|BlogalongaBond: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Saturday, 30 June 2012 10:32|
BlogalongaBond. One Bond film each month until Skyfall turns up.
I can never work out where I stand on Tomorrow Never Dies. On the one hand, it’s a laughably ridiculous romp featuring some of the dumbest dialogue since Diamonds Are Forever. On the other hand, it’s a laughably ridiculous romp featuring some of the dumbest dialogue since Diamonds Are Forever.
Stealth boats? Titles that make no sense? German torture specialists? It may star Pierce Brosnan, but this is textbook Roger Moore bunkum. And yet it’s a LOT of fun. Partly because it features two of the franchise’s very best vehicle set pieces – Vic Armstrong, jumping from stuntman to second unit director, obviously took our James Bond driving lesson – alongside a genuinely independent Bond girl (a butt-kicking Michelle Yeoh). Partly because David Arnold's score does what Eric Serra failed to do and finish John Barry's journey into electro-tinged modernity. And partly because it has something Roger Moore’s era was missing: Jonathan Pryce.
Hammier than Jon Hamm eating a ham sandwich while playing with his Toy Story pig action figure, Pryce’s Elliot Carver chomps his way through the scenery like Christopher Lee’s bastard porky offspring. Some argue that Bond shouldn’t be wasting time on unthreatening, idiotic villains. I say bravo to Bruce Feirstein for turning Cold War 007 into 20th Century satire. After all, there are almost as many laughs here as In the Loop – albeit for some of the wrong reasons.
Does Tomorrow Never Dies’ Elliot Carver represent Rupert Murdoch, whose flagship tabloid publication The Sun was on 10 million readers a day in the year of the film’s release? That’s what most people think and it diminishes the film to a footnote in the post-News of the World scandal, a sort of Michael Bay’s Leveson: The Movie (thanks to @followthelemur for coining that one).
But it’s more than that. Indeed, it came before any of it happened. Based on Robert Maxwell, the media's other R.M., Tomorrow Never Dies is a blueprint for rival tycoons and wannabe successors - an overblown take on one man's legacy that only looks silly now because of the absurd events that have happened in real life. (That and the fact that he looks and sounds like Michael Howard.)
To wit, let’s take a look at this educational pamphlet I found in my DVD case...
How to Run an Evil Media Empire
Report events subjectively
“Killed”? No, that’s a dull headline. Pick a more emotive word, like “MURDERED”. That’s how you get a response to your breaking news. And happy stories? Screw that. If it isn't a crisis, a war or a horrific disaster, it isn't front page stuff.
Do say: “There's no news, like bad news!"
Work with shady people
Spies. Politicians. Germans. Any dodgy character you can get into bed with, do so. Maxwell was supposedly working with the Mossad. Try to go one better. Maybe even a “techno terrorist” like Henry Gupta. Their beats are way more banging than most bad guys.
Do say: "What kind of havoc shall the Carver Media Group create in the world today?"
Kill anyone who gets in your way
Being ruthless is important in the media. Back-stabbing, front-shooting, what's the difference? Why else did you decide to work with those shady people?
Do say: "Mr Stamper, would you please kill those bastards!"
Blackmail people with secret recordings
You never know when a tape recording could come into handy, so bug everyone you can. Then use that information to blackmail and climb your way to power. We're not talking Hugh Grant here. We're talking MPs, the President of the United States. To Maxwell, it was all fair game. Follow his example. And once you've got what you want, publish the scandalous stories anyway.
Do say: “Mr. Wallace, call the President. Tell him if he doesn't sign the bill lowering the cable rates, we will release the video of him with the cheerleader in the Chicago motel room.”
Say “delicious” like this:
Force people to upgrade
Don't just sit their with your newspapers and satellites fiddling with your GPS all day. Get involved in computer software - that's where the big bucks are. Not just in owning a company like Mirrorsoft, a la Mirror Group Newspapers, but ensuring that each release is just crappy enough to keep people paying out for newer versions.
Do say: "Mr. Jones, are we ready to release our new software?" "Yes, sir. As requested, it's full of bugs, which means people will be forced to upgrade for years."
Don't say: "Windows Vista what?"
Use the latest gadgets