‘Die Another Day’ Blu-ray Review
I have been a long time Bond fan through the years and mainly grew up watching Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton as the first actors to portray James Bond. Later on I would be introduced to the Sean Connery and George Lazenby Bond films. After Timothy Dalton gave up the mantel of Bond, I was excited to hear that Pierce Brosnan was finally going to portray 007 after he wasn’t able to in the 80’s. Pierce Brosnan would star in four James Bond films, and ‘Die Another Day’ would be his last outing as James Bond. ‘Die Another Day’ would gross a worldwide total of $431 million dollars with a budget of $142 million dollars. While the film was successful in box offices worldwide, the film in general tanked in viewers eyes and halted the James Bond franchise to its knees.
James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) becomes a prisoner for 14 months in an North Korean camp when things go wrong in his escape after he kills their leader (Will Yun Lee). Bond gets tortured in this camp, but finally sees the day of light after 14 months in prison camp as he is exchanged for Zao (Rick Yune), whom bond scarred his face badly during the initial escape that landed him as a prisoner. This sends Bond in an uproar that his own agency would give up such an evil maniac back out into the world. M (Judi Dench) takes Bond’s 00 status from him, so this causes him to become a Rogue Agent. On a side note: for those that also play video games, the James Bond game that would release after this film would go under the title ‘Rogue Agent’ signifying a few elements in premise to the film.
Terrorist weapons and Diamonds are involved in the mix as the North Koreans are making deals to obtain these diamonds for weapons. Billionaire Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens) is somehow connected to Zao and the North Koreans as James finds out that he has diamonds in his possession. James Bond heads to Britain to uncover their dirty dealings. What would a Bond film be without Bond girls, Bond meets American NSA agent Jinx (Halle Barry) who helps him throughout the rest of this adventure. Then there is the second Bond girl, British agent Miranda Frost (Rosamund Pike) that also falls for the suave Bond. We get two more beautiful women thrown into the mix and one of them is also given the most beautiful woman on the planet awards over the years. There will be tons of twists and turns in ‘Die Another Day’ that will make many lose it here since at times it suspends disbelief of reality.
The acting is well done in ‘Die Another Day’, so there are no complaints there. I do feel that Halle Barry was the wrong person for the role of Jinx. I really like Barry in most of her roles, but for some reason she didn’t click with me. I think the problem is that she was used as an agent, which didn’t fit right. While the villains played their roles very well, I didn’t care for Toby Stephens in his role either especially with that ridiculous electric suit of armor that he was wearing. This has to be the worst James Bond film in history and it is a shame that this would happen to a great actor like Pierce Brosnan. I enjoyed him as James Bond in ‘Goldeneye’, ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’, and ‘The World is Not Enough’ even though his previous two entries weren’t the greatest Bond adventures. Brosnan was starting to give Connery a run for his money as the actor to play the ultimate James Bond. Brosnan would get fired as Bond and be replaced by Daniel Craig, whom has taken the role of James Bond in one film alone and made it his own.
While Brosnan is not at fault for this mess known as ‘Die Another Day’, it is the writing and producers of the film that are to blame. They took the wonderful espionage and suave agent persona that we have known out of James Bond and made him into some kind of action hero with some of the worst stunts in a film. The worst one has to go to the Brosnan parachutes/surfs stunt which just looks so terrible on that green screen. It suspends so much disbelief that I would have expected something that bad out of a B-movie. It only gets better with the chase sequence on ice and the invisible Aston Martin. I shake my head at that. Brosnan wasn’t the star in ‘Die Another Day’, it was the lame gadgets.
The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. While the film on Blu-ray is a mixed bag in certain areas, this trumps the DVD version of the film in every aspect. The film looks good on Blu-ray for the most part with vibrant colors that pop very well. Blacks were very well done and defined looking bolder than the DVD. The film doesn’t lack in details either as there are many scenes that will knock your socks off with the ever so fine detail. There is some grainy background and one of the worst ones has to do with the scene that I mentioned earlier with Bond parasurfing his way to safety. If I could edit this scene out myself and re-author the film, it would make me happy.
The audio is presented in DTS HD-MA 5.1 mix and this is one of the better soundtracks that will rock your setup from guns blazing, explosions, and any sound effect that you can think of. Anytime there are action sequences, the soundfield is working very well. The rears are not going to just sit there emitting lowly sounds, they will get their workout. The dialogue is well placed through the center channel and is very clear presentation.
All content has been ported over from both DVD versions of the film in standard definition.
- “The Complete Special Features Library: Mission Dossier” – Audio Commentary Featuring Director Lee Tamahori and Producer Michael G. Wilson
- Shaken and Stirred on Ice
- Audio Commentary Featuring Pierce Brosnan and Rosamund Pike
- “Declassified: M16 Vault” – From Script to Screen
- Just Another Day
- The British Touch: Bond Arrives in London
- On Location With Peter Lamont
- 007 Mission Control – Interactive Guide Into the World of Die Another Day
- MI6 DataStream
- Features: Madonna’s “Die Another Day” Music Video
- “Ministry of Propaganda” Photo gallery
I am a huge James Bond fan, but this twentieth entry in the franchise is marred by horrible stunts, gadgets taking central focus, and the disbelief of reality certain parts of the story. This is James Bond, not James Bond Super Action Hero, but I am glad that it took EON Production one bad film to realize the mess they let be released. It is a shame though that they fired Pierce Brosnan in the process. But to get to Casino Royale, we needed a Bond film like this to jump start the franchise back to its core. While the film isn’t atrocious, there are some redeemable parts that many will enjoy.
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