James Bond sets out to stop a media mogul's plan to induce war between China and the UK in order to obtain exclusive global media coverage.James Bond sets out to stop a media mogul's plan to induce war between China and the UK in order to obtain exclusive global media coverage.James Bond sets out to stop a media mogul's plan to induce war between China and the UK in order to obtain exclusive global media coverage.
I hate to say it, as he is a friendly and intelligent person and based on what those who are properly acquainted with him say, a remarkably professional and careful director, but Roger Spottiswoode's work as director here is poor for the most part, with the exception of the one truly great sequence in the film- the chase scene with Michelle Yeoh tied to Bond on a motorbike (probably thanks to a second-unit director anyway). It's not a confidently directed movie at all, and only looks somewhat good thanks to Robert Elswit's photography.
I wish the direction at least was good, as it is hard to compound how atrocious this script is. The vast majority of the dialogue is among the most ridiculous you've ever heard (no, seriously, take a Michael Bay film and dumb down the worst scene then you've got "Tomorrow Never Dies" for basically its entirety). What's most insulting about this script is that Bond barely features in it. Oh, sure, Bond is present in most scenes, but for all he actually does and says it could have been just about anyone in the scene. He speaks strictly in short sentences the writer thought were witty or clever (boy, was he wrong), or partakes in action scenes. I've always defended Brosnan's Bond, but I realize now that I am defending his better Bond, and not the terribly-written and lazily performed version present in this flick and "Die Another Day". What's going on here?
Let's end this with some positive comments: The score is good. It's much, much better than the "GoldenEye" score (oh why couldn't they have hired David Arnold for that movie?), and relies heavily on Barry-like arrangements of the Monty Norman theme, but the original parts are nice too. There are a couple of solid action scenes, and the motorbike chase really is terrific, but this movie is too dumb and too awkwardly-directed for it to work on any level.
- Mar 24, 2008