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The Silliest Movie of 2002?

I saw the new James Bond film, Die Another Day, last week. I've been amazed since to see some positive reviews of what I thought was the most incoherent and uncompelling Bond movie since the Roger Moore days. I'm not up to writing a true review, but I do feel like bitching about it. Please note that I give away most of the movie, so if you want to be surprised when you see it, you've been warned.

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT

  • In the opening sequence, Bond forces the Korean villain over a waterfall. 14 months later, the villain has not only resurfaced with a new Caucasian face and English identity, but has launched a diamond company, built and launched a death ray satellite, and is about to be knighted. These villains are efficient! Maybe we should let them run things for us. Also, while I'm at it, may I suggest that the UK government make a bit more effort to check out the backgrounds of candidates for knighthood?
  • I'm all for Bond as the world's coolest customer, but after 14 months of torture, he walks out with nothing more than a long beard, ready to go back to his old ways? No post-traumatic stress disorder? No anguish? Nothing?
  • I truly disliked what the screenwriters did to M in this movie. Over the past three films, and relying in large part on Dame Judi Dench's considerable acting skills, they've built her up into a far more real, far more complex, far more likable character than any of her predecessors. Now she's ready to discard Bond like a used tissue, and then pick him right back up again when she feels like it -- and it doesn't seem to bother him all that much. Is Bond truly that loyal to Her Majesty's government? Bond, I have to tell you: it's time to leave the civil service. Besides, I've heard the money's better out in the real world.
  • The villain's scheme is of the sort that only worked as a story device before Dr. Evil came along. A satellite that reflects and focuses the sun's rays to use as a weapon? Are they kidding? I half-expected Frau Farbissina to yell, "Arm the satellite!" Now that I think about it, that might have improved the movie.
  • Hot tip for would-be supervillains: if your weapon is a sunlight-focusing satellite, it's probably best not to build your headquarters in Iceland.
  • For no apparent reason, the villain's Icelandic headquarters building is a giant greenhouse (filmed at the Eden Project). Naturally, it's built on the surface of a frozen lake, because isn't that really the best place for greenhouses? Anyway, Bond decides to break in by cutting a hole in the ice and swimming underneath it to the greenhouse, where he pops up in a pool of hot water. Excuse me?
  • When Bond takes off in his car and the villain's top henchman gives chase, we see that the henchman's car is a Jaguar. A convertible Jaguar. In Iceland. Smart.
  • Speaking of cars, when Bond gets his invisible Aston Martin, I could only think back to the immortal words from Mystery Science Theater 3000: "I'm starting not to believe this ninja stuff." Well, I'm starting not to believe this spy stuff. A Slashdot reader suggested yesterday that when the invisible car was introduced, the Bond franchise jumped the shark. Could be.
I know Bond movies are inherently silly. My favorite, You Only Live Twice, features a six foot two inch Scotsman as a spy in Japan. But I expect them -- like any other movie -- to at least be internally consistent, if not consistent with the real world. Die Another Day is just ridiculous.

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