January 17th 2018
Intro: JBR listener Steve Spring recently suffered through a viewing of Die Another Day, and in true JBR spirit he set about the task of finding the good in the much maligned film. Inspired by Tom and Chris and their willingness to accentuate the positive, Steve has put together the positive things that stood out during his viewing of Die Another Day. Please feel free to join in on this discussion in the comments or on the Facebook page. Are there other aspects of this film or scenes from this film that you enjoy? Let us know!
Die Another Day – The Good Side (A Very Short Blog) by Steve Spring
Right before we start let’s get this out the way. I’ve hated “Die Another Day” since the second I started watching it, so why I am writing a blog on it?
I started listening to JBR 18 months ago and it’s always been said that if you don’t like something about a film then you mention it and move on. JBR is about being positive about James Bond as there is always something for everyone
I never liked A View to a Kill and I never gave it a chance until this year. Having felt Sir Roger was way too old to be believed I never got into it. I listened to the JBR review and as Tom said I can either never watch it and miss some good bond moments or get over the fact the film happened and enjoy what I can from it. I’m happy to report I really enjoy this film now, great villains, sneaky bond and great soundtrack.
It got me thinking can I find the positives from the worst film in history DAD. I watched it this week and I think I have found a few moments that are “Good/OK” and worth watching the film for. I will try to stay positive as I write this but please forgive me if I slip into old habits.
Pre Titles – Cheeky little smile as he takes the briefcase from Mr Van Bierk, nice Bondian joke about the anger therapist. “Don’t blow it all at once,” and then some decent Brosnan action a bit like TND. It’s not an awful start to a bond movie
Titles by Daniel Kleinman Turn down the music and just watch they are actually quite good. Starting with Bond being plunged face first into the water, torture scenes (maybe that what Madonna was thinking with the music) it’s one of the most interesting in the series moving the story along using the visuals
Sneaky Bond – we have plenty of it in this film, he impersonates Mr Van Bierk, he steals a ticket to get across to the clinic in Cuba and then sneaks through the window! He hides in plain sight by making out with his fellow agent Miranda Frost. Fans of sneaky bond shouldn’t be disappointed
Sword Fight – Maybe the best part of the film, from Madonna’s cameo onwards anyway. He gets to meet the villain of the film face to face and lets him know he is on to him. Always nice when Bond doesn’t know the full story so just stokes the fire with the villain to see the reaction. This results in a tease sword fight, ripping & breaking everything they come into contact with. A good score from David Arnold leaves you tired yourself by the time the fight is stopped by Miss Frost
Ejector seat coolness – Once “that stupid car” enters the film it’s pretty much impossible to find anything decent to recall but one bit I have always enjoyed is during the car chase on ice. Bonds car is on its roof moving along on the ice and Zao in the car behind is about to fire a rocket at Bond. Using his wits, bond presses a button to open the roof and eject the passenger seat and flips the car to avoid the rocket, and then with all the smugness in the world he closes the roof with a tap of the button and a smile in his face
Well I tried to find more, it’s really not as bad as I remember for the first part of the film but once M sends bond to see Q the movie loses its mind. In a strange way I like the fact they tried to do something fresh but boy did they get it wrong, and then it led to Casino Royale so maybe we had to have both films for Casino to exist.
It’s now been 15 years since this film entered our lives and lets be fair most of us only watch it because it is a James Bond movie. Is it time to forgive and move on? I think this film is fine if you fancy a comic book James Bond movie, some days I do and it’s there when I need it
article by Steve Spring
Another good thing about the pre-titles is bringing North Korea into the game. The current political situation and crisis in the region could make a good Cold-War-esque plot for when we’re done with the Brofeld-arc. A standalone mission, involving a nuclear threat. Only ONE MAN can avert World War Three. It’s all there, it just needs to be woven into a good script.
I must say Arnold’s rendition of the Bond Theme during the gunbarrel is a huge step above his previous entries. It’s loud and triumphant, and puts one in the Bond mood the way John Barry used to. Just ignore that CGI bullet. I’ll also add Pierce is in top form in DAD, looking the business in that PTS suede blazer, as well as that turtleneck sweater. The Ice Palace set is right up there with Ken Adam, and Zao is a striking henchman. Considering this is my least favorite Bond film, I still love so much about it.
Good stuff. I would add when Bond is in the virtual reality. We are teased with another, better, film entirely, and then we are taken back to Die Another Day. Pierce deserved better.
Pretty much agree. It’s a great Bond film for the first act- it even looks like it’ll be the grittiest Bosnan film to start with- love the hovercraft chase, torture, escape from MI6 and sword fight, but once he meets Q the wheels come off. Agree that the ejector seat bit is very cool though. It’s a shame, but as you say, it resulted in Casino. Definitely not a bad thing!
You did well to get that much out of it man. Your point about “all the smugness in the world” rings particularly true with me. That’s why I generally avoid commenting on Pierce’s films because I find that hard to stomach (I’m sure Tommy chameleon is bawking at that) So I tip my hat to all you guys for insisting on focusing on the positives in our shared favourite franchise. In that spirit I’ll continue by saying Pierce did his best with a giant scutter turd of a script. And he looked great with the beard.
Thanks for the blog entry! 😺
I still watch this movie on a regular basis (as I do with any 007 flick in the canon) and sure it’s not great, but I really don’t feel it deserves all the castigation that goes on in the Bond community. I feel sorry for Brosnan when watching any of the Bond movies – I think he loved the role, he feels he was born for the role, but I feel he was let down by the scripts during his tenure. They don’t stand the test of time, but they all were huge box office successes in their day!
However, I think the main culprits are the decision makers: writers, director and producers: (A) the story was flimsy, yet overly complicated – but signed off by producers and director. Maybe Purvis & Wade were trying something new, but bad script = bad movie. Can’t fix that. (B) The director… What were BB&MGW thinking to come up with Tamahori. They mention that ‘Once We Were Warriors’ was such a great movie, which may be true but it was a completely different kind of film, made on a budget almost 8yrs earlier. DAD had the biggest budget of any Bond movie up to that point. Was it wise to give it to Tamahori? So (C) Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson are really the ones to blame here. They let it happen on their watch, even though they resurrected with CR, it could have been the final one. Luckily I love them as if they were my surrogate parents, so I can’t stay mad at them.
I forgive Brosnan for DAD. Surfing against blue screen wasn’t his decision so we can’t blame him for that. Maybe it helped prepare DC for his negotiations with EON. I hope that when he was asked for the role he thought of DAD and asked for a bigger say in the production to make sure he could stand by the end product.
Well I know I`m in the minority but I enjoyed D.A.D when it first came out and still do, in fact it`s one of my favourite Bond films, and Pierce Brosnan is my favourite Bond since Sean Connery, I prefer him to Danial Craig even though Craig is grittier and apart from Q of S his films have been among the best. Just my opinion but there yer go.
Great article! The expanded soundtrack of this film was released in November by La La Land Records. It is fantastic and a high point of the film too.
Here’s hoping more expanded 007 soundtrack reissues are on the way in 2018!!!