Die Another Day Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, Roseamund Pike and Judi Dench Writers: Neal Purvis & Robert Wade (Based on the character by Ian Fleming) Director: Lee Tamahori Distributor: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer The 40th anniversary of the James Bond franchise commenced in 2002. The year was already crowded with new debuts for big budget films; Spider-Man was finally released to the moviegoing public after years of development hell (ironically, MGM was going to make Spidey their second franchise next to Bond before trading the rights for Casino Royale from Sony/Columbia), Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones was anticipated to be better than The Phantom Menace at least, Minority Report was the team up between Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was well under way for November of that year, as was The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers for its release in December. Clearly MGM didn't intend to be left behind, out came Die Another Day on November 22nd after months of promotion and hype to the point of Mattel making Barbie dolls of the latest Bond girl and even ABC airing a slew of Bond films every Sunday such as The Spy Who Loved Me. And nowadays, it garnered a mixed reaction no doubt leading to the negative. What's the story? Well, our favorite secret agent James Bond (played by once again for the final time Pierce Brosnan) returns from North Korea after being tortured for 17 months after a botched operation, to investigate the possibilities to a North Korean terrorist and a diamond smuggler involving a space weapon. It's up to him and Jinx Johnson (played by Halle Berry) to stop Gustav Graves's (played by Toby Stephens) plan from coming to fruition. ...Yeeeah, just saying that out loud just raises eyebrows and worse enough, alot of questions about the film even without seeing it. A friend of mine had told me upon recommending and telling me his opinions on each Bond film when I was gaining an interest in the franchise and he told me plenty as to what was wrong with Die Another Day to the point of calling the Batman & Robin of the franchise especially since it killed it completely when MGM and Eon Productions decided to start all over with Casino Royale. His criticisms are justified since I can see why. And the movie doesn't help its own case when it seemed to be taking pages from it especially regarding a big laser weapon especially when it involved the sun as its power source and the fact that it used "ice" as a visual asthetic theme at least the latter half of the movie. Protip to Hollywood studios: Never use big lasers as the villain's plot, ice being a visual asthetic theme and product placement and an overbundence of gadgets when it comes to sequels for your franchises. But the film's biggest problem is this: It was the 20th film in the series, the franchise was 40 years old at that point-a high accomplishment mind you, so it's not hard to realize that the filmmakers were being pressured to make the best or at least the most exciting, thrilling or at least energetic Bond film to date. In some ways it accomplished that but in alot of ways it didn't because the sad truth is; they tried too hard. Anything they did, it backfired because of how goofy it was executed. It probably looked promising juding by the trailers but the actual film didn't seem to deliver even with whatever energy the filmmakers put into everything. Pierce Brosnan is still a pretty good Bond. Nothing much to say about him really. Halle Berry was decent but at times seemed off like the scene where she is pleading Bond to turn off the lasers from killing her and when she makes a pun, it just sounded off. But at least she's easy on the eyes though granted Ursula Andress still wins "Best Entrance for a Bond Girl and best swimsuit ever." Toby Stephens just mugged every scene he's in, he just looked like he was having fun just trying his darndest to be a threatning villain but ends up being goofy. Roseamund Pike, again like Halle, easy on the eyes but she's not very memorable. She's not bad just well, she was just okay just not very memorable. John Cleese surprisingly enough for a small role is the best part of the movie. He was great acting as a charming-snarky fellow introducing the gadgets to 007 himself, fun stuff. Judi Dench, still pretty good. She's my favorite M by far. The rest of the actors range from decent to meh. Concerning the gadets, let me say that the sonic ring is one of my favorite Bond gadgets. It's simply a cool little device. Then comes the rest however, they were really pushing the invisible goofy and it seemed out of place not to mention it looked really, really goofy and a bit off when we see him stepping out of the vehicle. The action sequences themselves are, and I can't lie, I enjoyed the hell out of them not matter how goofy it is (the parasurfing sequence with terrible CGI notwithstanding) though Gustav's death seemed to be the most cartoonish since Kanaga's death in Live and Let Die. Director Lee Tomahori who I admire his ambition, should have restrained himself when he went with the goofiness for this film. He probably was responsible for everything or the script or the producers told him to make it absurd but whatever the case, he should have just got rid of the goofy elements of this particular film. The cinematography isn't bad though at times with the fast motion and slow motion, I felt like I was watching a trailer than an actual film at times. You could argue it kind of looked like a tv movie at times. Though I commend Tomahori for really shinining with the action sequences, that excels at. He doesn't seem like a bad director though. The music score is actually pretty good, it commends the film well enough though I can't say the same for Madonna's title song. Overall, yeah, it's that bad but for me I was at least entertained with the action though it did feel like a major step down even from something like Licence to Kill. I wouldn't recommend watching this but if you're looking for something to make fun of a bad movie or you're bored on a rainy day, it wouldn't hurt to recommend this. I give it a 4/10.