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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Compared to all that came before it, GoldenEye is a vastly different
film, at least in terms of style. The trademarks are all still there.
The tuxedo, the martini, the "Bond, James Bond" delivery, and even the
original Aston Martin DB5, all make an appearance, to establish the
validity of it being a Bond film. I believe this film's overall motive,
if it had one, was simply trying to say that, while times had changed,
Bond has not changed. What seems to be emphasized through these
trademarks is 007's timelessness. Outside of these aspects, however,
the film takes on an identity of its own. The first thing to notice is
that it is surprisingly dark. Not necessarily in terms of seriousness
or violence, although there is certainly that, but more in terms of the
overall atmosphere, particularly the scenes in Russia, which come off
very bleak, even Gothic at times. It is a unusual style that somehow
works for this film.
The plot takes full advantage of a post Cold War world. Bond still has strong connections to the former Soviets, only they are not the enemies this time around. There is a subtle shout out to feminism, when the misogynistic James is forced to take orders from his recently appointed chief, the new female M, played by the marvelous Judi Dench. Both Dench and Brosnan play well off of one another and each slip smoothly into their roles.
Brosnan proves his worth as Bond. He certainly looks good in a tux (I mean that in the most heterosexual way) and appears very comfortable in his own skin. He is not the kind of tough, hard hitting Bond, but he successfully pulls off an interesting combination of humor and vulnerability, along with a sheer athleticism that pays off in the action scenes. You can tell he is putting forth the effort while having fun in the role.
Sean Bean (Patriot Games, The Lord of the Rings) gives us our villain, Alec Trevelyan, and in many ways, he is a shadowy reflection of Bond himself. He is one of the few villains that really mix wit with brawn. A former ally turned villain, he is one of the most formidable foes in the series, pushing our hero's limits. Bean plays the character with such relish that he makes you want to root for him at moments.
The love interest in this film is Natalya Simonova, played by Izabella Scorupco (Vertical Limit, Reign of Fire). Aside from being a beautiful actress, her character is given a substantial chunk of the story all to herself. We see much of the crisis that takes place from her perspective. She has just as much stake in the overall plot as Bond does, which makes the story and their relationship ten times more interesting. The first half of the film follows each of their individual stories, and when we get to the point where their paths intersect everything falls into place, and we fully understand each character's motivation.
The action is pretty spectacular. Granted, there are moments when the envelope is pushed a little far. Nevertheless, it will keep you engaged throughout the movie. On the other hand, one thing I appreciated about this film is that it did not depend on the action sequences to create excitement or suspense. There are several moments that pit our characters in hazardous situations that manage to create intensity without the use of explosions or gunfire.
I consider it a must for any serious Bond fan. Although, what is also great about it is the fact that one does not necessarily have to be a Bond fan to enjoy it. Outside of a strong cast, a great script, spectacular sets and locations, it's stylish, exciting, sexy, and most importantly, it's creative. It's Bond for a new generation.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have always argued that there have been two instances in the Bond
franchise where the story and style have been rebooted in order to fit
the changing needs of the time. The first was the introduction of
Pierce Brosnan and Judi Dench with Goldeneye, and the second was the
introduction of Daniel Craig into Casino Royale. Being the First
Reboot, Goldeneye holds a special place in my heart as the film that
both introduced me to Bond and also reinvigorated a dying franchise -
for the first time.
Pierce Brosnan, the new James Bond, is an amazing choice for the protagonist. In fact he would have won the role had Remington Steele not been renewed for another season - but then again, he would have likely been cast in the rather mediocre films that Timothy Dalton ended up starring in. Instead, Goldeneye is a well-written film with cinematography that truly took Bond to a new level, and was the first to deal with the state of the world following the Cold War.
In keeping with the theme of post-Cold War problems, the movie centers around post-Soviet Russia, which is seeing a capitalist revival and the rise of a corrupt mafia and government. During an operation at a chemical weapons factory, Bond's compatriot, Agent 006, Alec Trevelyan is killed by General Arkadi Ouroumov, a Soviet general. Approximately ten years later, he returns to Russia to investigate the theft of an experimental electronically shielded helicopter capable of withstanding the most powerful electronic countermeasures. Concurrently, a Russian satellite weapon known as the GoldenEye destroys a secret complex in Siberia - the platform from which it is controlled. The sole survivor, Natalya Simonova, escapes with the knowledge that Ouroumov is behind the attack.
Bond finds out that the theft of the helicopter and the detonation of the GoldenEye device was masterminded by a crime syndicate known as Janus. The organization is revealed to be led by none other than the thought-dead Alec Trevelyan, a traitor seeking revenge on England for murdering his parents, who were Lienz Cossacks, a group of Russians who sought asylum in England and were deported. His ultimate plot is to use the GoldenEye satellite to wipe out the electronics of London - and by doing so, destroy the financial market of Europe and cause the world economy to collapse as an act of revenge.
The plot is beautifully Bond-like, and while from a scripted perspective seems stereotypically megalomaniacal, Trevelyan is not a typical villain. He is a vengeful, angry assassin who seeks revenge, not glory or money. His plight is understandable, not the result of some deluded fantasy, and Bond makes it his personal mission to kill him - not because of Dear England, but as he says, "for me". It brought out a whole new character in James Bond, a quality of pride and vengeance that had not been seen in Connery or Moore - and only touched upon by Dalton. Oddly enough, this is usually one of the criticisms of Daniel Craig's Bond, his vengeful nature, and yet Brosnan is the one who sets the precedent.
Judi Dench is a completely different M from her predecessors, most of whom either were entirely antagonistic to Bond or were gruff old men who gave Bond a free reign. She is a cold, calculating, "ice queen of numbers" (as Tanner puts it) who considers Bond an asset outwardly, but thinks of him almost as a son. She is subtle and decisive, acting in a way that is often unexpected, and her wit is, of course, worthy of recognition.
Although perhaps not the best of the Bond films, GoldenEye is considered one of the best, and Brosnan, despite all odds, proves himself as a contender for the iconic model of the super-spy. His legacy will (and has) defined that of his descendants.
Connery was the best, but nostalgia aside, the best film is probably
Golden Eye. It has a fabulous opening title sequence, the best chase
scene (Bond in a tank, through the streets of St.Petersburg), one of
the prettiest babes (Izabella Scorupco), the most bizarre bad-babe
character (Famke Janssen, not only named Onatopp but also able to crush
men between her thighs) and best of all, the most stylish and
psychologically convincing villain by far in Sean Bean,
back-from-the-dead agent 006.
In fact Sean Bean with his great lines and superb delivery out-classes Brosnan without trying. See the movie again and be surprised, like me. Brosnan's possibly the only minus to this film.
Makes you wonder, why wasn't Bean made the next Bond instead of Craig? Probably because he already played this role! Real pity.
After a six year gap, the longest so far in the James Bond movie
franchise, they finally returned with a new Bond, Pierce Brosnan, the
fifth actor to play the main character in the franchise, starting with
the seventeenth installment. Unfortunately, by the 1980's, Roger
Moore's best Bond material was behind him. That was the decade when he
starred in his last three films in the franchise, and was then replaced
by Timothy Dalton for the next two. Personally, I think the best 007
film of the 80's is "The Living Daylights", the first of Dalton's two,
but this first 90's film in the franchise, "GoldenEye", the first of
four starring Brosnan, is slightly superior.
James Bond is assigned to follow Xenia Onatopp, a former Soviet fighter pilot who now works for a crime syndicate known as Janus. The British agent unfortunately fails to stop her from stealing a powerful Tiger helicopter! She and Russian General Ourumov then go on a killing spree in a bunker in Severnaya, and manage to escape with the control disk for the GoldenEye satellite weapon, which they can cause a lot of damage with (and will if nobody stops them), along with a backstabbing computer programmer named Boris Grishenko! The only other survivor of the attack, and the only one left in the crew who is not on Ourumov and Onatopp's side, is a computer programmer named Natalya Simonova! Bond must now set out on a mission to retrieve the key to Goldeneye before the evil plan is carried out! He is joined on this mission by Natalya, but discovers that Alec Trevelyan, agent 006, who was thought to be killed on a mission in the presence of 007 nine years ago, is still alive, and is now his enemy, no longer his ally!
I remember seeing some of this film in the late 90's (I didn't remember its title), but had to see it again in order to see how Pierce Brosnan was as Bond. Now that I've seen the entire thing, after watching all of its predecessors, I can say he is a bit different. I guess he's one of the less serious Bonds, like Roger Moore. One difference I sometimes found was the accent. For example, Brosnan can't seem to say, "My name is Bond, James Bond," like his predecessors could. However, despite his differences, I think his portrayal of the character is decent. He still has his charm. In a Bond film, one would likely hope for suspense, and if you ask me, there's definitely a good amount of that in "GoldenEye", including the opening sequence (set nine years before the rest of the movie), and many others that follow during the main course of the movie. One also might hope for some humour, and there's some of that here as well, such as the driving sequence after the opening theme, and sometimes the antics of Boris Grishenko, played by Alan Cumming. The movie may stumble at times, but has enough action, suspense, and humour to make it impressive for the most part.
Watching the films in order, 8/10 is the highest I've rated any of them since 1977's "The Spy Who Loved Me", which I think is Roger Moore's best. Some would disagree, but many would agree that Pierce Brosnan started well in the role of James Bond with this 1995 spy thriller. While it's no "Goldfinger" (it may not even be QUITE as good as "The Spy Who Loved Me", though if not, it comes very close), I would say it's one of the stronger films is the franchise, quite intriguing for the most part, unlike some of them. So, after a six year hiatus, they still managed to make a decent Bond film, even though the franchise had been going for over thirty years after starting with Sean Connery, and some believe that no one has managed to match him in the role. If you want a long but thrilling spy film, "GoldenEye" could be what you're looking for, and watching it could be quite an experience.
I've never been fond of GoldenEye. However, I now realise that I didn't
enjoy it previously because I wasn't looking at it in context. Coming
off the Dalton and Moore films, I was expecting something similar and
was disappointed. It was only watching it this time, after Goldfinger,
that I realised GoldenEye is trying for the style of the classic 60's
Bonds, not the Moore era.
Literally, when I watched the scene of Brosnan dispose of a henchman with a towel, then dab his face, it clicked. That was a deliberate attempt to mimic the sophisticated, witty style of Terence Young and Guy Hamilton. Obviously, GoldenEye has to update this for the 90's, and that's the movie's other bullseye. GoldenEye feels more realistic than before, a world of genuine consequences. Subsequent Brosnan movies clearly lost this, and it's alarming to compare the almost cartoonish figure of 007 from Die Another Day with the believable government killer of GoldenEye. Did I say The World is Not Enough is Brosnan's best performance? It isn't, it's GoldenEye. He's lucky that the script was written for Dalton's more volatile portrayal, and he not only gets to play Bond's genuine hurt at his friend's betrayal, but also open up to Natalia about what makes him what he is. In some corners it is suggested Brosnan didn't live up to his potential as Bond, and this is more the fault of the scripts than the actor. They just didn't build on what was achieved in GoldenEye.
The movie has great villains; an evil Bond in Alex Trevelyan's 006, perfectly played by Sean Bean (who is always great). Famke Janssen takes the classic Bond bad girl and makes her into a ferocious femme fetale. A beautiful woman who gets aroused by killing people? Is there anything more Bond than that? And the Russians are always worthy villains for Bond.
One thing Campbell can do as good as any other Bond director, is action. There is a scene where Bond and Natalya escape from a Russian cell, only seconds, but really poetry in motion as far as action goes. Fast, powerful, unflinching. I'd even say GoldenEye needs more action. Some people think a good action movie simply depends on the budget. To them, I would suggest watching GoldenEye, and then The World is Not Enough or Die Another Day. Campbell is a master of the action scene, those who followed where not. Roger Spottiswoode (Tomorrow Never Dies) is good enough, but his set-pieces lack the precision of Campbell's.
As for the nagative details; the locations lack the glamour of Bond. Campbell is not one for attractive visuals. Alan Cumming's character Boris is just annoying. Bond gets a bit too much criticism for being un-PC, the audience is beaten over the head with it, almost. Judi Dench's M is basically just there for that speech. The music isn't very Bond-esquire, but it is exciting enough.
So to sum up; the combo of the classic Bond style, with the more real world feel, and great bad guys and action, really elevate this to one of the best of the series. There are two absolutely fantastic Bond moments in the pre-credit sequence - the bungee jump and the freefall into a falling plane - that the series has not been able to match since.
So I'm now a fan of GoldenEye, and it only took thirteen years.
Almost thirty years and fifteen Bond films later, it was time for (yet
again) another change. After the Box Office failure "Licence to Kill",
Bond needed a new face. Along with a new film, the producers give us
Brosnan, Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. He gets the job done, he gives
us spectacular acting, he gives us amazing action, and he makes
"Goldeneye" the best film ever made.
There are many great James Bond films, but none of them come close to "Goldeneye". Perice Brosnan is James Bond. He plays him so well that I want him to be Bond forever. It is like he was born to play the part. Connery was a good Bond, Moore wanted too many laughs, Dalton was to serious and Lazenby just plain sucked. I know I will have many Connery fans after me for this, but I don't care, Brosnan is the best. He is so suave and his acting is so stylish that he delivers great action scenes.
The action in this film is breathtaking and suspenseful. Bond fights bad guys on gigantic satellite dishes two hundred feet off the ground, he takes on a massive armor train with a tank, and chases bad guys through St. Petersburg Russia smashing everything in site, including a Perrier truck. Other great scenes include a chase through a soviet archive and a satellite in space destroying a bunker using electromagnetic pulse.
The plot of "Goldeneye" is also amazing. James Bond must stop Russian rebels from destroying London's economy using a spaced based weapon that emits electromagnetic pulse. The weapon is obviously known as Goldeneye. The Goldeneye is now in the hands of Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean), or as Bond knows him, 006. He vows revenge against London and England for providing an unpleasant childhood, killing his parents in World War Two. Along with Trevelyan is the secretly corrupt Russian General Ourmov (Gottfried John) and the devilishly beautiful supervillian named Xenia Onatopp (Famke Jansen). I would say Bond has his hands full, especially when he discovers that Xenia's secret weapon is strangling people with her legs.
Many other brilliant new characters are introduced in this film. Judi Dench plays M, the head of M-I-6. Samantha Bond play the new Miss Moneypenny who devastates Bond when she tells him she went to the theater with another man. Isabella Scorupco plays Natalya Simonova who proves that Bond women can be smart and still be very sexy. She probably is the best Bond girl to date.
Peirce Brosnan has changed Bond forever. Why? Because he has made it better. I would never have expected Bond to be better in the 1990's. The 1980's was a bit of a drag, but that's in the past. There is no doubt that Bond will get better throughout the years to come. Unless the producers have some new tricks up their sleeve's, "Goldeneye" will always be the best Bond film.
MASTER PLAN: utilize the new Goldeneye device to destroy all electronic
banking records, throwing England into a dark age. After an absence of
six years (since "License to Kill"), a new era in Bondism dawns;
everything, out of necessity, is new: a new Bond, a new M, a new
Moneypenny and a whole new world, without the Soviet Iron Curtain which
dominated the Bonders in the eighties. Well, Q is still here - the same
old Q; he shows up in a wheelchair and we think, oh my - he's not doing
well; but, it's all part of the sleight-of-hand during the
gadget-facility scene. The teaser starts things off right, beginning
with a spectacular bungee-cord jump and ending with a stunt that
attempts to surpass the best teaser of all time - the one from "The Spy
Who Loved Me." The only way to beat that one was to show something
unbelievable and this does, but so what? It's Bond. It's also
interesting that the teaser takes place nine years earlier, which would
place it around the time of the first Dalton Bonder. Tina Turner sings
over the strange and even, at the time, controversial credits, which
depict Bond girls smashing symbols of the Soviet regime - oh-oh, a
subversive, subliminal message here? Probably without meaning to, the
filmmakers gave the new Bonder some edge for the nineties.
Six years doesn't really sound like a long time but it almost looks like we've entered a new century since the previous Bonder. There's a heavy emphasis on computer technology and both the white hats & the evildoers seem to rely on these new advances, most of which did not exist in the eighties. Some of the dialog reflects this passage of time, such as when M, a female successor to the post, voices her negative overview of what Bond represents - or, what he used to represent. There's also a decidedly different flavor to the relationship between Bond and MI6 HQ, including Bond's bond with Moneypenny - certainly not the warm relationship we'd seen between Connery & Maxwell, for example. Ironically, there's a coldness here even though the Cold War is over, maybe because they're not teamed against the Soviets any longer. We kind of expect M (the always effective Dench) to criticize Bond, but nice Moneypenny? However, the scene where they all watch an electronic map as the pulse goes off is excellent, suggesting close teamwork. Brosnan does well as the new Bond and it's fortunate he didn't get the part earlier as planned - he's just the right age here. He doesn't have Connery's power but he also doesn't indulge in as much awful smirking as Moore, creating a well-balanced interpretation. He's a bit more emotional than those two old-timers, letting loose with a great big smile more than once, but he's also very serious when he needs to be, sometimes switching to a grim outlook almost abruptly. The tension is there, unlike the Moore version, but he also has a nearly superhuman competency, which is what 007 needs.
The mission begins in beautiful Monte Carlo (cards, anyone?), featuring the return of the Aston Martin, a spiffy auto race and the theft of a special helicopter. Bond then visits the new Russia in St.Petersburg, where there's a prolonged chase with a tank. He ends up somewhere in Cuba, searching for a huge satellite dish - this reminds of the fake lake from the humongous "You Only Live Twice" days. The villain ends up being former agent 006, whose closest parallel among past Bond villains is the assassin of "The Man With the Golden Gun," who was presented as Bond's opposite number, like an evil brother. Alec, 006, is the scarred, twisted version of 007 and makes a great opponent simply by virtue of his backstory. He's certainly not two-dimensional and you wonder just how bad can this guy really be if he was such good friends with Bond? Since he thinks like Bond and can perhaps out-think him, their final battle has that extra punch. The super-henchwoman, Onatopp, made quite an impression on me when I first saw this; when I viewed this again, her repeated orgasms during all her action/kill scenes became a bit silly and tiresome by the 3rd or 4th time. But, her final fight with Bond is also well done. Jack Wade replaces the crippled Leiter as Bond's CIA liaison; actor Baker hams it up. The femme fatale (gorgeous volatile Scorupco), the secondary villain (a Russian general) and a couple of other amusing characters (Boris, Valentin) are well drawn, adding to the overall adventure. This was a pretty intelligent and exciting restart for the series, though individual stand-out scenes are better than the overall uneven structure. Bond would return in "Tomorrow Never Dies." Bond:8 Villains:8 Femme Fatales:8 Henchwoman:8 CIA:7 Fights:9 Stunts/Chases:8 Gadgets:7 Auto:8 Locations:8 Pace:8 overall:8
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'Goldeneye', as you know was the name of Flemings retreat in ...Jamaca. It is a great shame that such efforts to make what appears to be a classic 'Bond' does not even feature the twanging guitar in the opening scene. Oh yes of course this was to be something new and therefore a change from the past ways but the entire sound track excluded this vital element. Must I wait for 'Casino Royale' to the final credits. Pierce's hair is way too long and his stature is a a far cry from the six foot thump your head Bond or the novels. Certainly anyone fooled by the tank bashing scene and cool Stalinesk train bit have been seduced by the wish wash music and should rewind to the post gun barrel opening to realize that the DB5 is G-O-L-D-Fi need I go on. BMW paid for the DB7 not to be shot and this is written on Goerge Lazenbys Grave Stone.
Definitely one of the best Bond films. The story is fresh and vibrant, albeit it does have the basic Bond structure that every one has. The performances are some of the best in the franchise, and the action is fantastic. The final fight between Bond and Alec is one of the best of the entire franchise. The film manages to be exciting and full of action, while not becoming too over the top or straying too far from the actual plot. That's the mistake they made with the rest of Brosnan's endeavor into the franchise. They made it all about the action. It's a shame that this is the only Brosnan that was any good, seeing as it's one of the five best of the franchise. He had some real potential, but his other three ended up being the worst of the entire franchise. Oh, and Izabella Scorupco definitely gave one of the best performances for a Bond girl.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Goldeneye was a better Bond outing - the opening scenes of the film certainly deliver on the epic scale and action, even if the dialogue between Alec and Bond was dull at best and cr*p at worst. But who wasn't overwhelmed when Bond leaped off that dam? I sure was - it felt like one of those Sky adverts we get in cinemas nowadays. But despite the fact this film was a financial success, it is far from perfect. The script isn't great - certain scenes feel more important than the plot as a whole, and though the tank chase through the Russian city was good, it had no real use in the plot. Even though the film has a nice dark side and it is improved by a shocking revelation and betrayal, the plot is ultimately derived and the Goldeneye isn't exactly a very original idea. And the quality of the outer space shots of Earth wasn't hot. The film's most beautiful lady, Xenia Onatopp, was an interesting character but not a complex one - merely eye candy and nothing else. I may be an avid hater of romance in any form, but Elektra King's seductive torture of Bond in The World Is Not Enough was far more effective than Onatopp's constant grunting and groaning in dark settings. It makes for a laugh, but also a pointless femme fatale character. And the villains aren't great either. I hardly even knew who Colonel Ourumov was, and Boris must be one of the least menacing villains either - he defines the word "geek" in every way. His death may be interesting and his character is somewhat amusing, but he is no Bond villain. This film managed to bring Bond out of the Cold War well and proved that the ending of this long, hard conflict didn't mean the end for 007 - the action scenes are great and won't be feeling dated for years now. Bits of paper flying through the air in the indoor battle before the tank chase show great attention to detail which all films should strive for. And the stunts are also good. Abandoning cr*p CG for great real action is what makes the Bond films great - and Goldeneye is no exception. But it comes with its problems as well. 7/10
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