Summary: Pierce Brosnan ignites the screen in his first adventure as the unstoppable James Bond. When a powerful satellite system falls into the hands of a former ally-turned-enemy, only 007 can save the world from an awesome space weapon that - in one short pulse - could destroy the earth!
Review: After a six-year hiatus on Bond films, the producers had a big task ahead of them: how to make James Bond, a Cold War hero, relevant again. Fortunately for them, Pierce Brosnan was up to the task. The movie begins with guns blazing, introducing many of the key players, showing Bond kicking butt and even defying gravity and the laws of physics. Sure, the stunt where he jumps off a cliff after the plane and manages to get it back up and flying to safety is a bit absurd, but no more than anything in the Roger Moore era.
Tina Turnerís GoldenEye theme song is a refreshing blast from the past, as is Maurice Binderís beautiful and classic title sequence. The film then smartly introduces all of the key elements in rapid succession: the Aston Martin, beautiful women, exotic locations, sweeping panoramic shots, a car chase, Bond in a tux at a casino, vodka martinis, double entendres and, of course, ďBond, James Bond.Ē Essentially, the first 20 minutes of the film serve one purpose: proving that 007 is back and better than ever!
Once this point has been proved and the film takes a step back to develop the plot, it actually suffers a bit. In the end, itís a simple tale of thievery with a hint of revenge. On the plus side, the entire movie moves quite quickly and the characters are great. I love the stark contrast between the new M and the old one and Moneypenny and Bondís banter is brilliantly written. Boris provides the perfect comic relief and Xenia is both beautiful and deadly. On the other side, the main villain, Alec Trevelyan, is never properly developed. The writers could have done so much more with the idea that Bond is, in theory, fighting his equal and someone who knows his every move and trick. They used to be friends as well as coworkers and Bond seems to just brush it off. The only time anything is even hinted at is during the beach scene between Bond and Natalya, but the rest of the scene is so absurd that the actual point gets lost.
Moving on to the action scenes: they were great! The tank chase sequence is one of my favorites in the whole series, especially when you throw in Bondís escape from the archive that preceded it. The pre-title sequence is thrilling and the finale, while not one of the best, is still very well done.
Sadly, the worst part of the film is one that is usually the strongest: the score. Sure, following up John Barry is a nearly impossible task, but Eric Sierra butchered the theme with electronic nonsense that didnít even fit. He completely underused the Bond theme and the only time it came close to being right was at the tail end of the tank chase. I am very happy that the producers did not stick with him.
All in all, GoldenEye was a good, if not great, Bond film. For me though, it will always have a special place in my heart as it marked the beginning of Universal Exports. Sure, the first Bond film I saw in theaters was Licence to Kill and I canít even count how many times I had watched the older movies on TBS, but something about the right movie for the right age had me hooked. Another reason GoldenEye will always be one of those ďspecialĒ Bond films surely has to do with the Nintendo 64 video game, which I spent countless hours playing at home and in my college dorms. Any time I view the movie now, I canít help but think of using my red controller to run through The Facility or The Stack, searching for my Proxy Mines to blow up my friends. Itís amazing how close the game was to the movie. But, thatís neither here nor there so I shall end this review before I write more paragraphs waxing nostalgic.
Universal Exports Rating: 005
Universal Exports' Original Review - Circa 1996
First appearance of Pierce Brosnan as James Bond
First time Bond goes to Russia and there is no Cold War
First time Bond was explicitly stated as working for MI6 and not Universal Exports
First mention of Bond's family history (that his parents died in a climbing accident)
First time Bond does not wear a Rolex watch
First appearance of Judi Dench as M
First time Bond drives a BMW
First time Bond works directly with another 00-Agent
First time the movie's title does not come from the inside of an Ian Fleming novel
Pierce Brosnan was supposed to be Bond in 1987, but had to turn it down due to his contract with Remington Steel. |
At the time of release, the bungee jump off the dam set a record for the longest jump in history.
Billy Mitchell, who plays Admiral Farrell, also played Captain Pederson in the unofficial movie Never Say Never Again.
Goldeneye was the name of Ian Fleming's estate in Jamaica where he lived the last years of his life and created the character of James Bond.
In order to be guaranteed a PG-13 rating from the MPAA and a 12 rating from the BBFC, several cuts had to be made. The cuts include the visible bullet impact to Trevelyan's head when he is shot in the film's opening, several additional deaths during the sequence in which Onatopp guns down the workers at the Severnaya station, extra seconds of footage of Onatopp's death, and Bond giving Onatopp a rabbit punch in the car.