James Bond Marathon: Tomorrow Never Dies

"They'll print anything these days."

Chronology & Stats
James Bond #18
Star: Pierce Brosnan #2 (my favorite of his)
Director: Roger Spottiswoode #1 (his only one)
My Ranking #7

The one where they say "satellite" way too many times.

If GoldenEye brought James Bond into the contemporary world by replacing the franchise's dated international politics with a commentary on the threatening possibilities of new technology, then Tomorrow Never Dies is the final destination on that path.

Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce) is a media magnate bent on world domination. He controls public perception through every news outlet available to him, and he uses this power to turn England against China. Along with the help of Chinese secret agent Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh), 007 must stop Carver and his stealth boat before he launches a stolen cruise missile and starts World War III—all for a great headline.

Beginning with my all-time personal favorite cold open, Tomorrow Never Dies proceeds to completely drop the quaint Cold War antagonism between England and Soviet Russia (still present even in GoldenEye) for a much more modern look at global geopolitics. Tensions are high between England and China, but the real enemy is Carver, working behind the scenes pitting one against the other. Here we get a crucial progressive shift in political ideology: the enemy is no longer Communism (China), but rather a manipulative capitalist media conglomerate.

The positioning of Carver as the "real" enemy highlights the distorting effect of ideological propaganda, retroactively problematizing the simplistic worldview of the previous Bond films. It was never just England vs. the Communists, there was always an unspoken third party determining the fundamental framework of this political discourse, and that third party is here embodied in Carver Media Group Network. Tomorrow Never Dies is the key that unlocks the politics of the rest of the Bond franchise.

But Carver is more than just an ideological propagandist: on top of being the film's representative of capitalist overconsumption, he's also the malevolent counterpoint in the film's portrayal of technology. Here Carver is a media mogul with a cable news network, a megalomaniacal David Letterman of sorts for the time, but today he would be Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs (or, better yet, a kind of parallel-dimension evil-twin super-genius Donald Trump). By tackling such a contemporary issue, Tomorrow Never Dies has remained one of the most thematically relevant Bonds.

Carver's character embodies two crucial shifts for the 007 franchise: first, the communist nemesis is displaced onto a capitalist tycoon scheming behind the scenes; and second, the fear of technological progress is split into fear of its diabolical potential and praise of its proper application (Carver and his TV satellites are essentially an industrial counterpoint to MI6 and their more benevolent GPS). Technology can be good, so long as it's not used exclusively for monetary gain. Or, you know, for global domination.

In terms of the film's sexual politics, it continues the trend started by GoldenEye of questioning the misogyny of the series's past. Dame Judi Dench gets some great lines that turn the tables on her male peers (With all due respect, M, I don't think you have the balls for this job." / "Perhaps, but the advantage is I don't have to think with them all the time."), and Michelle Yeoh is never subordinated to Pierce Brosnan in either strength or intelligence. The women in the film are always at least as capable as their male counterparts, if not more so.

From a technical standpoint, Tomorrow Never Dies is one of the best looking Bonds to date. Shot by modern camera genius Robert Elswit, it has an impeccably clear staging thanks to deep focus, wide angle lenses, and concise, steady framing. Even when editing speeds up during the action scenes, it's always easy to tell what's going on thanks to the methodical and efficient delivery of all the important visual information.

Stylistically, the film's cinematography also offers a lot of flair, particularly in terms of its lighting. Elswit puts reflections in Carver's glasses to give him a piercing gaze while keeping his emotions at a distance; elsewhere, he beautifully silhouettes him to enhance his mysterious menace. He shot this movie after working with Paul Thomas Anderson on Boogie Nights, and while this obviously doesn't have the same artistic pedigree, Elswit's abilities come across in the coherence and transparency of everything on screen.

I've never understood why this movie doesn't get more credit. The consensus seems to be that GoldenEye is the superior Brosnan Bond, but for my money I'll always take the intelligent political awareness and beautiful camerawork of Tomorrow Never Dies. It's a personal favorite of mine, and an easy Top 10 candidate.

James Bond ranked | Robert Elswit


  1. Hi friends ! I'm Archana Kumari. I like to have bed relationship with different persons rather than with a single man for the whole of life. Not only is this my notion , but also is this fact that secret organs are made for enjoyment.
    Please follow me on the links given bellow.

    Mumbai Escorts
    Escorts in Jaipur
    Call girls in Kolkata

    Call girl in Mumbai
    Model escorts in Mumbai
    Escorts in Mumbai

    MumbailCall gils
    Kolkata Escorts agency
    Kolkata Call girls

    If you are interested in me and my ideology ,then you are invited to my bed.


  2. Escorts Service in Faridabad, The ladies are always ready to fulfill your secret dreams at a designated place in Gujarat.
    Escorts in Faridabad It will be no longer difficult to find a girl of your choice. Exceptional services and naughty moments are waiting for you! Within a few years of

    our operation, we have gained a huge clientele serving in the city. Our clientele ranges from businessmen, VIPs, diplomats to rich gentlemen. Check our other services...
    Russian Escorts in Faridabad
    Call Girls in Agra
    Escorts Service in Agra


  3. Each of the women associated with our agency is strictly professional when it comes to rendering her services to her clients.Call Girls in Gurgaonhere at our escort agency make sure that their talents are such that they will never fall short of giving the best of services to their clients. Check our other Services...
    Escorts in Gurgaon
    Hi Profile Escorts in Gurgaon
    Russian Call Girls in Gurgaon
    Call Girls in Gurgaon
    Escorts in Gurgaon

  4. I have been exploring for a little for any high quality articles or blog posts in this kind of area . Exploring in Yahoo I ultimately stumbled upon this web site. Reading this information So i am glad to show that I have an incredibly good uncanny feeling I came upon exactly what I needed. I such a lot indubitably will make certain to don't forget this web site and give it a look a relentless basis.
    If Want Play online Satta King Games Click SattaKing :-

  5. This is a great blog. I like the way you express the information to us. Thanks for such a post and please keep it up.

    Read More:-

    Satta King

  6. Much obliged for sharing this brilliant substance. its extremely fascinating. Numerous web journals I see these days don't actually give whatever pulls in others however the manner in which you have plainly clarified everything it's truly awesome. There are loads of posts But your method of Writing is so Good and Knowledgeable. continue to post such helpful data and view my site too...
    paper airplane | Origami paper plane | boomerang plane | eagle paper airplane | paper airplane for distance | Science of paper airplanes


Post a Comment