|Die Another Day|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Lee Tamahori|
|Based on||James Bond|
by Ian Fleming
|Music by||David Arnold|
|Edited by||Christian Wagner|
|Distributed by||MGM Distribution Co. (United States)|
20th Century Fox (International)
|Box office||$432 million|
Die Another Day is a 2002 spy film and the twentieth film in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions. It was produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, and directed by Lee Tamahori. It is the fourth and final film to star Pierce Brosnan as MI6 agent James Bond; Halle Berry co-stars as NSA agent Jinx Johnson, the Bond girl. The plot follows Bond as he attempts to locate a mole in British intelligence who betrayed him to North Korea and a British billionaire who is later revealed to be seemingly connected to a North Korean operative that he fought against in North Korea.
The film marked the James Bond franchise's 40th anniversary. Die Another Day includes references to each of the preceding films. The film received mixed to negative reviews; critics disliked the CGI and unoriginality in the plot as well as the villain. However, it garnered positive response for the performances of both Brosnan and Berry. Many consider it one of the worst Bond films. Nevertheless, Die Another Day was the highest-grossing James Bond film up to that time unadjusted for inflation.
MI6 agent James Bond infiltrates a North Korean military base where Colonel Tan-Sun Moon is illegally trading weapons for African conflict diamonds. After Moon's right-hand man Zao is contacted by an unknown source who reveals Bond's true identity, Moon attempts to kill Bond and a hovercraft chase ensues, ending with Moon's apparent death. Bond survives but is captured by North Korean soldiers and imprisoned by the Colonel's father, General Moon.
After fourteen 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 has been suspended under suspicion of having leaked information under duress. Bond is convinced that he has been set up by a double agent in the British government. After escaping MI6 custody, he discovers that he is in Hong Kong, where he learns from a Chinese agent that Zao is in Cuba.
In Havana, Bond meets with NSA agent Giacinta "Jinx" Johnson. Bond follows her to a gene therapy clinic, where patients can have their appearances altered through DNA restructuring. Bond locates Zao inside the clinic and attempts to kill him, but Zao escapes, leaving behind a pendant which leads Bond to a cache of diamonds, identified as conflict diamonds, but bearing the crest of the company owned by British billionaire businessman Gustav Graves. Bond learns that Graves only appeared a year prior, apparently discovering a vein of diamonds in Iceland leading to his current wealth, celebrity, and philanthropy from its assets.
At Blades Club in London, Bond meets Graves along with his assistant Miranda Frost, who is also an undercover MI6 agent. After a fencing battle, Bond is invited by Graves to Iceland for a scientific demonstration. Shortly afterwards, M tells Bond of MI6's doubts about Graves, restores Bond's Double-0 status and offers assistance in the investigation.
At his ice palace adjacent to the diamond mine site 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. Frost seduces Bond and Jinx infiltrates Graves' command centre, but is captured by Graves and Zao. Bond rescues her and discovers that Colonel Tan-Sun Moon is still alive; Moon has used the gene therapy technology to change his appearance, creating the identity of Gustav Graves and amassing his fortune from sale of the conflict diamonds.
Bond confronts Graves, but Frost arrives to reveal herself as the traitor who betrayed Bond in North Korea, forcing Bond to escape from Graves' facility. Bond returns in his Aston Martin V12 Vanquish to rescue Jinx, who has been recaptured in the palace. As Graves uses Icarus to melt the ice palace, Zao pursues Bond into the palace using his Jaguar XKR. Bond kills Zao by causing a giant ice chandelier to fall onto him, and revives Jinx after she has almost drowned.
Bond and Jinx pursue Graves and Frost to the Korean peninsula and stow away on Graves' cargo plane. Graves reveals his identity to his father, and the true 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. Horrified that it would result in a nuclear war with the United States, General Moon tries to stop the plan, but Graves murders him.
Bond attempts to shoot Graves, but he is prevented by a soldier. In their struggle, a gunshot pierces the fuselage, causing the plane to descend rapidly. Bond and Graves engage 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, pulling Graves out of the plane and into one of its engines, killing him and disabling the Icarus beam. Bond and Jinx escape from the disintegrating plane in a helicopter from the cargo hold, carrying away Graves' stash of diamonds. The film ends with Bond and Jinx on top of a pile of diamonds and cocaine, contemplating their future.
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 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 of Havana and the fictional Isla de 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. Brosnan also sustained a knee injury during the shooting of an action scene in Cornwall.
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 and gallery at the Blades Club, MI6 Headquarters, Buckingham Palace, Green Park, and Westminster. Jökulsárlón, Iceland was used for the car chase on the ice. Four Aston Martins and four Jaguars, all converted to four-wheel drive, were used (and wrecked) filming the sequence. A temporary dam was constructed at the mouth of the narrow inlet to keep the salty ocean water out and thus allow the lagoon to freeze. Additional chase footage was filmed at Svalbard, Norway, Jostedalsbreen National Park, Norway, and RAF Little Rissington, Gloucestershire.Manston Airport in Kent was used for the scenes involving the Antonov cargo plane scenes. The scene in which Bond surfs the wave created by Icarus when Graves was attempting to kill Bond was shot on the blue screen. The waves, along with all the glaciers in the scene are computer-generated.
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. These latter scenes, though portrayed in the air, were actually filmed entirely on the ground with the sky background being added in post-production using blue screen techniques. Although the base is portrayed in the film as a US base, all the aircraft and personnel in the scene are British in real life. In the film, Switchblades (one-person gliders resembling fighter jets in shape) are flown by Bond and Jinx to stealthily enter North Korea. 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 commented, "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."
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 co-written and co-produced by Mirwais Ahmadzai and performed by Madonna, who also had a cameo in the film as Verity, a fencing instructor. 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.
The eleventh-generation Ford Thunderbird was featured in the film as Jinx's car, with a coral colour paying homage to a paint option for the original model, and matching her bikini. Ford produced a limited-edition 007-branded 2003 Thunderbird as a tie-in for the film, featuring a similar paint job.
Revlon produced "007 Colour Collection" makeup inspired by Jinx. "Bond Barbie" dolls inspired by the franchise were also produced, featuring a red shawl and an evening dress designed by Lindy Hemming, and sold in a gift set with Ken posing as Bond in a tuxedo designed by the Italian fashion house Brioni.
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, making it the second Bond film premiere to be attended by the Queen, the first one being You Only Live Twice in 1967. 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 was controversial in the Korean Peninsula. 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 the scene in which 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."
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received an approval rating of 57% based on 216 reviews, with an average rating of 6.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Its action may be a bit too over-the-top for some, but Die Another Day is lavishly crafted and succeeds in evoking classic Bond themes from the franchise's earlier installments." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 56 out of 100 based on 43 critics, indicating "mixed and average reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "A-" on scale of A to F.
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. A.O. Scott of The New York Times called the film the best of the James Bond series since The Spy Who Loved Me.Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, who gave the film three stars out of four, stated "This movie has the usual impossible stunts ... But it has just as many scenes that are lean and tough enough to fit in any modern action movie". 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." The first 20 minutes of Die Another Day was regarded as "much closer to the grimmer post-9/11 Bond played by Daniel Craig" [Pierce Brosnan's successor as the actor portraying James Bond] and able to "go toe-to-toe with the darkest moments in franchise history".
Several reviewers felt the film relied too heavily 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." Of the action sequences, he said, "Die Another Day is an exercise in loud explosions and excruciatingly bad special effects. The CGI work in this movie is an order of magnitude worse than anything I have seen in a major motion picture. Coupled with lousy production design, Die Another Day looks like it was done on the cheap." 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 centre stage while the Bond character is almost relegated to second string."Roger Moore, who played Bond in earlier films, said: "I thought it just went too far - and that's from me, the first Bond in space! Invisible cars and dodgy CGI footage? Please!"
Despite the generally positive reviews the film received when released, a retrospective comment piece in 2020 stated that it is "considered by many to be the worst entry in James Bond's canon" and compares unfavourably to The Bourne Identity (released several months previously), which "ushered in a new era of violent violent, gritty action-espionage movies" and gave rise to the "stripped-down, no-nonsense" Bond of Daniel Craig. However, the amount of product placement in Die Another Day had been a contemporaneous point of criticism, with the BBC, Time and Reuters referring mockingly to the film using the title "Buy Another Day". The producers subsequently chose to limit the number of companies involved in product placement to eight for the next Bond film, Casino Royale, in 2006.
Die Another Day was novelised by the then-official James Bond writer, Raymond Benson, based on the screenplay by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. An effort is made to depict some of the film's more outlandish elements with more believability, in the style of Fleming's original novels' use of cutting-edge technology. So for example, the non-bodywork elements of the Aston Martin with its 'cloaking' function - the glass windows and rubber tyres - are described as having retractable covers to achieve the invisibility effect. 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 novelisation 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.
Speculation arose in 2003 of a spin-off film concentrating on Jinx, which was scheduled for a November/December 2004 release. It was originally reported that MGM was keen to set up a film series that would be a "winter olympics" alternative to the main series. In the late 1990s, MGM had originally considered developing a spin-off film based on Michelle Yeoh's character, Wai Lin, in 1997's Tomorrow Never Dies. However, despite much speculation of an imminent movie, on 26 October 2003, Variety reported that MGM had completely pulled the plug on this project to the dismay of Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson of Eon Productions, who were reported to be "clearly furious" about the decision. MGM was keen to instead move on with the next film, Casino Royale.
Of her character, Berry said: She's the next step in the evolution of women in the Bond movies. She's more modern and not the classic villain. She also said that Jinx is fashionable. She's fashion-forward, very sexy and takes fashion risks, and I love her for that.