Friday, November 30, 2012

182. DIE ANOTHER DAY (2002)

Having liked GOLDENEYE very much, TOMORROW NEVER DIES rather less and THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH better than half, I liked DIE ANOTHER DAY least of the Pierce Brosnan James Bond films upon its original release. Halle Berry was a worthy Bond Girl, but Madonna's theme song may be the series' worst. When it came to John Cleese's Q giving Bond the keys to an invisible car, I felt my spirits cracking and they finally crumbled during the laughable CGI windsurfing sequence, a groaner on scale with that moment in A VIEW TO A KILL when Bond's snowboarding triggers a sample of The Beach Boys' "California Girls." (This film includes a comparably gratuitous bit of source music, when Bond lands at the London airport with The Clash's "London Calling" booming on the soundtrack -- Bond needs The Clash to feel British?)

On second viewing, I found more things to enjoy about the film and discovered that the snowboarding sequence wasn't badly done in and of itself; it was just one of the series' rare indefensible ideas. Rick Yuen and Toby Stephens make a pair of reasonable villains, the Icelandic ice hotel is a worthy setting for a tense if fantastical finale, and the fencing battle sequence between Brosnan and Stephens is one of the standout set pieces of Brosnan's tenure. During the scene supposedly set in Cuba, I noticed in the background the impressive fortress location used for the prison in Jess Franco's seminal Women In Prison film 99 WOMEN (1969) -- the Fortress of Candelaria in Cadiz, Spain.

Viewed as part of the BOND 50 Blu-ray set.

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