Die Another Day
|Die Another Day|
British cinema poster for Die Another Day, designed by Intralink Film Graphic Design
|Directed by||Lee Tamahori|
|Based on||James Bond
by Ian Fleming
|Music by||David Arnold|
|Editing by||Christian Wagner|
20th Century Fox (UK)
|Running time||133 minutes|
Die Another Day (2002) is the twentieth spy film in the James Bond series, and the fourth and last film to star Pierce Brosnan as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. In the pre-title sequence, Bond leads a mission to North Korea, during which he is betrayed and, after seemingly killing a rogue North Korean colonel, he is captured and imprisoned. More than a year later Bond is released as part of a prisoner exchange. Surmising that someone within the British government betrayed him, he tries to earn redemption by finding his betrayer and by killing a North Korean agent he believes was involved in his torture.
Die Another Day, produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, and directed by Lee Tamahori, marks the franchise's 40th anniversary. The series began in 1962 with Sean Connery starring as Bond in Dr. No. Die Another Day includes references to each of the preceding films.
The film received mixed reviews. Some critics praised Lee Tamahori's work on the film, while others claimed the plot was damaged by excessive use of CGI. Regardless, it was the highest-grossing James Bond film up to that time not counting inflation.
James Bond infiltrates a North Korean military base, where Colonel Tan-Sun Moon is illegally trading African conflict diamonds for weaponry. After Moon's assistant Zao discovers Bond is a British agent, the colonel escapes in a hovercraft. Bond distracts the soldiers with an explosion, in which Zao's face is disfigured by diamond fragments. Bond pursues Moon in a second hovercraft. During the chase, Moon's hovercraft plunges down a waterfall, apparently killing him. Bond is captured by North Korean soldiers and imprisoned by the Colonel's father, General Moon.
After 14 months of captivity and torture, Bond is traded for Zao in a prisoner exchange. He is sedated and taken to meet M, who informs him that his status as a 00 Agent is suspended due to her belief that he may have leaked information under duress. Still bitter over Zao's release, Bond decides to complete his mission by evading MI6's security and travelling to Hong Kong, where he learns from his contact in the Chinese government that Zao was sighted in Cuba.
After arriving in Havana, Bond meets NSA agent Giacinta 'Jinx' Johnson. Bond follows Zao and Jinx to a gene therapy clinic, where patients can have their appearances altered through DNA restructuring. Bond locates Zao inside the clinic and a fight ensues. Zao flees in a helicopter, but he leaves behind a pendant. Bond opens it and finds a cache of diamonds, identified as conflict diamonds, but bearing the crest of the company of British billionaire Gustav Graves.
Bond encounters Graves, along with his assistant Miranda Frost, also an undercover MI6 agent, at Blades Club. After a fencing exercise, Bond is invited by Graves to Iceland for a scientific demonstration. Shortly afterwards, M restores Bond's Double-0 status and offers assistance in the investigation.
In Iceland, Graves unveils a new orbital mirror satellite, "Icarus", which is able to focus solar energy on a small area and provide year-round sunshine for crop development. At midnight, Jinx infiltrates Graves' command centre in the palace, but is captured by Zao. Bond rescues her, and after seeing Zao talking with Graves, realises that Colonel Moon is still alive. Moon has used the gene therapy technology to change his appearance, assuming the identity of Gustav Graves.
Bond confronts Graves, but Frost arrives to reveal herself as the traitor and the one who exposed Bond in North Korea, forcing 007 to escape from Graves' facility. Bond then returns in his Aston Martin Vanquish to rescue Jinx. Zao pursues him in his Jaguar XKR, both cars driving inside the rapidly-melting ice palace. Bond kills Zao by luring him under a collapsing ice chandelier, and then rescues Jinx from drowning.
Bond and Jinx pursue Graves and Frost to the Korean peninsula and stow away on Graves' cargo plane. Graves reveals his true identity to his father, and the purpose of the Icarus satellite: to cut a path through the Korean Demilitarized Zone with concentrated sunlight, allowing North Korean troops to invade South Korea and reunite the countries by force. Horrified, General Moon tries to stop the plan, but he is murdered by his own son.
007 attempts to shoot Graves but he is prevented by one of the soldiers on board. In their struggle, a gunshot pierces the fuselage, causing the plane to descend rapidly. Bond engages Graves in a fist fight, and Jinx attempts to regain control of the plane. Frost attacks Jinx, forcing her to defend herself in a sword duel. After the plane passes through the Icarus beam and is further damaged, Jinx kills Frost. Graves attempts to escape by parachute, but Bond opens the parachute, causing Graves to be pulled out of the plane and into one of its engines, killing him and disabling the Icarus beam. Bond and Jinx escape the disintegrating plane by using a helicopter in the cargo hold. They carry away Graves' stash of diamonds.
- Pierce Brosnan as James Bond 007, an MI6 agent.
- Halle Berry as Giacinta 'Jinx' Johnson, an NSA agent.
- Toby Stephens as Gustav Graves, a British entrepreneur.
- Rosamund Pike as Miranda Frost, undercover MI6 agent and double agent.
- Rick Yune as Zao, a North Korean terrorist, formerly working for Moon.
- Judi Dench as M, the head of MI6.
- Will Yun Lee as Colonel Moon, a rogue North Korean army colonel.
- Kenneth Tsang as General Moon, Colonel Moon's father.
- John Cleese as Q, MI6's quartermaster and armourer.
- Colin Salmon as Charles Robinson, one of M's ranking MI6 staff.
- Ho Yi as Hotel manager and Chinese special agent Mr. Chang.
- Rachel Grant as Peaceful Fountains of Desire, a Chinese agent working for Mr. Chang, undercover as a masseuse.
- Emilio Echevarría as Raoul, the manager of a Havana cigar factory, and a British sleeper.
- Samantha Bond as Miss Moneypenny, M's secretary.
- Michael Gorevoy as Vladimir Popov, Gustav Graves' personal scientist
- Lawrence Makoare as Mr. Kil, one of Gustav Graves' henchmen.
- David Decio as Mr. Kil's personal assistant.
- Michael Madsen as Damian Falco, Jinx's superior in the NSA.
- Joaquin Martinez as an elderly cigar factory worker
Principal photography of Die Another Day began on 11 January 2002 at Pinewood studios. The film was shot primarily in the United Kingdom, Iceland, and Cádiz, Spain. Other locations included Pinewood Studios' 007 Stage, and scenes shot in Maui, Hawaii, in December 2001. Laird Hamilton, Dave Kalama, and Darrick Doerner performed the pre-title surfing scene at the surf break known as Jaws in Peʻahi, Maui, while the shore shots were taken near Cádiz and Newquay, Cornwall. Scenes inside Graves' diamond mine were also filmed in Cornwall, at the Eden Project. The scenes involving the Cuban locations Havana and the fictional Isla Los Organos were filmed at La Caleta, Spain.
The scenes featuring Berry in a bikini were shot in Cádiz; the location was reportedly cold and windy, and footage has been released of Berry wrapped in thick towels between takes to avoid catching a chill. Berry was injured during filming when debris from a smoke grenade flew into her eye. The debris was removed in a 30-minute operation.
Gadgets and other props from every previous Bond film and stored in Eon Productions' archives appear in Q's warehouse in the London Underground. Examples include the jetpack in Thunderball and Rosa Klebb's poison-tipped shoe in From Russia with Love. Q mentions that the watch he issues Bond is "your 20th, I believe", a reference to Die Another Day being the 20th Eon-produced Bond film. In London, the Reform Club was used to shoot several places in the film, including the lobby at the Blades Club, MI6 Headquarters, Buckingham Palace, Green Park, and Westminster. Svalbard, Norway and Jökulsárlón, Iceland were used for the car chase on the ice with additional scenes filmed at Jostedalsbreen National Park, Norway and RAF Little Rissington, Gloucestershire; Manston Airport in Ramsgate was used for the scenes involving the Antonov cargo plane scenes. The scene where Bond surfs the wave that Icarus created when Graves was trying to kill Bond was shot on the blue screen. The waves and all of the glaciers in the scene were digitally produced.
The hangar interior of the "US Air Base in South Korea", shown crowded with Chinook helicopters, was filmed at RAF Odiham in Hampshire, UK, as were the helicopter interior shots during the Switchblade sequence although this took place entirely on the ground with the sky background being added in post-production using blue screen techniques. Although in the plot the base is American, in reality all the aircraft and personnel in the shot are British. In the film, a Switchblade (one-man glider shaped like a fighter jet) is used by Bond and Jinx to enter North Korea undetected. The Switchblade was based on a workable model called "PHASST" (Programmable High Altitude Single Soldier Transport). Kinetic Aerospace Inc.'s lead designer, Jack McCornack was impressed by director Lee Tamahori's way of conducting the Switchblade scene and said, "It's brief, but realistic. The good guys get in unobserved, thanks to a fast cruise, good glide performance, and minimal radar signature. It's a wonderful promotion for the PHASST." Also, Graves' plane was a 20-foot-wide (6.1 m) model that was controlled by a computer. When the plane flew through the Icarus beam, engineers cut the plane away piece by piece so that it looked like it was burning and falling apart.
The sex scene between Bond and Jinx—the first time onscreen in the series in which Bond is depicted actually having sex as opposed to a post-coital scenario—had to be trimmed for the U.S. market. An early cut of Die Another Day featured a brief moment—seven seconds in length—in which Jinx is heard moaning strongly. The MPAA ordered that the scene be trimmed so that Die Another Day could get the expected PG-13 rating. The scene was cut as requested, earning the film a PG-13 rating for "action violence and sexuality."
The soundtrack was composed by David Arnold and released on Warner Bros. Records. He again made use of electronic rhythm elements in his score, and included two of the new themes created for The World Is Not Enough. The first, originally used as Renard's theme, is heard during the mammoth "Antonov" cue on the recording, and is written for piano. The second new theme, used in the "Christmas in Turkey" track of The World Is not Enough, is reused in the "Going Down Together" track.
The title song for Die Another Day was written and performed by Madonna, who also had a cameo in the film as Verity, a fencing instructor. This is the first Bond title sequence to directly reflect the film's plot since Dr. No; all of the other previous Bond titles are stand-alone set pieces. The concept of the title sequence is to represent Bond trying to survive 14 months of torture at the hands of the North Koreans. Critics' opinions of the song were sharply divided—it was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song and the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording, but also for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song of 2002 (while Madonna herself won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress for her cameo). In a MORI poll for the Channel 4 programme "James Bond's Greatest Hits", the song was voted 9th out of 22, and also came in as an "overwhelming number one" favourite among those under the age of 24.
MGM and Eon Productions granted Mattel the license to sell a line of Barbie dolls based around the franchise. Mattel announced that the Bond Barbies will be at her "stylish best", clad in evening dress and red shawl. Lindy Hemming created the dress, which is slashed to the thigh to reveal a telephone strapped to Barbie's leg. The doll was sold in a gift set, with Barbie's boyfriend Ken posing as Bond in a tuxedo designed by the Italian fashion house Brioni.
Revlon also collaborated with the makers of Die Another Day to create a cosmetics line based around the character Jinx. The limited edition 007 Colour Collection was launched on 7 November 2002 to coincide with the film's release. The product names were loaded with puns and innuendo, with shades and textures ranging from the "warm" to "cool and frosted".
Carrera, a slot car manufacturer, sold a 1:45 scale slot car set based on the film which included an Aston Martin Vanquish and a Jaguar XKR as well as track. Corgi, a British toy car manufacturer, released 1:30 scale replicas of the Vanquish and Jaguar XKR.
Ford Motor Company released a "special edition" Thunderbird in 2003. The 11th generation Thunderbird appeared briefly during the film's Iceland scenes, driven by Jinx when she arrived at the Ice Palace. Unlike the car as it appeared on film, Ford's "Bond bird" was coral pink (colour code CQ) with a white removable hardtop. In the film, both the car and the hardtop were coral.
Release and reception
Die Another Day had its world premiere on 18 November 2002 at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were guests of honour; it was the second premiere to be attended by the Queen after You Only Live Twice. The Royal Albert Hall had a make-over for the screening and had been transformed into an ice palace. Proceeds from the première, about £500,000, were donated to the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund of which the Queen is patron. On the first day, ticket sales reached £1.2 million. Die Another Day was the highest grossing James Bond film until the release of Casino Royale. It earned $432 million worldwide, becoming the sixth highest grossing film of 2002.
Die Another Day became a controversial subject in eastern Asia. The North Korean government disliked the portrayal of their state as brutal and war-hungry. The South Koreans boycotted 145 theatres where it was released on 31 December 2002, as they were offended by a scene where an American officer issues orders to the South Korean army in the defence of their homeland, and by a lovemaking scene near a statue of the Buddha. The Jogye Buddhist Order issued a statement that the film was "disrespectful to our religion and does not reflect our values and ethics". The Washington Post reported growing resentment in the nation towards the United States. An official of the South Korean Ministry of Culture and Tourism said that Die Another Day was "the wrong film at the wrong time."
The amount of product placement in the film was a point of criticism, specifically from various news outlets such as the BBC, Time and Reuters who all used the pun "Buy Another Day". Reportedly 20 companies, paying $70 million, had their products featured in the film, a record at the time, although USA Today reported that number to be as high as $100 million. By choice, the number of companies involved in product placement was dropped to eight for the next Bond film Casino Royale in 2006.
Rotten Tomatoes listed Die Another Day with a 57% rating. Metacritic gave the film a 56 out of 100 rating, representing "Mixed or average reviews." Michael Dequina of Film Threat praised the film as the best of the series to star Pierce Brosnan and "the most satisfying installment of the franchise in recent memory." Larry Carroll of CountingDown.com praised Lee Tamahori for having "magnificently balanced the film so that it keeps true to the Bond legend, makes reference to the classic films that preceded it, but also injects a new zest to it all." Entertainment Weekly magazine also gave a positive reaction, saying that Tamahori, "a true filmmaker", has re-established the series' pop sensuality. Dana Stevens of The New York Times called the film the best of the James Bond series since The Spy Who Loved Me. Kyle Bell of Movie Freaks 365 stated in his review that the "first half of Die Another Day is classic Bond", but that "Things start to go downhill when the ice palace gets introduced." According to an ITV news poll Jinx was voted the fourth toughest girl on screen of all time.
However, Die Another Day was strongly criticised for relying too much on gadgets and special effects, with the plot being neglected. James Berardinelli of Reelviews.net said, "This is a train wreck of an action film – a stupefying attempt by the filmmakers to force-feed James Bond into the mindless xXx mold and throw 40 years of cinematic history down the toilet in favor of bright flashes and loud bangs." Gary Brown of the Houston Community Newspapers also described the weak point of the film as "the seemingly non-stop action sequences and loud explosions that appear to take center stage while the Bond character is almost relegated to second string." Roger Moore remarked, "I thought it just went too far – and that’s from me, the first Bond in space! Invisible cars and dodgy CGI footage? Please!"
Die Another Day was written into a novel by the then-current official James Bond writer, Raymond Benson, based on the screenplay by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. Fan reaction to it was above average. After its publication Benson retired as the official James Bond novelist and a new series featuring the secret agent's adventures as a teenager, by Charlie Higson was launched in 2005. As the novelization was published after Benson's final original 007 novel, The Man with the Red Tattoo, it was the final literary work featuring Bond as originally conceived by Ian Fleming until the publication of Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks in 2008 to mark the 100th anniversary of Fleming's birth.
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