"Words are the new weapons; satellites, the new artillery."
— Elliot Carver
The one where James Bond beats up Rupert Murdoch.Tomorrow Never Dies is the 18th James Bond film, and the second starring Pierce Brosnan. After a British ship is sunk off the shore of China, the British protest they were in neutral waters while the Chinese declare it an act of aggression. MI6, however, suspects a third party is to blame but only have two days to discover who before World War III is declared. Their interest is piqued when media tycoon Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce) blows the lid off the story — right down to the last salient detail — using it as a launching pad for his aptly-named newspaper, The Tomorrow.M smells something fishy and deploys Bond to snoop around, a mission complicated by Bond's previous affair with Carver's wife, Paris (Teri Hatcher). His mission will also involve him with Chinese agent Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh), who's working the same case from the opposite angle.After the more introspective tone of GoldenEye, TND eases back into the Connery-esque "classic Bond" formula beat-for-beat, with one-liners galore, a Large Ham villain, and plenty of action setpieces that make full use of the Theme Music Power-Up trope. It was moderately well-received by the fanbase and critics, and further cemented Brosnan into the role, who began to carve his niche as the suave Bond.
There's also significant elements of William Randolph Hearst, whose propaganda is sometimes credited for getting the US to launch the Spanish American War. Carver even quotes him.
In addition to taking potshots at NewsCorp, 'Tommorrow'' bears more than a slight resemblance to Microsoft.
Carver: Mr. Jones, are we ready to release our new software? Jones: Yes, sir. As requested, it's full of bugs, which means people will be forced to upgrade for years. Carver: Outstanding!
Carver beginning a new media enterprise by announcing a "declaration of principles" is possibly a nod to Citizen Kane. Of course, he's already similar to Kane by virtue of being similar to Hearst.
As You Know: The first stealth-ship scene starts with a literal Captain Obvious reminding his men that the British will believe they're in international waters due to the manipulated GPS signal. Anyone who at this point in the operation didn't know that very definitely had no business knowing it - but then again, a penchant for summarizing and giving exposition at every possible opportunity may have been an entrance requirement for a job in Carver's corporation.
A real torpedo could have caused more damage than needed (and Carver needed the ship and its missiles intact). Puncturing holes through the hull to sink it, however, does the job nicely.
The car's miniature wire cutting saw. Yes, it saves Bond during the chase scene but there is no other possible scenario where it would have been of any use. If the wire were just an inch higher or lower it would have been completely useless.
Big Bad Duumvirate: Averted, although technically speaking the PRC General Chang would be just as important to the scheme as Carver's contributions. The former is Demoted to Extra, appearing onscreen for a total of five seconds as Bond and Wai Lin are escorted past him.
After shoving a Mook into a printing press: "They'll print anything these days."
After ejecting a attacker from the back set of a jet into an enemy jet above them: "Backseat driver..."
Even Carver gets off a clever one when he thinks Bond is dead.
"Even if they were looking for me, we're on a stealth boat! They can't see me. Or you. Or even your friend, the late Commander Bond, who is, I believe, at this moment, on his way to the bottom of the South China Sea. (beat) He's my new anchorman.
Bottomless Magazines: Averted in the case of Wai Lin near the end when she tosses an empty gun and only has two shots left in the other. Played straight in the case of Carver's mooks.
Card-Carrying Villain: Carver. His entire organization is based on engineering catastrophes and profiting from them, and he revels in it.
Elliot Carver: Good morning, my golden retrievers! What kind of havoc shall the Carver Media Group create in the world today? News?
Newsman: Floods in Pakistan, riots in Paris, and a plane crash in California.
Elliot Carver: Excellent! Mr. Jones, are we ready to release our new software?
Jones: Yes, sir. As requested, it's full of bugs, which means people will be forced to upgrade for years.
Chase Scene: In a multistory car park, from the back seat. Stretching for ideas to do something different? Perhaps. Quite awesome? Yes.
Chekhov's Gun: The remote control for Bond's car, hidden in a mobile phone that is also capable of delivering a lethal dose of electricity.
20,000 volts of electricity isn't necessarily lethal. More than likely it was a low amp current that functioned pretty much like displayed in the movie, stunning and briefly incapacitating his opponent.
Dead Star Walking: While Teri Hatcher was featured in the advertising campaign as much as (if not more than) Michelle Yeoh, her character is the requisite secondary Bond Girl who dies halfway through, as per tradition.
Total scene count for Paris in a two-hour film: three.
Denied Parody: While Elliot Carver looks at first glance like a thinly disguised version of Rupert Murdoch, the movie's main writer claims he was actually based on Robert Maxwell (this is supported by the cover story for Carver's death and the public's reaction to it mirroring Maxwell's fatal boat accident).
Distaff Counterpart: Wai Lin is basically a female, Chinese Bond, right down to the flirting, dry wit, and holding a military rank. Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you realize that this is exactly why her relationship with Bond is so shallow.
Double Entendre: Pretty much the whole Hamburg satellite launch party scene. Here's some of the best dialogue:
Elliot Carver: I'm thinking about getting Wei Lin behind a news desk...
Paris Carver:' I'm sure she won't resist...Much.
James Bond: Tell me Elliot about your satellites, how you've positioned yourself globally...
Elliot Carver: They're merely tools for spreading information, Mr. Bond
Bond:-Or disinformation. Suppose you wished to alter the course of events, governments... or even a ship...
Elliot Carver:(staring at Bond) You have a vivid imagination for a banker, Mr. Bond. Perhaps I should commission you to write a novel.
Bond: Oh no I wouldn't know where to begin. I'd be lost at sea... adrift...
And he wonders why Carver has his Mooks beat the crap out of him.
Evil Is Petty: It would not be an exaggeration to state that Carver is one of the most powerful people on the planet, both obscenely rich and influential. When China refuses him broadcast rights, he decides to nuke the country. There's also the Mad Cow Scare, which he engineered because a guy wouldn't honor a poker bet.
Face Death with Dignity: Paris Carver knew her number was up as soon as she went to help Bond. She spends one last night with him, gives him the information he needs to infiltrate her husband Elliot's secret lab, and leaves, telling James not even he can protect her. The way the scene plays out, Paris clearly knows she'll be dead before the day is out, and she accepted it.
Carver's goons grab Bond and take him to a soundproof recording studio to beat him until he talks. As one of them stands watch outside, you can see (but not hear) Bond turning the tables of the fight and beating the goons with the various instruments.
Idiot Ball: The Admirals, who just witnessed the 'terrorist supermarket' with even nuclear torpedoes for sale and the the creator the satellite signal scrambler and still are completely sure that Chinese ammunition and GPS signal are enough of a proof to warrant action that could easily start a war with a nuclear superpower.
In Memoriam: Dedicated to longtime producer Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli.
Irony: When Bond discovers Paris Carver dead in his hotel room, a news broadcast states that she was found dead along with an "unidentified man who apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound". It is at this point that Bond encounters Dr. Kaufman aiming at him with a gun and Who tells him that story will be on the air in an hour. Of course, Bond overcomes Dr. Kaufman and turns his own gun upon him so that indeed crime scene appears as the newscast states.
Irrevocable Order: The Royal Navy launches a Tomahawk missile to destroy a terrorist arms depot. They quickly find out that there are nukes at the camp. But the missile is already out of radio range, requiring James Bond to go in and remove the bombs.
Lampshade Hanging: Bond lets Carver know that starting World War III for ratings' sake is really quite insane.
Large Ham: Jonathan Pryce's magnificently over-the-top villain is one of the most memorable things about this movie. Same goes for Vincent Schiavelli's Dr. Kaufman, who knows he's a Bond henchman, and milks it for all its worth.
Malevolent Mugshot: Carver loves his banners. Bond gets in a good dig at his expense for it.
Milkman Conspiracy: The Carver Media Group blackmails the President, is implied to orchestrate global floods, riots and plane crashes, sells buggy software (to force people to upgrade it for years), sinks a British Destroyer, massacres the survivors, steals one of its cruise missiles, plans to use said missile on Beijing to set up a new Chinese government friendly to its interests (ie. broadcasting rights) after bringing Britain and China to the brink of nuclear war, and employs terrorists, torturers and professional assassins, plus the average Carver Media Group employees, who based on the evidence, are Always Chaotic Evil and whose uniforms always come with machine guns. All for the sake of its ratings. Carver also faked the Mad Cow disease scare of 1997 because a British beef baron owed him money (from a poker game, a mere £10,000) and refused to pay... then the French paid him to run the stories for another year.
Mythology Gag: in You Only Live Twice, Bond says he doesn't need "Instant Japanese" at all, since he has a degree in "Oriental Languages", in this film, however, he is completely baffled by Wai Lin's Chinese keyboard. note (Which, by the way, isn't a real keyboard at all, not in Mainland China at least, where they use either Pinyin-based or Wubi (four-digits that stand for a character) imput methods)
N.G.O. Superpower: Carver Media Group Network, which already influences most of the world. But since its led by a megalomaniac, the organization takes the extra step forward of forming a small army, build a stealth ship, and stir up a war between Britain and China.
Reality Subtext: In the novelization, Jack Wade asks Bond about Natalya, to which Bond replies that she's now married to a hockey player. Izabella Scorupco really did marry pro hockey player Mariusz Czerkawski in 1996.
Rule Of Cool: A goo explanation for why Bond lights a goon's cigarette and then punches him.
Serendipity Writes The Plot: The original title was Tomorrow Never Lies, the proposed Tag Line of Carver's newspaper Tomorrow. A misspelled fax lead to the one the filmmakers eventually used.
To the Pain: When Carver tells Bond about how Mr. Stamper is going to torture him, although the movie gets more mileage out of the Cow Tools presented as Mr. Stamper's torture implements than it does out of Carver's little speech.