Plot: What’s it about?
In North Korea, a tyrannical ruler has plans to force his Communist will upon the world. But the world has James Bond (Pierce Brosnan), who is sent in undercover as a diamond dealer, so as to bring down the nefarious plot. While Bond has faced trouble on countless occasions, this time he has to endure conditions even he has never faced before. The truth about his identity is revealed and Bond is captured, then held as a prison and tortured. He is imprisoned for some time, until his freedom is traded for the freedom of a captured terrorist agent. Now Bond is a free man again, so he is sent out to deal with Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens), a man with a lot of resources and some evil intentions. But with Bond fresh from a stint as an abused prisoner, can even he put the past aside and save the future?
I’ve never been much of a fan of the Pierce Brosnan installments in the Bond series, he looks the part to be sure, but the movies are too over the top for my tastes. Die Another Day tries to keep pace with the rest of the blockbuster action world, which results in a movie with Bond in it, as opposed to a Bond movie. Even so, the film still has ample Bond elements, which means hot Bond girls, cool gadgets, and some fun action set pieces. Brosnan as always is solid, but he seems distracted here and his performance suffers, which in turn, lessens the film’s impact. The main issue here is how insane the writing is, as if the writers tried to outdo each other with the most ludicrous, unbelievable ideas possible. I know Bond movies need exotic elements, but the writers here were out of control and tanked the picture. So as a Bond movie, Die Another Die crashes and burns, but as a summer popcorn type blockbuster, it is passable.
Video: How does it look?
Die Another Day is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a more recent Bond, so of course it looks excellent, but the jump over the DVD isn’t as massive. The DVD looks fantastic and so does this high definition transfer, but here we get a small boost in detail and depth. Not enough to dazzle perhaps, but you will notice more subtle visible details and the overall clarity has been amped up. The colors seem a little brighter and bolder also, while contrast is rock solid throughout. So while this looks superb, I don’t know if everyone will be satisfied with the boost over the DVD.
Audio: How does it sound?
This DTS HD 5.1 option offers a considerable upgrade over the DVD, with an explosive and powerful soundtrack. This is like night and day when lined up against the DVD, as every scene packs more impact and has more depth. The action scenes are dynamic and pull you right into the mayhem, while calmer scenes have added presence and atmosphere. Bond should sound awesome and this track does, with enough power and impact to please almost any audiophile. The music sounds excellent also, while dialogue is crisp and never suffers. This disc also includes Spanish and French language tracks, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
You can listen to audio comments from stars Pierce Brosnan and Rosamund Pike, as well as comments from director Lee Tamahori and producer Michael G. Wilson. Both sessions are informative, but when combined, they offer a lot of insight and both perspectives, in front of and behind the cameras. A collection of five featurettes are also here, each worth a look, but only when taken as a whole do they offer an in depth take on the production. This disc also includes an extensive selection of still photos, as well as a trivia track option.