Written by Films

Die Another Day

Oh dear. I really wanted to enjoy this. I really love Bond films. I’m a fan. But there are some major problems with this film.
First of all, let me say that director Lee Tamahori has done a couple of interesting things here. Bond is captured and tortured through an opening credit sequence that does take the story along. Bond smokes a cigar in Cuba, and beds more than one woman. And he gets to drive an Aston Martin once more.
On the other hand… Where to begin. Well let’s start with the song. Bond has had dud songs before, but Madonna’s effort is terrible. It can be easy to just expect all Bond songs to sound the same – resulting in anaemic tracks like The World is Not Enough by Garbage last time around. In this case however, the producers should not have just settled for whatever Madonna turned in and said no. Then there’s the car. Of course Bond shouldn’t drive a BMW, and the new Aston Martin is a welcome return. But an invisible car! Come on. It’s ridiculous even in the Bond world. The technical chameleon characteristics don’t wash. It’s something out of Star Trek. The story’s poor, and the villain pedestrian (we don’t just need a single world domination bad guy every time – find something new), but the worst is yet to come.
When I saw XXX a few weeks back, there was an abysmal CGI scene where our hero out-skis an obviously computer-generated avalanche. It’s not that it didn’t look real, it was just that when you see impossible point-of-view camera angles you know it’s all false. It may as well be a cartoon. Up until now, the great thing about Bond, is that he (or rather a stuntman) has always really did it. Jumping out of a plane with no parachute in Moonraker, the car flip in The Man With The Golden Gun, and of course the bungee jump at the start of Goldeneye (OK we’ll forget about the jumping into the plane at the end of the same sequence). Yes, there have always been cheesy close ups which were obviously back-projected/green-screened, but the stunts look real. I was disappointed in a hovercraft fight that the close-ups followed this tradition, but my real venom is for the iceberg/parasurfing scene. This is quite possibly the worst CGI I’ve seen on the big screen since “The Rock” in The Mummy Returns. The cinema I saw this is was stunned into silence it was so bad. If they had animated cartoon-style it would have looked more realistic. I’m reasonably sure it was probably due to time limitations, but if that’s the case they should have ditched the scene or come up with an alternate ending. It just doesn’t work at all.
I’ve got to say that all this really disappointed me, and I hate to say it.
And then there’s Halle Berry. I have no problem with her, but all this nonsense about being a new kind of Bond girl… come on. Michelle Yeoh was equally as independent in Tomorrow Never Dies, and last night I watched On Her Majesty’s Secret Service where Diana Rigg plays a very independent Bond girl. That was really a Bond that tried to be different (and had an exceptional score).