Bond-a-Thond #18: ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ (1997)

MTV Movies Blog is earning its license to kill with a feature we call the Bond-a-Thond. Every Wednesday we’re taking a look back at a single (official) Bond film, giving you the vitals and seeing how it holds up, right up until the release of “Skyfall” on November 9. Feel free to watch along with us and share your thoughts or just kick back and enjoy the Bond.

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Plot: An media mogul vies for world domination through his manipulation of the news and a plot to start a war between China and the UK.

Title Meaning: “Tomorrow” references the name of Elliot Carver’s newspaper.

Song: “Tomorrow Never Dies,” performed by Sheryl Crow

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Bond: Pierce Brosnan

Villain: Elliot Carver, a media tycoon, played by Jonathan Pryce

Bond Girls: Paris Carver, Elliot’s wife and Bond’s former lover, played by Teri Hatcher, and Wai Lin, a Chinese intelligence agent, played by Michelle Yeoh

“Bond, James Bond” Occurrences: 1

Martinis: 1

Card Games: 0

Cigarettes Smoked: 0

Explosions: 22

Tuxes Worn: 1

Kills By Bond: 21 + dozens more in explosions he causes

Most Creative Kill: During a fight in Carver’s building, Bond tosses a henchman into a printer, and we see newspapers covered in blood.

Gadgets: Remote control car

Mental State of Miss Moneypenny: Playful again

First Occurrence of Sex: 22 minutes in

Sexual Partners: 3 (tutor, Paris Carver, Wai Lin)

Most Unrealistic Moments: To survive underwater during an explosion, Bond and Wai Lin breath into each other’s mouth.

Most “Bond” Moments: “You always were a cunning linguist, James.”

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If one were to teach a college course on the Bond series, “Tomorrow Never Dies” would be the centerpiece of the class titled, “The Importance of the Villain.” Brosnan’s second outing as 007, an otherwise fine Bond film, lives and died by its villain.

Jonathan Pryce brings no actual menace to the film. Elliot Carver is laughable and essentially lies down to die at the hands of Bond. He single-handedly undermines what would have been an acceptable follow-up to the superb “GoldenEye.”

The weakness of Carver just goes to show you that while the formula for a Bond movie doesn’t change often, the strength of those key pieces ultimately decide the film’s overall strength. There’s a delicate balance in place, and all it takes is one weasely media mogul to throw it off.

The Bond-a-Thond will return next week in “The World Is Not Enough.”

What do you think of “Tomorrow Never Dies”? Let us know in the comments below and on Twitter!