Staring Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, Halle Berry as Giacinta “Jinx” Johnson, Rosamund Pike as Miranda Frost, Will Yun Lee as Colonel Tan-Sun Moon and Toby Stephens as Gustav Graves.

Directed by Lee Tamahori, produced by Eon Productions and released by Metro-Goldwin-Mayer and 20th Century Fox in England.

 In 2002 George W. Bush was President of the United States, Tony Blair was the Prime Minister of England, Jiang Zemin was the General Secretary Of The Communist Party Of China until November when he was replaced by Hu Jintao and Vladimir Putin was the President of Russia. The US military was in the middle of Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan, in October Congress passed a resolution granting the President the power to use military force in Iraq. On May 28th the Odyssey space probe found ice on Mars. The Concert For George was held at the Royal Albert Hall as a tribute to George Harrison who had passed away a year earlier, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr made an appearance in honor of their former Beatles band mate. And on November 20th 2002 Die Another Day made its theatrical debut.

The Plot

MI6 has been tracking a diamond smuggler headed to North Korea. A team of agents intercept his helicopter and Bond takes his place. They head to a military base run by Colonel Tan-Sun Moon, there Bond learns that Moon is building an army to invade the South and has a special project in mind for the diamonds.

Zao, Moon’s top henchman discovers that Bond is a spy. When Moon is informed he fires an RPG into the helicopter killing the South Korean commandos and orders Bond to be shot, however he is contacted by his father, General Moon, who says he is heading to the base. Tan-Sun has to hide the equipment but in the chaos Bond triggers a bomb hidden in the diamond case and manages to commandeer one of the attack hovercraft.

Tan-Sun Moon sets out after Bond and they wind up in hand to hand combat. The hovercraft they are on goes over a cliff, Bond manages to jump off but Tan-Sun disappears. Just then General Moon arrives and takes Bond prisoner.

After being held and tortured by the North Koreans for 14 months General Moon shows up for Bond. 007 thinks he is going to be shot but instead he is exchanged for Zao. Bond is drugged by the British and taken to a medical facility. When he awakens he is told by M that she is not happy with the deal, she would have rather kept Zao and let Bond die. Furthermore the British government thinks Bond has become a double agent and assassinated an American spy in North Korea, he will be held as a prisoner until further notice. Later Bond fakes a heart attack, when the medical team rushes in he overpowers them and escapes.

Bond finds that he was being held on a ship in Hong Kong harbor; he jumps overboard he heads to a luxury hotel where he requests his usual suite. After a meal and a shave a masseuse shows up but Bond overpowers her, stealing her gun and he smashes a mirror where Mr. Chang, the hotel manager and Chinese spy, is hiding. Bond tells Chang that Zao is working with someone who is trying to restart the Korean War and was responsible for the assassination of several Chinese officials, he asks the spy for help tracking the henchman. The next day Chang tells Bond that Zao his hiding in Cuba, he then gives Bond a plane ticket and travel documents.

Once in Cuba Bond looks up an old MI6 contact, Raoul. Raoul tells Bond that Zao is hiding at a medical clinic and helps James get into the facility. There Bond discovers that Zao is undergoing a radical DNA alteration that will make him look like a German. Zao wakes up and the two get into a fight but just then Giacinta “Jinx” Johnson, a woman Bond met earlier in Havana, shoots one of the clinic doctors and sets off a bomb. Zao manages to escape but Bond grabs a pendant the henchman is wearing.

When Bond checks out the pendant he discovers that there are several diamonds inside, he shows them to Raoul who identifies the marking and tells Bond they belong to Gustav Graves, a British billionaire. Bond heads back to London to find Graves. 007 shows up at the Blades Club where he challenges Graves to a sword fight. Graves is two strikes up when Bond bets him one of the diamonds; Graves recognizes it so he challenges Bond to a real fight, first to draw torso blood wins. The two battle through the club until Miranda Frost, Graves assistant and a MI6 spy, stops them, however Bond has won the duel. Graves invites Bond to visit his ice hotel in Iceland where Graves is about to demonstrate his latest invention. When Bond returns to his hotel he finds a mysterious envelope containing a key and an address.

Bond heads to the address where he meets M in her secret headquarters. There he is informed that his 00 status has been restored and the British government suspects that Graves is the one smuggling the diamonds. Bond informs M that there is a double agent in MI6 and they were the ones responsible for exposing the operation in North Korea. Bond then meets with Q who supplies him with a stealth car and several other gadgets.

Bond arrives in Iceland where Graves unveils his latest project, a satellite capable of refracting the Suns light to the dark side of the planet. Jinx sneaks into Graves’ facility where she discovers Zao but is captured. James also sneaks into the facility where he finds that Graves is really Tan-Sun and Frost is the double agent. Bond manages to escape and steals Graves’s rocket sled. Graves uses his laser satellite to force Bond over a cliff but James manages to use the parachute and an engine cover to parisail back to the ice shelf.

Bond works his way back to his stealth car but is soon being chased through the hotel by Zao, while Graves destroys it with his laser. 007 uses the stealth shielding to trick Zao into driving over a balcony where he is then crushed by a chandelier. Bond saves Jinx and they head to South Korea.

In Korea Bond and Jinx do a high altitude jump into North Korea. Bond plans to shoot Graves from a distance but doesn’t get the chance so he and Jinx have to sneak onto the villains command plane. On board the plane General Moon confronts his son and claims Tan-Sun is dead so Graves kills him and throws him out. Meanwhile he turns on the satellite and directs the beam across the DMZ minefield. Jinx manages to overpower the pilots to take control of the plane while Bond attacks Graves, he fires a bullet through a window and the depressurization sucks out several of the henchmen. Frost catches Jinx in the cockpit and commands her to put the plane on autopilot; Jinx does but sets the flight plan directly into the laser beam. They get into a sword fight and Jinx kills Frost.

The plane flies through the beam and is badly damaged. Graves plans on jumping out but Bond pulls the chutes ripcord prematurely and Graves is sucked into the engine. Bond and Jinx jump into a helicopter and hit the skid release. They manage to start the engine just before they crash. They wind up at a Buddhist temple on the coast of South Korea.

The End.

About The Film

Die Another Day is the twentieth Bond film. The plot is based upon several Bond stories; the opening is from the novel The Man With The Golden Gun. In the book Bond is suffering from amnesia and winds up in Russia where the KGB brainwashes him to assassinate M. Once back in England he has to prove his loyalty to the British Government by going to Cuba to kill Scaramanga. The plot about the laser is taken from the movie Diamonds Are Forever where Blofeld uses diamonds to build a laser on a satellite.

The face alteration plot line was originally written for the movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service; in the movie Blofeld was going to have undergone major plastic surgery to explain why Bond doesn’t recognize him after their last encounter in You Only Live Twice. The producers dropped the face lift story and never gave an explanation why the two didn’t recognize each other.

United International Pictures, the distributors of the Bond films in Europe, came under fire when the EU accused them of being a cartel controlling the cable TV operations in Europe. The company was investigated for the next 4 years and was forced to break up its cable operations. MGM was able to take advantage of this situation and get out of the distribution deal they had inherited from the United Artist purchase. MGM then made a deal with 20th Century Fox and Die Another Day became the first Bond film distributed in Europe under the company’s logo.

The theme song Die Another Day was written and performed by Madonna. The singer also made a cameo in the film as the fencing instructor Verity. The song received a mixed reaction, it was popular in dance clubs but Bond fans panned it. Die Another Day was the first Bond film since A View To A Kill to use a variation of the same song in the opening and closing credits.

Other Characters 

Giacinta “Jinx” Johnson as played by Halle Berry. Jinx is an NSA agent working on tracking blood diamonds and terrorists. She is the classic agent who works with Bond although for a change she is the one who seduces him. Originally the production company wanted to do a spin off series featuring the character but when they decided to reboot the Bond story line they dropped the plans.

Halle Berry is a well know actress who won the Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Leticia Musgrove in Monster’s Ball. She also appeared as Storm with several other Bond alumni in the X-Men series.

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Miranda Frost as played by Rosamund Pike. Frost is an MI6 agent who has infiltrated Graves operation to find out what his Icarus project is all about. When she meets with M she is warned to keep her distance from Bond. It is eventually revealed that Frost is the double agent who exposed Bond. She is killed by Jinx in a sword fight even though Frost had been an Olympic fencing champion.

Rosamund Pike is well known for her multiple film rolls and was nominated for an Academy Award for the roll of Amy Dunne in the film Girl Gone.

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Colonel Tan-Sun Moon as played by Will Yun Lee. Moon is a classic Bond villain who desires world power. He is building a secret laser using blood diamonds. He plans to first invade South Korea and then use his laser to destroy Japan and China. He is believed to be killed when he goes over a cliff in North Korea but instead has radical facial reconstruction to become Gustav Graves.

Will Yun Lee has been features in multiple film and television series and starred opposite former Bond girl Famke Janssen in the film The Wolverine.

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Gustav Graves played by Toby Stephens. Graves is alternate personality of Tan-Sun after facial alteration. Graves is suppose to be a diamond magnate however his Icelandic mine is really his secrete base where he is building his Icarus project and the diamonds are smuggled out of Africa.

Toby Stephens has been featured in a number of movies and TV show and is best known in the U.S. for the series Black Sails as Captain Flint.

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Q as played by John Cleese. Since From Russia With Love Desmond Llewelyn had portrayed Q in every Bond film except Live And Let Die (the actor was upset when he was written out of the film). In Tomorrow Never Dies Q announces his retirement and the John Cleese character R would be taking over, although they hinted around that Llewelyn might make a cameo in future Bond films. However, just a month before his last Bond film was released Llewelyn was killed in a car crash. Desmond Llewelyn played Q in 17 films and had been in more Bond movies than any other actor in the series.

John Cleese was originally referred to as R in The World Is Not Enough but with his Scottish accent Pierce Brosnan had trouble pronouncing the letter so they changed the character to Q.

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Not included in the film, Colonel Wai Lin as played by Michelle Yeoh. The producers wanted Bond to contact Lin when he arrived in Hong Kong. She was going to help him track Zao and arrange his ticket to Cuba however Michelle Yeoh wasn’t available so they had to rewrite the story line to Bond's contact being the hotel manager who was really a Chinese spy.

Gadgets

In the opening of the film Bond and several South Korean agents surf into a North Korean beach. Bond opens up the board and has a stash of weapons and a satellite landing beacon to send enemy helicopter off course.

At Tan-Sun Moon’s base Bond uses a small blasting cap and a remote detonator to set off C4 hidden in the diamond case. Both the blasting cap and the detonator are hidden in his wristwatch.

In order to invade South Korea Colonel Moon has built armored hovercraft he plans to use to glide over the land mines in the DMZ.

When Bond is brought the British ship he is locked in an isolation cell. The doctors use a robotic scanner to determine his health status. It was considered to be rather sci fi in 2002 but advancements in modern medicine have caught up with the film.

In Cuba Jinx uses a detonator disguised as a cell phone to set off C4 in the office of the DNA doctor.

One of the side effects of the DNA facial alteration is intense insomnia. Graves has created a machine that replicates REM sleep.

In Q’s lab they have a virtual reality simulator that Bond uses as a trainer to simulate an attack upon MI6 headquarters. Later Miss Moneypenny uses the glasses to simulate a romantic encounter between her and James. This is another 2002 piece of science fiction that is almost a reality with the new personal artificial reality devices like the Oculus.

Q gives Bond a sonic ring capable of shattering any glass. In Iceland Bond uses it to escape from Graves and later to rescue Jinx from the collapsing ice hotel.

In the previous three films the producers had made a deal with BMW to feature their cars. In Die Another Day Bond goes back to driving a British car, the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish. The car features the standard accessories but it has special body panels that project the surrounding area making the car invisible. Bond uses the stealth car to sneak into Graves’s Iceland facility and to trick Zao into driving over a balcony in the ice hotel.

In the film Graves has a rocket sled he uses to arrive at his hotel in Iceland. Bond steals it to escape and then uses the parachute and a hatch to create a parasail.

Graves has an exoskeleton fighting suit that contains his controls for the Icarus laser and a high powered glove he uses to electrocute his victims. Eventually Bond hits the main control button overloading the circuits and incapacitating Graves, the villain ends up being flung into the engine of his jet.

When Zao is chasing Bond he uses a thermal camera to find the stealth car. During the chase Bond’s car is flipped onto its top. Bond uses the cars ejector seat to flip the car back over.

When Bond and Jinx jump into North Korea they use Switchblade gliders to drop into the airspace from a high altitude without being spotted on radar. Although the glider was created for the movie there have been a number of successful real world tests of the device.

Concepts

All of the films had used the image of Bond seen through the barrel of a gun, 007 turns and shoots. In Die Another Day Bond not only turns and fires but a bullet is seen flying down the gun barrel towards the audience.

During the Angola Civil War in 1998 the UN drafted Resolution 1173 and 1176 which along with other issues imposed sanctions on what became known as Blood or Conflict Diamonds. The diamonds were mined in forced labor camps, mostly by children, and then sold to buy weapons. In the film Tan-Sun is smuggling the diamonds, claiming they are mined in Iceland, to build his Icarus laser.  

The Bond films had used a variety of sequences during the opening credits from stills of previous Bond films in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service to Sheen Easton singing the theme song in For Your Eyes Only. In Die Another Day there are scenes of Bond’s torture in North Korea. This is the first time part of the story line was used in the opening credits.

Pierce Brosnan hadn’t smoked during the films, there was an anti smoking campaign during the 1990’s however in Die Another Day Bond goes to Cuba and smokes a cigar while chatting with Jinx at the beach side bar. This was partially due to a changing attitude towards smoking and also part of the salute to 40 years of Bond, the cigars are similar to what Roger Moore smoked during his years as 007.

In the movies Bond had been seen in bed with multiple women, except during the Dalton years. In the film Bond is in bed with Jinx but they are more than just in a pre or post passionate state, they are in the act of “making love”. This is the most graphic sex scene in a Bond film and would never have been allowed in the first film Dr. No.

While in Cuba Bond pretends to be an ornithologist and even has a copy of the book Birds of the West Indies. The Book was written by James Bond, a real life bird specialist and the person Ian Fleming named his fictional spy after.

The film was supposed to be released in 2001 but the producers decided to hold off until 2002 to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Bond films, Dr. No had been released in 1962. In order to honor the past films the producers also placed objects from previous films throughout the movie:

Jinx (Halle Berry) wears a bikini in the same fashion as Honey Rider (Ursula Andress) from Dr. No

At the Hong Kong hotel the Chinese try to video Bond with the massage girl the same as SPECTER had done with Bond and Tatiana in From Russia With Love. In Q’s lab Bond also plays with a hidden knife in a briefcase a shoe that has a knife blade in it as worn by Rosa Klebb. All of these were from the film The Spy Who Loved Me.

Bond bets Graves a diamond in a fencing match the same way he had bet Auric a bar of gold in the movie Goldfinger. Zao also tries to kill Jinx with a laser the same way Auric was going to kill Bond.

At Q headquarters they have the jetpack Bond used in the film Thunderball, he also uses a mini breather from Thunderball to swim into Graves Greenland base.

In You Only Live Twice Tiger Tanaka has an underground railway and tells Bond that M has a similar one. In Die Another Day Bond meets with M in her secret underground railroad and mentions that he had heard of the place before. The ship they dump Bond’s body off when they fake his death in You Only Live Twice is the HMS Tenby, it is the same name of the ship Bond escapes from in Hong Kong harbor.

During the simulation attack Bond is seen in his office at MI6. This is only the second time Bond’s office was used, the first time was in the film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. A CD case on Miss Moneypenny’s desk is labeled OHMSS.

The slogan for Graves company is Diamonds Are Forever and the villain uses a satellite laser that uses diamonds as a refactor.

Bond uses a Smith and Wesson Model 10 revolver in Cuba which is the same gun Sheriff J.W. Pepper uses in Live And Let Die.

Bond has to pass through a hall of spinning mirrors while sneaking into the DNA clinic, they are similar to Scramanga’s funhouse in the movie Man With The Golden Gun. Bond also pulls a diamond out of Jinx’s belly button the same as he had to retrieve the golden bullet from the belly dancer.

When Graves jumps to the front of Buckingham Palace his parachute has the Union Jack design on it the same as Bond’s chute in The Spy Who Loved Me.

Colonel Moon’s hovercraft goes over a waterfall the same as Jaws does in Moonraker. There is also a destructive swordfight, in Moonraker a priceless glass bowl is destroyed and in Die Another Day a Gainsborough’s Blue Boy is slashed.

The yellow diving helmet from For Your Eyes Only is in Q’s lab.

The crocodile submarine and the Acrostar Minijet from Octopussy are both in Q’s lab. In Octopussy Bond bets the Faberge egg with Khan just like he does with the Graves and the diamond.

In a View To A Kill Bond has to improvise a snowboard from a crashed snowmobile to escape and in Die Another Day he has to build a kite surfing rig from Graves rocket car. The electronic snooping device Q uses to track down Bond in A View To A Kill is in M’s secret headquarters.

The Aston Martin in both The Living Daylights and Die Another Day have retractable tire spikes for driving on the ice. In both films Bond escapes a crashing plane by sliding out the back in a vehicle, a jeep on a parachute skid in The Living Daylights and a helicopter in Die Another Day.

Bond’s “license to kill” is revoked by M in both License To Kill and Die Another Day. In both films Bond tries to assassinate the villain with a sniper rifle and the Chinese Masseuse hides her gun in the same place that Pam Bouvier keeps hers.

In GoldenEye and Die Another Day Bond uses a laser and a detonator hidden in his watch. Jinx also sets the timer on her explosive charge at the DNA clinic in Cuba to three minutes, the same as Bond had done at the Russian chemical plant.

The voice in Bond’s car is the same in both Tomorrow Never Dies and Die Another Day and the footage of the cruse missile launch is the same in both films.

There is a machine gun mounted on back of Zao’s car the same as the assassin has mounted on her boat in The World Is Not Enough.

 

Dated References 

In the film Zao uses a digital camera to take a photo of Bond. Although the movie isn’t that old the camera is large and bulky compared to modern digital cameras. And most people don’t even use a separate digital camera anymore since they are built in to cell phones and tablets.

Tan-Sun uses RPGs with depleted uranium shells. The weapons became well known to the general public during the Gulf War in 1991 when the U.S. used similar shells against the Iraqi tanks.

When Bond travels to Cuba he borrows a “fast car”, it turns out to be a 1957 Ford Fairlane. This plays into the idea that following the US embargo on Cuba they were no longer able to get American made cars and held on to their classic autos. Recently the U.S. began to reduce the restrictions on Cuba and in the future they may be able to import modern cars.

Jinx turns out to be an agent working for the National Security Agency. The NSA was created in 1954 during the Cold War, their main job was to collect information and monitor potential threats to the U.S. After the 9/11 attack the NSA’s roll was expanded and they became well known to the general public. Although Jinx is working as an agent tracking Zao in Cuba the NSA doesn’t really have field agents and the job would still be handled by the CIA.

In the film when Graves turns his Icarus satellite on his ice palace he comments that “global warming is a terrible thing”. Global Warming is a scientific theory first devised by Svante Arrhenius in 1896; the theory says that an increase in carbon monoxide from carbon based fuel will continue to build up in the atmosphere until it creates a greenhouse effect, trapping solar energy in the environment. As industrialization increased the issue became front page news in the late 1990’s with the Koyoto Protocol. The issue has become a major fight as the effects as laid out by scientists are starting to happen more often. In 2002 there was still debate over the theory.

Reception

Like most Bond films the movie received a mixed reaction. Some critics loved it while others felt there were too many CGI effects and the action sequences were overkill diluting from the story line. Fans were upset that Halle Berry got equal billing with Pierce Brosnan although at the time the producers were discussing a Jinx spinoff and wanted as much promotion as possible. North Korea complained about being seen as a harsh military driven nation and South Korea complained about a scene where a U.S. commander gives orders to the Korean solders and later when Bond and Jinx fool around in a Buddhist temple. Although many people complained about the movie it was the highest box office grossing film at the time. Die Another Day generally ranks in the lower middle of the popularity charts.

To learn more about Die Another Day visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Die_Another_Day

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