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Tomorrow Never Dies - Tomorrow Never Lies

lapis molari

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The 18th Bond film sees Brosnan in his second 007 adventure, with David Arnold scoring his first official 007 (he scored his excellent homage album "Shaken and Stirred" first).

I've always loved parts of Tomorrow Never Dies, but I dislike the whole (a frustrating example of the whole being less than the sum of its parts). E.g. the "White Knight" opening sequence is pitch perfect, and Wai Lin is a solid counterpart to 007. But the model of the stealth boat in the final battle is just as unconvincing as the vessel in The Spy Who Loved Me twenty years prior, and Bond's on-screen chemistry with Paris is awful. Carver is so over the top he could be in Austin Powers (together with Dr Kaufman), and there are so many cheap jokes that even a 14-year-old boy would roll his eyes. In short, the standout scenes are stuck under and between a lot of bad filler.

For a long time I didn't know how to re-balance this film. After I completed my TWINE edit, I thought I should at least attempt a workprint for my personal enjoyment. Simply a quick removal of the worst bits. I haven't cut or significantly altered any complete scenes. To my surprise, I found that this film benefits more from many trims than from a few big ones. Instead of a rough workprint, I'm enjoying this version enough to make it into a proper edit!

Now Brosnan still plays 007 like a boy with toys, but no longer tediously over the top. Similarly, Carver and his henchmen are dialed down. Bond no longer pretends to care more for Paris than for the mission, and their exchanges are shorter. Her "I missed you" is no longer whispered into Bond's ear as if she regrets them splitting up, instead she now mumbles it to herself more so than to Bond, after they have sex and with an undertone that she missed that more than she missed him. All in all, I'm making many small trims that add up to around 12 minutes. In the final battle alone I've got 30 trims.

The change list:
-Swap opening and closing songs (K.D.Lang opens per David Arnold's original intention).
-Cut 1 and replace 1 cutaway shots of the enemy pilot's face (bad acting).
-Trim drill inside Devonshire ship: cut turning.
-Replace cutaway shot of Stamper close-up shooting sailors.
-Cut Stamper "I haven't seen video but told excellent".
-Cut Bond's "practising a foreign tongue.'
-Cut Moneypenny's "You always were a cunning linguist, James" and Moneypenny and M's "don't ask, don't tell."
-In car: cut Moneypenny's "queen and country, James", and M's "pump her for information".
-Trim Ericsson phone product placement (Q explaining which end to use).
-Arriving at the party: cut car talking + Bond response.
-At party: trim Bond - Paris - Carver, cut 'write a novel' 'adrift at sea'.
-Cut Carver - Paris: 'I barely know him' 'barely?'
-Trims in bedroom Bond - Paris. Cut most of Bond speaking. Now Bond doesn't embarrass himself by pretending he cares more for the girl than the mission. (also: cut wooden acting).
-Shift Gupta's CCTV before Carver speech, cut 3rd playback 'gun under pillow'.
-Show Carver while his wife is with Bond, to emphasize he knows what's going on.
-Trims to post-sex dialog (more wooden acting).
-Trim most chase at newspaper.
-Mute car "please select security level'.
-Trim Dr Kaufman (pull back from Austin Powers levels of caricature).
-Car chase: cut wire-cutter, mute 'unsafe driving', 'congrats on safe journey'.
-Small trim to American Navy GPS expert (bad acting).
- In the Vietnamese helicopter: cut Bond's "edifice complex" joke.
- Various small trims to make Carver less over the top. Including cutting the Shakra torture toys: Carver is a power-obsessed megalomaniac, but we're never given a reason why he'd be into torture. Just to make him look crazy dangerous? This isn't Austin Powers!
- Trims to the bike / helicopter chase. For pacing. Trim lame jokes inside the Chinese "Q" lab.
- In the final gunfight, trim our heroes blasting machine guns. This is Bond, not Die Hard. Many small trims for pacing.

Runtime: around 107 minutes (originally 119).

I'm much enjoying the new James Bond fan posters that Sean Longmore is making. He's made two versions for TND, I like both much better than the official movie posters. Which do you prefer?
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LastSurvivor

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Sounds great Lapis...  Good to see another Sean Longmore fan here.  I literally just ordered that second print of Tomorrow Never Dies that he dropped in his Etsy store today!  Both are great, but I like the second one best
 

lapis molari

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Here's the scene of Paris Carver leaving Bond's hotel room. First the 37-second edit version, then the 49-second original.

- I cut Bond's ridiculous "I can get you out of the country...". To what end? They're in Germany, not some closed-border dictatorship!
- I replaced it with Bond staring in silence. He has no words of comfort or care for Paris.
- I replaced Paris response to "out of the country" with a muttered "I missed you". Spoken more to herself than to him. (I had to dub something in, because cutting the shot would have caused a visual jump, this was the least bad option I could figure out).
- (Not in this clip) I shifted the sunrise over the river from before this scene to after this scene. They don't spend the entire night together.

 
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Glad to see you are going ahead with this, When I asked for TWINE, you said you might consider editing this but wasn't sure what direction to go with. It made sense to just watch the theatrical cut and see what doesn't work for you.

I'm not entirely sold on the paris whisper, but as you have said it's a placeholder, it would be rare to find some other insert of Teri Hatcher whispering and one that could be context relative to the scene. So with this in mind, the overall execution of the scene works well.

One thing I think may inadvertedly work well is how in TWINE you removed the subplot about Renard's bullet removing his physical sense of pain. So now he doesn't feel like a recycle of Stamper (who I seem to remember not flinching when he gets his leg impaled.)

Trimming Dr Kaufman, are you going to remove (or trim) cutaways of the guys failing to break into the car? two of them shock themselves in the first attempt and then when a call is made to Dr Kaufman, one can be seen in the background getting shocked a 3rd time - which makes me think of is Bart dumber than a hamster?


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It makes sense to me that even if the car was broken into they couldn't get to the glove compartment where the box would be stored. I do like Vincent Schiavelli but I am okay with his performance being cut down, his bragging of being able to shoot from stuttgart and still make it look like an accident loses all meaning when he comes across as unprofessional and lacking caution.

Oh and that second poster is a true design of beauty.
 

lapis molari

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Curse you, sound replacement! I love the end result when it's done well, but the process is so very frustrating.

I'm working on the final battle inside the stealth boat, the part where everyone is firing machine guns at each other. Voices aren't clean, bullets are flying from one audio channel into another, music bleeds into all channels but not evenly, and explosions are the punctuation in this audio chaos. To cut and shift lots of shots, I need to replace much of the sound to get rid of the chopped-up music. Why oh why am I creating all this work for myself? Oh right, because I find that the end result makes a better story.

Rant: off. 😉
 

lapis molari

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Here's the biggest single cut in my edit: Carver goes on about Stamper's torture toys. It's gone, including the references to Stamper being the protege of Dr Kaufman. The clip shows first the edit (21 seconds), then the original (84 seconds).

 

LastSurvivor

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Here's the biggest single cut in my edit: Carver goes on about Stamper's torture toys. It's gone, including the references to Stamper being the protege of Dr Kaufman. The clip shows first the edit (21 seconds), then the original (84 seconds).


Speaking from a purely personal point of view I actually love this scene, so it's a shame to see it go... but your version is nicely edited and it totally works..
 

LastSurvivor

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Here's the scene of Paris Carver leaving Bond's hotel room. First the 37-second edit version, then the 49-second original.

- I cut Bond's ridiculous "I can get you out of the country...". To what end? They're in Germany, not some closed-border dictatorship!
- I replaced it with Bond staring in silence. He has no words of comfort or care for Paris.
- I replaced Paris response to "out of the country" with a muttered "I missed you". Spoken more to herself than to him. (I had to dub something in, because cutting the shot would have caused a visual jump, this was the least bad option I could figure out).
- (Not in this clip) I shifted the sunrise over the river from before this scene to after this scene. They don't spend the entire night together.

I get what you're going for here, but I can't lie... it feels very weird. Is that shot of Bond staring in silence used twice?? It feels like it to me. For me the original scene, regardless of the "I can get you out of the country", is far better. After all, I don't think Bond's line is that bad... I think he means get her out of the country safely away from the hands of Carver and in that way, it makes perfect sense for him to say that ;)
 

lapis molari

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You're a tough audience, @LastSurvivor . ;)

Here's my Version 2 of Paris leaving Bond's bedroom. I eliminated one cutaway shot to Bond (it wasn't a repeat but one long shot split in two) by removing the shot of Paris adjusting her stockings. Now her line "I have to go" is dubbed in place of the V1 mumble "I love you". And I restored a silent stare from Paris to act as counterpoint for Bond's silent gaze.

This way I retain the uncomfortable silence which, to me at least, communicates loudly that Bond doesn't care about the girl and just wants the information.

 

LastSurvivor

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You're a tough audience, @LastSurvivor . ;)

Here's my Version 2 of Paris leaving Bond's bedroom. I eliminated one cutaway shot to Bond (it wasn't a repeat but one long shot split in two) by removing the shot of Paris adjusting her stockings. Now her line "I have to go" is dubbed in place of the V1 mumble "I love you". And I restored a silent stare from Paris to act as counterpoint for Bond's silent gaze.

This way I retain the uncomfortable silence which, to me at least, communicates loudly that Bond doesn't care about the girl and just wants the information.

Yeah, I can be a bit fussy at times Lapis 😁 please be assured though that it's only my opinion and it's from a place of wanting the best for your edit.

I always find it tricky to give feedback, as I never want to come across as some jackass who thinks he knows it all. At the same time I have to be honest in how I see it.

Anyways, I love this new version. It really works better and feels more natural. Great job!!
 

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I think it's kind of fun to read two bond editors spitball ideas back and forth.

But I agree, V2 is better, its more direct. You succeed in pushing the story forward and the dialogue flows more naturally, it does seem a bit like Paris' information leak seems to be a ploy to earn her some popularity points with the guy she just slept with, or maybe she's rewarding his skill? :D
 

LastSurvivor

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I think it's kind of fun to read two bond editors spitball ideas back and forth.

But I agree, V2 is better, its more direct. You succeed in pushing the story forward and the dialogue flows more naturally, it does seem a bit like Paris' information leak seems to be a ploy to earn her some popularity points with the guy she just slept with, or maybe she's rewarding his skill? :D

I think when you're passionate about a subject, as I and Lapis are about Bond, it's only natural to have strong ideas as to how you feel an edit should go. However, it goes without saying that this should be Lapis' vision 100%. Spitballing ideas back and forth is great fun, but Lapis will make the decision that feels best for the edit at hand ;)
 

lapis molari

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Agreed! When working on a fanedit, once you figure out what your goal is: stick to it. The road to the finish line is more enjoyable when you can bounce ideas off other editors (especially once you know their perspective), but ultimately you have to love the end result (and I do, almost always).
 
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lapis molari

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Submitted!

That is it for my Bond edits for a while, now on to finish my Buck Rogers. Then after that, return to 007's Diamonds and Skyfall. It never ends: always more ideas for edits than time to make them in! :giggle:
 

lapis molari

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I've updated this edit: version 1b is a minuscule three frames shorter. It solves the tiny audio repeat during Dr Kaufman's scene. Thanks to @boazz750 for spotting it!
Same link, same Bond channel. (y)
 

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I've updated this edit: version 1b is a minuscule three frames shorter. It solves the tiny audio repeat during Dr Kaufman's scene. Thanks to @boazz750 for spotting it!
Same link, same Bond channel. (y)
My pleasure, thank you for the wonderful edit and for the quick fix! :)
 
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