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DIE ANOTHER DAY

Each of Pierce Brosnanís appearances as James Bond convinced this reviewer that his interpretation of 007 was one of the screenís finest. Of course, each of those Bond outings further convinced this reviewer that the material he was presented with wasnít nearly as good as Brosnan. Brosnan had the ability to take the Bond character to a darker place, yet this possibility is never really exploited. DIE ANOTHER DAY ($35) certainly could have taken the Bond franchise to the darkest place itís been, since the superior Timothy Dalton outing LICENCE TO KILL, but backed away from it. In DIE ANOTHER DAY, we find Bond captured and brutally tortured for more than a year, then when he is finally returned to British authorities he is considered compromised and left to hang out to dry. Although Bond is forced to turn rogue agent briefly, the film quickly returns to formula and hits all the expected marks.

Now I donít want to give the impression that I didnít like DIE ANOTHER DAY, I enjoyed it immensely while watching it, but felt it could have been a lot better had it gone in a darker direction and assigned more psychological complexities to the James Bond character. DIE ANOTHER DAY opens with Bond undertaking a mission to assassinate a North Korean officer, who has been trafficking in illegal weapons inside the DMZ. The mission ends with Bond in the hands of the North Koreans, who torture him for fourteen months, until the day he is released as part of a prisoner exchange. Unable to return to Her Majestyís Secret Service, Bond goes it alone, using his connections to tie up the loose ends of his last mission, and to discover who betrayed him, thus causing him to fall into enemy hands.

Jaunting from Hong Kong to Havana to London, and finally, to Iceland, Bond eventually has his licence to kill reinstated by M (Judi Dench), when he discovers evidence that politically connected diamond broker Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens) isnít what he seems, nor are the diamonds that he has supposedly discovered in an Icelandic mine. Adding to the mix is slinky NSA Agent Jinx Jordan (Halle Berry), who has at least one of the same objectives as Bond- namely, eliminating a North Korean terrorist named Zao (Rick Yune), who had also been trafficking in weapons inside the DMZ. DIE ANOTHER DAY probably works as well as it does because Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry make a good onscreen combination, plus director Lee Tamahori keeps the action rapid enough for the audience to disregard some of the more logical plot holes. The cast of DIE ANOTHER DAY also features Rosamund Pike, John Cleese (who makes a fine new Q), Michael Madsen, Will Yun Lee, Kenneth Tsang, an uncredited Madonna and the delightful Samantha Bond as Miss Moneypenny.

MGM Home Entertainment through 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made DIE ANOTHER DAY available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. Thanks to the newness of the film and the digital restoration work provided by Lowry Digital Images, DIE ANOTHER DAY features a super 1080p presentation. The image displays excellent levels of sharpness and fine detail, with the textures of fabrics and objects, as well as the fine lines in the actorsí skin being beautifully rendered. Colors are generally vibrant and the image produces true to life flesh tones. Blacks are pitch perfect and the whites are clean and crisp. Contrast and shadow detail are pretty much first rate. With the careful application of restorative work, the elements for DIE ANOTHER DAY appear virtually pristine. Grain is very minimal, but there is no apparent reduction in fine detail.

DIE ANOTHER DAY is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Since DIE ANOTHER DAY is the newest film in the initial batch of Bond films released on Blu-ray and the only one produced during the digital soundtrack era, it sports the most sonically dazzling soundtrack. The sound design is in full action movie mode for the majority of the filmís running time. Sound effects are aggressively deployed throughout the entire soundstage, so the outlying channels engage nearly continuously. Said effects bounce, explode and roar all over the soundstage, with all of the outlying channels being exceedingly well utilized. The bass channel is deep, percussive and ground shaking. Voices are cleanly rendered and the filmís dialogue is always completely understandable. French 5.1 channel track is also encoded onto the disc, as are English and Spanish monaural tracks. Subtitles are available in English and Spanish.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a nice complement of supplements. Starting things off are two running Audio Commentaries; the first is with director Lee Tamahori and producer Michael G. Wilson, while the second includes actors Pierce Brosnan and Rosamund Pike. Next is the fifty-minute program From Script To Screen. Other Featurettes include: Shaken And Stirred On Ice (twenty-four minutes), Just Another Day (twenty-three minutes), On Location With Peter Lamont (thirteen minutes) and The British Touch: Bond Arrives In London (three minutes). Madonnaís Music Video for the theme song Die Another Day, plus Theatrical Trailers, TV Spots, Radio Spots and a large Image Database of stills and promotional materials close out the supplements.

DIE ANOTHER DAY marked Pierce Brosnanís final turn in the role of James Bond. Brosnan was a terrific Bond, who was always far better than the scripts he had to work with. DIE ANOTHER DAY was entertaining and action packed, but did not live up to its own potential or that of the character. The Blu-ray presentation is pretty wonderful garnering high marks for its high definition visual and audio. Definitely recommended to feed your hi-def beast.

 

DIE ANOTHER DAY 

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001AQO3TW/thecinemalaser
Die Another Day (James Bond) [Blu-ray] (2002)

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DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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