on 22 August 2016
I really enjoyed watching this 126 min REGION B/2 Bond DVD and it brought back memories of 1962 when I watched Dr No on the big screen at Newcastle Odean with Ursula Andress unforgettable entrance from the sea. I am not complaining because Halle Berry did a good job to. Bond is betrayed during a mission in North Korea, captured and tortured for fourteen months. After revealing nothing Bond is released in a deal with MI6 who releases a terrorist in return. Bond escapes from MI6 to find the traitor and kills the terrorist he was traded for. I would recommend this DVD for a winter night in .
Die Another Day was surprisingly impressive considering its terrible reputation first time round but doesn't hold up well to a second viewing for a number of reasons. The pre-title sequence is particularly strong, and the film is plot-led with a good premise that it explores far more effectively than License to Kill - Bond screws up, gets captured and finds his license to kill revoked and has to go it alone. But to many wrong choices are made in the casting of those both in front of and behind the cameras to do it full justice.
Brosnan is certainly a major problem here, getting lazier in the role far sooner than his predecessors. He takes too much for granted and doesn't seem to be putting much effort into it in the assumption that he's got it down pat, when in reality he's starting to go to seed - certainly he must be the only man to come out of 14 months of torture in a Korean prison chubbier than when he went in, something his tendency to spend much of the opening of the film with his shirt off and hidden under a bushy Monty Python castaway beard only exacerbates.
He's not helped much by his co-stars either: Halle Berry, who seems to become a worse actress with each successive film, really can't handle sass or wisecracks, which is a shame since that's almost all her part consists of, and their initial meeting exchange of innuendoes seems more like eavesdropping a married man picking up a hooker to prove he's still got it than anything else. Rosamund Pike's other fatale femme fares a little better purely on he grounds that, while an extremely one-dimensional performer, to least her limited abilities fit the part. Toby Stephens' villain is a bigger problem. While it's a neat touch that he models himself on an unflattering portrait of Bond's vanity, Stephens actually seems to be basing his performance on Rik Mayall's caricatured MP Alan B'stard from sitcom The New Statesman, and the results aren't pretty - a largely ineffectual screen actor, it's no accident that he needs to don an electronic suit of armour to become a credible foe for Bond in the final punch-up. Curiously, two of the better performances on display come from bit-players John Cleese (pleasingly restrained) and Michael Madsen as a distinctly unimpressed company man. Even Madonna's unnecessary cameo as a lesbian fencing instructor is considerably less painful than her terrible title-song, easily the series' worst. Still, the resulting overly enthusiastic swordfight is okay but would probably have been even better had they hired William Hobbs to choreograph it instead of Bob Anderson (Anderson may have coached Errol Flynn, but only in some of his worst films).
The direction adds to the problems. Lee Tamahouri is a maddeningly variable director, and too often its his weaknesses on display here. For a series that prides itself on globe-trotting, he has a very poor sense of place (aside from the Iceland scenes, this is the first Bond film that really looks like they were afraid to leave the studio backlot) and his handling of action isn't always effective - indeed, the car chase actually looks like several shots are missing. Still, at least they manage to just about get away with the science behind the invisible car more effectively than the awful CGI that undermines the series' reputation for doing daring stunts for real: along with the occasionally slo-mo or sped up scene intros, it just seems horribly out of place without ever quite ruining the film.
Another big problem is the tone. As the 20th entry in EON's series, the desire to celebrate its heritage threatens at times to overwhelm the film as it becomes increasingly self-referential. With almost every scene having an homage, a prop or an audio or visual reference to a previous movie, it stops being fun and becomes labored long before the halfway point. Bond is feeding off himself so much here that at times it reminds you of one of those animals that, when caught in a trap, gnaws its own leg off. It just about gets away with it, but it gets messy. There's fun to be had, most of it in the first half before it goes all Diamonds Are Forever, but there's still the feeling that this could and should have been much better.
Even in a world full of hyperbole, calling the frankly rather shoddy downgrade 2-disc reissue release of this title an `Ultimate Edition' is taking liberties with the language that border on the actionable. Whereas the first 2-disc release of the 20th EON Bond film boasted a huge array of extras, the supposedly new and improved version drops nearly all of them and merely throws in a few scraps of filler instead. Gone is the 76-minute documentary `Inside Die Another Day,' replaced by a couple of shorter featurettes and some video footage of the location scout. And while the excellent 51-minute `Script to Screen' documentary on the difficult screenwriting process previously only available on the R2 DVD is retained along with the `Shaken and stirred On Ice' featurette, gone are the storyboard-to-film comparisons, multi-angle action sequences, title design and digital grading featurettes, gadget briefings, music video and featurette and even the 8 TV spots and 3 theatrical trailers from the original issue to be replaced by an exotic locations featurette. With so many of the extras being dumped, it's a wonder that the film itself (in apparently exactly the same transfer as previously available) still contains the same audio commentaries and interactive featurettes it had first time round. Frankly, there's no reason whatever to buy this if you already have the original 2-disc release. And sadly, it's the Ultimate edition extras that have been carried over to the Blu-ray release too.
on 12 January 2009
I'm the first to hold my hand up and admit when things are above and beyond me. All the technical stats and numbers surrounding the high-definition Blu-Ray market confuses me. What I do know, however, is that watching Blu-Ray is a far superior experience to simple DVD.
DIE ANOTHER DAY is a cracking James Bond adventure and, given the care and attention Bond films are made with, it makes a perfect candidate for the Blu-Ray experience. The picture and sound are both jaw-droppingly good, the film itself hardly mattering as you marvel at the individual hairs on Pierce Brosnan's head or indulge in the individual bullet pings during a shootout. A clever little menu also allows you to pick and choose your favourite moments from the film and watch them individually to sample the high-definition Bond experience. With a decent haul of other special features too (not as many as the original two-disc Special Edition DVD, but enough to keep fans happy) the disc presentation is flawless. For the film that introduced Bond to the 21st Century back in 2002, this is a welcome introduction to the format of the future.
The film itself shines on Blu-Ray. Those who grumbled at the use of CGI will be subdued by the fact that, in high-definition, the special effects are laden with fine details missed by the standard DVD format. During the infamous icewave surf, the tiny Bond is recognisable as Pierce Brosnan this time around, and the water and ice around him glistens with precision. Make what you will of the plot (Bond is captured in North Korea and imprisoned for 14 months, betrayed by somebody within the intelligence community, and when he is finally released he engages on a mission of revenge with or without the assistance of M and the Double-Oh Section) but there are enough bangs and plot twists to keep action, adventure and spy fans happy. This was the last hurrah of the old-style James Bond before Daniel Craig came and injected the franchise with a Bourne-style makeover. Half LICENCE TO KILL, half MOONRAKER, DIE ANOTHER DAY is literally a "Best of Bond" collection, lovingly presented with lavish production values and terrific acting on the part of Pierce Brosnan, Toby Stephens and Rosamund Pike. Even Halle Berry is tolerable, which is nice.
So full marks from me? Absolutely. In the wake of my first Blu-Ray experience, I'm left feeling rather sorry for the DVD format. Like VHS before it, the sun is setting on the humble DVD. It's okay, though, because tomorrow will be lit by Blu-Ray... and I, for one, am not complaining.
on 18 October 2003
The 20th Bond flick in this 40 year franchise (second only to Toho's 49 year/27 film "Godzilla" movies in longevity), "Die Another Day" dispenses with the credibility built up over the three previous Brosnan-Bond flicks and goes for comic-book excess, bad CGI effects and one-liners that sound like "Carry On.." rejects.
Not that it doesn't start off well - Bond gets captured in North Korea and endures a year-long imprisonment of beating and torture as MI5 wash their hands of him. Released as part of a prisoner exchange, the scenes of a long-haired Bond clashing with M (the ever excellent Dame Judy Dench) are electric stuff and promise a perhaps darker, more character led movie. Alas, that's where it really all ends, for once Bond has a wash, shave and a haircut, its like nothing had happened in the last 18 months.
The plot at times seems a rehash of "Diamond Are Forever" - Bond is on the trial of some dodgy diamonds being used by evil villain Gustav Graves (a wonderfully OTT Toby Stevens) who is developing some big space-laser thing blah blah... There are two Bond girls, the enigmatic (and woefully underused) MI5 agent Miranda Frost (Rosalind Pike) and the smug, irritaing (and overused) CIA agent Jinx (Halle Berry).
Things that probably sounded great on paper look bad on screen - the GCI tsunami wave sequence is so hokey as to be laughable. The chase between Bond's Aston Martin and the baddies Jag is a thrill-less series of bangs. The ice setting is spectacular but a big empty space does not have the same excitement as a busy city - who cares if a few ice bergs get blown up? And an invisible car..? Eeek!
The whole Project Icarus thing gets plonked into the film with no air of mystery of majesty - the space weapon is just there on screen rather than a slow reveal ala Drax's station in "Moonraker". Ah, "Moonraker"... there was a film where the producers seemed to loose all sight of restraint and the same can be said of "Die Another Day" - at times it seems like no one ever said "enough!".
Without wanting to spoil the ending, Bond battles Graves in his electric body-armour-suit-thing (anyone care to explain what that was ever intended for?) in a burning Antanov transporter jet as the makers throw special effects at the audience in the hope they won't actually stop and think what is going on here.
David Arnold's score is largely anonymous, having had the melody-free Madonna theme song forced on him. The visual effects range from obvious to just plain awful. Brosnan excels in the first half hour then phones his performance in for the rest - save for another excellent sequence with Dench in the London Underground. John Cleese takes on the mantle of Q with ease and we get to see some of the old gadgets in his workshop.
Sad to say but this Bond fan found "Die Another Day" to be a real clunker. It has its good bits, but these are outweighed by the naff stuff that makes up most of the movie. It makes the less-than brilliant "The Word Is Not Enough" looks like a classic - in fact that movie is much more watchable and entertaning than this guff.
Oh well, they have Bond 21 to make things right...
on 30 August 2015
Pretty awful rendition of the big screen spy, but hilariously campy and over the top. I would never recommend this film to a fan of the 007 franchise, but as a ridiculous British spy movie it's still a decent watch.
Following 19 excellent 2-disc sets, Sony lets us down badly with this one. Whereas the makers of the other Ultimate Editions have taken great care not to omit any of the previously released special features, a staggering two hours' worth of material from the previous 2-disc special edition of Die Another Day has vanished like Bond's invisible car.
Both audio commentaries (featuring director Lee Tamahori and producer Michael G Wilson, and actors Pierce Brosnan and Rosamund Pike respectively) and the "MI6 Datastream" (which cues in 19 behind-the-scenes featurettes at appropriate junctures, and displays on-screen information text throughout the film) are present and correct. So too are the documentaries Shaken and Stirred on Ice (25 minutes) and the fascinatingly in-depth From Script to Screen (50 minutes).
But where are the 75-minute documentary Inside Die Another Day; the storyboard to final shot comparisons and multi-angle views of scenes such as the hovercraft chase, car battle and innovative main title sequence; the trailers; the TV spots; Madonna's music video; the making of the music video; and the making of the 007: Nightfire PS2 game? I can't quite believe all this stuff has been missed out, but I've pinched myself, double-checked the review discs and the product information - no, there isn't a third disc that I haven't been sent.
This so-called Ultimate Edition throws us a few scraps to try and keep us happy: the "making of" featurettes Just Another Day (23 minutes), The British Touch: Bond Arrives in London (3 minutes) and On Location with Peter Lamont (14 minutes).
And there's always the movie itself. Die Another Day remains a curious blend of innovation, comforting familiarity and irritation. Nowhere is this more evident than during the opening credits, which, in a novel break from tradition, inter-cut the usual surreal and erotic imagery with the ongoing events of the story. However, this visual feast is let down by a very un-Bond-like title song by Madonna (who also plays a cameo role as the fencing instructor, Verity).
Director Tamahori (Once Were Warriors, Along Came a Spider, xXx 2: The Next Level) provides us with some very exciting fight scenes, including a visceral fencing match between Bond and the main villain Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens). And, of course, there are the usual outrageous stunt sequences, involving hovercraft on minefields and cars on ice, courtesy of action unit director Vic Armstrong. However, the notion of an invisible car seems far-fetched even by Bond standards.
In fact, this is the most fantastical Bond film in years. With its themes of gene manipulation, cloaking devices and heat rays, we haven't seen this many sci-fi elements since Moonraker. Coincidentally, scriptwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have plundered Ian Fleming's Moonraker novel for story elements such as the transformed villain and his apparently benign orbital weapon. At one point, Rosamund Pike's character Miranda Frost was going to be Moonraker's Gala Brand, as the documentary From Script to Screen reveals.
Novel aficionados will also appreciate the fact that James Bond borrows a book on ornithology, just as Fleming "borrowed" the character's name from the author of a bird-watching book. Another novel name-check comes in the form of the Korean Colonel Moon (Will Yun Lee), a character inspired by the villain of Kingsley Amis' Bond book Colonel Sun.
The writers and Brosnan continue to explore Bond's humanity and vulnerabilities. It is quite unnerving to behold his condition after he has been imprisoned and tortured for 14 whole months. Who would have thought we'd ever see 007 as a shuffling wreck of a man with an unkempt beard? This image puts the injuries sustained in Licence to Kill and The World Is Not Enough in the shade. As it happens, there are a few plot similarities to Timothy Dalton's controversial second and final Bond movie, with the agent embarking upon a private vendetta.
But don't go thinking that the trademark comical quips have been omitted, because they are present in force. These range from lines that really work ("So this is where they keep the old relics then, eh?") to those that are rather awful ("That's a mouthful").
Following a rather stilted introductory scene, in which she has to deliver the above dreadful line, Halle Berry makes a big impression as the tough and resourceful Bond girl, Jinx. The elegant Rosamund Pike does an equally splendid job as 007's other love interest, the appropriately frosty Miranda.
The main baddie is a sort of pastiche of Bond himself. With his toothy upper-class sneer, Toby Stephens plays Graves like a cross between Hugh Grant and the dapper Ace Rimmer from Red Dwarf. Writers Purvis and Wade throw in a fair few surprises in terms of certain characters' identities and motivations.
This being the 20th official Bond film, which marked the franchise's 40th anniversary in 2002, the production team also include copious references to the past, including a range of vintage gadgets in the workshop of the new Q (the amusing John Cleese). Jinx rises from the waves wearing (if that's the right word) a costume that echoes Ursula Andress's famous bikini and belt combination in Dr. No. Later on, Bond plucks a grape from a bowl in a hospital ward, a la Thunderball, and reads a magazine article bearing the pull quote, "Diamonds are forever". However, the plot strays from homage to out-and-out repetition when Graves's Icarus satellite plays a similar role to Blofeld's orbital laser in Diamonds Are Forever.
Despite its flaws, Die Another Day is an enjoyable film. The franchise seems to suffering from an identity crisis at the moment, with the departure of Brosnan and mixed messages coming out of the studio as to exactly how action- and gadget-based the new movie will be, or how faithful to Ian Fleming's Casino Royale. Meanwhile, the books have headed back in time with Charlie Higson's Young Bond series. However, I have little doubt that 007 will live to fight another day.
And hopefully some day Sony will release a genuine Ultimate - No, We Really Mean it This Time, Honest Guv - Edition of this movie.
on 15 December 2009
Blu-ray all zone
Ratio of the feature film:
Languages of the feature film:
- DTS Master Audio 5.1: English
- DTS 5.1: French, German
- Dolby 5.1: Latin Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese
- Dolby 2.0: 2 commentaries including Pierce Brosnan himself!
Subtitles for all the videos:
- German, French, Latin Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish and English for the hearing impaired
A picture quality is not as perfect as we would expect especially when we take into account the age of this film. Nevertheless, it does still look very good with a fine picture. I personally do not like the dull colour used for the pre-credit sequence but it is very well depicted accurate to the cinema experience.
With this upgrade, you will see as usual a lot of stunt-doubles during the opening sequence for instance standing for Pierce Brosnan and Will Yun Lee (Colonel Moon) while chasing each other!
The bad mark is the bonuses: there are much less numerous than on the 2-DVD edition, no trailers, no video clip (for those who like Madonna's song), no special documentary only available on the zone 2 DVD, no advertisement about Nightfire.
That is slightly disappointing compare to other titles of the series which are full of documentaries.
on 28 June 2009
Pierce Brosnan's final effort in the James Bond series, and the movie that caused the producers to slam on the brakes and take stock of the franchise. It was clear from this film that rather than continuing and developing the Bond series, Brosnan's time in the part had instead been geared, with increasing desperation, towards simply keeping it afloat. Of all the actors to play James Bond, Brosnan's is the interpretation I warm to the least, and here is why; far from the `sexist, misogynist dinosaur' described by M in Goldeneye, Brosnan's `Blair's Britain' Bond is very much a product of his time; he doesn't smoke, hardly drinks, and treats women with total respect (until it is time to dive bomb their knickers, that is). A hypocritical, Teflon slimeball of a character, Brosnan's Bond is at his absolute sleaziest here, and receives the kiss-off he deserves, in one of the most poorly received Bond films of all time. The Bond producers again try to mix grit with fantasy and totally fail; the invisible car, Madonna's atrocious theme song, the hackneyed windsurfing sequence, and Halle Berry's sub-Charlie's Angels turn as Jinx are just some of the foul ingredients in this very unappetising stew. It was clearly time for another re-think...
on 25 October 2013
Funny how often movies that are hyped to the skies one day thud to earth the next. At the time of its release, "Die Another Die" was touted as the best Bond in decades, and it brought a large audience back to the franchise that deserted it after Connery. But a few years later, it comes across as a thoroughgoing mess: depressingly derivative plot; excruciating dialogue; uniformly lame performances; some of the worst special effects in film history.
A gaggle of quality character actors, British and American, look like they wish there was a cooling-off period in acting contracts. Halle Berry demonstrates that she IS just a pretty face. Pierce Brosnan demonstrates that he's not much more (amazing that, for a while, he expressed a desire to do another Bond). Toby Stephens spends most of his camera time praying that they'll lose the footage. Their efforts are complemented by dreadful CGI, amateurish makeup, cheesy back projections and feeble action: stunt men and women reacting to blows that miss them by several feet. Bond films aren't known for their realism, but how the hell does Bond find a way, in the few seconds before the ice-floe he's hanging from collapses, to STRAP that piece of fuselage to his feet???
on 9 November 2015
Without a doubt for me this is the worst Bond film in the offical series. It comes across more like a Bond parody than an actual 007 movie. This came out at bonds 40th aniversary & to celebrate this, Instead of giving us a well made film like with 2012s 50th aniversary film Skyfall, We are bombarded with stupid nods to past Bond films so many that it becomes anoying & affects the movie negatively rather than possitively.Then there are the horrid cartoonishly bad CGI sequence that look so fake & take you straight out of the movie. The dreadful wind surfing scene where Brosnan looks like he's obviously in studio infront of a green screen. The sea is rising 100ft in the sky all around him & Bond is bond is bone dry. The whole plane sequence is woeful as is Hale Berry diving off a cliff. Toby Stevens as the bad guy is like a pantomime villain & not remotely threatening & as he hams it up to 200%. oh & the dumb bullet down the barrel at the beging, uh!! It all just doesn't feel like a Bond Film. shove Wesley Snipes or Steven Segal in place of Bond & it would be an okay action film, but Bond pah!!. On the plus side the 2disc dvd is packed with special features including Audio commentry from Pierce Brosnan & from maker of this mess director Lee Tamahori with Producer Michael G. Wilson & many documentries too. The plus side is that this mess resulted in the Daniel Craig reboot era so there is a positive...just!!