It’s hard to think of a name more iconic and ingrained in popular culture than James Bond.
Say James Bond to someone, and they instantly picture a man in a smoking, drinking a Vodka Martini (shaken, not stirred). We hear the music, we hear the voice, be it Pierce Brosnan or Sean Connery. We’ve seen tributes, video games, parodies and thousands of references to this movie series over three decades.
My personal favourite movie in the series is also the first Bond movie I ever watched: GoldenEye. I like it, because It’s funny when it should be, it’s serious when it has to be, the story is realistic, and there’s actual tragedy and weight to the characters. THAT is a good Bond movie.
Then there’s Die Another Day.
You know how some movies can jump the shark?
You know, when the movie does something so stupid, it cannot possibly regain any dignity or sanity. The point where you go “Ok, this movie is stupid”.
That’s not to say that movies can’t have silly moments. GoldenEye has Bond driving a motorcycle, chasing an airplane off a cliff, diving after it, catching up and flying away before the plane crashes.
But that is the closest that movie gets to testing our suspension of disbelief.
You want to know how long it takes for Die Another Day to lose all credibility? Want to take a guess?
Try 41 seconds.
That’s right. This movie takes 41 seconds, (and that’s counting from the moment you press play, including the MGM logo) to become stupid. 41 seconds to throw all suspension of disbelief under a bus. How does it do that, you may ask?
Well, the movie starts on the North Korean coast. MI-6 is sending 007 to assassinate Colonel Moon, a north korean colonel/arms dealer/warlord/bad man.
Now, it’s a spy movie, so what method do you think they use to enter North Korea?
A midget submarine? Parachutes? Maybe some scuba gear? No, of course not! That’d just be silly! Remember, this is a highly risky plan on foreign soil by the cream of the crop of MI-6, with state-of-the-art equipment and government contracts giving them virtually limitless resources. Failure could mean an international incident and throw Britain into a war with North Korea. They wouldn’t use something as silly as a submarine!
No, they use surfboards.
They decide that the best way to enter North Korea, one of the most well known dictatorships in the world, is by surfboarding to the shore.
Are you fucking kidding me?!
Well, do they at least do it in a place that’s poorly guarded? No, they do it within SPITTING DISTANCE of two guards! There’s barbed wire, patrolling guards and a fucking OBSERVATION TOWER.
How did anyone think this would be a good plan!? You’re expecting me to believe that the hard-as-nails, no-nonsense, ice queen M, played by Dame Judi Dench, was sitting at her desk, this plan was suggested to her and and her only response was “Well, I think this is a marvelous plan. I look forward to hearing the results.”
I seem to recall there was a line in GoldenEye about this. What was it again?
If you think for one moment I don’t have the balls to send a man out to die, your instincts are dead wrong. I’ve no compunction about sending you to your death. But I won’t do it on a whim. Even with your cavalier attitude towards life.
Does that sound like the kind of person who’d greenlight this plan?!
And don’t tell me that “The surfboards were filled with supplies. How else were they going to carry them”`
How about a fucking BELT!?
But oh, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. That’s not even CLOSE to how stupid this movie becomes.
9 minutes later, just when the shock of the surfing stupidity has worn off, we have a chase scene.
What with, do you think? Motorcycles? Jeeps? How about HOVERCRAFTS?!
Colonel Moon fires at Bond with a grenade launcher, loaded with depleted uranium shells, which he previously described as a “Tank buster” before blowing up a helicopter with it. He’s a high ranking military officer. Can he hit the man following him in a hovercraft?
No. The hovercraft is just too nimble and agile for him.
When Bond catches up, he switches to a mounted heavy machine gun, firing at the hovercraft from the side. HE DOESN’T EVEN SCRATCH THE FUCKING PAINTJOB!
Does he switch BACK to the explosive ammunition now that the hovercraft is closer? No, he switches to a flame thrower. Which of course he fails to do any damage with.
I’ve never driven a hovercraft, but even I know that they’re not really agile and nimble. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Then again, these seem to be special models, since they explode in a great ball of flame whenever they hit something.
But suddenly, Colonel Moon finds himself right behind Bond on a narrow road. Bond cannot avoid him now. Does Moon switch to the grenade launcher, machine gun or flame thrower, or any of the other weapons on board?
No, he orders the driver to ram Bonds hovercraft.
Bond jumps up on his hovercraft, and Colonel Moon starts shooting at him with a gun. Bond picks up a bulletproof vest, and holds it up over his face and chest.
Moon proceeds to shoot the vest instead of his COMPLETELY UNPROTECTED LEGS!
To quote the great George Takei:
You are made of stupid!
And the chase ends with Bond running the hovercraft into high gear, crashing it through a gate, jumping 10 feet into the air, grabbing a log that beats a bell, and the hovercraft and Moon fall off a cliff.
He is then captured and arrested by Colonel Moons father for espionage, murder and presumably destroying the laws of physics.
What follows is a montage of him being tortured.
And thanks to the theme song, we’re being tortured right along with him.
Let me explain the idea of a Bond theme. A Bond theme should evoke style. Excitement. Action. You should feel that “Yeah! This will be fucking awesome!”
Also, it helps if it’s somewhat relevant to the movie.
GoldenEye understood this. So did Goldfinger and The Man With The Golden Gun.
Die Another Day did not. So instead of the suave, cool, action music we expected… WE GET A FUCKING TECHNO SONG!
Let’s make one thing crystal-FUCKING-clear! Techno should NEVER be used in a Bond movie. It has no place in a Bond movie.
BOND DOES NOT DO TECHNO!
Fuck you, MGM and FUCK YOU, MADONNA!
Oh, and after that, it gets even dumber. Later in the movie Bond gets hold of some diamonds, belonging to Gustav Graves. He figures out that they are “Chemically identical to conflict diamonds”. Their chemical composition shows they come from Sierra Leon.
Those are not my words. Those are the words used in the movie.
For the record, diamonds do not have different chemical compositions based on where they’re from.
All natural diamonds have the same chemical composition. They’re composed of CARBON. Nothing else. They are just carbon.
So yes, they are right that the diamonds are “Chemically identical to conflict diamonds”. Just like EVERY OTHER NATURAL DIAMOND ON THE GODDAMN PLANET!
Then, about halfway through the movie, we get a scene at a fencing school. Bond and Graves fence for a bit, until they decide to up the wager. And with the wager, they up the weapon. They switch from fencing foils… to ACTUAL SABERS. During the fight, they cause property damage, endanger other people and switch from sabres to katanas and broadswords. They fight for about 2 minutes, and it ends with Bond winning and Graves’ assistant Miranda Frost stepping in and putting a stop to it.
It’s a pretty nice action scene.
Just one teeny-tiny question about it…
IS EVERYONE IN THIS WORLD OUT OF THEIR FUCKING MINDS!?
Two people are fighting with REAL SWORDS, with no boundaries or rules other than “first man to draw blood from the torso”. And NOBODY steps in and stops it?!
You wanna know what would happen in the real world?
The moment Graves pulled the sabres from the wall, an official would step in and tell them to cut it out. Fighting with real weapons is forbidden in ANY PUBLIC PLACE, especially when the intention is to DRAW BLOOD from the opponent!
But no, that doesn’t happen. Because everyone is fucking stupid!
Let’s move on.
After some banter between M and Bond, we’re suddenly thrown into a scene where MI-6 is being attacked by… uhm… some people in sunglasses. Apparently, the filmmakers forgot what was written in the script and decided to film the second mission from “The World is Not Enough” for the N64.
So, Moneypenny is dead, and the place is overrun, Charles Robinson gets killed and M is taken hostage. Bond saves M, kills the terrorist…..
And it turned out it was all just a simulation.
Thank you, movie. Thanks for giving us a scene that had NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FUCKING STORY!
All that did was to
A) show us that MI-6 may have way too much fucking free time on their hands
and B) set up another fake simulation gag at the end of the movie with Moneypenny where she’s in a simulation making out with Bond. Then Q walks in and Moneypenny says that she was “just testing it”.
You may notice by my tone that I’m not laughing. Instead, I will simply ask another question.
Why does the COMBAT SIMULATOR have a program with Bond making out with the user? If it’s not a finished program, it means it’s something you can add yourself, in which case: why is that an option!? Either Bond is so infamous in his flirting they had to add a training program for the female staff to deal with sexual harassment… Or Q is very, VERY creepy.
And then there’s the obligatory Q-scene. It’s the highlight of almost every Bond movie. He gets his cool gear and clever gadgets, and has some witty banter with Q. But instead of the think tank of scientific genius we’re used to, we’re just shown an old storage room of old props, and Bond is given a ring and a watch. That’s it.
Now, if this little hors d’oeuvre of disappointment wasn’t enough, we immediately get the main course of massive stupidity:
The Aston Martin Vanish, so called because it has the ability to become invisible. (Ha-fucking-ha) The explanation goes like this:
Adaptive camouflage. Tiny cameras on all sides project the image they see on a light emitting polymer skin on the other.
Very cool! Except… you know… that it doesn’t actually BEND the light, so the car would just look like it was made of glass. Very cool, but very, VERY visible.
This isn’t nitpicking! It’s common fucking sense!
What else is there….
Actually, what’s the point?
By the end of the movie, the villain wears something a japanese robot movie would laugh at, his superweapon is a giant magnifying glass and it’s controlled by a glorified powerglove and a trackball.
I’m sorry. I have wasted your time, and my own, writing all this.
There’s no point in complaining about this movie, because this movie doesn’t care. That’s all there is to it. A bad movie, I can live with. I can enjoy a bad movie. I can ENDURE a boring movie. But when a movie refuses to give a shit, when something actively insults my intelligence, I get upset. That’s when I get angry.
It took 41 seconds for this movie to become stupid beyond all hope. For 41 seconds, this movie was worthy the name and legacy of James Bond. But the people who were entrusted with this legacy decided to shit all over it, and make an idiotic mess.
Some movies, like Van Helsing, know they will not be great, and just decide to have fun. But this was a multimillion dollar movie. The 40 year anniversary of one of the most famous and iconic movie series in cinematic history, the 20’th movie in the series and the 60 year anniversary of James Bond himself!
THIS SERIES DESERVED BETTER!
This is one of the worst movies I’ve ever had the displeasure of watching.
If Ian Fleming saw what they’d done to his character, he would be horrified. If he had known this would be the result, he would vomit out of pure shame and horror.
This is, by far, the worst Bond movie that has ever been made.