Die Another Day (7/10)

 Copyright © 2003 by Tony Medley


I read the James Bond books before the first film, Dr. No, and had a vision of Bond, which was as Brosnan looks (which resembles Ian Fleming, whose picture was on all the books I read).  The first time I saw Sean Connery I thought he was all wrong, but grew to be a huge fan. The movies were as formulaic as the books.  Bond was suave, debonair, and tough.  The villains were monstrous egomaniacs out to conquer the world; the endings were all apocalyptic (for the bad guy).  The first films, Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, were well written and clever.

 When Connery hung up his double-O status and Roger Moore took over, the films changed from pretty good scripts to lots and lots of special effects.  The movies got worse as the action increased.  Considering the deterioration of the quality of the films and the fact that I havenít been a big fan of Brosnan as Bond, I wasnít looking forward to this film.  Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised.

 Sure, it still opens up with ludicrous special effects.  But after about 15 minutes, when Bond returns to civilization, the script picks up.  There arenít many special effects in the middle hour plus. Brosnan is more like Flemingís (and Conneryís) Bond, more likeable and less arrogant than heís been in the past. The bad guy, Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens), is comparable to Dr. No and Goldfinger.  Heís bad.  The women, Jinx (Halle Berry) and Miranda Frost (Rosamand Pike) are gorgeous (especially Pike).  And a wonderful addition is the incomparable John Cleese as Q, the man in charge of all Bondís gadgets.

 The storyís OK.  Iím not going into any detail because all Bond stories are the same with just different names.  I generally donít try to figure out how and why the bad guy is doing what heís doing, and thatís the same here.  Whatís different here is that the script is actually pretty good if you ignore the first 15 minutes and last 20 minutes of special effects.

 I like short movies.  This one runs over 2 hours.  Although I was fidgeting quite a bit during the first 15 minutes, after that my attention didnít wane even though the ending special effects are preposterous and far too long.  This is the first James Bond film in a long time that I found entertaining.

 The End