As it seems those "revisiting" threads have mostly been deleted (cleaning up the forums?), I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread wherein we share our thoughts after our most recent viewings of any of the Brosnan outings. One thread for all of Brosnan's films seems like a better idea to me than one thread per film. So feel free to share your recent experiences with a Brosnan installment, or to respond to the experiences of others.
DIE ANOTHER DAY
Despite my love for the series, it's been a while since I've seen a Bond film. Other than SPECTRE (which I've seen five times, most recently in April), it must have been last October when I last saw a Bond movie. So this was long overdue.
As I've said in the past, Die Another Day is significantly better than common perception would lead one to believe. Internet group think can be a b*tch, and in the case of Brosnan's final donning of the tux it's to the film's detriment. I'm almost always pleasantly surprised by this outing (despite its setbacks), and this time was no different.
-The entire North Korea sequence and it's immediate aftermath were top notch, and put a nice spin on the Bond formula. Not only was Brosnan's ability to convey vulnerability superb, but the dialogue was all around well written. Arnold's score complements these scenes wonderfully.
- A disheveled Bond walking into the hotel in Hong Kong. A personal favorite of mine.
- Brosnan and Dench's rapport. These two have progressed from their initial hesitancy towards one another in GE, and I think now was the perfect time to explore the matter of trust in their relationship. "If I'd had my way, you'd still be in North Korea."
- Cuba was a nice setting, and we got to experience the locale more fully than we did in GE.
- The sword fight.
- John Cleese. Okay, I know this may be somewhat controversial, but I actually think Cleese did a really good job in this one. His Q may have been a bit too similar to the way Desmond played the role, but the character was miles better than the buffoon from TWINE (Smithers from FYEO and OP was a better model for what Q's assistant should be). And Brosnan and Cleese seemed to be a good match.
- Rosamund Pike as Miranda Frost.
- The Ice Palace was a good idea in theory.
- Pierce Brosnan really shines in this one. His vulnerable side in GE, TND, and TWINE felt a bit forced and overacted, but here it felt organic. He was able to pull off both the vulnerable and fun aspects of the character in the same film without it feeling disjointed or all over the place (I'm referring to Brosnan's acting specifically, not the film as a whole). I will forever maintain that this was Brosnan's finest performance of his four.
- Gustav Graves. Everything about this character makes me cringe. His dialogue is bloated and exaggerated, and Toby Stephens' acting could use a lot of work. Maybe, just maybe one could argue that some of these issues were merely Colonel Moon behaving as he thought the British do, but I find such a reading to be overly generous. Graves felt like a caricature of what a Bond villain should be, and is (in my humble opinion) the worst villain in the entire franchise. I can forgive the film for many of its other flaws, but it is Gustav Graves which really brings Die Another Day down for me.
- The second half. This has been discussed ad nauseum, so I'll simply say that I agree with the general consensus about the film losing its way halfway through. It's as if the film making team used up all of their creative energy on the first half and then descended into self-parody. The dialogue in particular took a huge plunge around the halfway mark (I actually very much liked the dialogue in the first half).
- Halle Berry.
- Icarus was too over the top, as was Bond's escaping it in Graves' vehicle.
- The CGI parasurfing through the ice waves.
- The finale on the plane felt a little underwhelming, particularly as the fight between Bond and Graves paled in comparison to Jinx vs. Miranda. And Graves' Force Lightning Suit was a bit much, as was the escape on the helicopter (I'm not even sure if that would work per the laws of physics).
- The entire Virtual Reality subplot was simply not needed. It added nothing to the plot, and felt more like filler than anything else. I'd have preferred these scenes to have been removed entirely.
While Die Another Day will likely never crack my top ten, it is far from the worst entry in the series. Brosnan is on top form, and the first half of the film may be one of the longest stretches of greatness in any Bond film. Bond's imprisonment in North Korea was a nice addition to Bond lore, and was handled very well. But it is Graves and the over-the-top nature of the second half that pulls down this one.
Some trivia for you-- this is one of only two Bond films featuring both Bond and Moneypenny wherein the two never interact (kudos to plankattack for pointing out LTK as the other one).