Watch Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Story, Stars, Reviews & All You Want To Know About A Great Movie
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
James Bond sets out to stop a media mogul’s plan to induce war between China and the UK in order to obtain exclusive global media coverage.
Tomorrow Never Dies is a 1997 spy film, the eighteenth in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions and the second to star Pierce Brosnan as fictional MI6 agent James Bond. Directed by Roger Spottiswoode from a screenplay by Bruce Feirstein, it follows Bond as he attempts to stop Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce), a power-mad media mogul, from engineering world events to initiate World War III.
The film was produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, and was the first Bond film made after the death of producer Albert R. Broccoli (to whom it pays tribute in the end credits), and the last released under the United Artists label. Filming locations included France, Thailand, Germany, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
Tomorrow Never Dies performed well at the box office, grossing over $333 million worldwide, becoming the fourth-highest-grossing film of 1997 and earning a Golden Globe nomination despite mixed reviews. While its performance at the U.S. box office surpassed that of its predecessor GoldenEye, it was the only one of Brosnan’s Bond films not to open at No. 1 at the box office, as it opened the same day as Titanic, and finished at No. 2 that week.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) Trailer
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) Reviews
Yes, we have the usual double entendres and product placements (I find product placement distracting in most movies, but sort of anticipate them as part of the Bond formula). There’s a high gloss and some nice payoffs, but not quite as much humor as usual; Bond seems to be straying from his tongue-in-cheek origins into the realm of conventional techno-thrillers.
Still, “Tomorrow Never Dies” gets the job done, sometimes excitingly, often with style. The villain, slightly more contemporary and plausible than usual, brings some subtler-than-usual satire into the film, and I liked the chemistry between Bond and Wai Lin (all the more convincing because the plot doesn’t force it). The look of the film is authoritative; the scenes involving warships and airplanes seem sleek and plausible. There’s gorgeous photography as a junk sails in a sea filled with peaks, and astonishing action choreography in the rooftop motorcycle chase.
On the basis of this installment, the longest-running movies series seems fit for the 21st century.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) Credits
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Michelle Yeoh as Wai Lin
Jonathan Pryce as Elliot Carver
Teri Hatcher as Paris Carver
Pierce Brosnan as Bond, James Bond
Goetz Otto as Stamper
- Roger Spottiswoode
- Bruce Feirstein
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) Plot
MI6 sends James Bond into the field to reconnoiter a terrorist arms bazaar on the Russian border. Despite M’s insistence on letting 007 finish his reconnaissance, Royal Navy Admiral Roebuck orders the frigate HMS Chester to fire a Harpoon missile at the bazaar. Bond then discovers two nuclear torpedoes mounted on an L-39 Albatros; with the missile out of range to be aborted, Bond is forced to pilot the L-39 away seconds before the bazaar is destroyed.
Media baron Elliot Carver starts his plans to use an encoder obtained at the bazaar by his associate, cyberterrorist Henry Gupta, to provoke war between China and the UK. Meaconing the GPS signal using the encoder, Gupta sends the frigate HMS Devonshire off-course into Chinese-occupied waters in the South China Sea, where Carver’s stealth ship, commanded by Mr. Stamper, ambushes and sinks it with a “sea drill” torpedo.
Carver’s henchmen steal one of the Devonshire‘s missiles and shoot down a Chinese MiG fighter jet investigating the scene. The henchmen kill the Devonshire‘s survivors with weaponry loaded with Chinese ammunition. The British Minister of Defence orders Roebuck to deploy the fleet to investigate the sinking of the frigate, and demands retaliation, leaving M only 48 hours to investigate its sinking and avert a war.
M sends Bond to investigate Carver and his company, CMGN, after he released news articles about the crisis hours before MI6 had learned of it. Bond travels to Hamburg to seduce Carver’s wife, Paris (an ex-girlfriend of Bond’s), to get information that would help him enter CMGN headquarters. He defeats three of Stamper’s men and cuts Carver off the air during the inaugural broadcast of his satellite network. Carver discovers the truth about Paris and Bond and orders both of them killed.
Bond and Paris reconcile at Bond’s hotel room, and she provides him with information to infiltrate Carver’s newspaper factory. Bond steals the GPS encoder from Gupta’s office at the factory; meanwhile, Carver’s assassin Dr. Kaufman kills Paris. After Bond returns to find Paris’s body, Kaufman attempts to shoot him. Bond is able to kill Kaufman and escape his henchmen through a multistory car park in his Q-branch vehicle, a BMW 750iL with remote control.
At a U.S. Air Force base in Okinawa, Bond learns that the encoder had been tampered with, and goes to the South China Sea to investigate the wreck. He and Wai Lin, a Chinese Ministry of State Security agent on the same case, explore the sunken ship and discover one of its cruise missiles missing, but after reaching the surface they are captured by Stamper and taken to the CMGN tower in Saigon.
They soon escape and contact the Royal Navy and the People’s Liberation Army Air Force to explain Carver’s scheme. Carver plans to destroy most of the Chinese government with the stolen missile, allowing a corrupt Chinese general to negotiate a truce between Britain and China, both of which will have begun a naval war. Once the conflict is over, Carver will be given exclusive broadcasting rights in China for the next century.
Bond and Wai Lin board Carver’s stealth ship to prevent him from firing the missile at Beijing; Wai Lin is captured, forcing Bond to devise a second plan. Bond captures Gupta to use as his own hostage, but Carver kills Gupta, claiming he has “outlived his contract”. Bond detonates an explosive, damaging the ship and rendering it visible to radar, and vulnerable to a subsequent Royal Navy attack.
While Wai Lin disables the engines, she is recaptured by Stamper. Bond kills Carver with his own sea drill and attempts to destroy the warhead with detonators, but Stamper attacks him, and sends a chained Wai Lin into the water. Bond traps Stamper in the missile firing mechanism and saves Wai Lin as the missile explodes, destroying the ship and killing Stamper. Bond and Wai Lin share a romantic moment amidst the wreckage as HMS Bedford searches for them.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) Box office
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) Critical Response
The film had a World Charity Premiere at The Odeon Leicester Square, on 9 December 1997; this was followed by an after premiere party at Bedford Square, home of original Ian Fleming publisher, Jonathan Cape. The film went into general release in the UK and Ireland on 12 December and in most other countries during the following week.
It opened in second place in the United States and Canada, grossing over $25.1 million behind Titanic, which would become the highest-grossing film of all time up to that point. Tomorrow Never Dies ultimately grossed $333 million worldwide, although it did not surpass its predecessor GoldenEye, which had earned almost $20 million more.
Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 57% rating based on 77 reviews. The website’s consensus states: “A competent, if sometimes by-the-numbers entry to the 007 franchise, Tomorrow Never Dies may not boast the most original plot but its action sequences are genuinely thrilling.” On Metacritic, the film has a score of 52 based on 38 reviews, indicating “mixed or average reviews”. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “A−” on an A+ to F scale.
In the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four-stars, writing “Tomorrow Never Dies gets the job done, sometimes excitingly, often with style” with the villain “slightly more contemporary and plausible than usual”, bringing “some subtler-than-usual satire into the film”. Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune wrote it was the “first James Bond film I’ve liked in many a year”, most notably favoring the character Elliot Carver, which he felt added “contemporary writing to the Bond series, and that is most welcome.”
On his website ReelViews, James Berardinelli described it as “the best Bond film in many years” and said Brosnan “inhabits his character with a suave confidence that is very like Connery’s.” Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times, thought a lot of Tomorrow Never Dies had a “stodgy, been-there feeling”, with little change from previous films.
Janet Maslin of The New York Times summarized the film as “a generic action event that it could be any old summer blockbuster, except that its hero is chronically overdressed.” Charles Taylor wrote for Salon.com that the film was “a flat, impersonal affair”.
The title song sung by Sheryl Crow was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song and a Grammy Award for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television. The film received four nominations for Saturn Awards, with Brosnan winning for Best Actor. It also won a MPSE Golden Reel Award for “Best Sound Editing – Foreign Feature” and a BMI Film Music Award.
The original UK release received various cuts in scenes of violence and martial arts weaponry, to reduce the impact of sound effects and to receive a more box-office-friendly 12 certificate. Further cuts were made to the video/DVD release to retain this rating. These edits were restored for the Ultimate Edition DVD release in the UK, which was consequently upgraded to a 15 certificate. However, upon the release of the Blu-ray in 2012, it was rated back down to a 12 uncut.
In the wake of its original release, critics and audiences have praised Tomorrow Never Dies for its prescience. The website Den of Geek, on the film’s twentieth anniversary, observed of the film’s plot: “It’s an improbable set-up which was likely intended as a satire of Murdoch’s unaccountable media empire, but the risks of such technological manipulation have since proved to be frighteningly plausible.”
Den of Geek also highlights that “technology wasn’t the only modern danger to be pre-empted by Tomorrow Never Dies—it also offers a revealing peek into the confused state of the British national psyche, which might help to explain the country’s ongoing Brexit debates.”
Similarly, HeadStuff highlighted its relevance in 2020, noting that “some modern critics argue that Carver’s emphasis on traditional journalism date the film and that if the Internet existed to such an extent as it does twenty years later, his plan would be instantly foiled…
not really sure those people have been following current events over the past two years.” Far Out Magazine highlighted Brosnan’s performance, when his Bond happens upon the deceased Paris Carver in his hotel room: “There’s more substance here in a four-minute encounter than Brosnan found over four whole films.”
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