Ten years after Pierce Brosnan’s final turn as 007, the reputation of his whole James Bond era has suffered considerably. Conventional wisdom holds that Brosnan came out the gate strongly (Goldeneye, Xenia Onatopp, “For England, James?”) but then went off the rails. His films trended silly (Tomorrow Never Dies, Evil Rupert Murdoch, “You always were a cunning linguist”) and sillier (The World Is Not Enough, the guy from Full Monty playing an invincible Russian, “I thought Christmas only comes once a year.”) When Casino Royale hit theaters in 2006, it was praised for its realism, its serious tone, its resolute unwillingness to fall victim to Bond cliché. It was a complete refutation of what had come before. And what it was refuting, nominally, was Die Another Day. An exercise in pure blockbuster decadence, Die Another Day has become synonymous with a certain kind of overstuffed travesty. It features an invisible car, an ice palace, a sun laser, and a cameo from Madonna; it’s hard to know which of those things is more ridiculous.
But I don’t think Die Another Day deserves its toxic reputation. Viewed today, it looks almost ancient in some ways; and yet, in other ways, it seems to anticipate a whole host of action movie tropes that would come to define the ensuing decade. In hindsight, it looks a little bit like the franchise’s attempt at a superhero movie, in the same sense that Moonraker was an attempt at science-fiction and Licence to Kill was a stealth Miami Vice adaptation. It is an insane, helplessly silly movie; and yet, in its own way, it forms an essential companion piece to this weekend’s Skyfall. Forthwith, some important points to consider when we talk about Die Another Day: READ FULL STORY