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(Review originally written at 17 August 2006)

Pierce Brosnan was one fine Bond, so it's a shame he had to play in two of the worst Bond movies, this one and "The World is Not Enough". But of course even a bad Bond remains an entertaining one to watch, with lots of spectacular action, pretty girls and cool gadgets.

The story always has been sort of secondary in Bond movies but this one takes the cake. The story is absolutely ridicules and far from well conceived and handled. The idea of an media-tycoon wanting to fully control and create the news for his own personal satisfaction is a totally unlikely but above all a ridicules one. It makes the story as a whole ridicules, even for a Bond movie. The movie is filled with implausibilities and the movie never succeeds in making the story work compelling or engaging.

The movie handles lots of things wrongly, mainly things involving its story. I think this is probably due to Roger Spottiswoode's directing, who isn't exactly known as the best director or storyteller around. Lots of fine characters are wasted in this movie. Especially Teri Hatcher as the Bond girl, who Bond actually does have feelings for. Teri Hatcher plays the best and most interesting Bond girl in years but she only is in the movie for about 15 minutes. A real waste of a great and fine looking character, played by a great actress. Instead now were stuck with the bland acting Michelle Yeoh as a Chinese agent, who helps Bond on the mission. No offensive but Bond and Asians never worked out in the movies. There just is no chemistry and it helps to makes the character feel like an obsolete one.

Also the villains, a important Bond element, are wasted in this movie. Jonathan Pryce is a fine actor and he plays a great villain but due to the ridicules story, his character never convinces enough. Jonathan Pryce deserved to play a villain in a better Bond movie. We don't that often see him as a villain but with this movie he shows his versatility as an actor and proofs that he can play cold-hearted, ruthless villains as well. The rest of the villains feel more like an obligation than they are needed in the story, with the exception perhaps of the recently deceased Vincent Schiavelli who always is great to watch in any movie.

Thankfully some good Bond-regulars also show up again. Judi Dench is great as M and definitely a more serous one than the Bernard Lee M, who obviously mainly often served as a comic relief. They tried to change his character into a more serious one in the later Bond movies and replaced him with Robert Brown after Bernard Lee's death in 1981 and turned his character into a more serious one but none of them worked out quite as satisfying and powerful as the Judi Dench character. She gave the M character more personality and sense of power and control. A woman with balls, you may say. Other Bond-regulars in this movie are; Q (Desmond Llewelyn), Miss Moneypenny (Samantha Bond), Charles Robinson (Colin Salmon) and Jack Wade (Joe Don Baker).

The movie begins great and spectacular in perhaps one of the greatest Bond openings. Unfortunately the movie never lives up to its opening sequence, ever again, later in the movie. Basically the opening sequence is the only truly great and memorable sequence of the entire movie. The movie further more is filled with lots of spectacular action sequences and they do entertaining but I simply prefer a good old fashioned fistfight above a machine-gun shootout any day. It makes this Bond movie feel sort of artificial and without any heart or true inspiration. It has all the Bond elements, girls, action, the usual characters and gadgets but still this movie doesn't really feel as a Bond. Also the end sequence, normally the best and most spectacular, are disappointing in this movie and help to make this movie an extremely forgettable one.

Visually the movie is good looking and it has some fine cinematography in most of its sequences. Also the effects are good but it's a sort of unwritten rule that how more special effects are in a Bond, the worse the movie is, with some exceptions left out. The musical score by David Arnold is also fine and fitting for the movie. At first I didn't liked any of his Bond scores but they have grown onto me and I really start to appreciate and see the greatness of them all.

It's a movie that does entertaining but it doesn't do this consistently throughout the entire movie. It's filled with implausibilities and unlikely elements which causes this movie to have some unfortunately weaker and extremely forgettable moments.

5/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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