnan issue.

      But we all have our own preferences. Check out Gelman! He loves Quantum of Solace so much he mentions it in every Bond post!! :D

      • I’m with Fogs on this one. Brosnan for me was a good move for the Bond franchise. What he was given to do was just awful.

  4. About the only thing I remember about this film is the Ice Bar. I thought that looked cool and I’d like to go to one someday.

    The rest I have gladly excised from my memory banks.

    CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP

      • Especially because we had Die Another Day, then Casino Royale, and I was hoping for another excellent Daniel Craig Bond film.

        And we got Quantum of Solace.

        I’m still not 100% sure what that movie was about.

      • I think for April Fool’s day I’m gonna sign you up for the Quantum of Solace fan club. LOL

        Is there one out there? It’d almost be worth STARTING one, just to put you on its mailing list. :D

  5. The worst opening theme song of all time! A female counterpart to 007 named “Jinx”? John Cleese as Q with an invisible car? What? A two faced villain (literally) with a death ray in Outer Space? (Wasn’t that Goldeneye?) All this being said, I liked it. I know exactly what I’m getting from a Bond film, and that’s why I go. High tech gadgets, exciting car chases, multiple high-explosive scenes and sexy women. Forget the overwrought plot, bad jokes and lines, this film is action genre personified. Remember Roger Moore’s Bond? Bond’s come a long way since! I’d much rather see this again than “Quantum of Solace”! Definitely aged Cheddar!

    • Wow! A vote for cheese!
      :D

      I cant disagree TOO strongly. Classic? Hell no. But if someone feels the cheese outweighs the crap, its cool. There are a LOT of cheesey elements, as you point out. I suppose it boils down to whether or not you enjoy the end result more or dislike it more.

  6. I hate this movie. I once did an edit of it on my computer. I removed most of Berry’s lines, Berry doing his backflip dive, Bond surfing, much of the robo-suit, Madonna’s cameo, and some annoying lines here or there. The movie became much more tolerable. There is a decent film in there somewhere. Even taken without any edits, it still isn’t as bad as “The World is Not Enough.”

    • Ha!

      I’d like to see that movie. What’s the runtime? 10, 15 minutes? LOL

      Cmon now though, I like TWINE. I know, I know. It’s a guilty pleasure. I do feel guilty for supporting it, but… there it is.

      • I have a soft spot for TWINE. (I love that the acronym is TWINE! Don’t ask me why) In my eyes it’s less cheesy than DAD, a bit more of a semi-plausible plot and it doesn’t have Halle Berry in it. Also, Garbage’s song was kinda awesome. Just my two cents.

  7. I’m a big fan of Brosnan, especially on TV, but he never covinced me he was Bond. Only 2 actors did that——of course,”1st” Connery, and “last” Craig. I remember my first Bond movie when the theater was soooo packed, I couldn’t even sit with my date.

    • Which movie was it? Do you recall?

      Yeah, Remington Steele. LOL Kept him from being Bond in the 80s ironically. He was going to have the Dalton movies, and then once that was announced, Remington steele got a ratings bump, which caused NBC to lock excercise a contract clause and lock him in, which prevented him from becoming Bond for almost ten years.

      Bond trivia.

  8. I agree that Berry is awful… close to being my least favourite Bond Girl as well…

    I’m looking forward to the 50th Anniversary Blu-ray of James Bond, which includes ALL the movies so far! :D

    • Yeahhhh… about that.

      I’d be looking forward to them a LOT more if I hadn’t already bought the three three packs they’ve put out so far. The bankruptcy delayed things, and I always assumed I had no chance of completing the collection in that packaging format, but I think this ices it.

      So I may buy this, but it would be like double dipping on 9 different movies.

      Grrr

      • Yeah I already have some of the Bonds on my shelf, but I’ll most probably be buying the massive 22 (22?) movie set when it comes out… the box itself looks awesome

  9. I can’t disagree with anything you said, BUT, I don’t hate this film as much as others. I kinda like all the references for example, even if they are dumb. It’s a bad Bond film, but there are far, FAR worse in the Bond cannon.

    • Mmmmmm….

      Uhhhhmm…

      I guess so. This is a low, low ranking Bond for me. But I guess you’re right. The occasional solid moments elevate it above such winners as AVTAK and TMWTGG. And of course, Never Say Never Again, if you consider that one, but I don’t think you do.

  10. I’m gonna steal one from Jaina, (Cheesy Crap….strike that, reverse it) and call it Crappy Cheese. Yeah it did steal the weapon from Goldeneye of sorts, the theme song and cameo by Madonna were anything but the best. But you know they didn’t choose Berry for her acting skills, so I guess I’m not quite on the hatewagon for her as a supporting role to Brosnan. She was okay, but not bad. I thought Ms. Frost did her job nicely and that Gustof Graves was a pretty good villain. The sword play in the upscale hotel and the car chase/battle was very Bond-esque.
    Diamond face or whatever was his name was a horrible villain…I think I’ve seen better acting from Robocop than that guy. I’d probably rank this one above World Is Not Enough, but below Goldeneye and Tomorrow if I had to rank the Brosnan films.

    To me, this movie smells more like Limberger cheese left out in the Icarus sunbeam for a week than the elephant doo-doo that everyone else seems to think in this thread.

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