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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Tomorrow Never Dies can be found here.
When the British frigate Devonshire is fired upon and sunk in the South China Sea by what is presumed to be the Chinese Air Force, it is later discovered that a mysterious signal from a satellite belonging to media mogul Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce), head of the Carver Media Group Network (CMGN) and owner of the newspaper Tomorrow, which seems to report news events even before they happen, may have interfered with the Devonshire's communications and sent it off course, M (Judi Dench) sends 007 agent James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) to Germany to find out whether Carver or someone in his organization sent the Devonshire off course and why. Bond is further advised to use his previous relationship with Carver's wife Paris (Teri Hatcher) as a way of infiltrating Carver's organization. Meanwhile, the Chinese have sent in their own agent, Colonel Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) to investigate.
Other than the character of James Bond, neither the story line nor the title is based on anything written by James Bond creator Ian Fleming. The title was inspired by the Beatles' song "Tomorrow Never Knows". The screenplay was written by American screenwriter Bruce Feirstein. The screenplay was subsequently novelized by American author Raymond Benson. Tomorrow Never Dies is the 18th Bond film in the EON series, and the second to star Pierce Brosnan as James Bond.
In the precredit scenario, Bond has infiltrated a terrorist arms bazaar on the Russian border, from which he manages to evacuate several Soviet SB5 nuclear torpedoes. He is next seen in Oxford, England brushing up on Danish and is subsequently sent to Hamburg, Germany to investigate Elliot Carver. There, he connects with Carver's wife Paris. He learns that Carver instigated the attack on the Devonshire and retrieves the U.S. GPS encoder that may have been used to drive the boat off-course. The next day, Bond is sent to a U.S. airbase in the South China Sea where he is reunited with CIA liaison Jack Wade (Joe Don Baker), hands over the GPS encoder, and parachutes into the water at the last known spot of the Devonshire, which actually ends up to be in Vietnam waters. While investigating the sunken Devonshire, Bond runs into Wai Lin, who turns out to be a Chinese spy. They are captured by Carver and taken to his CMGN complex in Saigon. After escaping from Carver, Bond and Wai Lin decide to check out Ha Long Bay as the most likely position of Carver's stealth ship.
"Tomorrow Never Dies" is performed by American singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow.
Screenwriter Bruce Feirstein explains in an article in Vanity Fair:
So, how did the title for Tomorrow Never Dies come about?...The truth is that my original title was Tomorrow Never Lies...When I was writing the script, I simply couldn't come up with a title. But driving to lunch one day, I heard the Beatles' Tomorrow Never Knows on the radio and thought, Hmmm. Anyway, as we went into production, the producers and the director (Roger Spottiswoode) couldn't decide between Lies and Dies. After much debate, they finally picked Tomorrow Never Lies. They called in an assistant, dictated a fax, and she sent it off to MGM with a single, one-letter typo: Dies instead of Lies. The rest is celluloid history.
Gerard Butler appears as the "leading Seaman" about 4-5 minutes after the opening credits, right after the Sea-Vac drill goes through the hull of the H.M.S. Devonshire flooding the lower deck. His only line is "Sir, we're now down 14 degrees by the stern," but his Scottish accent is quite discernible. After that, Commander Day (Christopher Bowen) gives the order to abandon ship.
This is a holdover from an earlier script when the car chase took place in Carver's Hong Kong headquarters, hence the security.
After alerting both their respective governments about Carver's intent to get the Chinese air force and the Royal navy to fire on each other, Bond and Wai Lin infiltrate Carver's stealth ship in Ha Long Bay. Wai Lin is immediately captured. While Carver explains to her how, once he gets the Chinese and British ships to fire on each other, he's going to fire the stolen British cruise missile on Beijing, Bond captures Carver's techo-terrorist Henry Gupta (Ricky Jay) and offers to trade him for Wai Lin. Instead, Carver shoots Gupta for outliving his contract. Suddenly, a bomb that Bond has placed on the stealth ship goes off, exposing its position to the British fleet. In the chaos that ensues, Wai Lin makes her way to the engine room in order to stop the ship. Bond goes after the stolen missile. The British navy fires on the exposed ship, forcing the crew to abandon it. Carver goes after Bond, and his German henchman Stamper (Götz Otto) goes after Wai Lin. Carver is killed by his own sea drill. With only a minute left before the missile is launched, Bond rigs it to detonate itself, traps Stamper on the ship, and jumps into the water in time to save a drowning Wai Lin by blowing his own air into her lungs. In the final scene, the ship explodes, Bond and Wai Lin take refuge on the floating wreckage and decide to stay "undercover" while the HMS Bedford searches for them.
Including Tomorrow Never Dies, Brosnan made four movies in which he played James Bond: GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999), and Die Another Day (2002).
Due to loud impact sounds, the usage of shurikens and because of a scene showing Bond kicking a guy's head the UK version classified 12 was cut. The UK DVDs classified 15 are labeled as "uncut" but the edits made during post production to satisfy the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) remain. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.
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