Tomorrow Never Dies Reviews
Date: Tue, 9 Dec 1997 03:12:25 -0000
From: Simon J Smith <>
Subject: TND Press Screening in England – REVIEW
Southampton, England. 2.20am GMT

Dear Shrine,

I've just returned from the TND press screening and I'm very depressed. I hated it. So please stop reading now if you want to miss my total slagging of the movie. I was going to write a full review you could post on your site, and your still welcome to publish this e-mail, but I don't have the heart to write much as I'm so disappointed. I expect all films to be very good. What's the point of making them if they aren't? And I exect Bond films to be even better thatn the rest – they've certainly got it right in the past.

The problem with TND is the same as with GoldenEye. Its not a Bond film but a 90's parody of a Bond film. What a few people think a Bond film is 'supposed' to be like. Unfortunately, this has come at the expense of just making a good movie. The plot is ridiculous and often incomprehensible. You have to have seen other such films and fill in the blanks yourself. The film rushes around so much and jumps from scene to scene so it feels as if much has been missed or cut out.

To go on to the construction of the film itself: it feels rushed and hastily knocked together, including very rough special effects in places; the script isn't very coherent and often feels like occasional good ideas strung loosely together with nothing linking them particulary well. So much for the 'realistic' style Rodger Spottiswoode tried to bring to the film, its often so flat and uninspiring it looks like a TV movie. The idea of realism just doesn't sit at all with the silly fantasy elements of Brosnan's acting, the dialogue, plot, and production design. And by the time the expected 'blow everything up' ending arrives you're getting pretty bored and waiting for something new or interesting to happen somewhere [Please!]. The action scenes, and particularly the ending, amount to little more than people running back and forth shooting machine guns and jumping in front of explosions. Even the motorbike chase is basically Bond dodging bullets for 10 minutes. Amazingly the film often looks cheap! How could they have spent $120 million?

Onto the acting, this is pretty good in general, but all the villains seem to be comedy characters. The asassin Dr. Kaufamn even has comedy lines and a silly fake German accent. Absolutly nothing is taken seriously in the film so there is no sense of threat. There is no subtlety at all. Everything is in-your-face and not explored before we jump to the next bit. Fortunately Brosnan is pretty good, very relaxed, but looking quite fat. I can't believe I'm saying this but Teri Hatcher is excellent. In the short time she's on screen she really makes an impression, adding some maturity and depth. The same can also be said of Jonathan Pryce, but his performance is ruined by the lack of opportunity to explore the character, and by the ridiculously sadistic way in which he is killed. Michelle Yeoh would have been the best part of the movie, but she's hardly in it. She seems to spend all her time being saved from death by Bond, which isn't very feminist, though she is supposed to be a top Chinese agent. Joe Don Baker is in the film for no apparent reason, and Q hardly gets any line and looks extremely frail – he needs replacing [unfortunately].

Good aspects of TND for me were hard to find, but the music really was excellent. David Arnold really does have a feel for Bond and should keep doing all the scores. He even manages to include Propellorheads as part of the soundtrack [the car-park chase], and the end k.d.lang song is pretty good. Its a mix between classic John Barry and modern scores, reminiscent of Elliot Goldenthal's Batman Forever in some place, and techno in others. Cool. Erm... as for the rest... there were a couple of good lines but most were very cheesy... there was great chemistry between Brosnan and Yeoh – she could even appear again... parts of the title sequence were brilliant, but others didn't hold together... Teri Hatcher really was good.

Sorry to be so miserable about it, but as Bond fans we really do expect the best, and when a film is so hurriedly knocked together like this we're not getting it.

Simon Smith