"Spare me the technobabble, please" — looking back on Tomorrow Never Dies

"Spare me the technobabble, please" — looking back on Tomorrow Never Dies

It's 1997: the final year of Britpop. Pierce Brosnan is back for his second appearance as James Bond. He's more muscular than in his debut two years earlier. His hair is a much more acceptable length.

The pre-titles sequence (PTS) of Tomorrow Never Dies sees the infamous Brozza pain faces plus an As Time Goes By reunion. The PTS sets the tone for the rest of the film: machine guns all ablaze in mindless, generic 90s action. Roger Spottiswoode directs by numbers, but his artsy shots of Elliot Carver's glasses are impressive (clutching at straws?). Jonathan Pryce is having fun with the role. 

It's quite a blueprint Bond plot: a megalomanic with a bulky henchman intent on world domination and starting a war. Yet Mr Stamper is nothing more than a poor man's Red Grant. 

Sheryl Crowe churns out a middle-of-the-road song at the height of her popularity, and the film gets cheesy quickly. The filmmakers play to Pierce's strengths (if you can call them that). We see him suavely rolling around in bed with and biting Great Dane, rolling out all the smooth lines. Cecilie Thomsen was on the same '90s blonde bombshell level as Jo Guest, Caprice and Victoria Silvstedt. 

Dear old Desmond Llewelyn gets an amusing scene and lines, but he's too old to be gadgets chief at MI6. Teri Hatcher, off the back of The New Adventures of Superman, isn't up to the job. 

The chemistry between her Paris Carver and Pierce Brosnan's Bond, supposedly former lovers, is zero. Still, Brozza gets another shoulder bite in. Teri and Pierce didn't get on. 

"I got very upset with her", he said.

"She was always keeping me waiting for hours. I must admit, I let slip a few words which weren't very nice. It came out one morning that Teri was pregnant and she hadn't been feeling very well. Still, these things happen".

Although some fun comic relief for some, Dr. Kaufman has no place in a Bond film. Michelle Yeoh plays Wai Lin: Bond's equal. Although Carver mocking her martial arts movements and noises is probably something you couldn't get away with these days. The interactions between Bond and Wai Lin mainly consist of corny jokes, and the pair are as flat as a witch's tit. Joe Don Baker as Jack Wade is simply annoying. 

Everything about Tomorrow Never Dies is either average or holds water at the very most. But Pierce Brosnan's reign is about to get even worse. 

Copyright © 2023 J W Emery Ltd. All rights reserved. 

Joe Emery

Joe is Editor of For Bond Fans Only and a writer by trade. When he's not watching Bond, he can be found listening to The Beatles and worrying about West Ham. You can find him on Twitter @joeemerywrites

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