I really like the James Bond franchise. This is part nineteen of a behind schedule, bimonthly, 24-part series of me watching James Bond movies and providing a stream of consciousness style commentary for a given film. I will also rank the movies so stay tuned for that at the bottom of the piece.
A much-maligned sophomore movie for Brosnan, Tomorrow Never Dies really brings us to the role of technology and a globalized community to international conflict. In many ways, the movie ages extremely well with a media tycoon starting a war for television ratings. In other ways, Golden Globe nomination aside, it was a step down from the excitement of Goldeneye. Maybe it’s forgotten because this movie came out in the loaded movie year of 1997, on the same weekend as Titanic (spoiler alert: it sinks).
· Let’s talk about that gun barrel sequence. That is some smooth music. And look at that flash when Bond shoots. Nice look
· “A Terrorist Arms Bazaar on the Russian Border.” Didn’t know bazaar was spelled like that.
· Wow, it’s magician and card manipulating master Ricky Jay. IT IS MADDENING THAT HE THROWS NO CARDS AS A WAY TO ALLUDE BOND
· Queen of numbers changed up that Deputy Chief of Staff to Blackest name “Charles Robinson.” He is great. Fun for the whole family
· This movie is all in on GPS tracking. I guess Ricky Jay does manipulation of locations so that’s something. Magic
· Admiral Roebuck is a proper prick. But keeping that British Naval power active
· Not sure what happens here as Robinson and Bond are communicating. Why doesn’t Bond say “there is a nuclear missile?!”
· And this missile is out of range…sun setting on the British Empire.
· Admiral Muck It Up then has the gall to take a shot at the Russian General after making a huge mess. Useless.
· Brosnan is all about the lighter, punch move. And Bond movies keep alluding to cigarettes being bad.
· Tossing a bunch of grenades around is such a good ol’ Bond stirring it up type move
· My understanding was that it took lots of effort to get planes ready and prepped to go. Where these two just sitting there primed the entire time?
· Brosnan’s Bond will always be locking that bottom jaw — it’s an acting choice for the ages
· No doubt about it: ejecting a person into a separate jet is a great move
· TECHNOLOGY IN THE OPENING CREDITS!
· “Tomorrow Never Dies” — Sheryl Crow
· This song is great. It’s GREAT. Golden Globe nominated song.
· “Darling you won. It’s no fun. Martinis, girls, and guns. It’s murder on our love affair” is FANTASTIC
· Don’t put the “Directed by Roger Spottiswoode” after the credits.
· Lots of colors and buttons and a red box to show “manipulation!”
· Stamper and his co-pilot exposition all over this scene “we’ll fire this and they are confused” and “wondering why the torpedo hasn’t exploded” looking goobers
· What a frightening reality that if you’re going to be hit on a ship, the move is just to grab something and brace for impact
· THAT ISNT HOW A TORPEDO WORKS OR A SEA DRILL
· Slow motion abandon ship was gratuitous.
· So, the MiGs have to be confused that this ship is sinking. And that still leaves one MiG left to report how absurd this was.
· To this day, I use “delicious” as a response to things.
· No Thunderball music? Shame.
· Satire of news and technology. Elliot Carver or Rupert Murdoch? You be the judge in the mid 1990s.
· “Consider him slimed” is nothing anyone would or should ever say
· Carver is double tapping that tablet into the sound heavens
· Jonathan Pryce is having a TON of fun playing this over-the-top role
· “Cunning Linguist” is perfect. It is PERFECT. With a dash of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”
· Admiral Muck It Up giving us context for GPS!
· Robinson lost it at M’s line about balls.
· Let’s stop here: Carver’s plan is well executed. It looks legit, has the right ammunition, and adds media pressure. This is sound.
· Julian Fellowes as Minister of Defense providing the most British acting ever. “Christ”
· Arguably the best scene in the movie is Bond being briefed in a moving car with alcohol abound. Scene is a romping good time. One of the issues with the Craig saga is we don’t get enough Bond briefing scenes
· Bond’s look at M re: Paris is strong
· “Pump her for information” is the right tone for a Brosnan movie
· Bond staring a hole into a newspaper stand to be interrupted by Q is so funny. He is looking at the newspapers like a boxer at a weigh in
· Folks complained about the lack of a Bond car and gadgets in Goldeneye. Whew buddy, Tomorrow Never Dies makes up for it with the phone and car
· Carver telling Mad Cow stories is rich fun I’m sure
· Great to see Michelle Yeoh at the peak of her powers
· Gotta say: seeing the wife of a media baron slap the hell out of a random guy at a party would generate way more attention
· Sad waiter had to wait through all of that to get two drink orders
· Bond poking the bear is essential quality
· Stamper is such a low-budget henchman.
· Why would the British PM and Chair of the Communist Party want a media baron to tell the world he is willing to be an impartial…arbiter of something?
· The thwack of the lamp and a punch are the same. Check minus
· Folks really did leave immediately which feels like quite an overreaction to losing power
· Bond taking vodka shots and preparing a gun for whoever is sent is great Bond. Craig could do that seen. Dalton could too. It’s true to the books
· Is Carver’s time in Hong Kong why he dresses like that?
· This is probably the coldest Brosnan’s Bond ever is. “I’m sorry I kept disappointing you.”
· Spare us all the techno-babble, please.
· Wow, us good workers feel like government agents. Shameful.
· “Tell me James, do you still sleep with a gun under your pillow” isn’t too incriminating but it is a bad look. She could’ve learned that from her friend that dated him
· Indoor smoking and newspapers as a center piece of a story. 1990s baby!
· This phone is doing SO much work. A modern IPhone would blow everyone’s mind
· Great tracking shot of Bond running with the reflection in the ceiling. It’s a good looking movie
· LOL, Bond getting these one-liners off to no one is awesome.
· Interrupting cool Bond walking with Bond music with a bullet is a great choice
· Carver calling Bond is smooth villain work here. Always adding a “Mr. Bond” at the end.
· Perfect timing on this video — must’ve been practicing several times before Bond actually showed up
· Comedic relief by two professionals in killing
· No blood splatter or anything from that angle? Ok professional courtesy indeed.
· I keep forgetting this is a BMW because those tacks that Bond drops looks like something perfect for a Mercedes Benz
· What kind of door is in this hotel garage that can withstand a rocket blast?!!?
· And who just casually rolls up to this job with a rocket launcher on standby!?!
· The recklessness of sending a car (and debris) off a roof and into an Avis is staggering
· Brosnan’s Bond always is having a bit too much fun and he shows it
· Bond not approving of Wade’s shirt. Nasty.
· How are you just noticing the Vietnam situation?!
· We know that this scene would have Tom Cruise actually jumping out the plane doing a Halo jump, right? And guess what — wouldn’t have added much extra
· This entire underwater sequence is dramatic but thoroughly boring
· Getting these puns off does not seem advisable but Bond is scoring lotta cheap smiles from me
· Carver loves referencing all of his divisions and if he only focused on the internet, he would’ve been set for life
· And this is the movie where I learned about chakras. Thanks, 007.
· Gupta was decidedly concerned about that helicopter
· Bike is a better move for key availability, heady play.
· Michelle Yeoh is so darn good
· Pardon me but is anyone covering the fact that Eliot Carver is having some additional foolishness happening at his building and a massive fire fight in Saigon?
· A whole motorcycle came crashing through and that woman was undeterred from personal time? Most impressive.
· A helicopter chopping through a city like this would dominate every news network. Get outta here.
· Watching Bond and Wai Lin put together a ridiculously complicated move was oddly satisfying.
· Ahhh, you can see the dummies in the helicopter. That is excellent.
· She cannot be putting on that jacket top when she is drenched with water. Lies
· Never trust a lighter or anything like it from Bond
· Genuine surprise by Brosnan with that dragon breathing fire
· Ahhh, some nice meta commentary on the flaws of the West.
· Catching some nice “The Man with the Golden Gun” vibes with the boat in the bay
· Carver not only writing his own stories but providing exposition for the movie
· Carver should be rightfully furious about no one paying attention to all of those security cameras
· Bond stabbed a guy right in the chest there. Goodness.
· Not so subtle racism there by Carver just the cherry on top of this performance
· All of this to get exclusive broadcast rights in China…it is a rich contract but this feels like so much to just get media rights. Capitalism baby!
· It doesn’t look like Carver would ever fire a gun. Something good about the main baddy that isn’t a tough person.
· Movie is full of naval work. A ton of naval gazing, amirite?
· What was the sound Wai Lin made before shooting the controls? And can we never have it again.
· Maybe the most underappreciated part of this movie is we see James Bond going full duel wielding of guns. If you remove the cut to the engine room, the shootout between Stamper and Bond is top notch. Especially when he is out of pistol ammo
· Staffers and henchmen are routinely not paying attention amid calamity. And Bond just walking around casually. No.
· Why would Carver turnaround before shooting Bond? Such a talker.
· And Bond is thoroughly surprised when Stamper and a chained up Wai Lin just appear. No one has situational awareness
· I didn’t realize Stamper says “For Carver and For Kaufman” during the fight. Stamper is so basic
· Bond does a lot of stabbing in this movie. Pulling the knife out to escape is a quality move.
· Music swelling at the kiss of life and unchaining was a bit too 1997 for me
· M taking a bit too much satisfaction in playing media maven
· Let’s talk about “Surrender” by k.d. Lang, the song at the end of the movie and throughout the score of the movie. It’s a good song. Not better than Sheryl Crow’s “Tomorrow Never Dies” but damn good. A helluva book end song
Tomorrow Never Dies is done. It’s a fun movie that you can see being made today given our climate. It is also pretty silly while mixed with the heaviness of Paris Carver. Feels formulaic which explains its place in the updated rankings below
2) From Russia With Love
5) The Living Daylights
6) The Spy Who Loved Me
7) Live and Let Die
8) License to Kill
9) Tomorrow Never Dies
10) Dr. No
12) The Man with the Golden Gun
13) A View to a Kill
15) For Your Eyes Only
17) Diamonds Are Forever
19) Never Say Never Again