Our review of the seventeenth Bond film and the first to star Pierce “Remington Steele” Brosnan. As the series enters its “modern” era, it produces a fusion of all prior entries. The result made millions and brought Bond back to the mainstream’s attention.
14 thoughts on “GoldenEye (1995)”
You have a lot more credibility reviewing this film than a lot of Bond fans and casual I know. This really was a “greatest hits” package of Bond cliches with a big 90’s action film budget. Many complain about Craig being an action hero and yet here it started far back in 1995 when Bros Bond was machine gunning Russian soldiers left and right without breaking a sweat. I think the biggest complaint I have about this movie is that real villains and hero are casually brushed aside. Ormunov personally made sure plans were being executed with military efficiency and Boris seemed to be the only one who knew how to operate the Goldeneye. Also, as you said before, Goldeneye really is Natalya’s journey with her actually witnessing her friends get killed. Trevelyan really didn’t hurt Bond in away other than simply switching sides. The film tries to make Bond seem conflicted but why ? The son of a bitch never was his friend to begin with. Did that Janus symbolism slip by Bond so easily ?
What few “friends” Bond’s had over years have either ended up dead by the end of the flick (sometimes the end of the First Act) or half-eaten by sharks. Meaning the series, with their casual attitude toward continuity, accidentally built a trap for themselves with GoldenEye’s villain plot. Were one of Bond’s regular supporting players, or reoccurring guest stars, to turn evil, then Bond could be as conflicted as all-get-out. Superhero comics pull that trick whenever sales drop below a pre-set limit. But that would’ve been too traumatizing for the panicked sheep EON fears pay their bills. So they created a whole new character…and then they slammed the trap shut on themselves by giving Bond and Alec all of one scene to establish their supposedly deep, abiding friendship.
Tragedy being, I would’ve been all for a Double-Oh double-header, especially with Bean here. The Bros’ll never be the greatest actor of his generation, but he gets a lot better when he’s got someone to play off. If they were going to cliche it up anyway, why not go the full nine and do a Bond Buddy Comedy? That way, Alec could turn evil in the sequel and we might actually feel something, which we could then project onto Rasa, Tabula Rasa.
All that would be needed would be a few scenes with Bond and Trevelyan as friends instead of just colleagues. Also, this maybe going to far, but maybe Alec raping Natalya ? That little “tasted like strawberries” line would have carried a lot of weight in that case.
Didn’t like Goldeneye eh? I can’t wait to see your next review, cause it’s all downhill from here for the next 3 films.
Oh, believe me, I know. At least this time the slide’ll be a lot quicker. Living through it in real time was real painful.
Tomorrow Never Dies, I think, was a generally smarter film but it was muddled by too many action sequences and poor editing.
I have to say I think you’re being a little too harsh on the villain’s main plot, somehow; Trevelyan clearly isn’t all there in the head to even come up with something like that to begin with, and the consequences likely wouldn’t matter to him in the slightest. At the same time, remember that Goldeneye’s a Russian weapon. MI6 and London would have been wiped out the second Alec uses the weapon, so there goes Bond’s evidence that Alec has the weapon, which he would’ve presumably relayed between St Petersburg and Cuba. And as such, the paper trail would once again lead to Russia, Ouromov, and his plot to become the next big leader.
That sounds like a great plan…except Jack Wade and his Marines were right over there the whole time. Though why they didn’t move in once Bond’s plane crashed, or once the giant satellite dish popped up, I’ll never know, but I suppose the series traditional Good Guy Army might’ve stolen it’s new Bond’s introductory spotlight. I would’ve liked to hack Wade’s frequency and hear him report all this weirdness back to Gitmo. “Com One, this is Omega. We got a copy of the Arecibo telescope rising out of the water like a goddamn kaiju down here. Please advise, over.”
On a somewhat related note, I love your Tumblr.
I hadn’t really considered Wade, but he and his team are really like some kind of failed or late deus ex machina, thinking about it. I don’t even know why they bother turning up – surely it’d have been more fun to just end it like say, Goldfinger, or even have say, Wade trying to contact Bond for a pickup via a radio or something and Brosnan pulling the very Connery-esque move of switching it off or feigning interference to be with Natalya.
And thank you. I’m a big fan of Famke Janssen myself, and whilst the tumblr expanded beyond her – and the excellent Onatopp – I think I can see why you like it.
They went for the old “No one’s around to see us” gag instead, for reasons I doubt anyone was sure of at the time, and they’ve certainly forgotten about them since. It feels like everyone was under orders to make this film “lighter” than the Dalton Era. More one-liners. Fewer gruesome deaths. And more sight gags. The tank chase is full of ’em, and they probably thought ending on a laugh would leave everyone with nice, warm, fuzzy feelings as they left the theater. Seems they were right. And you’re welcome.
Even if Dalton stayed on board, Bond would not have been as dark. I have read the first draft Michael France wrote and it was definitely a lot softer in nature than Licence To Kill; Think The Living Daylights on the scale of True Lies.
Makes sense, considering the way Action Movies as a whole were headed. In a way, taking that break when it did, the Bond series lucked out by missing the real Low Point of its own genre: that brief period in the early 90s when the 80’s Action Heroes tried to escape their ghetto and wound up horrifying fair-weather “fans” afraid of change and content to watch their favorite slab of man-meat mow down waves of anonymous brown people until the cows come home. This is why Stallone has (as of this writing) blighted the world with not one, but two, Expendables movies. Christ…just thinking about it’s giving me the Fear.
the idea of an evil 00 has potential. I loved Casino Royale and Quantum, but Goldeneye is alright. the remake is actually pretty good
Anybody ever notice how claustrophobic this film feels ? Every shot is so narrow and action sequences are staged as rigidly as a straight line.