Monday, October 15, 2012

50th Anniversary Bond Rewatch "Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997)

As a fan of the popcorn, guilty pleasure, mindless entertainment aspect of the Bond series of films, I thought it would be interesting to revisit the films with the company of my brain. Maybe there is more to be found than escapism. Maybe some of the culture and thinking of the past 50 years has left its imprint…

Of the three movies Bond appeared in during the Nineties, this one has to be my favorite. It tends to be universally panned by critics and fans, so that makes me question my own judgment. Sure, it is more of a return to the silliness and playfulness of the Moore era, but with a flair that the seventies and eighties couldn’t quite pull off. Brosnan seems more capable swinging from serious action to disarming humor than Moore ever was. Maybe it is the way that the action hero of the past 20 years has used wit as a standard weapon in an earnest way. Back in Moore’s day it felt more like the filmmakers were embarrassed with their action and violence and tried to dismiss the whole thing as silly.

Other people complain about the overacting of Jonathan Pryce, but I love it. This is typical Bond enemy stuff, but it is also incredibly pertinent to its time. The idea of the media being the threat is original and somewhat believable, especially in the days when media was growing so rapidly and the influence of a few powerful media conglomerates was scaring some. It is not hard to imagine the masses falling hook, line, and sinker for a newsman manipulating them to believe whatever he tells them. Maybe because it actually happens all the time.

The other thing that is great about “TND” is one of the Bond girls. The series has been trying for years (unsuccessfully) to portray female characters in strong, capable spy roles. This is the first time that Bond meets a female spy that might be his match, and that doesn’t automatically seem like a prop.  Hatcher, on the other hand...

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