View Full Version : Bang! Splat! Kapow! Must Be That 007

Nov 22nd, 2002, 02:22 AM

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in "Die Another Day."

Halle Berry as Jinx in "Die Another Day."

Bang! Splat! Kapow! Must Be That 007

I'M gonna avoid the clichι, delay the pleasure," Madonna sings during the opening credits of "Die Another Day," the 20th James Bond picture in 40 years. These words may provoke an ambivalent reaction. On one hand, something fresh and unexpected would not, at this point, be unwelcome. Nor would some teasing before all the big, eye-popping explosions start.

But on the other hand, don't we go to these movies precisely to savor the familiar: the sports cars, the shaken vodka martinis, the knowingly stale elbow-in-the-ribs sexual innuendo, the pop song during the opening credits? And isn't our taste for Bondage built around a desire for immediate gratification? Not to worry. By the time Madonna's electronically enhanced chirps emanate from the soundtrack, we've already witnessed some extreme surfing off the coast of North Korea, an armored hover-craft chase across the DMZ and fireballs that bloom like a bouquet of toxic peonies. Madonna herself shows up a bit later, in a black leather bustier, playing a fencing instructor named Verity. (Verily!) In any case, it would have been foolish indeed for Lee Tamahori, the director, and Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who wrote the script, to depart too drastically from the formula, and they don't. This is a big, noisy blend of globe-trotting, coy sexuality and cartoonish political intrigue, solidly in the Bond tradition. But happily the filmmakers have been smart enough to push this story — at least until its noisy, turgid ending — in some interesting and surprising directions, making it perhaps the most satisfying Bond movie since "The Spy Who Loved Me."

There is, for instance, that credit sequence, in which computer-animated fire and ice maidens gyrate over grisly images of torture, as Agent 007 (Pierce Brosnan) is plunged repeatedly in a tub of ice water, stung by scorpions and beaten senseless by uniformed thugs. The man who emerges from these sessions, and a long sojourn in a dank North Korean prison cell, is scarcely recognizable.

Freed in an exchange of prisoners, he staggers across the border filthy and scarred, his hair long and matted and his face obscured by a shaggy beard. (This dishevelment pays off in a witty scene at a luxurious Hong Kong hotel.) And Bond's humiliation does not end there. "You're no use to anyone now," says M (Judi Dench), crisply relieving Bond of his license to kill.

Part of the fun in seeing Bond brought low lies in the certain knowledge that he will triumph in the end. His enemies, luckily for him, share an essential trait with those who have gone before them. Given the choice between a quick, efficient method of killing and one that calls for long speeches and slow-moving high-tech machinery, they can be counted on to choose the latter.

The beginning of "Die Another Day," which opens today nationwide, also has the effect of making the suave superagent sympathetic as well. Mr. Brosnan, in his fourth tour of duty, may not be the definitive Bond — an honor that will always belong to Sean Connery — but he is the most human.

Mr. Brosnan, as he nears 50, has a thicker face and a stiffer gait than he did in his callow "Remington Steele" days, and he shows emotion more readily than any of his predecessors. This Bond is curiously vulnerable, decidedly flappable underneath the cynical urbanity. At especially perilous moments Mr. Brosnan's features register panic, fatigue, pain and — in an exquisite scene of rescue that should be the movie's ending — tenderness.

Not that he's gone all sensitive or anything. He may dabble in trendy cocktails — ordering a mojito instead of the standard martini during a visit to Havana — and appear without a necktie frequently enough to make you wonder if Her Majesty's Secret Service has instituted a casual Fridays policy, but the essential Bond DNA has not been altered. (DNA alteration, by the way, figures prominently in this movie's extravagantly intricate plot.)

Moneypenny (Samantha Bond, no relation) still pines for 007, Q (John Cleese) once again outfits him with the latest gadgetry in the weary certainty that it will all be trashed by the end of the mission, and 007 still has his way with the ladies. There are two: both of them, in keeping with the series's accommodation of changing social mores, steely professionals.

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Bright Red
Nov 22nd, 2002, 02:29 AM
Yum, yum, yum. I can't wait to see Halle. This is one video that I'll definitely be buying!!!!!!

Tasty, tasty.

Gonzo Hates Me!
Nov 22nd, 2002, 02:37 AM
Bright Red... You like black girls, don't you?! *wink wink*

Bright Red
Nov 22nd, 2002, 03:21 AM
Among others, I do. :blush:

Nov 22nd, 2002, 07:17 AM

"Die Another Day"
Pierce Brosnan is relaxed, Halle Berry has a catsuit to die for and the gadgets are awesome. It's flawed, but it's the best 007 flick in 20 years.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Stephanie Zacharek

Nov. 22, 2002 | It's a testament to the eternal optimism of moviegoers that nearly everyone looks forward to a new James Bond picture. It never matters how disappointing the last one might have been: The franchise, which is now 40 years old, has come to mean something more than the sum of its highly inconsistent parts. For one thing, the series is safe as milk that's been neither shaken nor stirred -- grannies of many stripes will happily watch the older Bonds (and maybe some of the newer ones) on the telly when they show up.

At the same time, there's still something vaguely disreputable about the Bond movies; it's more an aura than a theorem that can be proved. When they're bad, they leave us feeling disappointingly clean. But when they're good, we walk away feeling just a little dirty -- a bit treacherous and elegant ourselves, if only for an hour or so.

With just a bit of streamlining, "Die Another Day," the 20th Bond picture, might have left us feeling very, very dirty. As it is, the movie is hobbled by an overblown climax that feels tacked on, a trundling, sorry patchwork of needless explosions and weary derring-do that reads like an apology -- a coda thrown in, at great expense (these are big explosions), in case we didn't find the rest of the movie exciting enough.

That's a shame, because right up until that climax -- which mucks up the movie's last half-hour or so -- "Die Another Day" has plenty of the wit and style that the Bond movies have been missing for the past 20 years or so. Pierce Brosnan, who has played Bond in the last four movies, has sometimes been a perfectly adequate 007 and sometimes a disappointing one, depending largely on what's going on around him: He's elegant and often very human, but he's also rather stiff, as if he has sometimes found it hard to compete with so many deafening explosions and can-you-top-this stunts.

"Die Another Day"

Directed by Lee Tamahori
Starring Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, John Cleese, Judi Dench

Brosnan has been livelier in pictures like "The Thomas Crown Affair" and "The Tailor of Panama" than he has in any of his first three Bond movies; in "Die Another Day," he seems to have finally brought it all together. He's both relaxed and sly, and his lines have a nice ring to them, like the satisfying ping you get when you tap a piece of fine crystal. And in the best Bond tradition, he isn't afraid to play the fool occasionally.

When the terrific "new" Q (not that the late, great Desmond Llewellyn can ever quite be replaced), John Cleese, shows 007 some of the new gadgets, Bond looks him over and takes a good-natured jab at him: "You're cleverer than you look." Cleese's Q coolly sends it right back at him: "And you're looking cleverer than you are." Brosnan's Bond takes it like a gent, with an unabashed little laugh that shows he knows he's been topped.

Perhaps Brosnan is particularly good here because for once he's actually been given something to do. At least until that ill-advised climax, director Lee Tamahori, whose credits include "Once Were Warriors" and "Along Came a Spider," and writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade seem to have taken care to give us something different from the same old Bond. Tamahori seems out to entertain us rather than just impress us, and that distinction makes all the difference.

For the 2.9 percent of the population who expect a contemporary Bond movie to be a model of coherence, it's crucial to note that the plot of "Die Another Day" doesn't make a whole lot of sense, although there are moments when Tamahori fools us into thinking that maybe it will. In the opening sequence, Bond is captured in a demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, after botching an assignment to kill a power-crazed baddie.

When 007 is finally released, he zigzags across the globe, from Hong Kong to Cuba to London to Iceland, to track down that villain's right-hand man, the steely Zao (Rick Yune), who's pretty easy to spot, thanks to the glittering diamonds that have been embedded into his cheek after an unfortunate accident with an exploding briefcase.

Nov 22nd, 2002, 10:04 AM

Nov 22nd, 2002, 04:06 PM
Kiwi finds critics have licence to kill
23 November 2002

Kiwi director Lee Tamahori has shaken but hardly stirred the critics with the latest James Bond movie Die Another Day.

"This is a sharper, edgier Bond, in which first-time Bond director Lee Tamahori allows a smidgen of character work to creep in," said The Hollywood Reporter.

But critic Kirk Honeycutt said the film had so much action "audiences may be fatigued. Competition among Bond directors to top one another has provoked stupefying overkill".

Tamahori, from Porirua, moved to Hollywood after the success of Once Were Warriors in 1994. His films have included Mulholland Falls, The Edge, Along Came A Spider and an episode of The Sopranos.

New York's Village Voice said the plot was "idiotic" and the first third of the film was grim before it descended "into the usual deafening twaddle". Critic Michael Atkinson said criticising a Bond movie "was like calling a dog stupid".

Entertainment newspaper Variety dubbed it "a mid-range series entry that sports some tasty scenes but also pushes 007 into (computer effects)-driven, quasi-sci fi territory that feels like a betrayal of what the franchise has always been about".

Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers said Tamahori's direction was energetic but the film dragged a bit. "The explosions dull with repetition and the one-liners lack the flair of the Sean Connery Bond films," he said.

Britain's The Guardian said Tamahori's effort was "cheesier than Roquefort in the microwave ... it's as if Austin Powers never happened".

The Sun praised Tamahori's film as "a fantastic action movie". But it said the film lacked the panache of predecessors. "It seems more a case of satisfying sponsors and financiers than 007 fans."

Die Another Day opens in New Zealand on January 2.

Nov 22nd, 2002, 04:08 PM
Halle Berry Looks Very Tasty:lick: :lick:

Nov 22nd, 2002, 05:35 PM
Who knows...Haile just might win anothe Oscar based on her performance in this movie. ;)

Nov 22nd, 2002, 05:45 PM
Or at least "Best Costume"!;) :drool: :drool: :drool:

Master Lu
Nov 22nd, 2002, 05:51 PM
Originally posted by CHOCO
Who knows...Haile just might win anothe Oscar based on her performance in this movie. ;)

ummm, no. ;)

She really deserved last year's Oscar (though I wanted Nicole to win), but this year it's sooo full of stellar performances.

Nicole in the Hours, Renee Zelweger (sp) in Chicago, Julianne Moore in Far From Heaven...

Nov 22nd, 2002, 06:22 PM
:eek: You Mean That Halle Can Act, Too!?:eek:

:p :rolleyes: :)

Bright Red
Nov 22nd, 2002, 10:44 PM
Originally posted by Barrie_Dude
:eek: You Mean That Halle Can Act, Too!?:eek:

:p :rolleyes: :)

Without her uttering a word, Halle would get my vote (and anything else she might want).:drool:

Nov 22nd, 2002, 10:55 PM
guys, Pierce Brosnan is in this movie too :p

Master Lu
Nov 23rd, 2002, 02:23 AM
Originally posted by Barrie_Dude
:eek: You Mean That Halle Can Act, Too!?:eek:

:p :rolleyes: :)

I was stunned by the realization myself. :p

guys, Pierce Brosnan is in this movie too

Piearce who?! :wavey:

Nov 23rd, 2002, 06:25 AM
Beautiful Bond are Berry to 'Die' for

By Leslie Gray Streeter, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 23, 2002

Halle Berry, who bears the "Bond Girl" moniker along with the itsy-bitsy bikini in the new Die Another Day, recently referred to her fellow dangerous divas as "Bond Women."

Allure, the well-noted scholarly journal and defender of shameless beauty product-mongering, kindly opined that Miss Oscar Lady was perhaps getting her thong in a twist over nothing.

Yes, we sisters are doing it for ourselves. We are trying to overcome. And we don't want to be referred to as, say, "Prime Minister girl" or "that cute little neurosurgeon gal." Women can do anything they want to, baby!

But when the things you do include crushing men to death with your thighs or disarming a nuclear weapon in Daisy Duke shorts and a wet tank top, you might be taking things a wee seriously with the "I Am Woman" thingee. Get over yourself. You're a Bond Girl. It is what it is.

I feel the same way about Die Another Day, which is exactly what you think it is -- two-plus hours of running, sexing, blow-up-go-boom. It is not art. It is not serious. It sure ain't Oscar worthy. It's a freaking James Bond movie!

No consciousness-raising here, folks. You want that, Bowling For Columbine is playing somewhere down the hall.

Die Another Day begins as most Bond movies do: with James (Pierce Brosnan) about to expensively and bloodily resolve some international mess. This time, his cover is blown by shady North Korean operative Zao (Rick Yune), during an undercover purchase of hovercrafts from whiny military brat Colonel Moon (Will Yun Lee). Moon gets blown off a cliff, and James is surrounded by angry army dudes who do not, I assure you, want to shake him a martini.

You'd expect Bond to commit some suave act of derring-do that gets his smooth little self out of hot water, just in the nick of time. You'd be wrong. Bond gets arrested, tortured and tossed into a dank North Korean prison, while the British government basically whistles, looks the other way and says, "James who?"

Fast forward to a year and a half later, when Bond gets traded for aforementioned shady operative Zao and sprung. Having spent a long time without regular beauty treatments, tuxedos and direct sunlight, Bond is understandably bitter, and he looks like a cross between John Walker Lindh and Cat Stevens in his Moonshadow period.

But as they say, you can't teach an old dog new tricks, meaning he never forgets his old ones. And since there's no smoother, savvier old dog than James Bond, you know it won't be long until he's back to his gorgeous, swinging ways. With the help of American spy Jinx (our girl Halle) and British bombshell Miranda Frost (Rosamund Pike), he's out to foil the nefarious schemes of icky Brit mogul Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens).

I must be honest -- I was a little fuzzy on the particulars of Graves' nefariousness. It has something to do with a satellite, vast scads of cash and global domination. It's always about global domination. Honestly, who cares? All I wanted to know was how many ways people were going to try to kill James, and how much stuff he was gonna blow up.

Actually, the wascally Jinx does her fair share of blowing stuff up, too, and it's awesome. I was dubious about Halle's butt-kicking ability after X-Men, where she turned the goddess-like, weather-controlling Storm into a mopey wimp with a fake Miss Cleo accent and the shocking white hair of '70s guitarist Edgar Winter.

I needn't have worried. Jinx is fierce, and I mean that in both the traditional and RuPaul, two-snaps-up senses. Her fight scenes are so convincing that I didn't really believe she needed Bond to save her. She also manages -- and this is difficult -- to be more beautiful than Pierce Brosnan. And he's the prettiest man in show biz.

As cool as Jinx is, I admit to a little Halle-hatin' while watching the movie. She has no physical flaws. Not one. Nada. You could spend hours searching for a laugh line, a wrinkle, left-over pasta from lunch, any flaw, and wind up fruitless and feeling even more crone-like, bitter and petty than you did before.

But hating her is like hating 8-foot-tall basketball players or baby seals. They're on a different plane of reality, like aliens, and we'll never compete. Better to concentrate on hating the ordinarily gorgeous.

Besides the healthy helping of Halle, there's not a whole lot new here. Of course James gets, umm, friendly, with both Jinx and Miranda, who would've been prettier if she weren't standing next to Halle Berry. Of course elegant boss M (Judi Dench) is on hand to glower and make people look stupid.

But there was at least one thing I didn't expect: the presence of American spy guy Damian Falco, played by Michael "The Guy Who Chopped Off That Guy's Ear While Dancing To Stuck In The Middle With You in Reservoir Dogs" Madsen.

Every time M makes some snide, superior remark about how the Americans are screwing something up, Falco just stares at her like she's stupid and smokes at her. You know what? Michael Madsen would make a kick-butt Bond! You'd never have to worry about the movies running too long, because he'd just kill everybody in the first five minutes.

Since that's never gonna happen, and Mr. Brosnan seems to be filling out his suits just fine, I'm adopting an "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude about Die Another Day. It's loud, bloody and slutty. Just like we like 'em.

And if Halle should deign to put her "serious" acting on hold and stoop to being a Bond Girl again, I'm sure they'd hold the swimsuit for her.

The Flick Chick's Bottom Line: If you like James Bond movies, you're gonna like Die Another Day. If you don't like James Bond movies, don't go and complain about how you hated it, because you knew what you were getting into.

Nov 23rd, 2002, 12:27 PM
007: Licensed to inhale


Saturday, November 23, 2002 – Page A25

Thank God for The Globe and Mail's brazen headline. I was about to see Die Another Day,starring Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry. I grew up on Bond. It accounts for my furtiveness. The headline on Thursday tipped me to a minefield. The hyper-alert ninja of the anti-smoking brigrades had spotted that this Bond film was about to wreck the social order. In it, the great assassin/hedonist smokes a cigar.

The serpent was back in the garden. Pavlov's dogs were loose again. I stayed home.

The lynx-eyed guardians of the anti-smoking movement of three countries were warning us of the consequences of the Bond release. We should not be surprised. They prowl the Zeitgeist with the subtlety of cat burglars and the radar of bats, keen to its every ominous tremor.

I don't know why universities bother to maintain psychology departments any more. The average on-line anti-smoking site, or any of their densely informative press releases, contain more truth about human nature -- and, in particular, the impenetrable terra incognita of the teenaged mind -- than all of Freud and Jung, or whole sackfuls of psychotherapists fresh from a debriefing with Dr. Phil himself. We owe them. Is it too late for a Nobel?

The spectacle of James Bond, smoking a cigar, in Cuba, in a movie, will collapse in a trice the Maginot Line of social control and legislative restriction that it has been the labour of two decades to construct. (The wily Castro has been getting a free ride on this one. Really Big Tobacco has never had a better friend, or billboard, than Marx's child in Havana. Was Mr. Brosnan suborned or seduced for this tidy bit of "Make Mine Cohibas" product placement?)

The cigar will lay waste an entire generation of North American teenagers, leave them exposed and defenceless before the satanic machinations of the addiction merchants. The world's public health industry, with its legions of missionary activists, will be swept away like a leaf in the wind, its exhortations forgotten, its work undone, when Pierce Brosnan (to think the man is Irish! Where is his mother?) reaches for the stogie on screen, flicks his fatal and malodorous Bic, and shatters the social engineering of 20 years. Think it was an accident he played Grey Owl?

In the words of the head of the Non-Smokers' Rights Association ("The name's Mahood. Garfield Mahood"): "If icons like James Bond use cigars, it's not a long leap for young people to assume it's all right to smoke cigarettes."

No, Mr. Mahood, it's not a leap at all. They are but a puff away from perdition. Mr. Mahood, cautious as always, is soft-pedalling, doubtless to avert social panic. But all of us must pay attention when he says: "It's all very destructive in terms of role modelling." We've been warned.

Now, one or two eccentric skeptics and, maybe, the odd Amish retiree might question whether James Bond is a role model. But all ludicrously handsome future assassins with a taste for high life, the appetites of a tomcat, a harem of supermodels, an arsenal the envy of Osama bin Laden, and the morals of a splinter, have held James Bond as the template of their lives. We're talking Everyman here.

And thanks to the gorgeous erosion of sexual difference in these enlightened times ("You've come a long way, baby"), every Jane can be a James, too.

The depravity of Hollywood is truly bottomless. But it's our fault: They've offered us everything, strippers and carnage, whores and gangsters, death, mayhem and mutilation, Adam Sandler pissing against a wall, Madonna in the sand, Sylvester Stallone mumbling his way to mass slaughters, exorcism, rap movies, Britney on a road trip, Eminem as the new Mickey Rooney, miles of Star Drek, serial-killing cannibals -- every conceivable folly. They've offered us everything, including Steven Segal and Michael Moore, and it wasn't enough.

We wanted that final titillation. And now we've got it. James Bond, on screen, smoking for the first time in decades.

No need to concern ourselves about Kyoto or its protocols -- they do not matter. North America will soon be cocooned in a cloud of Cohiba smoke so dense, ripe and inescapable that we will long for the innocent days of mere global warming and climatic catastrophics. Life for the majority will be one long Humphrey Bogart movie, suck and puff, lighter and ashtray -- "and all our yesterdays . . . [lighting] us the way to [smoky] death." We are pleased to welcome you to a total smoking environment.

Our only hope is the crack radar and precision sociology of the anti-smoking commandos. Maybe they could run off one of those powerful public service messages they used to be so good at. I Am Halle Berry's Lungs might stay our Gadarene plunge off the Cliffs of Nicotine.

And she breathes brilliantly. Fighting fire with fire, so to speak.
Rex Murphy is a commentator with CBC-TV's The National and host of CBC Radio One's Cross-Country Checkup.