Tonight was the screening for the latest James Bond film, Die Another Day. I could have sworn I was told it was at the Mann National theater, so J—-n and I headed over there around 6pm to get in line. When we got there 15 minutes later, there was no one to be found – and the guy at the box office said that there wasn’t a screening tonight. Hmm. To make a long story short, we “found” the screening at the AMC Avco theater, which (as it turns out) is what my MGM publicity contact told me in the first place – I just wrote down the wrong place. (Whoops!)
The film itself was a lot of fun. It harkens back to the older Bond films not only in that Pierce Brosnan‘s character has a darker edge, but there are plenty of references and allusions to the past films. From Q’s laboratory archive, to a few toss-away lines, this is like a bit of a trip down memory lane. (Speaking of Q – John Cleese – there’s a nice little Monty Python joke in there!) The storyline is also vintage Bond – a bad guy wants to shake up the world with some evil device. Halle Berry does a decent job as the rather smarmy Jinx, and Rick Yune does a nice job as the henchman Zao. Toby Stephens‘s turn as villain Gustav Graves is alright, but then – when have the Bond films ever been about acting?
Director Lee Tamahori does a good job keeping the story going, and while I might not agree with the use of slow-motion and sped-up action, the action scenes were pretty engaging. Toss in David Arnold’s high-octane score, and you’ve got a lot of exciting segments. The main title sequence is rather unusual, and is used as a device to further the narrative from the pre-title sequence. Madonna’s song is still a little grating, but slowly growing into a “tolerable” Bond song. So where does this film rank? Hmm. It’s definitely better than Goldeneye and The World is Not Enough. But right now (and this might change later) it’s a toss-up between this and Tomorrow Never Dies as the better Brosnan Bond film. Only time will tell, and we have all the time in the world…..