James Bond: Goldeneye – A Review

He might not have a golden eye but he certainly has an eye for the ladies haha. Wow got my first dumb joke down early this time. Who knows where I’ll go next.

As I love logos for production companies and I have a particularly affinity for this giant which is iconic, Awesome and just a little weird. MGM or Metro Goldwyn Mayer sticks a lion In a big circle and makes if roar and I’m sure there isn’t a person alive that doesn’t love it.

I picked this movie to start with rather than one of the many other movies and any of the other pantheon of Bonds because Pierce Brosnan is my bond. Sure arguments could be made that he’s not a good bond. They’d be wrong for saying that but they can. I just liked him he balanced womanising, quipping and killing in a way that few others did. I’m not trying to say he’s the best bond but he’s my favourite and this film introduced him to as as the notorious 007. The man with a licence to kill. And a permit to cause property damage apparently.

I didn’t just pick Goldeneye because it stars Brosnan but also because it happens to be a great bond film. It’s actually number 2 on my list the top spot being taken by Die another Day (another of the Brosnan era) which received mixed reviews despite being in my opinion brilliant. But I guess I do like my explosions and grand locations a little too much.

This film was released just a few short years after the break up of the USSR and I guess in many ways despite the more fantastical elements touched at issues and concerns facing the world public. The story is very Russian as a result. Another reasons why I liked it (I was fascinated by Russia right up until I leaned their backward attitude to the LGBT community)

The scene with bond dropping in on a Russian soldier as he drops something else off in the bathroom reminded me very viscerally of Austin Powers which I suppose to it’s cue from this so I’m a little confused (cut to inception noise) also first clear shot of the guy (pardon the pun) and he’s cracking a joke. I like Brosnan’s bond because the charm and humour felt natural.

Also holy crap Sean Bean is in this movie. Somehow it always slips my mind. I always end up picturing him as Boromir instead of Alec Trevelyan. It’s handy that they both referred to each other by their double 0 status so we know off the bat that they know each other wouldn’t want too much exposition on a character we’re literally never seen or heard off before.

More missions need to start with a cry ‘for England’ I mean I’m not patriotic or English for that matter but it has a bit of a ring too it.

James and Alec do seem to have good chemistry together. Like real old friends.

Also the scene where James slow walks the trolley with the gas tanks as cover is brilliant it undercuts the suspense but not in a bad way. It’s even better when you know Alec fakes his death here and is on the door pretending to be dead imagine how annoying this must be. Stuck on the floor while your best mate is very slowly escaping the room.

A little disappointed however that they used one of the oldest cliches in the book. The plane hurtling towards the ground and only pulling up at the last second once it’s out of sight. Not that it isn’t suspenseful if you’ve never seen movie before.

I love the intro for this movie by the way. A cinematic masterpiece with a great score over it. It feels like we’re in bonds head all women and guns.

Also I liked the little race between bond and Onatopp. It was fun and showed that the lightness of the old movies wasn’t gone.

I always liked to imagine how regular people would respond to bonds innuendos or sly references “he used to drop in on Russia” for example. Innocent enough for sure but it wasn’t that long ago the Cold War happened and foreign relations were at an all time low so not many Brits were holidaying in Russia. She might make the wrong assumptions from his little joke and assume things about him.

There are a lot of ways I don’t want to die but if i had to choose how I’d prefer to go out then being straddled by Famke Janssen to a violent climax isn’t the worst way.

Saying that she isn’t as hot as she thinks she is. Just once I’d like to see these women get knocked back.

While I’m on that subject this movie has my number three pick for hottest Bond babe. Number two going to Terri hatcher and the number one spot going to Halle berry. Natalya Simonova is gorgeous, smart and Russian and that all sounds good me. Certainly worthy of number three.

Boris Grishenko was secretly one of my favourite characters. First off he was funny and nerdy which is like my default and secondly he’s played by a young Alan cumming. It was a real shame he’s was as invincible as he claimed.

This movie really does hold up well. Whereas previous bond movies look dated and a little embarrassing when they try to be cutting edge of futuristic this movie just manages to do the job well. Sure the computers look old but there are gadgets and equipment which wouldn’t look out of place today and that’s impressive.

Speaking of which this movie came out when the internet and electronic attacks were just becoming a thing and it aired the feelings surrounding them quite well.

And oh god I love the flirting between Bond and Moneypenny is the best. It’s good to have one unattainable women so his ego doesn’t become as big as his libido.

Judy Dench brings a breath of fresh air to the role of M. Not bad for an old gal. She’s dry and witty, the quintessential Brit. And I’m glad the kept her on through the Daniel Craig era. What I like most about her is her matter of fact way of dealing with Bond. Few people really do him any damage but she cut him down with a few short sentences which showed she viewed him as a necessary evil but not something she respected. As she puts it “she has no compunction about sending a man to his death” but despite all that to extend the schoolboy metaphor she smiles at him like a school marm with a soft stop and ask him to come back alive.

Thank god they invented an EMP proof helicopter btw otherwise this movie just couldn’t have happened.

Also speaking of casting gems I love Q he’s not new to Bond but as the aged Quartermaster he excels. He’s overworked, weary and sarcastic. He’s the perfect gadget man and he brings an heir of gravity to the role absent in the Daniel Craig era. He was a hipster with a laptop. I was sad when Desmond Llewelyn and not even replacing him with John Cleese could help. I think that the Q scene was among the best In the movie. Funny and charming just like a bond movie should be.

Also Robbie Coltrane is in this. And he’s bloody great. He even does a passable Russian accent. I liked the exchange between the two. It was less like two old friends but more like two world weary professionals who acknowledge each other as dangerous but respect that they can use the other for their own means.

That follows on perfectly to my next point. Without a doubt the best scene in the movie is the reunion of Alec and Bond. Brosnan does a good job of looking betrayed and hurt meanwhile Sean Bean does well with disgust and outrage and barely controlled civility. The movie till this point has paced but it’s all been building to this revelation. We get reintroduced to Janus (Alec/Sean Bean) and he lays bare his plan and why he’s doing it.

We have a tank scenes ladies and gentlemen. And they destroy more than their fair share of St Petersburg with it. Because the filming for the movie takes place after the real Cold War they were actually allowed to film in Russia but they wisely made the choice at least for the scenes with tank to film in London instead. Safer that way I guessed.

One thing I noticed about the general is that he’s such a brute especially when you compare him with the soft and contained anger of Alec.

The train operated by Janis was nicknamed the ‘darth train’ and it’s easy to see why. Very cool looking but functionally ineffective. Sick Star Wars burn there btw.

I mentioned earlier than I could imagine worse ways of dying than being crushed between Famke thighs but honestly by this point in the movie I was fed up with her character. She was deranged and two dimensional, her own saving grace were a few weak quips. So I was glad when her characters plot significance was tied up….get it because she was suffocated/crushed by a rope which pulled her taut against a tree till she died. Not my best material but who wants to waste top class zingers on second rate characters.

Oh speaking of which I’ve got a good one l. Bond should ask Alec where he’s ‘bean’ the past nine years. At this point in the review I’d understand if you stopped reading but resist that impulse impulse were almost done.

Also grade A foreshadowing from the movie. Boris has a little quirk with a pen and here we have Bond. Doesn’t he have an exploding pen for a gadget I wonder if that’ll come into play at some point.

Another good scene is Bond taunting Alec about his grand plan. While Alec sees it as justice for what the British government did you his family and people. Bond sees it as just  a plain and simple bank robbery. Admittedly on a massive scale but as he calls it ‘petty theft’

Something that always amazes me about these movies is the amount of people willing to be involved in plans like these for world domination or techno terrorism or genocide. I get that people can be sheep and that the media likes to portray people are morally bankrupt but do they really think dozens or hundreds of people will all blindly follow a man who’s threatening to cripple an entire country economically. Sure money is an incentive but just once I’d like to see a bond minion with crisis of conscience. And not one related to having a big old helping of Bonds member to sway all but the most die hard of female henchmen.

This movie came after an extended hiatus for the James Bond franchise and was something of a rebirth for the franchise which had been getting stale. This movie then must have been a baptism by fire because it ratcheted up the explosions a bit more than I remember in other movies. I mean every other thing exploded. And while we’re talking about collateral this movie managed to raise the death toll to new levels. Apparently Bond kills 42 separate people from start to finish. He’s really taking advantage of that licence to kill  I guess it’s like purge rules. You do it while you can.

And finally what we’ve been waiting for. No more lackeys or death trap (he couldn’t even get sharks with laser beams on their heads. Suppose a tiger jet will have to do instead) finally the two double 0’d are going to duke it out to see who’s left standing and whose plummeting to the ground. I think I’ll give this film a 6/10.

 

First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org

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