Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Die Another Day

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for action violence and sexuality

Reviewed by: Douglas M. Downs
STAFF WRITER

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
15 to Adult
Genre:
Action Adventure Crime Drama
Length:
2 hr. 13 min.
Year of Release:
2002
USA Release:
November 22, 2002
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corporation (MGM) click photos to ENLARGE
Relevant Issues
Pierce Brosnan in “Die Another Day”

diamonds in the Bible

spies

ice

sword fights

fornication

scorpion

torture

faked death

hero

assassination

evil man

disfigured face

gene therapy / genetic engineering

patricide

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Judi Dench, John Cleese, Rosamund Pike | Directed by: Lee Tamahori | Produced by: Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli | Written by: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade | Distributor: MGM

“Pierce Brosnan as Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007”

This is the 40th anniversary year of the James Bond film franchise. It is the 20th movie in the series of our indestructible British spy hero, as well as the 4th appearance for Irish-born Pierce Brosnan. All 20 films have carried basically the same formula: 1) an attention grabbing action sequence opener, 2) scenes portraying Bond as a womanizer, 3) numerous double/sexual innuendoes, 4) always one primary villain who wants to rule the world or change all the rules, 5) new Bond gadgets and fantasy automobile, 6) the martini—shaken but not stirred, 7) usually minimal profanity, 8) closing scenes showing the villain’s empire blows up in his face, 9) a film conclusion usually showing Bond romantically wrapped up in the arms of a woman.

“Die Another Day” follows all the standard Bond elements. No surprises here. You may wonder if Bond films now are more offensive, or have we just become used to this genre? To answer that question let me do a side by side comparison of the last 3 films:

Tomorrow Never Dies The World Is Not Enough Die Another Day
Alcohol Use Scenes: 4 Alcohol Use Scenes: 5 Alcohol Use Scenes: 7
Blood/Gore Scenes: 6 Blood/Gore Scenes: 8 Blood/Gore Scenes: 8
Sex Scenes: 6 Sex Scenes: 15 Sex Scenes: 18
Violent Scenes: 24 Violent Scenes: 28 Violent Scenes: 39

There is one factor that is fairly consistent with the Bond films: each one is more violent than the previous. That is common among most action films. The audience expects more explosions and more perilous stunts with each new movie. My review then is more like a “here’s what’s inside—you decide” approach.

“Die Another Day” is darker and a little edgier than the other titles in the series. You have Bond in conflict with his superiors to the point where they want nothing to do with him. The movie also spends a lot of time reinventing the Cold War. We have the conflict between North Korea and South Korea. We also have our hero seeking answers in Cuba. These three countries are symbols of past political and social conflict. To really cool things off, all our heroes and villains end up in Iceland!

The action is consistent with the 21st century, but the story lacks much original content. Let’s admit one thing at the beginning: we don’t usually watch these adventures for the story. We watch them for the action and the suspense. “Die Another Day” opens with Bond trying disarm a weapons deal with North Korea. In my opinion, the best opening sequence of any Bond film to date. The plan fails and Bond tries to escape in a Hovercraft. Bond is captured and placed in a prison to be tortured for information. This 14-month experience is all woven into the opening credits.

Bond is eventually released as a part of a prisoner exchange and the rest of the film has Bond trying to redeem his good name. Along the way James meets Jinx (Halle Berry) who rises out of the Havana harbor in a tiny bikini (in the tradition of Ursula Andress during the first Bond film Dr. No). Berry and Bond end up chasing the same villain—the dapper Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens). He is a mysterious billionaire who has made his fortune in diamonds, but has a hidden agenda to create a weapons satellite that will help North Koreans dominate the world. James meets his foes on more than one occasion and must, in the end, try to save the world from evil.

Most of the action is very well done, though one scene is quite contrived and included a lot of CGI. It smelled like “video game.” Furthermore, Madonna’s opening theme song is regrettably the worst ever written for this series. Director Lee Tamahori does a decent job with the assignment. If you are a fan of the series, you will no doubt want to see this. But you must also already know that it is more of the same: the obligatory sex scenes (veiled and not over done in most cases), the usual “tongue in check” double innuendoes, darker violence, and a strong theme of revenge and “reputation repair.” There are moles and typical plot twists. The action is well staged, but sometimes defiles logic. What else can I say? It is after all Bond… James Bond. You will have to make that choice.

A quick reminder that the “PG-13” rating should be observed. Parents: remember there is no “fast forward” or “skip” functions in the theater. I personally am not comfortable with the glorification of pre-marital sex, though I do enjoy a good high-octane thriller. Know before you go.

Viewer Comments
Negative—I’m a big Bond fan and I think that Pierce Brosnan (sp?) gives Connery a tight race for who is the “best” Bond. So, as mentioned by the reviewer, those of us who go to see a James Bond film know what to expect: explosions, gadgets, and sexual tension. Perhaps my like of Bond is the reason I didn’t like this one. Die Another Day goes overboard in all three. For a movie to be successful, we must “suspend our disbelief”—something I found hard to do with this movie. The opening sequence has more explosions and gunfire than any movie I can think of (I kept thinking “nope, that should’ve killed him; nope, would’ve just died…”) and the “ending stunt” made me mutter “yeah, right, no way” under my breath. However, unlike one of the other commentators, I thought the P.O.W segment during the opening credits added a wealth of depth to the Bond character. The cruelty of the situation is largely implied behind the opening credits.

I thought that many other directors would have made it much worse and obvious. The gadgets are great (but deadly, of course) and were probably the best part of the film. It was nice for “the bad guys” to have their own “gadget car” for once. Finally, the main reason why I give the film a negative rating: the sexual factors. Many times in a bond film we have a shot of the ankles as a lady drops her clothes or we see Bond and the lady wrapped in the sheets. And, for good or ill, we know to expect some of that in a Bond film. However, in this movie, although the camera is focused on their heads and shoulders, Bond and Jinx actually have some movement and reactions that let us know this isn’t a “pillow-talk afterwards” scene. Likewise, the innuendoes aren’t creative or tasteful but obvious and rude. The closing “Bond with the girl” scene innuendo is the worst. Jinx asks Bond to leave a diamond in her belly-button a little longer “…so I can remember what it feels like.”

Of course, all we hear at first is the dialogue (without a visual reference to what is going on) and she makes no reference to the diamond she simply says “Leave it in a little longer…” It was very crude. Was this Bond film action-packed? Yes. Did it have the famous “who’s who” and “who’s a friend or foe” twists? Yes. Was it classic Bond? No. With this Bond, the writers and actors didn’t walk a tightrope along the curb’s edge, they fell all the way into the gutter.
My Ratings: [Average / 3]
—B. Bullock, age 31
Negative—This is the worst Bond film I have seen. The torture scenes were out of place in the genre. In addition, Bond takes the law into his own hands which is somewhat uncharacteristic. The sex scene with Jinx was too graphic. Pierce Brosnan seems tired throughout the movie. He also runs like an uncoordinated wimp. Halle Berry does a poor acting job, as well. She is not believable as an action star. She is too small, too voluptuous, and just too girlie. There was little if any redeeming behavior on the part of any of the characters. Well, Bond does save Jinx’s life and vice versa at peril to their own lives. I guess that was good, but maybe it was just so they could continue their meaningless intimacy. By secular standards that’s probably heroic.
My Ratings: [Average / 2]
—Mark L. Gilliam, age 41
Neutral—I don’t understand why anyone would go to a James Bond movie, and then complain about the elements that have been staples of every Bond film since the early 1960s—sex and violence. Those story elements have been in Bond films for the past 40 years, and that is not going to change. While the sexual scenes, sexual innuendos, and violence were not as harsh as they have been in the past couple of Bond films, audiences should exercise judgment before seeing this one. This is not for any kids under the age of sixteen.
My Ratings: [Average / 3]
—Hillari Hunter, age 40
Neutral—This movie was action packed, the stunts and scenery were beautiful. I do believe the laser through the back of the villians mouth could have been eliminated, it was gross. Going to this movie we knew that there would be Bond Girls, but the sex in this movie made my husband uncomfortable with my 13 year old son sitting next to him, even though my son said he didn’t even pay attention to it. My son loved the movie.
My Ratings: [Average / 3½]
—tm heap, age 38
Neutral—I have always enjoyed Bond movies from the first time they came out. There is certainly a sexually immoral undertone in all the movies. I saw this one after reading the review on this web site. There are two sex scenes, not 18, as described by the movie reviewer. One may be one two many, but there certainly were not 18. Of course, juvenile sexual innuendo is everywhere, even more so than in most of the past Bond movies. Special effects could have been more realistic, considering the technology available.
My Ratings: [Average / 3½]
—Elvann, age 55
Negative—I have always loved James Bond movies, but I was very disappointed in the morality in this one. This one went too far. James Bond movies have never exactly shown Bond having sex, this one does. Also there seemed to be much more gore, a laser going through the back of a man and coming out the front. Then Bond and Jinx used the laser to cut off the man’s arm to use his fingerprints. I also thought the part where Bond is tortured was way out of character. The movie is good as far as action, special effects, and even the story. But from a Christian perspective, it failed. Bring back Roger Moore and Moon Raker.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 5]
—Rev. Eddy Shoemaker, age 39
Comments from young people
Positive—I was very excited when I found out that Bronson was coming out with another Bond movie. I own every single James Bond movie ever made, and I was anxious to see what this recent one was about. In the theatre, the lady sitting behind me starting making comments about how hokie all his gadgets were, and I was so close to turning around and say, “what else would you expect from a James Bond movie? Come on.” It did have the pretty women, the fighting, the evil villain, and the corny one liners made by Bond. The sex was pretty tame compared to previous movies made my Connery and Moore, but enough to make you want to fast forward and skip it those parts. But again, what else do you expect, its a Bond movie. There was a lot of more action scenes that kept you interested, but I do remember thinking, when is this going to end? In all, I think this is the best movie Bronson has made yet, even though it was past movies put all into one. I suggest not letting anyone see this unless they know its all fake.
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Erin Siedschlag, age 16
Positive—This movie was one of the best Bond movies ever. The action in this movie was great. I loved the cars in this movie. This movie really did not have much to object in it. Overall, this was a great movie, GO SEE IT.
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Jordan, age 15

It was an okay movie, I mean it actually showed him having sex one time, I don’t think they should show that, I think its gross. and there was a guy with bullets in his face the whole time, it was gross.
My Ratings: [Average / 3]
—Stefanie, age 15

Neutral—As a teenager it is natural that I would like such an action packed movie. From a christian standpoint, “Die” is no better than any other bond. There is still the same sex and killing always present in any Bond movie. While “Die” did seem like there was significantly less sex then previous bond flicks. He had sex with a total of two people and three sex scenes, four if you count a corny Virtual Reality scene that adds absolutely nothing to the plot. As always, there is a significant amount of explosions and killing.

Surprisingly, however, there is very little blood. The only especially gruesome part is a part in which a person is shot in the head with a laser and it comes out his gaping mouth. No blood is shown however. From a quality perspective, the movie has very few equals. Loaded with extremely cool gadgets and clever actions, “Die” has lived up to the kind of action Bond fans have grown to love. His car alone, is enough to make fans drool. Equipped with new high tech camo technology, the car plays a much bigger role in this movie than in previous films. My only gripe about the film is that they seem to steal the plot from goldeneye. A huge laser from space capable of mass destruction. Bonds punch lines also appear a little cliche in this movie.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 5]
—Tim, age 15
Neutral—This had to be one of the worst Bond movies I have ever seen. Once they made The World is Not Enough they all went down hill from there. In my book I think the Bond movies peaked at Tomorrow Never Dies, but Die Another Day was by far the worst it was FULL of one-liners which have never been used that much in Bond movies before and I really think they made the movie bad and the story line was kinda stupid. If you a big fan of James Bond go see it and decide for yourself you might like it a lot I just thought it was kinda cheesy.
My Ratings: [Average / 2]
—Jarrod, age 14
Positive—I thought this Bond film was great. There was, as most Bond movies are, almost no profanity. There were many violent scenes and kills, but that is what you should expect stepping into this movie. There were only three sex scenes, but there were many sexual innuendos. The acting was superb and the film definitely kept you on the edge of your seat. The only thing I didn’t like about this movie was that there weren’t enough gadgets! But the action and storyline kept me interested. As a Bond fan, I enjoyed this movie and would recommend it to anyone who likes a high-action film.
My Ratings: [Average / 4½]
—Nathan B., age 14
Positive—On opening day, right after school, me, my younger brother and my dad went to see this movie. Me, a HUGE bond fan, my bro, not a huge one, my dad, kinda one, all enjoyed it. As for violence:lots, language: barely any at all, and sex: not as much as other bond movies but still enough to offend people. I think as long as you can see fact from fiction and good from bad than it is okay for mature people.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—Jonny H., age 14