Instead of giving everything away about "Die Another Day" during the course of this behind the scenes special, writer/director/regular 007 publicist Rob Done chose to concentrate on the sequences surrounding one key location featured in 'Bond 20': Iceland. Indeed over a quarter of the films's running time takes place in Iceland, though none of the principal actors ever got to visit the place. Since we do want to see the main cast and crew involved in a promotional piece such as this, director Lee Tamahori and Bond Villain (as well as Professor McGonagall's son) Toby Stephens explain a bit of the plot: it starts and ends with diamonds. Some people have noticed a lot of similarities between this twentieth Bond film and the seventh, "Diamonds are Forever", but in actual fact writing partners Neil Purvis and Robert Wade based the plot on Ian Flemming's Moonraker novel. People who have read this book (the third of the series) will notice the similarities between Stephens' character Gustav Graves and the novel version of Hugo Drax. Also, Rosamund Pike's character was originally called Gala Brand, just like Flemming's blond love interest. Bond virgin Rosamund didn't mind them changing it to Miranda Frost, she thought Gala Brand sounded like some kind of wine.
Always on the lookout for real live events and locations to inspire their next adventure, producing heir Barabara Brocolli heard about the annual Ice Hotel in Sweden and Vic Armstrong jumped at the opportunity to spend the night there. The famed 007 stage at Pinewood studios, the one with the enormous tank underneath also used to house several submarines in "The Spy Who Loved Me", came in handy for this grand set. Costume designer Lindy Hemmings talks about the use of ice cold colors for the crowd at this location (Jinx being the one exception) as we get a glimpse of the extras wearing expensive costumes and even a rollerskating waitress. But, as Miss Moneypenny (Samantha Bond) in her guise as narrator says: once the party 's over, the action unit moves in. The real stars of this documentary (who did travel to Iceland) are two of the worlds most prestigious sports cars: the Jaguar XKR vs the Aston Martin Vanquish. Andy Smith was in charge of adapting the cars, having four of each car at his disposal to use in several different ways. Lots of action unit people are seen complaining about the weather conditions, but hey, what did you expect from hardened workers like that. To complain is one of the few privileges they have in their job. Some stunts were still too dangerous to do on the real Ice, so the Aston Martin flip-around (with ejector seat action) was filmed on an old English Airfield.
This documentary does not go into the decidedly unpopular choice to have an invisibility option installed on the Aston Martin, but does delve into the equally despised 'para sailing' sequence. Unaware of the backlash this short scene would cause, the computer animators explain how creating CG water is one of the holy grails of computer effects. For some reason, the version on the region 1 DVD I saw was missing the credits and simply ended on a icy background with the worst Bond title theme ever (who's idea was it to hire Madonna, anyway?) playing over it.
6 out of 10
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