In Dev-Hell-Opment: Dying for Another Day!

Dev-Hell's been on a small hiatus, but I'm back with a new approach. Gone are the days of long lists of movie development news and rumors. Between Brian, Jane Doe and Bobby, you're getting plenty of that kind of stuff. (In fact, Brian has gotten so dang thorough it's amazing. The guy doesn't have a life! I simply can't compete!) So I'm dropping the old format and taking a more free-form approach just discussing movies. Sometimes I'll profile an upcoming movie (like below,) or just babble about current events. As Indy said, I'm making it up as I go!

What I'm going to do every once in a while is write a more in-depth discussion on an upcoming film, highlighting the good and the bad points of the production. In fact, I'll borrow from movie land itself, and we'll discuss the good, the bad AND the ugly. And then, well, I'll just ramble on a bit. Let's jump right into one and see how it goes. As always, let me know what you think!

RELATED: Is a Moneypenny Movie on the Way? Naomie Harris Says Maybe One Day

~Lee FosterMovie Picture

Movie PictureJames Bond 20: Die Another Day - Opening November 22, 2002

I always anticipate a new James Bond movie with an elevated pulse rate and a nagging fear. Are they going to ‘update' Bond away from the original mold and kill the franchise? Or can EON (the Bond franchise production company) walk the tightrope and balance long-time Bond-fan expectations with the current marketplace? While they've had a few close calls, they've managed not to fall off yet. After the success of this years XXX, updating became an even more crucial question. EON's answer? Not just No, but Hell-No! If anything, Die Another Day bends over backwards to reconnect with the Bond movies of the past. In fact, keep your eyes open for tie-ins to the prior Bond films; I know of three at this time. I'm sure there's more!

EON brought the “Original Action Hero” to us in 1962's Dr. No, and the franchise has been running full tilt ever since. DAD is the twentieth Bond film and celebrates the anniversary of 40 years of Bond. The franchise income must be in the multi-multi-billion area. Brosnan's three outings alone have grossed over one billion. There's little doubt that this is the most successful franchise in movie history. And is unlikely to ever be matched or equaled. But if that's not enough, it's also very likely that the Bond films are the most-spoofed films ever, providing the inspiration for many TV series such as Get Smart and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and movie series such as the Flint films and the more recent Austin Powers flicks. Take that you Star Wars geeks! Wait a minute. I'm a Star Wars geek! Take that you Lord of the Rings geeks!

Anyway, prior to my actually seeing the film, here's my read on the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Die Another Day!

The Good:

Frankly, being a fanatic Bond fan, I've just got way to many points here! So we'll keep them short:

Bond: Pierce Brosnan continues to be a better Bond with each outing. If he keeps this up, he could end up eclipsing all previous Bond's. Ok, put away your weapons. Connery will always be ‘the one,' but Brosnan has worked his way up to number two for most of us. And it sounds like he's worked out something with EON to keep on Bonding for a bit yet, since he's confirmed for the next Bond outing. Good news all around!

Jinx: Halle Berry is an amazing choice as a Bond Girl. She joins the ranks of the many outrageously beautiful Bond Girls of the past. And she brings an Oscar along with her. And a whole bunch of raving X-men fans. Rumor has it that EON was so impressed with Berry, that they are considering spinning off Berry's Jinx character into her own franchise. Frankly, there's never been a Bond Girl of this caliber. And she's absolutely gorgeous!

Movie Picture
The Bikini: Halle Berry's bikini was a stroke of genius. Tying Halle to Ursula Andress via this outfit creates symmetry between past and current Bond Girls. And it really looks good. Look for it on beaches everywhere next summer!

Q: John Cleese simply nails this role. And the writers obviously had fun with writing his lines! Simply a brilliant case of acting and casting.

The Story: Previews and script reviews are giving the film a high rating. Many of them mention a return to ‘classic Bond.' The ‘Original Action Hero', indeed!

The Marketing: The marketing for this film has been ever-present and, for the most part, very entertaining and creative. Don't you just love the countdown TV spots? Don't they get you hyped just a little? I'm hyperventilating!

The Title: The title took a bit of getting used to, but, now that I have, DAD does seem like a good old-fashioned Bond title. Not great, but not bad. Ok, I'll admit it. This could go either way…

Die Another Day premiered before Queen Elizabeth at the Royal Albert Hall in London. It was the first Bond film to premier before the Queen, although two former Bonds (Connery and Moore) have been knighted. Anyway, I guess that's good…

There's much more good stuff, but I'll leave it for the film…

The Bad:

The Cars: Bad? Yep, meaning very, very cool! It was past time for Bond to return to the classic English Aston Martin brand (now owned by Ford, if you can believe it.) The new V12 Vanquish is simply stunning. Now that's a Bond car! Every BMW in the previous movies looks cheap next to the Vanquish. The new Jag and T-bird look especially good, as well. DAD has better automotive talent than the last four films put together. Good job! (By the way, can someone loan me about $260,000? I really need a Vanquish!)

Trailer vs Teasers: The teasers were fantastic, giving us glimpses of what was to come, without revealing much. However, the trailer was visually great but failed to incorporate the Bond theme music effectively. The result was a trailer that was less appealing and exciting than any of the teasers. It simply didn't ‘feel' like a Bond film. If that's what they were going for, then they achieved it all to well. Basically, the teasers got my heart pumping, and the trailer didn't. At least the TV spots make up for the trailer. I really like those countdowns!

The Website: The official website has been up for quite a while, but it was only a place holder with few options. The good news is that it is finally up, and looks great.

...and the Ugly:

Title Song Artist: Madonna? Are they kidding? She wasn't even Bond quality back in the 80's. What the heck were they thinking? Ok, it's not as bad a choice as The Living Daylight's A-Ha, but she's no Shirley Bassey. Or even a Nancy Sinatra.

Title Song: Blah. This has got to be the worst Bond song ever. Even Sheryl Crow, Garbage and A-Ha managed to get more of the Bond feel into their songs. This could be any throw away track on any half-baked pop album. God help me, I'd even rather have had a Rap artist. I can't believe I just said that…

Madonna's Cameo: All I want is just enough warning so that I can make sure I close my eyes for this scene. Good god! Didn't the producers hear about Swept Away, not to mention just about everything else the lady has killed? I just can't explain this. Madonna must have nude pictures of the EON staff with farm animals…

Connery's Cameo: Ok, purists would agree that Connery as Bond's father should NOT have been in the film. Bond, of course, was an orphan. The question then is how in the world did they film this cameo? Didn't somebody on the set know something about Bond history? Someone? Anyone? Regardless, I can't wait to see this on the DVD!

Smoking: Brosnan still refuses to smoke cigarettes, but he relents a little and let's Bond have a stogie, much to the chagrin of the drooling anti-smoking fanatics. Wake up people! Bond smokes. He's always smoked! If it's just to darn graphic for you, then stick to the ‘G' rated films and let the rest of us have our fun.

The Beard: Yep, you'll soon get a crack at seeing Bond's horrendeous beard! That's one ugly Bond!

Summary: Summary? You don't need no stinkin' summary! Get your tickets now! This is going to be one of the best rides of the year!

For more on Die Another Day, CLICK HERE

To discuss Die Another Day with fellow fans, CLICK HERE

You know the name! You know the number! ~Lee Foster

Dont't forget to also check out: Die Another Day

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.