Ranking Die Another Day

I previously ranked some of the James Bond movies herehere, and here. I watched Die Another Day last weekend with my son. I had remembered this as being the best of the Pierce Brosnan films, and though I haven’t seen the others since they first came out in theaters, I’m pretty sure my opinion still holds in that regard. I picked this one because my son takes fencing lessons, and this movie has a big fencing scene. In fact, that turned out to be the best part of the movie.

Since the Bond movies are formulaic and their quality is based on how well they fulfill the formula, I created a little rubric to rank the Bond movies, with several categories a movie can get points in. A Bond film gets 2 points if the movie is one of the top 3 Bond movies for a category, and 1 point if it’s in the top 7, plus a couple special categories. Here are the criteria, with a maximum of 14 points available:

Story/Plot–2 points–Is the plot coherent and logical? Are the stakes high?  (2 points, top 3; 1 point, top 7)

Action–2 points–Are the stunts exciting? The car chases thrilling?  (2 points, top 3; 1 point, top 7)

Villain–2 points–What’s a Bond movie without dastardly villains and their henchmen? (2 points, top 3; 1 point, top 7)

Setting–2 points–The Bond movies are all about exotic locations. (2 points, top 3; 1 point, top 7)

Gadgets, Vehicles, Lairs–2 points–What’s the cool stuff?  (2 points, top 3; 1 point, top 7)

Bond girls–2 points–The ladies, oh yes, the ladies. (2 points, top 3; 1 point, top 7)

Sean Connery or Daniel Craig?–1 point–These are the best Bonds (no need to debate) and get an automatic extra point if appearing in the film.

Musical theme–1 point if in the top 5

Die Another Day
Story/Plot–The story is coherent enough, even if the villain’s plan isn’t very common-sensical. The villain, rogue North Korean Colonel Moon, has world domination on the mind and plans to use his satellite, which can redirect the sun’s rays, to blaze a path through the DMZ in Korea. But it’s not really clear what that will do? Dialogue is full of action movie cliches. (0 points)
Action–The aforementioned fencing scene, where Bond and Colonel Moon’s alter ego, British adventurer Gustav Graves, swordfight throughout an old English fencing club, destroying priceless paintings and sculptures on the way, is a masterpiece of movement and humor. Other action scenes are fairly generic. Top 7 (1 point)
Villain–Colonel Moon, even in his Gustav Graves disguise, just doesn’t have much charisma. His henchman, Zao, has an interesting look with diamonds embedded in his face, but never actually does anything. (0 points)
Setting–Fun locations in Cuba and an ice hotel in Iceland. I don’t believe any other Bonds have ever had parts set in North Korea, either. Top 7. (1 point)
Gadgets, Vehicles, Lairs–The ice hotel is cool, and although James Bond’s invisible car is a little silly, points for creativity. I believe this pushes Live and Let Die out of the Top 7. (1 point)
Bond Girls–Halle Berre plays Jinx, an American agent and Bond’s love interest. Beautiful, sassy, and every bit Bond’s equal. I don’t think she quite cracks the top 3, but Jinx is definitely Top 7. (1 point)
SC or DC? No
Music–Theme song is by Madonna and god-awful. I’m not sure if the music in this or Man With the Golden Gun is worse, but they’re both at the bottom (0 points)
Total: 4 points

Rejiggered points for other movies:
Live and Let Die (-1) for Gadgets/Vehicles/Lairs
The Man With the Golden Gun (-1) for Bond Girls
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (-1) for Setting
Goldfinger (-1) for Action

And, here are the updated results:
1) The Spy Who Loved Me, 12 points
2, 3) Goldfinger, Casino Royale (tied with 9 points)
4) On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (8 points)
5, 6) Skyfall, Thunderball (tied with 6 points)
7) Spectre (5 points)
8, 9) Live and Let Die, Die Another Day (4 points)
10) The Man With the Golden Gun (3 points)

One Comment on “Ranking Die Another Day

  1. Pingback: Ranking From Russia With Love – Nicholas Bruner

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