Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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Tomorrow Never Dies

Last night I watched Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). Bond film no. 18 and Brosnan’s second. Also the first one I actually saw in theaters when it came out so officially my first rewatch! That said, it was 24 years ago so while I remember the general overarching plot (Jonathan Pryce playing a multibillionaire media mogul inciting a war between China and the UK to profit off the news), I have forgotten many of the finer details.

I did remember Michelle Yeoh in her role as a Chinese agent who ends up working with Bond. (She looks so young here, especially compared to Star Trek Discovery where I last saw her! I guess Asian women do age somehow.) I forgot about Teri Hatcher being here though, apparently in the middle of her heyday on the Lois and Clark TV series. She looked great too, but had little screen time, so maybe that’s why I forgot about her.

I also remembered the scene with the remote controlled car as I remember thinking that was pretty neat back when I first saw it. Now that I’ve actually learned how driving a car works (not that I actually drive), it seems ridiculous that Bond could have such fine control using only a touchpad. It’s 2021 and the touchpad UX isn’t even that great for laptops, let alone a car!

This is the first time possible conflict with China came into play in the Bond series (though they have made appearances before as “Red China”), maybe a sign of China’s rising prominence at the time? This was also the same year that Hong Kong was ceded back to China by the British, so perhaps appropriate for Bond to be working with a Chinese agent this time, in the spirit of international friendship?

The choice of villain may have been a bit prescient, given our current woes with billionaires and their platforms endangering the world and/or democracy, although if this film were made today the company would be more tech/internet focused than mass media, as that age has passed.

I like the theme music here (performed by Sherly Crow) better than the one in Goldeneye, possibly because I kind of still remembered how it went (or the chorus part anyway).

Trivia: There were no more unadapted Fleming stories remaining so this is an original film story, but the original title was meant to be Tomorrow Never Lies, which would have made a lot more sense! But there was a typo when the potential title was sent over to MGM, and they liked the current version better.

Overall Goldeneye seemed the stronger film, though this one appeals to me too because it’s my second watch; It’s aged rather well I think.

The next film is the only other Brosnan film I’ve seen, The World Is Not Enough, but I seem to remember even less about it than this film, can’t even call the plot to mind. I seem to remember some kind of… ice building? I suppose I’ll find out when I get to it, probably next week.

Anyway, here’s some commentary from the movie about software development.

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