March 26, 2018

Die Another Day


Bad news captain, we're also out of coffee!
When balancing work and parenting brings me stress, I watch old James Bond films. The Moore, Dalton, and Brosnan films are on Amazon Prime again...
I love that the Die Another Day opening sequence ends not with Bond cruising away from a minor victory snatched from the jaws of defeat, but Bond betrayed, captured, drowned, and enduring 14 months of torture in a North Korean prison. The Madonna title song feels sinister and seductive and just the right tone for the bleak imagery.
Halle Berry is a strong co-star, it's perplexing that they never made that Jinx spin-off movie. The only other Bond movie I can think of where one of his companions fights on equal footing as him is when Michelle Yao was a better secret agent than him in...The World Is Not Enough?
I love Rosamund Pike as an actress, but she is not convincing as a bad guy. Bond villains often sneer at Bond for his Western corruption; I'm tired of every Bond rivalry being a referendum on his (lack of) character. Do we have to have every bad guy holding a grudge against Bond for his personality, his womanizing?
Yes, the gadgets are bit over-the-top: I didn't mind the invisible car, but Yao's green Jaguar convertible was bursting with missiles from every panel, beyond the edge of parody.
I liked the idea of Bond parachute-surfing away from the glacier wave, but the 2002 CGI looks terrible today.
I can't get over a massive plot hole: in the opening sequence, Colonel Moon goes over a cliff and supposedly dies; we later learn that even though we saw him accidentally go over a cliff into a river, Moon did not die. Instead, he traveled to an advanced gene therapy clinic where he was physically transformed from a Korean into a snotty English aristocrat? Was his disappearance (after he fell over the cliff, his father thought he was dead) always part of his plan, and Bond's intervention only accelerated it? 14 months later, a "Gustav Graves" is a world-famous billionaire entrepreneur, about to be knighted by the Queen, who's launched a diamond-studded mystery satellite? I don't care about the impossible gene therapy, I care that no one on Earth is at all puzzled that a world-famous billionaire entrepreneur didn't exist a year earlier. Upon further reflection, perhaps Moon was only replacing a real billionaire, just like Blofeld stole the identity of reclusive millionaire Willard Whyte in Diamonds Are Forever? Perhaps they cut out the explanation for time? We'll never know.