00Walrus #17: GoldenEye

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00Walrus #17: GoldenEye

GOLDENEYE
Bond: Pierce Brosnan – 2 tusks
Brosnan slips comfortably into the role, a role he almost filled two movies previously. I’ve heard a lot of people say that Brosnan is the best Bond since Connery. Personally, I think he sets the stage here for being more of a follow up to Moore. I think he benefited from the Dalton buffer because of his similarity to Moore. The upside is that Brosnan looked to really be enjoying the role. The downside is that this may be his best movie.

Girl: Izabella Scorupco as Natalya Simonva – 1 tusk
She seemed like she should be more interesting than she was. Scorupco played the part well but ultimately, it was the character who bugged me. When she yells at Bond and Mishkin for being “boys with toys” and then later yells at Bond for being too macho (a.k.a. trying to save the world), I got annoyed. I’ve seen Bond get results using a certain macho approach for 16 previous movies. I don’t need someone trying to get in the way of that.

Gadgets: BMW Z3 – 1 tusk
One of my favorite Bond cars ever, the BMW Z3, and it was hardly used. There are references to it having an arsenal of weaponry. I was excited to view the DVD and see if there was a deleted scene with more from this car. Sadly, nothing. It appears as though this was a last minute addition to the movie and there was no time to really create a scene involving the car in any sort of action sequence.

Opening Theme: “GoldenEye” performed by Tina Turner – 2 tusks
Classic singer singing a real brassy tune. This definitely evokes the feeling of Bond and sets a tone for this movie that puts it squarely in line with previous entries.

Villain: Sean Bean as Alec Trevelyan (006) – 2 tusks
The villain himself doesn’t seem too terribly original and is called out on it by Bond late in the movie in that he is nothing more than a bank robber. Plus, the forced history between Trevelyan and Bond causes some of the emotion behind it all to be empty. But, Sean Bean makes it work to the best of his ability. I would loved to have seen that relationship grown in movies leading up to his ultimate betrayal. That would have meant more movies for Sean Bean. He rocks. In fact, I’m not so sure that Sean Bean wouldn’t have made a better Bond than Brosnan.

Pre-title opening sequence – 1 tusk
This could have been a nice introduction to Pierce Brosnan but he almost seems to be upstaged by Sean Bean. That, combined with an incredibly over-the-top jump off a cliff into a falling plane sequence, brings this opening down to less than perfect.

Story:
This was actually the first Bond movie I ever watched. For whatever reason, the movies never really interested me as a kid. And the completist in me found the sheer number of them to be too many to really tackle as I got older and approached a level of interest. With a fresh, clean start, I decided to give GoldenEye a chance and I was hooked. From there, I went back and watched every Bond movie in some sort of weird, wacky order. And I’d say, if you are someone who’s never watched the 007 movies and you don’t plan to just sit and watch them in order, GoldenEye is a good place to start. That said, it’s not without its weaknesses.

All of the Bond movies become dated in some way, but this one reeks of being too dated. Coming out around the same time the internet got big, the movie is full of references to that. And it doesn’t seem to grasp what the internet really would become. Also, with the Russian villains, this seems a bit old now that the Cold War is over. Especially in light of the fact that’s referenced within the movie.

I don’t like it when characters are forced into a story too far in. That’s how I feel about 006. There is a forced backstory that exists between 007 and 006 when, in 16 previous movies, we’ve seen 007 work with his fellow agents once, maybe twice. (And difference between 006 and Della from the previous movie is that even though Della is a new character, Felix is not. Bond’s familiarity with Della says more about his relationship with Felix than it does his relationship with Della.) Also, the age of the character really begins to play a problem as there are indications that he has a long history with MI-6, but he can’t possibly be the same Bond as Connery and Moore.

The biggest problem with the script is that it became too self-referential. Too many jokes calling out the Bondisms that don’t need to be called out. On two or three occasions Scorupco’s character feels the need to point out that Bond is destructive with a car. Not funny the first time, really not funny any subsequent time. The Jack Wade character was a poor replacement for Felix and also served to create self-referential scenes in the movie. Part of the problem is that this was the first Bond movie to come out after the major advent of “political correctness.” Producers were probably worried about the character of Bond surviving the onset of being PC. Only in the case of casting Judi Dench as M did this really benefit Bond.

There are some incredible coincidences that are used to help set up the plot of the movie. Bond happens to be in the same city where Onatopp and Ourumov plan to steal a helicopter. Those two happen to be working for Trevelyan who happened to, at one time, work with Bond, same guy who was present at his “death.” Some better writing could have made that all work better than just being full of coincidences.

The best part about this movie was the awesome tank chase sequence. That was one of the best Bond chase sequences ever.

Special Features:
Up until this movie, each bonus disc contained a 30-60 minute making of documentary narrated by Patrick Macnee. These were well-produced and in many cases, even better than the movie. For whatever reason, they stop as of GoldenEye. The special features as whole take a dive in quality. The Macnee-narrated pieces offered honest looks at the movies and presented the good and bad that went on behind the scenes. The new special features are nothing but promotional fluff that offer no real information. Disappointing, but I’ll be happy with what I got.

Previous Bond Movie Reviews
Dr. No
From Russia With Love
Goldfinger
Thunderball
You Only Live Twice
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Diamonds Are Forever
Live And Let Die
The Man With The Golden Gun
The Spy Who Loved Me
Moonraker
For Your Eyes Only
Octopussy
Never Say Never Again
A View to a Kill
The Living Daylights
License to Kill

By | 2018-08-18T15:06:21+00:00 October 15th, 2008|Categories: Article|Tags: , , , , |6 Comments

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Nerd Lunch co-founder and podcast co-host

6 Comments

  1. Anonymous February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Y'know, now that you mentioned it, I guess I've only seen the old Bonds either on TV or on VHS.

    Man.

    Guess it's about time for another Bondfest!

  2. Carlin February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    I have given some thought to the alternate reality where Brosnan was able to become Bond (same universe where Tom Selleck took the Indiana Jones gig). I think The Living Daylights would have remained largely unchanged, but I'm not sure License to Kill would have been made. I almost get the sense that was made with Dalton in mind and I don't think Brosnan could have pulled it off.

  3. Carlin February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    I almost mentioned that game, but I was running rather long as it was. I've never been much of a video gamer, but I did have an N64 and GoldenEye was one of my favs even if I wasn't very good at it.

    I will say that I have been continuously surprised by my recent Bond marathon. Movies I thought I didn't like, I grew some respect for (A View to a Kill) and vice versa (For Your Eyes Only). GoldenEye surprised me in that it didn't hold up quite as well as I remembered. And, without spoiling anything, one of Brosnan's subsequent movies surprised me by being quite a bit better than I remembered.

  4. Jeeg February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    GoldenEye is a solid Bond flick that looks even better in light of the other Brosnan movies. The near aimless meandering of the next three films make me long for what might have been with Brosnan versions of The Living Daylights or License to Kill. Damn you, Remington Steele!

    And I'd be remiss, if I didn't give GoldenEye additional credit for spawning one of the best first person shooters of all time. A good chunk of my early 20s was spent in front of a Nintendo 64 thanks to that game.

  5. Carlin February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    If you pick up those movies, make sure you get the ones with two-discs. I think there are some one-disc versions out there that don't have the Macnee stuff.

    Maybe it could be argued that GoldenEye did seem a bit more polished than previous movies, but these DVDs look great. The restoration is superb. The old movies have never looked better. All that crazy action in Thunderball or OHMSS seems much more polished than when I watched them on VHS.

  6. Anonymous February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    I didn't know that about the special features. I'll certainly have to pick up some of those pre-Brosnan Bond DVD's!

    Surpisingly I agree with your assessment of the story. My inital reaction to the film after seeing it in the theater was it had too many double entendres. Having said all that, though, I still believe the production values, the casting and the pacing of this movie were fantastic and exceeded much of what had gone before.

    —wiisty

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