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.
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.
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
From Russia With Love
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
For Your Eyes Only
Never Say Never Again
A View to a Kill
The Living Daylights
License to Kill