Film Review: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Even if it didn’t follow the big success of Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies would still have disappointed. Bonus point for predicting something of the future though…

“The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success”

Tomorrow Never Dies had the unenviable task of following up the enormous success of the reboot-of-sorts that was Goldeneye, which firmly established Pierce Brosnan as the new Bond and suggested a real place in contemporary cinema for the franchise. And despite a troubled production history due in large part to the rush to capitalise on this and director Roger Spottiswoode not necessarily firing on all cylinders, it ain’t too bad, mainly due to Michelle Yeoh.

Its main antagonist is a Robert Maxwell/Rupert Murdoch-type media mogul, played with relish by Jonathan Pryce who wants…to secure exclusive broadcasting rights in China for 100 years and is willing to start a world war to get them. It’s a strong if ultimately dull concept but Götz Otto gives good classic henchman as his underling Stamper and Brosnan’s gun-toting Bond gets to be more violent than perhaps we’re used to, which is a change if nothing else.

Bond women

Teri Hatcher’s Paris, one of Bond’s many previous conquests, is one of those archetypal awfully-written female parts but never fear, shagging James again means she’s soon murdered and soon forgotten by the lothario. Yeoh’s Chinese colonel Wai Lin is far different, her ass-kicking independence marking her out an even match for Bond, for once, and a refreshing change right the way until the very end when, hugely frustratingly, even she melts into his arms because…🤷

Theme song

Sheryl Crow’s ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ isn’t a bad Bond theme by any means but it rarely figures in my top 10. Crow rarely feels comfortable in the song, it’s on the edge of her wheelhouse in all respects, and hearing it again hasn’t changed my mind. We also get the bonus of another song ‘Surrender’ over the end credits, the fabulous k.d. lang giving us a superlative David Arnold composition which is, dare I say it, far better…who knows what the decision-making process was to relegate it there.

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