In the relatively short amount of time Daniel Craig has played James Bond, the entire series has been reinvented in a dynamic way, as evidenced by the $1 billion+ international grosses for Skyfall. Yet, in 2002, the year Die Another Day was unleashed on unsuspecting audiences, many of us 007 purists were just about ready to throw in the towel despite the fact that the movie was a boxoffice smash. We had suffered through The Man With the Golden Gun, Moonraker and A View to a Kill, but each of those was followed by a strong entry in the series that kept the films from falling off the precipice. Pierce Brosnan was always a good Bond, but he never quite had a film that truly made the most of them. Die Another Day was an overstuffed, over-budgeted and over-produced bit of nonsense littered with cringe-inducing sexual puns that would be over-the-top in a high school locker room. It left even those of us who had the privilege of attending the premiere at the Royal Albert Hall in the presence of Queen Elizabeth muttering to ourselves, "Well, at least the after-parties are always fun." I remember discussing the film later with producer Michael G. Wilson and telling him that I found it very disappointing. I can't speak for Wilson, but I truly believe he was in agreement, as evidenced by he and Barbara Broccoli's bold move in revitalizing the series with the next film, Casino Royale. DAD was the last Brosnan Bond...he deserved better, but, as Clint Eastwood says to the doomed Gene Hackman in Unforgiven, "Deserves got nothing to do with it." The film does boast some admirable aspects: Toby Stephens' excellent portrayal of the villain and the brilliantly-staged fencing sequence, partly shot in London's famed Reform Club are probably the best elements. But the movie does have at least one ardent admirer: Entertainment Weekly writer Darren Franich, who posts a passionate, extensive and amusing defense of the film. (Notice I didn't say it was a convincing defense of the film). Franich pulls out all the stops to analyze why he believes this is the most underrated Bond ever. Click here to read and see if you agree.
Cinema Retro contributor and copy editor Sheldon Hall contributed this impressive advert showing the wealth of great movies showing in the same week during 1962 in London's West End. Those were the days! Keep 'em coming, Sheldon!