CAUTION! I use some pretty foul language in this article, mainly for entertainment purposes. By no means do I talk like this all the time. It is used to give comedic value to an otherwise juvenile subject. Also: I respect both Peter Travers and Rolling Stone, and by no means is he a "moron." With that said, ENJOY!
There's a cancer in this country. A tragic misconception, and what appears to be a clear ignorance that plagues some critics and fans of a certain film franchise, and a certain actor who brought that franchise into the new millennium. Pierce Brosnan donned the suit, and became a more refined and friendly faced Bond. A true Bond of the 1990's. He wasn't the best, but good lord he definitely wasn't the worst either. I think many of us have gotten a wee bit spoiled. What, with our Daniel Craig, Skyfall, Casino Royale and "yawn...Spectre wasn't that good a film," mentalities? We're far too critical of this action hero we like to call James Bond.
Rotten Tomatoes (which I'm now just going to call "Rotten, spoiled 17-year-old boys") created a list of every Bond film from worst to best. Time Out: New York created a funny (albeit terribly incorrect) list about the same thing. Then Peter Travers wrote an abomination that he tried to pass off as a list for Rolling Stone in 2012 that details every Bond film from best to worst.
All these lists are wrong. Particularly about the Brosnan films.
As you know, Pierce made 4 movies. If you didn't know that, please stop reading and get yourself to school before Mom and Dad find out you skipped class today. These lists that I mentioned above sometimes got 1 or 2 of the movies in correct order. Mostly they got the best and worst of his films correct. It's easy to do. How could anyone mess that one up? **cough**PeterTravers**cough** None of them would get the middle two right though, and sometimes they would get them all wrong. Not only would they get them wrong, they seemed to even forget what the other 3--other than GoldenEye--were like. Did you guys even watch them? Were you all smoking crack?
Well, I'm here to set the record straight. I'm going to list them to you. There is no room for any difference of opinion here because IT'S CLEAR AS DAY. Ask any sane individual who saw all these films as they came out, and they will tell you the same thing. Unless they are crazy, like Peter Travers.
"Well, how do you rate something that is so subjective?" It's four movies, dude! It isn't that HARD! It is also so very clear how it works. You start with the clear winner, and you go down from there. Most memorable to LEAST memorable. Here we go.
Big. Fucking. Surprise. Yeah, well, believe it or not, some moron (which I thought was Peter Travers, but actually was some other moron) thought this was the WORST Brosnan bond film. I can't understand how it could be considered anything less than Brosnan's best film. LOOK AT THE OTHER 3. I mean, Jesus H. Christ. The other 3 are almost Looney Toons episodes compared to this one. Saying this one is bad is like saying two squishy apples and 1 rotten, vile apple is better than a ripe apple. The ripe apple being this film. Peter Travers thinks this is the second best Brosnan film **huge eyeroll**.
Something else that is atrocious about Peter Travers' incredibly stupid list is that he talks about Famke Janssen (Xenia) saying that she is the first Bond girl who crushes it with "castrating thighs." No. Stupid Peter Travers. There is no "castrating" in this film. That would give it an R rating for sure. She SUFFOCATES people while screwing them. There is a huge fucking difference there. Anyhow. What a moron. If you're going to make a joke in your review, make it make sense.
If you saw all of Brosnan's Bond movies, you knew that this was the best one. Everything from the characters to the action sequences are sufficient to very good. No, it's not the BEST Bond film, but it is stronger than most (definitely in the top 5). Oddly enough, Brosnan might be the weakest part about this movie (even though he's actually very good). Sometimes things get a little "otherworldly" here and the plot is a tad bit "techno," but of all of Brosnan's bond movies, this is the most "realistic" by a LONG SHOT. It is also the most memorable, most quotable, and most fun of the films to watch. This bond film had its feet planted firmly on the ground, and was very enjoyable, slick, and gritty. It is still extremely watchable 20 years later.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Here is the one that every list got wrong. Some lists even put this as the third or fourth, or even the worst Bond movie of all time. Let us be clear. It's not great. But it's a masterpiece compared to Die Another Day, Octopussy, A View to A Kill, The Man With the Golden Gun, Moonraker, The Living Daylights, or Diamonds Are Forever. A masterpiece.
People are MUCH too hard on this film. I'm not just being kind because this movie was released on my 11th birthday. I'm being extremely fair with this movie because the next two are not as good. One of them is close to this one. The last isn't within a mile.
Jonathan Pryce is annoying. I'll give you that. But he commits fully. Yes, Michelle Yeoh is under-used and somewhat type-cast and racially objectified as "an Asian martial artist woman," then again, in what Bond film have women NOT been objectified? Terri Hatcher doesn't do much. The action, pace, and stamina of this film is too high octane, and too entertaining to say that it's a BAD James Bond movie. This was 1997, and it was exactly what we were asking for back then. It's what we asked for, and we got it. So, what are we complaining about? To top it off, the film is COHESIVE. Its starts out one way, and it FINISHES that way. It doesn't bounce around like it doesn't know what it wants to be the entire time. It's a clear & simple, action-packed Bond flick. With, yes, a ridiculous plot (but a fully committed one at that). And the gadgets are actually cool. A car you can steer with a "mobile phone," is actually pretty cool for being an 18-year-old movie. Certainly more exciting than an exploding pen in Goldeneye, or an "invisible" car in Die Another Day. I mean this is JAMES BOND, not fucking Star Wars.
Last but not least on why this is a commendable effort is that Brosnan is at his most confident in the role, in this film. In GoldenEye, he seemed to be dealing with a ton of pressure, and it showed (although he dealt with it really really well). In The World Is Not Enough, he can't seem to understand what the plot is. In Die Another Day, it's almost as if he is slightly embarrassed, and irritated that he was there. It didn't go well. But, in this one, he's full force, and he kicks ass. He's relieved he got the first one over with, and now it's go time.
The World Is Not Enough (1999)
This movie was not enough. It was close, but not as good as Tomorrow Never Dies. How can I tell that? I can't remember much of it, yet I saw it two years more recently than I've seen Tomorrow Never Dies, and so has everybody else.
The one thing from this film I remember VIVIDLY which it will always remain as, is the film in which we saw the real Q say goodbye. Even that was done somewhat poorly. It's unmistakable. Desmond Llewelyn will never be replaced as Q no matter how hard we try. Ben Wishaw is not Q. He's a FANTASTIC actor, and he is welcome to the franchise, and I really like him in the role of Q, but he doesn't replace Desmond. Replacing him is like trying to get a new parent. You are only going to find people that don't have the same blood, but they do the best they can.
Anyhow, this is the 2nd to last worst Brosnan Bond film. I don't care what anyone says about Denise Richards. I really didn't think she was bad. I think lots of people see a hot girl and are like "oh she can't act," or "oh she's no good." You are all just judging her because she's beautiful. Lighten up. It's boring to see people do that. No, she isn't Meryl Streep, but who gives a shit. This is a Bond movie. To be perfectly honest, this Bond movie was boring until the last half. It's still better than the next one I'm about to name, but it isn't as exciting fun, or lighthearted as TND. You would think that with less of those qualities it would be more...mature? No. This film is as mature as a 13-year-old boy. It is not by any stretch, one of Brosnan's more serious outings. That belongs to GoldenEye. TWINE, as this movie is called, is Brosnan's weakest of his 3-ok-to-good movies. Now, let's look at the next (shudder) Bond film.
Die Another Day (2002)
It's shameful it took three years to release this. Shameful. And just fucking cruel. Time Out: New York listed this as the worst Bond film. I don't think it should even be considered a Bond film. I'm fully aware that Pierce Brosnan probably had very little to do with the culmination of this absolute horrendously shameful bucket of celluloid. I doubt he even knew how it was going to turn out. This is not the farewell to Pierce that we deserved to see, and it is not the last hurrah he actually really deserved to have. What an atrocity this motion picture was. Not just as a Bond film, but as a film.
Believe it or not, Peter Travers thought this was the best Brosnan Bond film. You heard me right. Peter Travers thinks Die Another *fucking* Day is the best Pierce Brosnan Bond film. You can officially forget everything Peter Travers has said about ANYTHING. Anyone who thinks this is even a remotely good film or better than one of the better Bond films, is quite frankly, a dangerous, raving lunatic.
There is, I'm sorry to say, not very much redeeming in this film. Many say the action sequences are good, BUT SO ARE THE ACTION SEQUENCES IN THE OTHER BOND FILMS. And hold on a second. Let's just hold on a second here. If you are praising this film's action sequences, which ones are you praising? This one?
or THIS one?
Hopefully you praised the first of these, as the second sequence shown here is almost chuckle inducing (some
This stunt came out in the era where Daniel Radcliffe looked like a cartoon character being whipped around on a broomstick while playing quidditch. We could all see the heavy reliance on CGI, but we were so enthralled by the technology that at the time we accepted it. We aren't so kind in the year 2015. We've moved past that (for the most part). This sequence was the scab of Die Another Day. It's looks very fake in the worst way possible, and everyone can see it.
I'm not being a snob when I say that Die Another Day is so utterly boring of a film, that I'd rather watch Octopussy or A View to A Kill. I actually would rather watch those films much, much more than watch Die Another Day. Those are terrible Bond films but are at least somewhat watchable. Watching a 58-year-old Roger Moore ski down a mountain, is more entertaining than Die Another Day.
Apologies for the use of my language. I really shouldn't curse so much, but the way in which this film was handled is particularly angering because it's not that hard to get right (theoretically speaking). If the plot stinks, can it and move on. Make a kind of OK Bond movie, instead of a boring film. Pierce Brosnan is the most misunderstood Bond, and in my opinion, the least appreciated. It's hard when his last film sucked ass. He had potential. Frankly, Die Another Day was a year too late, and a sputteringly embarrassing finish to an otherwise respectable James Bond who deserved so much more. Get it right people.
Whew. Okay. I'm going taper back on the negativity. This was my definitive ranking of Pierce Brosnan's Bond films. What is your favorite James Bond film? Why? If you have only watched the Brosnan or Craig films, please watch at least a couple of Connerys and Moores and one of the Daltons, and see which you liked best. It may surprise you.