Bond-a-Thond #20: ‘Die Another Day’ (2002)

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.

Die Another Day (2002)

Plot: When Bond’s cover is blown in North Korea, resulting in his capture and torture, he must uncovered the mole within MI6.

Title Meaning: Bond speaks the line to Gustav Graves after figuring out his true identity.

Song: “Die Another Day,” performed by Madonna

Embedded from

Bond: Pierce Brosnan in his final appearance as Bond

Villains: Gustav Graves, a British diamond magnate, played by Toby Stephens, and Zao, some dude with diamonds in his face, played by Rick Yune

Bond Girls: Jinx Johnson, an NSA agent, played by Halle Berry, and Miranda Frost, Graves’ publicist, played by Rosamund Pike

“Bond, James Bond” Occurrences: 0

Martinis: 1

Card Games: 0

Cigarettes Smoked: 1 cigar

Explosions: 19 + dozens during Icarus’ assault on the DMZ

Tuxes Worn: 1

Kills By Bond: 12

Most Creative Kill: In a nod to “Goldfinger,” Graves threatens Jinx with a set of lasers, one of which goes through a henchman’s head during her escape.

Gadgets: Invisible car, glass shattering ring

Mental State of Miss Moneypenny: Virtual

First Occurrence of Sex: 38 minutes in

Sexual Partners: 2 (Jinx Johnson, Miranda Frost)

Most Unrealistic Moments: Bond para-surfs a melting ice cliff.

Most “Bond” Moments: When entering the ice palace to rescue Jinx, Bond straight-up runs over two guards on snowmobiles. It’s magical.

Place in Bond History: As the film’s release marked the 40th anniversary of the series, “Die Another Day” includes a reference to each Bond film.

Though it’s not without its merits, “Die Another Day” is the movie you reboot a series after. Bond had grown bloated, both structurally and physically in the case of Pierce Brosnan, who makes the transfer to fatherly here. (Bond should never be described at Dad-like.) There is too much CGI. The gadgets are over-the-top, and there’s one too many electric-powered villains. When Madonna is allowed a cameo with lines, something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

Over the course of Brosnan’s four films, the tone of the series shifted drastically from a combination of the dry wit from Connery’s era and the earnestness of Dalton to the excess of late Moore. The shift came fast and left Bond without a real purpose or direction. Who is this guy supposed to be? Is he the man who sacrifice’s his friends life for the mission or the one para-surfing in the arctic?

On its own, “Die Another Day” does nothing sacrilegious to the overall health of the franchise. Berry, while weak here, is an improvement over Denise Richards, and the gadgets are fun, as always. But where else does the series go after this other than square one?

Also, what was up with that Moneypenny virtual reality scene? It comes out of absolutely nowhere, adding nothing to the story other than a creepy after taste.

The Bond-a-Thond will return next week in “Casino Royale.”

What do you think of “Die Another Day”? Let us know in the comments below and on Twitter!