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Die Another Day [Blu-ray] 
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Directed by Lee Tamahori. Starring Rosamund Pike, Pierce Brosnan, Judi Dench.
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It is generally accepted that every James Bond actor’s debut Bond film is usually a great film with a great performance from the leading actor. Think of Connery with Dr No, Moore with Live and Let Die and Craig with Casino Royale. However, the various 007’s have not generally been so lucky with their swansong film, think of Connery in Diamonds Are Forever and Moore in View to A Kill. Both were lack lustre films short on inspiration and certainly not helped by tired performances by the ageing or out of shape leading men. The only ones who escaped this fate are Lazenby who left the series after one film the excellent OHMSS and Dalton after his second the excellent Licence To Kill. As to whether Daniel Craig can escape this curse in his final 007 outing waits to be seen but odds are his final film can’t possibly be any worse than Pierce Brosnan’s final Bond film Die Another Day – which is the unfortunate subject of this review.
As Bonds go – I really like Pierce Brosnan and his debut film Goldeneye was fantastic and he was brilliant, and the follow ups Tomorrow Never Dies and The World is Not Enough were decent films too yes they had their flaws but still good films and Brosnan was still great in them. But Die Another Day sadly is complete and utter rubbish and given the poor material and direction its not surprising that DAD is not his best performance. It also seems a tad unfair that the Bond producers sacked him from the role afterwards because clearly the problems with DAD were not his fault.
Compared to DAD, Other Bond films considered by both critics and fans to be complete turkeys in the series like Diamonds Are Forever, The Man with the Golden Gun, Quantum of Solace, Octopussy and A View To A Kill are at least watchable, entertaining and have some redeeming factors be that an interesting premise, great Villain or fantastic action / stunt work. Sadly, DAD really fails to inspire and deliver on all counts. Just about the only fun & worthwhile aspect about this film is spotting the references to previous Bond films. That’s it.
OK Its interesting for the first hour, Bond gets captured and imprisoned by the North Koreans and then freed due to a spy swap, he also must escape from MI6 and then goes rogue to track down the double agent who betrayed him and after finding a suitable lead involving Gustav Graves – based partly on Sir Hugo Drax from the Moonraker novel. The problem is we eventually find out he is really Colonel Moon based on Colonel Sun and how does that square with Graves? – the answer is the impossible concept of “gene therapy” – the real problem is trying to combine two villains. So, Bond returns to the UK and MI6 to investigate Graves by going on a mission to Iceland. Oddly James Bond a man on the MI6 most wanted list just flies into London on a false passport! and hunt the mole. After making up with Despite several massive plot holes each the size the Grand Canyon it does setup an interesting 2nd half if the 2nd half can deliver the goods. Trouble is it doesn’t it totally loses it marbles beyond redemption.
However, DAD Is the James Bond equivalent of From Dusk to Dawn and the film flips over to the complete ridiculous when the action moves to Iceland for the Ice Hotel and then onto North Korea. Yes, Bond is supposed to be tad far fetch but not this farfetched. The whole of the 2nd hour of the film is just so bad and unbelievable that it makes 1979’s Moonraker despite its silliness seem quite plausible and serious in comparison and certainly has less plot holes. I remember being bewildered when I saw DAD in the Cinema back in 2002 and got the same reaction watching this DVD a few weeks ago.
None of it is helped by what is an overdose on CGI. Yes, CGI can be a great enhancer to traditional film making that can provide more realism, cut production costs and reduce danger to stuntmen and ctors. Given that James Bond films are usually about super villain’s intent on world domination using lavish bases and super weaponry most fans accept that CGI will be used. But when CGI s too much lavishly applied just makes the film look looks cartoon cheap and detracts from the believability of the story. The net effect of it in DAD It’s almost like a big budget version of ED Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space. CGI use on this level might be great for Sc-Fi & Fantasy but or spy / espionage / action movies forget it. Combining the over use of CGI with a completely bonkers plot and a directional style not suited to James Bond resulted in the most unsatisfying of all the Bond movies.
Luckily EON productions listened to the negative feedback about Die Another Day and rebooted the series with Daniel Craig as Bond for Casino Royale and decided to do the stunts “the old-fashioned way”
As for the film I can only give it two stars. But it is still a Bond film and us Bond fans are completists.
Only buy it If you have all the other Bond films. Buy the all other Bond films first before buying this even the fore mentioned turkeys.
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