28 July 2012 | hitchcockthelegend
The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success.
Tomorrow Never Dies is directed by Roger Spottiswoode and written by Bruce Feirstein who uses characters created by Ian Fleming. It stars Pierce Brosnan, Michelle Yeoh, Jonathan Price, Gortz Otto, Teri Hatcher, Ricky Jay, Judi Dench, Colin Salmon, Desmond Llewelyn and Geoffrey Palmer.Music is scored by David Arnold and cinematography by Robert Elswit.
Bond 18 and 007 is called in to investigate media magnate Elliot Carver who appears to be instigating disasters to cause a war between the UK and China.
After GoldenEye had broke records and Pierce Brosnan was firmly accepted as the new Bond to usher in the approaching millennium, Eon wasted no time in getting Tomorrow Never Dies into production. Once again another studio had to be built since Leavesden was being used for the Star Wars sequels and Pinewood simply wasn't big enough! A sign that Brosnan's second film was to be gloriously high in production value? Further snags came and went, Vietnam refused permission to film in the country at the last minute and Brosnan got injured but thankfully pulled through to avert further delays. With a script being rewritten daily by Feirstein it appeared to be a jinxed production, the budget went over $100 million, a new record for a Bond movie. Was GoldenEye going to be a false dawn? Was Tomorrow Never Dies going to end up with the bottom feeders of the franchise?
As it happens, Bond 18 was a roaring success at the box office, it made $334 million even though it went up against James Cameron's Titanic upon release. Reviews were, and still are, mixed, yet it's one of the Bond films that actually rewards upon revisits if you can forgive the clunkiness of the script in the latter half of the picture. The gigantic budget is up there on the screen, great locations, great casting, amazing stunts, hi-tech gadgets/vehicles and outlandish action sequences. A dynamite score from David Arnold helps as well, unashamedly a big John Barry fan, Arnold brought back some traditional Barry strains whilst putting his own energetic composition into the mix. Sheryl Crow's title song is one of the best of the modern Bond bunch and K D Lang's Surrender is also a fabulous addition to the production. There's great spectacle here, a nice blend of traditional Bond with new age Bond, were it not for missteps in the scripting and unrealised character potential, then it surely would have a better reputation.
Michelle Yeoh (Wai Lin) is a fabulous Bond girl, she kick ass, is very pretty and rivals Bond in every department, but she is incredibly underused. The one great ass kicking sequence we get from her only serves to make us lament there's not more. Teri Hatcher (Paris Carver) has all the tools to be another in the line of worthy Bond girls, but she serves only as a plot device to get Bond broody and moody, she's utterly wasted. Pryce is a class act who dominates every scene he is in, but his Elliot Carver's motives and means are weak, and once again we find ourselves with a larger than life villain who we can't accept can give Bond a run for his money. The henchmen score better, though, with Otto's Aryan brute Mr. Stamper a real muscular threat and Vincent Schiavelli's amusing hit-man offering up genuine peril for Bond. Dench continues the good work in Golden Eye as M, Llewelyn as Q gets another round of sparring joyously with 007 and Samantha Bond gets some well written lines as Moneypenny.
It failed to live up to the Bondian standards set by GoldenEye, but it is still a great action movie full of vim and vigour and dotted along the way are some truly great scenes. Bond and Wai Lin on a bike, Bond and remote controlled BMW, Bond and Stamper face off and Bond sitting in chair brooding whilst knocking back neat vodka. These are great Bond moments. It loses its way once 007 gets to Vietnam (Thailand standing in) and the gun toting finale is more akin to a Stallone/Swartzenneger movie, but there's still plenty here to enjoy and be thankful for. 7/10