As you’ll come to discover, should you frequent this page with any form of regularity, I am an unapologetic fan of the James Bond franchise. Connery to Craig and even the comic that came before them, there is just something about the adventures of 007 that calls to me. But ask any of my fellow fans of the franchise if loving ole Jimmy B is easy and they’ll tell you that anything that has run as long as it has, with this many entries, is bound to show its threads in spots.
In an effort to explain away one of the most ill conceived installments, Die Another Day, a potentially brilliant theory has been constructed from rumblings across the web that could, from a certain point of view, make you reconsider the popular stance that on its 40th Anniversary, with the 20th film, the James Bond series hit rock bottom.
The initial whispers of this theory first hit my ears a few years ago, and after a great internal debate, I’m willing to say that it’s an idea that I can at least entertain. I call it, ‘The Die Another Daydream theory‘.
James Bond is dead. That’s a high hurdle to clear, but in the garbled mess of a timeline that is the Bond series, the first phase of accepting this theory is to come to grips with the idea that James Bond was captured, tortured and eventually killed by the North Koreans during the opening and credit sequences of Die Another Day. That is why, unlike any other entry in the franchise, the credit sequence for that film consisted of actual in-story scenes and not just thematic images. We see, amongst a litany of torture techniques, the scorpions that eventually poison him. It is this torture and poisoning that causes Bond’s body, most notably his kidneys, to shut down, creating a toxic blood condition that triggers a fever dream of delusions that we are allowed to witness over the course of the movie until he eventually dies.
I told you it was a bold theory, but if you break it down it works.
Start with the fact that James is released from the North Korean prison in exchange for Zao, a trade even Bond finds to be outside the norm. He’s then held in quarantine, where his doctors rather casually note that his body is just a mess, having suffered years of abuse, both at the hands of the North Koreans and from years working On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
When he gets back on his feet, Bond immediately goes rogue, again, and finds his way to a hotel where a sexy masseuse attempts to seduce him into falling for a From Russia With Love style, camera behind the mirror, whoopie taping trick. That was the turning point in a mission that would be one of the high points of his career, where he won over a woman who was out to trap him, outwitted a worthy foe and made friends with a kindred spirit, Kerim Bey. Is it a surprise that a dying man would retreat to some variation of a fond memory?
Moving on. When Bond later makes it to Cuba, a familiar region of the globe, he links up with an American agent, just like he always does, but this time it’s the beautiful Jinx, wearing an outfit reminiscent of the bathing suit Honey Rider wore when he met another longstanding friend, Felix Leiter in Dr. No. Leiter, who was severely maimed by a shark, and Wade, were amongst the few who could really understand what Bond’s job demanded of him. Here they are given a vagina, some abs and a set of boobs. He is James Bond after all.
While in Cuba, Bond also uncovers the most Bond movie plot point of the film, the identity changing lab where Colonel Moon was turned into Gustav Graves. Tell me a more Blofeldian baddie move? More than any other period of Bond’s life, the time he spent hunting Spectre and Blofeld was the time his life seemed to have not only direction but importance. Why not chase that feeling one more time.
Friends and enemies on familiar ground…I’ve seen shakier arguments presented before.
A competitive man, Bond met his most challenging match during the From Russia With Love adventure, but he also faced formidable adversaries in The Man With the Golden Gun and Goldeneye, two solar laser based stories that forced him to be at his best. Is it a coincidence that Graves has constructed a similar device?
Over the years, some have accused the Bond series of being misogynistic (I wonder why?) a charge he is often confronted with by M, amongst other female co-workers during his time at MI-6. Here, in Die Another Day, he finds himself betrayed by a woman. If James Bond were asked to cast a traitor in his dream story, you can bet it would be the lady in HR.
Outside of the psychological reasonings that can be extrapolated by examining all 19 of the previous Bond films, lets take a second to look at the science of dreams. Many people have pointed out that the physics of this movie are riddled with flaws. An invisible car that makes no noise and leaves no tracks on snow? Answer me this, have you ever tried to run in a dream?
And finally, the last ounce of evidence I will present to you in favor of the Die Another Daydream theory, the appearance of Madonna in this movie. Have you ever heard something as you went about your day and had it get stuck in your head? Has that random thing then popped up in your dreams? A guard at the North Korean prison facility was either playing it for his own enjoyment or using Madonna as some form of torture while Bond was being held there and, bingo, bango, bongo, Madonna turns up as a fencing instructor in his dream.
I don’t know if I’m completely onboard with this theory being the actual intentions of the EON crew at the time of production, but tell me this isn’t a better way to look at it?