"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.When a Royal Navy warship is sunk off the shore of China the British protest they were in neutral waters, while the Chinese declare it an act of aggression when an aircraft they send to investigate is shot down. MI6, however, suspects a third party is to blame for both incidents. 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, but they'll have to work quick to Prevent The War, having only days before another provocation causes World War III.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.
Awesome, but Impractical: 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 henchman 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 Eliot 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.
Creator Cameo: Producer Michael G. Wilson is seen as Mr. Wallace in Carver's videoconference.
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.
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...
It's so over-the-top Bond pretty much has to be doing it on purpose.
Enforced Method Acting: Done towards extras. A car dealership was cordoned off for filming purposes, and people gathered around to watch. They did not expect to see a car flying off the nearby multi-storey car park straight through said dealership. The stunned reactions are genuine.
Prior to shooting the motorcycle chase, the director told Brosnan and Yeoh separately that they would be driving the vehicle, hence the brief struggle when both of them go for the handlebars.
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 seems to know she'll be dead before the day is out, and accepts 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 Gupta buying an American GPS encoder, still decide to potentially go to war with China over the Chinese apparently murdering their sailors even though M flat-out tells them someone was messing with the GPS signal. They might have been a bit more open-minded if she'd let them in on Carver's involvement, but it's still incredibly reckless.
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 the crime scene does in fact appear as the newscast states.
Irrevocable Order: The Royal Navy launches a Tomahawk missile to destroy a terrorist arms depot. Soon after, Bond discovers that there are nukes at the camp, but by this time the missile is out of radio range, requiring typical James Bond action theatrics to remove them before the missile hits.
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 a 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 (i.e. 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 apparently 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) input 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 good explanation for why Bond lights a goon's cigarette (or possible joint) 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 mis-spelled fax lead to the one the filmmakers eventually used.
Title Drop: The film itself doesn't have one, but the Playstation video game does: After being beaten by Bond in their shootout, Elliot Carver' last words before succumbing to his injuries are ironically "Tomorrow never dies".
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.
With Friends Like These...: Bond is breaking into Carter's office, when Wai Lin breaks in at the same time, setting off the alarm. As Bond is shot at by SMG-toting mooks, he looks up and sees Lin climbing a wall while cheerfully waving at Bond as he draws off the men who'd normally be chasing after her.