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Film Review: Tomorrow Never Dies

Updated on June 11, 2017
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Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.

Background

In 1997, Roger Spottiswoode releasedTomorrow Never Dies, based on the character of James Bond by Ian Fleming, as the 18th film in the James Bond series. Starring Pierce Brosnan, Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh, Teri Hatcher, Joe Don Baker, Judi Dench, Gotz Otto, Rick Jay, Vincent Schiavelli, Samantha Bond, and Gerard Butler, the film grossed $333.01 million at the box office.

Synopsis

When a British warship and Chinese aircraft are destroyed off the Chinese shore, all-out war looms on the horizon. However, their GPS locator shows they were in international waters with clues pointing towards the Carver Media Network and Bond is sent to investigate.

Tomorrow Never Dies is a pretty good film containing a decent plot continuing to answer the question presented in Goldeneye, where it was confirmed that James Bond is still needed in a changing world. Here, he’s once again actively preventing a third world war, but in a completely different way than stopping a rogue Soviet general who stole nukes. Rather, he’s working to stop someone from using the media to manipulate both sides into attacking each other.

The main villain of the film is Carver, whose reveals what kind of man he is through the directives he gives towards those within his media group. He and the members of his group perform rather unethical dealings, such as releasing buggy software requiring constant updates, publishing fake stories in response to not being paid a poker debt, employing incriminating footage in order to blackmail the president and planning to show the tape even if he does pay up and then the scheme the film centers on: purposefully sinking a ship, killing the survivors, and blowing up a Chinese jet, causing World War III simply for the ability to have exclusive broadcasting rights in China. One of the pettiest Bond villains of the series, Carver is willing to let countless people die just so he can succeed in media ratings.

His fatal flaw is his pride, though. Despite his always watchful eye on world events, many of which he manipulated to begin with, Carver is quite shortsighted. His plan would have been completely flawless had he not reported the initial story of the ship's sinking before there was any official story as he had no reason for his media outlets learning of the event. The only reason MI6 was suspicious of him was because of the story running before an announcement by official sources. One would think Carver would have either been prepared enough to create a halfway plausible alibi or at least wait for said official announcement and publish the story a few seconds after. Doing so would present plausible deniability as well as give credence to his claims of a media group he keeps ruthlessly up to date and on top.

The car chase in this film is notable, too. Long having been a staple of the series, topping the tank chase through St. Petersburg in Goldeneye would have been incredibly difficult, if not downright impossible. Yet, doing so wasn’t even attempted and the film went for a different look on a major trope in the series, a move working in favor for the film. Here, the chase is kept central to a parking garage and features many gadgets Q hadn’t touched on when briefing Bond about the car, such as the reinflating tires. He's not in the driver's seat either, using using the remote control in the phone while lying down in the back. The end of the chase is also amusing, culminating in Bond crashing it in the front window of an Avis Car Rental, presumably ready to return the vehicle.

3 stars for Tomorrow Never Dies

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.

Awards won

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best Actor (Pierce Brosnan)

BMI Film & TV Awards

  • BMI Film Music Award

Bogey Awards

  • Bogey Award in Gold

Golden Screen Awards

  • Golden Screen

International Monitor Awards

  • Opens, Closes & Titles - Electronic Visual Effects

Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards

  • Best Sound Editing - Foreign Feature

Nominated for

Golden Globe Awards

  • Best Original Song - Motion Picture (Song: "Tomorrow Never Dies")

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film
  • Best Supporting Actress (Teri Hatcher)
  • Best Music

European Film Awards

  • Outstanding European Achievement in World Cinema (Pierce Brosnan)

Grammy Awards

  • Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television (For the song "Tomorrow Never Dies.")

MTV Movie + TV Awards

  • Best Action Sequence (For the motorcycle/helicopter chase)
  • Best Fight (Michelle Yeoh vs "bad guys")

Golden Satellite Awards

  • Best Original Song (Song: "Tomorrow Never Dies")

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    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 2 years ago from The Garden State

      Another strong 007 effort (though like you I prefer "Goldeneye"). People don't seem to give Brosnan's era much credit, I think he was the second best Bond (after Connery of course).

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