ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  lee tamahori

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  espionage

LENGTH  -  123 minutes

RELEASED  -  22 november 2002


OFFICIAL SITE  -  james bond

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $142,000,000
die another day - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from die another day at

buy the dvd from die another day at

james bond must unmask a traitor and prevent a catastrophic war in the twentieth film in the james bond series.

madonna has a cameo in the film and also provides the title song for the soundtrack.


picture from die another day

picture from die another day

picture from die another day


three out of four possible stars

The twentieth outing of James Bond into the dangerous world of international espionage presents a 007 with bigger stunts, faster editing, and a plethora of blue-screen work. The hilariously impossible situations are a hallmark of Bond films and could be considered a hallmark of the genre, as MGM has certainly created one with their suave double agent. And Pierce Brosnan makes those impressive gadgets, expensive cars, and exotic locals seem just as romantic and exciting as they should be.

The estimated 120 million dollars spent on this film by MGM is put to good use with the largest number of gigantic explosions ever detonated in one film. The ludicrous plot might make some people perform a double take during more than one occasion, but for anyone capable of sitting back to enjoy a high-octane action film, this entry in the most successful franchise in motion picture history won't disappoint. While fans of Sean Connery's portrayal of James Bond might wish for the classic structure of the series, viewers have to realize that over forty years, change is inevitable.

And with the advent and intrusion of MTV into the national consciousness, the editing and composition of the James Bond series was bound to change sooner or later. Andrew MacRitchie and Christian Wagner have both been editors on more than one action film and the frenetic pace at which Die Another Day passes is due much to the editing of these two crew members. It should be considered inevitable that even James Bond would start to resemble a music video sooner or later. After all, Madonna, Queen Supreme of Pop does have a song on the soundtrack.

And she also gives a surprisingly enjoyable and flighty performance as a lesbian fencing teacher. She looks almost giddy up on the screen performing with Brosnan. And Halle Berry, playing a bond girl with brains and bite, spars equally as well with Brosnan and makes the title of "Bond Girl" a respectable name once more after the rather disappointing performance of Denise Richards in The World is Not Enough. Keeping in mind that Berry is probably one of the most beautiful actresses on the screen in current films, the fact that she can kick a little action butt is entertaining to see in Day.

And while everybody knows the plot of a James Bond movie is just an excuse to blow things up, the plot of this movie certainly hops along at a good clip and probably won't give anybody too much of a chance to question the fanciful story with its deadly satellites and giant hovercrafts. And the invisible car. Indeed, the gadgets in this film are of the usual impossible variety, but the fact that James Bond's Aston Martin can disappear at the touch of a button really sits on the far border of even what the Bond films can get away with.

Though anybody caught up with the movie will probably think "cool," rather than "impossible" when he or she sees the silver Aston Martin speeding across the ice and into a gigantic waterfall laden ice palace....James Bond is all about stunts and this film certainly fills its running time to the brim with that type of excitement. And in other forms of "excitement," Die Another Day contains one of the steamiest love scenes ever to grace the celluloid of a Bond film and much of that scene's success is due to the chemistry between Halle Berry and Pierce Brosnan.

The casting directors might have chosen Halle for her looks alone, but fortunately, her sex appeal is realistic in her scenes with Brosnan. And Rosamund Pike, also filling the shoes of one of the Bond girls has a terrific amount of chemistry with Brosnan (even though she is supposed to play a lesbian). She's also another smart character that raises somewhat the intelligence quotient of the script. The sexual innuendoes that Pike, Brosnan, and Berry throw back and forth in nearly all their scenes together also add a lot of humor to the picture, and keep the film from becoming an unrealistic and too serious action picture.

It is quite easy for an action film to fall into lame territory if it forgets to include humor in its script though this is something the Bond films usually never forget to do. John Cleese, replacing the venerable Desmond Llywelyn as Q, the gadget inventor of the Bond series, does well in his new shoes and is perfectly droll in the role. Even the two main baddies of the film, Toby Stephens, as Gustav Graves, and Rick Yune, as Zao, include a decent amount of humor in their performances.

The only thing that keeps James Bond and his crew from becoming unbelievable is the classic tongue and cheek sex appeal of its characters and the smooth way they carry out their missions. Die Another Day has all the classic elements of the Bond series thrown in, and adds some twenty-first century elements (like snappy editing and a pop song), for good measure. Just don't count on the blue screen work to be the most impressive set of special effects ever assembled.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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