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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Die Another Day

Here we are again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I watch a movie I own and blog about it.  We come to the end of Pierce Brosnan's run on James Bond with Die Another Day.  This is in my notes at March 16, 2016.

I actually sat down and watched Die Another Day on Blu-Ray a few weeks ago, but haven't gotten around to writing this.  I've never had a flu bug like that before.  I had literally 0 energy.  I'd wake up in the morning and lie in bed for an hour just because I didn't have the energy to get up.  That was the first week.  Second week, I finally had enough energy to be moving around.  And then the third week, I was whisked off on vacation.  But now, here I am, to type this up, because in my flu-induced delirium, I was able to watch Die Another Day

And this is how Pierce Brosnan's run on James Bond comes to end...the film where people finally said James Bond had gone too far.  Surfing on Arctic tsunamis...an invisible car...a Madonna theme song and cameo...it was all finally too much.  Now that I own and have re-watched all the Brosnan Bonds, I finally agree:  nothing beat GoldenEye

The film opens with Bond doing an excursion into North Korea to take down a North Korean general who'd begun dabbling in arms dealing on the side.  In what was considered a revolutionary twist for the Bond films at the time, the mission goes south and it ends with Bond being captured.  In another considered-revolutionary-at-the-time-twist, the classic Bond opening title sequence is a stylized representation of the torture Bond endures. 

Anyway, Bond is finally released because of a prisoner exchange.  Because of some terrorist attacks that happened during Bond's imprisonment, M thinks Bond cracked under the torture and revealed state secrets.  Bond denies this, saying the only other possible explanation is there's a mole in MI6.  It would also explain why his mission went south, because he was ratted out.  So, Bond goes rogue to clear his name and sniff out the mole.  It's an investigation that soon leads him to billionaire industrialist Gustav Graves and his orbital super-weapon. 

Of course we need our Bond girl, so we have Halle Berry as NSA agent Jinx Jordan.  Man, there was a lot of hype at the time of giving Jinx her own spin-off franchise, but it never came to be.  But Berry's Jinx is a great Bond girl.  Suave, sophisticated, a tough fighter, quick-witted...very much Bond's equal. 

But yeah.  When we get to Iceland, with many scenes filmed in the famous ice hotel, that's where things get crazy.  That's where we get the invisible car and gadget overload and ice surfing.  Although, the car chase across the ice is pretty cool.  For once, the villain gets a gadget-laden car, too, and is able to fire back at Bond.  But, I remember when I first saw it, the director's stylistic choice of constantly messing with the camera speed to create some pseudo-bullet time effects really comes across as annoying. 

There is some fun, though.  This is the 20th James Bond film, and it was released during the 40th anniversary of the film franchise, so the director dropped in multiple Easter eggs referencing all the previous films in the franchise...most of them are old gadget's in Q's lab.  The rumour at the time was the director believes in the fan theory that "James Bond" is a code name, and that's why there have been different Bonds over the years, and he wanted to use that to have previous Bonds make cameos.  But, the producers nixed him. 

I remember when I first saw it in the theatre.  It was during my time in Japan.  Because of international release dates, a lot of the Christmas blockbusters of 2002 came out in the spring of 2003.  The spring of 2003 was also when the Company told me that they wouldn't be renewing my contract and sending me home to Canada, which really threw me into a depression.  Since movies are my escape, and all the Christmas blockbusters were coming, I was going to see a movie pretty much every week to try to cheer myself up.  I'm pretty sure Die Another Day was the film when the clerk who was always working the nights I went to the movies looked at me and said, in her best English, "Wow, you come here a lot." 

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