Roger Spottiswoode, director; MGM Home Entertainment; Pan & Scan
& Widescreen Dual Layer; English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Surround;
The claim is made in this DVD’s 8-page booklet that it outdoes its predecessor, GoldenEye, in special effects, and though it undoubtedly does, the earlier movie was a lot more fun, a lot of this in the antics of “the next girl”, Xenia Onatopp, not to forget Robbie Coltrane’s hilarious cameo as a Russian mobster. Somehow, the mood of Tomorrow Never Dies is more sombre, though the action never stops as Bond and his Chinese sidekick ride motorcycles and leap off tall buildings.
I guess this movie is not quite a laughing matter to journalists, its villain a mad combination of Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch figures, a megalomaniacal press baron who uses the latest technology to pit nations against each other, while writing headlines even before the events he has planned occur. I’m sure some audiophiles got a quick laugh out of the fact that his name was “Carver”.
However, Tomorrow Never Dies is definitely a feast for the eyes on any big-screen TV, especially the South China Sea scenery, though the camera never lingers anywhere for long. And if there’s a sub-plot to savour in this film, it’s the ongoing rivalry between M, played crisply by Judi Dench, and her military counterpart, a nasty MCP Commander-in-Chief. And, if anything is more than forgettable in Tomorrow Never Dies, it has to be the scene where Bond is having his Danish, so to speak, when Moneypenny phones, hears what’s going on, and calls him back to London, concluding, “I always knew you were a cunning linguist, James”. I guess I was especially amused because I once used just that phrase in the late 70s to describe a CBC announcer who bragged about speaking 5 languages.
The picture and soundtrack are first rate here, with a lot of jets and choppers coming from behind the viewer in the former instance, and a very detailed and colorful anamorphic widescreen picture in the latter. I also watched the pan & scan version right through and found its close-up immediacy even more involving as the fast-moving images continuously filled the 51″ screen.