Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Jonathon Pryce, Michelle Yeoh, Teri Hatcher, Ricky Jay, Gotz Otto, Joe Don Baker, Vincent Schiavelli, Samantha Bond, Desmond Llewelyn, Judi Dench
Film matched beverage: White chocolate martini (as everything in the news is black and white!!)
Synopsis: A media mogul has plans for world-wide broadcast privileges but China refuses to allow him broadcast rights. So he does what any sane entrepreneur would do and attempts to start a war between Britain and China, using stealth ships and stolen GPS encoding devices. Naturally.
My synopsis above is certainly a sarcastic take on this film. I fully acknowledge that the plot for this film is definitely over the top, to the point of ridiculous. However, I can’t help it, this is one of my all time favorite Bond films, to the point that I can almost quote the entire film from beginning to end. The plot is ridiculous, yet somehow the tone of the film complements the story and they really pull it off. This is a film where fun is the primary goal, and it achieves it in spades.
So what keeps the film so entertaining?? The over the top plot is still engaging in its excesses, and Pryce makes h=is megalomaniac absolutely convincing. He plays the role with a certain privileged smarmy-ness. You can believe that he is a man so wrapped up in his self-importance that the loss of life his plan will create is insignificant to his own personal big picture of how he can achieve global dominance.
Also, the Bond Girls in this film are much more grounded, balancing the excesses seen elsewhere. I remember when Hatcher was cast, having not done anything since Lois and Clark fizzled and died. I looked at that casting option with trepidation. Yet she played an incredible character in her short time on-screen, and she and Brosnan did share an on-screen chemistry which does make one believe that they are an old couple reuniting.
In addition to Hatcher we have Yeoh. I have commented previously that every Bond actor has had their defining Bond girl. For Brosnan, Yeoh is definitely it. Similar to Moore and Bach, the dynamic is one of two agents from opposite sides of the secret service divide whom have to work together to avoid war. Yeoh’s martial arts pedigree also means that the action sequences featuring her look amazing, her punches and kicks actually feeling painful. Brosnan did comment he would have loved to appear in another Bond film with her, and I think it is a true pity that never occurred
In the end, this is Bond, and in the past he has always pushed the envelope of what is possible, and it is only with modern eyes that some of his outlandish devices seem feasible given that technology has advanced so far since then. In the end, the outlandishness serves the plot, and lends itself to some fantastic action. Bond driving a car through a goon filled parking garage from the back seat by remote control is absolutely incredible. The music accompaniment to these scenes is also awesome, this being the first film scored by David Arnold, John Barry’s hand-picked successor. It is no wonder he has controlled the score for Bond ever since.
I love this film, not in spite of it being over the top, but because of it. A full five stars from me!!
5 stars out of 5
White Chocolate Martini recipe
1 ½ parts crème de cacao
½ part vodka
2 ½ parts half-and-half
Shaken over ice and poured into a martini glass drizzled with chocolate topping.