It pains us to say this, but the Pierce Brosnan James Bond films have not aged well whatsoever. As charming as Brosnan's 007 was, all of his Bond flicks have that "weird 1990s post-Die Hard, pre-CGI action flick thing where the entire film looks like a Hallmark Channel original movie" going on. And let's not pretend that GoldenEye was some hard-nosed espionage flick. Remember, killer Kegels were central to GoldenEye's narrative.
But of all the Bonds, Brosnan had the finest O-face. Or should we say "double-O-face"? Sorry, when in Rome.
And if we were to rank the Pierce Brosnan Bond adventures from worst to best, it would go something like this: The World Is Not Enough, Tomorrow Never Dies, Die Another Day, GoldenEye and GoldenEye, specifically Power Weapons at the Facility, no Oddjob allowed.
And no "Slappers Only." That shit took hours, even on "License to Kill."
At this point, some of you may be wondering why we ranked 2002's Die Another Day so high. The truth is, it's not half-bad if you go in with the right mindset.
In case you don't remember, Die Another Day was that James Bond film with virtual reality, invisible cars, James Bond surfing, a North Korean villain who transformed into a white guy because of DNA gobbledygook, another North Korean dude with diamonds embedded in his face, sunshine lasers and James Bond fencing with Madonna while making erection jokes.
"Something something thrust something something French grip something something penis."
The only thing this clusterfuck lacked was James Bond wearing a No Fear T-shirt at an XFL game while listening to Papa Roach on his MiniDisc player. Yes, Die Another Day was so aggressively cornball that for its follow-up, 2006's Casino Royale, the filmmakers dialed back the special effects, nixed the double entendres and replaced Brosnan with Daniel Craig, an actor so unsmiling, he probably grew up in a vinegar factory.
"Anything for queen and country. No questions asked."
Casino Royale wasn't a hard reboot of the Bond franchise, as Judi Dench's M was carried over from Die Another Day. Also -- as "that graveyard scene" in Skyfall demonstrates -- the studio isn't rolling with the fan theory that "James Bond" is merely a code name, like "M" or "Q." So how do we make sense of this thematic shift between the secret agent Candyland of Die Another Day and Casino Royale, in which the most high-tech doodad was a chair without a seat?
"You like our device, Mr. Bond? Our top men spent years and years building it."
It's simple, really. Mere minutes into Die Another Day, and after he hangs-ten over the 38th parallel, James Bond is captured. He spends the entire title sequence getting worked over by Kim Jong Il's jailhouse masseuse squad, fever-dreaming that he's canoodling with a bunch of Korean interpretive dancers on the verge of spontaneous combustion.
Also, the opening credits are supposed to represent 14 months, enough time for Hollywood science to transform the North Korean villain into Dr. Honky von Cracker (or whatever the bad guy's name was). Instead, what if 90 percent of Die Another Die occurred in James Bond's head in a scorpion-filled North Korean prison cell (sort of like the last season of Roseanne)? What if the DPRK just tortured him blond and, for reasons unexplained onscreen, dumped him off, sourpussed and chiseled by starvation, in a duffel bag in front of the British Embassy in Pyongyang?
This would also explain why his best friend in Skyfall is an arthropod.
And at the beginning of Casino Royale, Bond must earn his double-O credentials again, which makes sense if the once quippy Bond had spent over a year getting hot-pokered into surly madness to the sounds of The Immaculate Collection (let's chalk up Madonna's spectral presence in Die Another Day to some South Korean pop music propaganda campaign).
We know that this all sounds improbable, but to salvage James Bond's reputation, we can either believe A) this or B) that Die Another Die was simply years of undiagnosed syphilis coming home to roost. Which will it be? 007 is counting on you.