Nobody said a bad word about Die another day in 2002

Most people now say die another day was the worst bond ever made, people even rank it below CR67 but I remember listening and watching all the movie review shows when it was released and nobody had a bad word to say about it, indeed you'd more likely have heard the old chestnut "best bond ever" to describe it back in 2002 rather than something negative.


  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,542Chief of Staff
    edited August 6

    The anti-DAD bandwagon had started rolling before Craig was (mis)cast as Bond, but that's when it really took off. It won't ever be re-evaluated as OHMSS was, and doesn't deserve to be, but equally it doesn't deserve the hatred it receives.

    There are weak points of course, but it's hard to think of a Bond film that doesn't have any though granted here they are easier to spot than usual.

    Much more rarely mentioned are the good points, and yes they do exist.

    Edit- Sorry, was interrupted there. The concept of having Bond be captured during a mission and imprisoned and tortured for a long time. M's trust in him causing her to go behind the screen and talk face to face, knowing he won't harm her to escape. The hotel sequence, showing Bond is still Bond and hasn't been broken no matter how he's dressed. The whole sleeper agent scenario- very Fleming, underlined by the presence of a certain book.

    Ok, there's more (being interrupted again) but I will grant that these are mainly in the first half which even detractors concede is better than the second. And even defenders like me will agree with that.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,542Chief of Staff

    David Arnold doesn't give us his best score, but it is enjoyable and one of the film's strengths. My favourite is "Welcome To Cuba" (the extended version).

    Brosnan again doesn't give us his best Bond performance (that was one film earlier) but he is fine and strong- I think Roger Ebert said that when watching the film he didn't find himself comparing Brosnan to Connery etc but just thought "there's James Bond", and I agreed at the time and still do now.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,542Chief of Staff
    edited August 6

    I wasn't looking forward to John Cleese as Q after his performance in TWINE, but he was restrained and appropriate.

    Michael Madsen's unbilled Falco was well done, especially his rivalry with Judi Dench's M (a contest he was bound to lose).

    The invisible car- I agree with almost everybody that this was a step too far.

    The CGI stuff with icebergs- yup, definitely wrong.

    The whole General Moon and his son angle was good, and should have been more central but still is a strong feature.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,542Chief of Staff

    Halle Berry is not one of the film's strengths. Let's leave it there.

    Colin Salmond's Charles Robinson is one of the good points and I regret that his services were dispensed with.

    Overall, this was never going to be one of the classic Bond films or even one of the classic Brosnan Bond films but I do feel that it is unfairly treated.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,542Chief of Staff

    So, circling back to the original point, I would agree that at the time DAD was not especially criticized and agree that this was correct.

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,201MI6 Agent

    Well, it depends. The media did praise it, but without wanting to don my conspiracy theory hat, they do tend to. The Bond films are a big event, leading to lots of hype, lots of free write themselves column inches. To slag a Bond film off is a bit like popping up to diss Christmas come December.

    Jonathan Ross on Film - what year was it - lavished praise, his only caveat saying some of the innuendo was a bit too Carry On. The Evening Standard's Alexander Walken gave it five stars! Saying that if you're bored with Bond, you must be bored of life. He died shortly after, incidentally.

    The Independent newspaper - as it was then known - did put the boot in, complaining that every time you got your hopes up for a Bond film, only to find it wasn't much cop. The only moment he liked was the 'hola' between Bond and the Cuban hottie who saw Bond beat up someone in passing.

    Heat magazine - enjoying its heyday as top coverage of Big Brother shows - headlined its coverage 'Try Another Day?' despite praising its predecessor. The big movie mags will always ladle praise on Bond films, it's just the form, sacrilege not to. But Empire struggled, actually spending most of the article slagging it off 'action scenes pile up upon action scenes' before awarding it the usual four stars anyway, I think. Only once the dust had settled and the film had been out for a few weeks did Neon publish its short, punchy review, complaining that the villain was some Rik Mayall caricature, summarising the entire movie with one word 'Balls.'

    On this very own website, praise was duly meted out, until yours truly popped up with a bucket load of sick, commencing 'Oh. My. God.' I compared it to the maybe the worst movie ever - on a par with Connery's The Avengers, or Tank Girl. Like watching the Eurovision votes, the tide gradually turned against the film, though tbf for the ordinary punter, Die Another Day was still a big, bold, brassy Bond film that didn't pull its punches and turned up the lights.

    Incidentally, it was Die Another Day that introduced me to this website, as being resident Bond fanatic I was commissioned by the News of the World's Sunday magazine to pen its Bond coverage for a special supplement to accompany the film's release.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,201MI6 Agent

    Bloody hell, just left a lengthy post, then it disappeared during an edit.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Westward_DriftWestward_Drift Posts: 2,574MI6 Agent

    Can't speak for all the critics in the US, but I remember reading several reviews criticizing the film.

    The San Francisco Chronicle had the headline "007's off 'Day' / Latest James Bond picture misses the mark"

    Variety's 2002 Die Another Day started with;

    James Bond celebrates his 40th birthday on the bigscreen in “Die Another Day,” a midrange series entry that sports some tasty scenes, mostly in the first half, but also pushes 007 into CGI-driven, quasi-sci-fi territory that feels like a betrayal of what the franchise has always been about.

    I went into the film with middling expectations and still came out disappointed.

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,413MI6 Agent

    This relatively recent thread may be of interest: When did Die Another Day's backlash begin?

    I realise I never actually read what critics said, and my experience is only anecdotal. but I think the revisionism is the idea people only turned against the film when Daniel Craig was cast. There was a lot of hype when the film came out, the most since Goldeneye, and people I knew who actually saw it weren't all that impressed.

    Last time I watched it however I did change my own opinion: there's a lot of clever ideas in the first half, some of them well executed, and as a whole I like it better than Tomorrow Never Dies. I documented my thoughts in greater detail in the Pros & Cons thread.

  • Lady RoseLady Rose London,UKPosts: 2,510MI6 Agent

    I remember walking out of the cinema thinking it was very poor and not a Bond film.

    The invincible car, shocking CGI, Madonna 😝

    I think the biggest problem was it was an anniversary film and they literally threw the kitchen sink at it. Even in a Bond film less can be more.

    It still ranks higher than QoS in my eyes though.

  • Golrush007Golrush007 South AfricaPosts: 3,098Quartermasters
    edited August 26

    When Die Another Day came out I was still in my infancy as a Bond fan. By that stage I had probably only seen just over half of the back catalogue of Bond movies and DAD was the first one that I ever saw in the cinema. At that time I would have probably said that GoldenEye was my favourite Bond movie and my reaction to DAD was that it was not quite as good as GE, but not bad by any means.

    The following year I bought a copy of DVD Review magazine (even though I had no DVD player at the time) because it had a really nice article outlining many of the homages to old Bond movies that were included in DAD, as well as a fairly thorough review of the film and DVD. If I remember correctly, the DVD got top marks all round, and rightly so, and the film itself was praised with a fair amount of enthusiasm.

    DAD did eventually become the my first James Bond DVD purchase and I certainly spend a massive amount of time with the behind the scenes documentaries etc. which certainly didn't do any harm to my appreciation for the film. However, over time, my own ranking of DAD has steadily dropped, to the point where now I do have it at the bottom of my ranking of EON-produced Bond movies. That said, I am still fond of a number of elements in the first half of the film, largely in line what what Barbel mentioned in his posts earlier in this thread. But there is little in the second half that makes me want to rewatch the film these days, except perhaps some of the ice-lake car chase stuff which is impressively done.

  • RevelatorRevelator Posts: 295MI6 Agent
    edited August 27

    I am the sort of person who enjoys reading film critics, and my memory is that the Brosnan films in general received mixed reviews. Critics tended to like Brosnan but wish he was in better films. I don't recall Die Another Day's critical reception being mush different from that of its predecessors. One representative mixed review I remember was by David Edelstein in Slate, one of the most prominent online magazines at the time.

    Titled "The Spy Who Went Into the Cold: He thrilled me, then betrayed me in the end," it starts thus: "For three-quarters of its running time, Die Another Day (MGM) is bracingly true to its title: It keeps the James Bond franchise, which has often seemed in need of last rites, alive to rake in billions." Edelstein adds "That this Bond will be smarter is clear from its title sequence, which leaves you both shaken and stirred." He asserts that "A coldness of tone marked the best Bonds (especially the first three), and that chill suffuses Die Another Day...This one laughs with you, and then, when it jolts you with unanticipated sadism, at you."

    The lead gets praise: "Pierce Brosnan gets better and better. He injects a tiny bit of drama into the role—a tension between the classic persona, with its easy sense of entitlement, and an anxious awareness that it’s no longer as easy as all that. He has to work for his triumphs. He’s also the first Bond (other than George Lazenby) who doesn’t look embarrassed to be there: He digs the legacy."

    However: "I was busily scribbling things like, 'The best Bond since The Spy Who Loved Me!' when, 90 minutes in, Bond surfs an Icelandic tidal wave...After an hour and a half of thinking the filmmakers’ wit might be commensurate with their wallet, it’s depressing to see them suddenly throwing around their money like smug little trust-funders."

    From what I remember this was not an atypical review. DAD was criticized but not widely reviled until the Craig era began, just as Dalton's films were trashed by the media after Brosnan took over. If the next Bond actor is a success, we can expect Craig's films to receive greater criticism as well.

    I was never crazy about the Brosnan era, but I have never hated Die Another Day. The film goes badly off the rails in its last act, but before then it has a vitality and splashiness lacking in the other Brosnan films. I also think Brosnan gives his best performance--he is finally comfortable with the role and no longer posturing.

Sign In or Register to comment.