Okay, so I finally saw and finished Die Another Day (DAD). Why is this so moments, you might add in the light of movies such as Thor Ragnarok & Justice League releasing this month? Well, it means that I have see ALL James Bond movies that have been released so far. And, as expected, it was a slog–that was the reason why I missed this in the theaters and why I didn’t watch it all the other times it had previously been on streaming–it isn’t very good.
It is way too campy, but played with a straight face. It almost wants the audience to laugh AT it rather than WITH it. Most of the blame for this comes from the story and script. James Bond, particularly under the Roger Moore era, has some really corny and goofy things happen, but as I mentioned in a previous post, that was reflected in other movies of the era. Much of the “campiness” of Bond during Roger Moore was a desire to appeal to American audiences who were far more likely to have seen/enjoyed a movie like Smokey and the Bandit–which is mostly campiness with a few places of seriousness. However, DAD hit all the wrong notes. Audiences in America wanted a more realistic treatment of the spy genre–which is where Bourne (Jason Bourne) fits into this equation. He was hyper resourceful and hyper capable, like Bond, but he was serious–no double-entendre, quips, or gadgets. The honest-to-goodness down-home appeal and brutal/lethal moves when necessary.
As mentioned before, the script is really what hurt DAD. From paper then characterization, to dialogue that didn’t work, to relationships that were unnecessarily muddled, etc., this is truly what kept this movie from shining–not necessarily the acting. This wasn’t new Hollywood with its eye on the future and fingers on the pulse of the movie-goer, this was old Hollywood–you’ll like this movie because it is the next iteration of James Bond, darn it, and we know how much you like James Bond.
Still, for all my griping about the movie, it does feel good to have a complete repertoire of James Bond movies under my belt. Until now, I’ve always had to put in that except or but when speaking about the franchise. I really wish this could have been a stronger entry, but even successful teams don’t always get it right: Spectre for James Bond and the appropriately titled Jason Bourne for Jason Bourne. Neither of these two movies did a great job in returning their characters to audiences in their last outings. Both seemed to lose the thread of the character based on thrilling, climatic, and revelatory the previous outings before their respective latest movies arrived.
Implications for my own Work
I’m learning that character and story (plot) go hand-in-hand. You can’t divorce the two. For my writing, plot is what comes in first (99% of the time), but it is the characters that people fall in love with and invest with and I’m learning that I need to spend as much time developing the characters as I do the plot. For the makers of Bond and Bourne, they perhaps need to do what I’m doing, but on plot rather than characters, as it is there plots that are hindering their characters.
Overall Grade: D (Below Average)