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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Inside Die Another Day" feels more like a collection of separate
web-docs than a coherent making of documentary , consisting as it does
of seven parts covering various set pieces of the movie. Following the
same chronology as the film, each 'mission briefing' can also be viewed
separately. "Intro & Surfing" is first. Filmed on waves appropriately
known as 'Jaws', We meet the dudes who did the actual surfing and many
members of the action unit that shot it. Originally, two of the surfers
were meant to fall off, leaving only Bond to make it to the Korean
coast. Despite objections by the surfers, two of them obliged, but in
the finished film all three of them make it to dry land without any
mishaps. Next, and still covering the pre titles sequence, is
"Hovercraft Chase", shot in North Korea (actually Pinewood studios). It
seems there wasn't much time to do onset interviews during this part,
so interviews conducted at a later time are spliced in. Director Lee
Tamahori mentions that Action Unit director Vic Armstrong gets to shoot
all the fun stuff while Lee himself has to work on an overheated sound
stage with blue screens. Poor guy. Pierce Brosnan pops up to do a bit
of (mock) complaining himself about filming in Aldershot, England, and
throwing his knee out (causing the production to shut down for a week).
On to "Cuba" (filmed in and around Spanish the bay of Cádiz), complete with filming dates at the bottom of the screen. Blooper lovers should go right to this third feature, as it features Halle Berry falling on her face while running barefoot, then having to drop her dress on a very windy day while everybody around her is wearing winter coats. Also notice that Pierce's nice linen suit has shrunk (most noticeable around the ankles) after being drenched by water sprinklers in the previous scene. The production was ready leave Spain early on account of the wind and rain (headline: Bond beaten by weather!) until miraculously the sun broke through long enough for Halle Berry to film her Ursula Andress homage. In the item entitled "Quartermaster", we get another glimpse of all the Q-branch gadgets from Bond's past they dug up to use in John Cleese's scene (as part of the many references to the earlier 19 Bond films). Cleese and Brosnan talk about the passing of Desmond Llywelyn after 007's previous adventure and explain that in this one, Bond first calls Cleese "Quartermaster" before finally warming up to him and rewarding him with the name Q.
The construction (and inevitable destruction) of the "Ice Palace" is next on the list. If you know where to look, you can spot veteran extra Christine Hewett sitting at one of the tables as Brosnan, Rosamund Pike and Lawrence Makoare walk past. Christine has made a habit of appearing in all sorts of party and bar scenes, from the "Star Wars" Cantina to "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and "Bridget Jones's Diary". Lee Tamahori decided it would be a waste to use this grand scale set for dialog scenes only when you can crash a couple of cars in, too. To simulate the Ice Palace melting, gallons of water where pumped into it. Lucky they had the 007 stage to fall back on. Seaguing nicely into the next item, "Car Battle" we take the customary look look at storyboards as well as the D.A.D. carpool where various versions of the Aston Martin and Jaguar were made into Gadgetmobiles. The bulk of the chase was filmed on location in Hofn, Iceland (without official work permits). For a long time it was uncertain if the chase could go on at all, as the ice hasn't frozen thick enough to perform the stunts on. When it finally did freeze over, the wardrobe bus was blown off the road, the cars froze up and the crew had to be completely covered up. Of course none of the mayor cast members ever traveled to Iceland, they were back home in front of blue- and/or green screens.
Some of the most controversial (and least loved) aspects of D.A.D. are featured in "Post Production & Finale", which really consists of three separate items. 'Rendering Bond' is first. White haired Maori Lee Tamahori talks about moving into the digital effects era, proudly proclaiming that his Bond would be the first with major league CG. Visual effects supervisor Mara Bryan explains about the difficulties of creating cg icebergs and water for one of the most unpopular scenes in the entire series, the 'watergliding' scene. She also says how proud she is of the barely seen Icarus Satellite and shows us how the explosions and smoke on the plane during the grand finale were added on digitally. Item 7.2 is 'On the cutting edge', where we meet Christian Wagner, the first (and probably last) American editor on a Bond movie ever. Confessing to be inspired by 'The Matrix', Christian wanted a modern, faster, music video approach to the action sequences. Keep the camera moving is his motto, as he talks about how emotional the work of an editor is as can't let go of it, not even late at night in bed. Composer David Arnold shows up last in an item entitled 'Music to save the world by'. David continues the trend of feeling sorry for oneself by saying he never gets to meet any people, being stuck scribbling notes in a dark room all day. Then he gets into the musical side of thinks, explaining a complicated scheme that involved having the orchestra play his composition phonetically backwards, so he could then flip it around in the computer to sound the way he wanted. Good thing he left all that electronic stuff behind on the next 007 outing and returned to the grand orchestral sound he used on some of Roland Emmerich's films.
7 out of 10
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