Here we go everybody!
One of the wonderful things about the Bond series is its expansive spectrum of the spy genre style, from taut action thriller to outer-space disco parade. I happen to love both ends. (Of this spectrum.) It’s when a film falls so soundly in the middle, the blindspot if you will, that I get so bored I want to chew my own teeth off. Tomorrow Never Dies has to be the most unremarkable Bond film there is. It’s certainly not good, but unfortunately it’s not bad enough either. Even the title is boring and innocuous. I’m mostly sure my uncle came up with it when he was trying to remember an actual Bond title.
BOND: My trouble with Brosnan as Bond has always been that I knew him first as Remington Steele, the poor man’s James Bond. It would be like if MacGyver played Indiana Jones. I know people have a bigger beef with Roger Moore, and that he played The Saint on TV, but there’s something about Pierce where you see the acting too much. He falls into that Tom Cruise/Anne Hathaway category where the wheels are always turning. In fact, their performance depends on you watching the wheels turning. Brosnan’s technically a good actor but he never surprises us or himself. Also, he’s a little too pretty. The literary Bond was rugged, flawed and according to Fleming, closer to Hoagy Carmichael. Daniel Craig and Connery fit that bill much better.
THE YEAR: 1997
THE MUSIC: Tommorrow Never Dies performed by Sheryl Crow. K.D. Lang did a much better song called Surrender but they passed on it because sexy mole trumps three-piece-suit-lady. For this film, they basically held a contest for any and all artists to submit a title song. Among the losers were Pulp, St. Etienne, Dot Allison, Swan Lee, and a David Arnold torch song sung by Scott Walker. I would make a joke about Ace of Base being left off this list but they did a submission for Goldeneye.
THE VILLAIN: Jonathan Pryce as Elliot Carver. Rupert Murdoch meets Mock Turtleneck. He’s over the top in all the not good ways.
THE GIRLS: Michelle Yeoh. She’s classy enough but there’s no chemistry with Bond. Come on, let’s sexify this! She’s great at martial arts but Bond is at its best when it’s setting the bar, not borrowing from other timely sources that might be crouching like a tiger or hiding like a dragon. Teri Hatcher plays the ill-fated, secondary Bond girl. She’s a compelling tragic figure with a nod to Tracy, Bond’s wife from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Sidenote: some dragons are STILL hidden, can you find them?
THE GADGETS: A cell phone. Big deal, I got that on me.
THE PLOT: News magnate Carver creates major tragedies throughout the world just so his paper can be the first to report on them. Even as I write that, I feel I need to apologize to you. But that’s what it is.
I don’t like writing about this movie. It’s so mediocre I just fell asleep and dreamt I was writing about it and woke up just to stop myself from dreaming. Tomorrow Never Dies is the Chris O’Donnel of Bond movies.