Bond: Pierce Brosnan – 2 tusks
I will admit it. I was wrong in my previous review. Brosnan turns in a stronger performance in this one than I had previously remembered. In fact, I liked him better in this one than in GoldenEye. As a character, I wasn’t a big fan of the “Indiana Jonesish” way that Brosnan’s Bond interacts with women, specifically Michelle Yeoh’s character. He seemed to come off a bit oafish rather than always together.

Girl: Michelle Yeoh as Colonel Wai Lin – 2 tusks
She evokes that “Spy Who Loved Me” vibe. A rival spy who finds that working with Bond bring many benefits. Sometimes they miscast the women in these opposing spy roles. Maybe we overlook it because the girls aren’t the main character. But with Michelle Yeoh, she seemed like a character who could carry a movie on her own.

Gadgets: BMW 750iL with Ericsson Mobile Phone – 1 tusk
The backseat driving car chase did wind up being fun even if it was a tad far-fetched.

Opening Theme: “Tomorrow Never Dies” performed by Sheryl Crow – 2 tusks
Great song. While I’m not a huge fan of hers, Sheryl Crow was a great choice for singer on this song. She really gets into and delivers a song worthy of any of the great movies. Definitely adds to this movie rather than takes away.

Villain: Jonathan Pryce as Elliot Carver – 1 tusk
I liked him, but as I watched him I kept wondering why Pryce was doing a Malcolm McDowell impression (then I thought about how cool Malcolm McDowell would be as a Bond villain). It was another attempt at a modern day “take over the world” type of villain. His biggest problem was that he didn’t seem incredibly threatening on his own. I’m not sure that had Bond not come along, one of his henchman wouldn’t have eventually turned on him and taken over with ease.

Henchman: Götz Otto as Mr. Stamper – 1 tusk
I wasn’t going to give him any special mention, but on the DVD extras the actor compares his character to Oddjob. Uh…Mr. Stamper is no Oddjob. Sorry, Götz.

Pre-title opening sequence – 2 tusks
Great opening sequence. Perfect mini-adventure that sets up some stuff to come later in the movie.

I went into this particular viewing remembering that I didn’t like this movie. That was probably the best way to go into it, because I came out on the other end enjoying it more than I thought it would. I wound up liking it better than GoldenEye as many of the major problems I had with GoldenEye are fixed. Gone is most of the self-referential stuff. What little there is comes in the form of smoother dialog.

A lot of Bond plots at this point have to do with starting wars between two countries and in a lot of ways, this plot is no different and hearkens back to the older movies but puts a modern twist on it by making the villain a media mogul going after ratings.

In much the same way that I wasn’t a fan of Alec Trevelyan being forced into Bond’s backstory in GoldenEye, I wasn’t a fan of Paris Carver coming out of nowhere in this movie. I guess the idea that Bond would run into someone he’s had some history with was Brosnan’s idea. It might have been better served to wait a movie or two and have Natalia Simonva return. Or do it in this movie, but have Lupe Lamora from License to Kill return. There’s gobs of existing Bond material. It weakens the connection to make someone up for this.

Props to the director for casting Ricky Jay in a role. He could be a future “That Guy.”

Previous Bond Movie Reviews
Dr. No
From Russia With Love
You Only Live Twice
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Diamonds Are Forever
Live And Let Die
The Man With The Golden Gun
The Spy Who Loved Me
For Your Eyes Only
Never Say Never Again
A View to a Kill
The Living Daylights
License to Kill