Connect with us
Goldeneye James Bond 007 movie at 25
Image: MGM Studios

Film

Goldeneye: One of the Better James Bond Films

James Bond Spotlight

The Essence of Bond has been shaped and re-shaped constantly over the decades and that has been due to its mostly successful ability to plug into the popular zeitgeist and meld that aesthetic with what makes Bond, well, Bond: Q gadgets, adventure tourist locales, voluptuous ladies (assuming the role of both friend and foe) and a version of suave and sexist male masculinity first cultivated by Sean Connery in Bond’s first outing, Dr. No in 1962. In the early nineties, it was time again to re-invent Bond, or rather his universe as not only was Timothy Dalton moving on from the Bond Franchise but the politics on the international stage had changed drastically. It was time for Bond to integrate into a post-Cold War world and director Martin Campbell was brought on board, along with Remington Steele television actor Pierce Brosnan to help make that happen and the resulting Goldeneye represents an enjoyable and confident exercise in adapting Bond for a new age.

Aside from a thrilling opening where James Bond and fellow MI6 operative 006 Alec Trevelyan (played by Sean Bean) raid a chemical weapons plant in Northern Russia- the subsequent opening credits sequence plays nicely to the story about to unfold. Helmed by music director Daniel Kleinman taking over from the series’ veteran designer Maurice Binder, the sequence combined CGI (a new addition to the franchise) with live-action photography to show images of women in silhouette destroying iconographic idols of the old Russian empire. Scored against the theme song written by Bono and The Edge and sung by Tina Turner with brash, feverish fervor- the slick combination of image and sound gives Goldeneye a fresh and sophisticated polish.

Goldeneye
Image: MGM

Goldeneye – A Terrific Exercise in Blockbuster Filmmaking

Back in London, the face of MI6 has also changed: stage veteran Judi Dench stepped up to the plate as M, giving Bond a dressing down, declaring him a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur, a relic of the Cold War” and even Moneypenny, M’s assistant, played now by Samantha Bond can give as good as she gets by declaring Bond’s flirting tantamount to sexual harassment unless of course, he plans on making good on his innuendoes someday. The Moneypenny in this update feels drastically more assured and contemporary when compared to the prior sycophantic portrayals by Lois Maxwell and later Caroline Bliss. Brosnan certainly looks the part and even though his character seems a bit imperturbable during most of the film, there is a wit and levity imbued in his performance when sparring with Bond Girl and computer programmer Natalya Simonova (played by Izabella Scorupco) when getting out of a tight squeeze from henchwoman Xenia Onatopp, played wonderfully by Danish actress Famke Janssen. Janssen’s portrayal of Onatopp isn’t the best thing about Goldeneye but is definitely the most fun and playful thing the film has to offer and she steals every scene she is in, even if she is hovering in the background savouring her moments of villainy.

Alec Trevelyan
Image: MGM

What makes Goldeneye really stand out though is the motivations of its villain and double agent Alec Trevelyan. His goals reach beyond the machinations of your stock Bond villain bent on world domination or consumption- when it comes down to it, all Trevelyan really cares about is getting his pound of flesh from Bond and England. The fact that he hijacks a Russian nuclear satellite to send the U.K. back into the Dark Ages by firing off an EMP feels like an afterthought when compared to a blood feud he wants to settle going back to atrocities committed against his family by Britain at the outset of the Cold War. The fact that the story brings in this sense of world history and bookends the Cold War in this grisly way helps keep the plot moving along nicely and brings an emotional complexity and entanglement to all the major players involved. Indeed, Goldeneye is not only a terrific exercise in blockbuster filmmaking including some incredible action sequences and performances which even inspired and spawned a classic blockbuster multiplayer gaming experience on the Nintendo 64 but stood as a testament to the fact that sometimes you can really teach a new dog new tricks.

– Gregory Ashman

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published under our old brand, Sound On Sight.

Now Streaming

Written By

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Facebook

Trending

Vesper poster Vesper poster

Vesper: Sci-Fi That Thinks Big With Limited Means

Culture

Anti-War Anti-War

Three Bestselling Anti-War Novels, Three A-List Film Adaptations…Three Flops:  Castle Keep, Catch-22, Slaughterhouse-Five

Culture

Your Full List of All Upcoming Marvel Movies Your Full List of All Upcoming Marvel Movies

A Full List Of Upcoming Marvel Studios Film And TV Releases

Culture

Robocop 1987 Robocop 1987

RoboCop is a Social Satire That Gets More Relevant With Age

Film

Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman: The 10 Greatest Comic Issues Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman: The 10 Greatest Comic Issues

Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman: The 10 Greatest Comic Issues

Comics

Unforgiven movie review Unforgiven movie review

Unforgiven Ushered the Western into its Afterlife 

Culture

Nope Nope

Jordan Peele’s Nope Explained: A Spectacle of “Bad Miracles”

Film

Alex's War (2022) Alex's War (2022)

Alex’s War, a Documentary Study of Alex Jones, Misses the Big Picture 

Film

Signs movie review Signs movie review

M. Night Shyamalan Signs Finds Comfort at the End of the World

Film

All Out 2022 Predictions All Out 2022 Predictions

Way Too Early Predictions for All Out 2022

Wrestling

Biography: WWE Legends’ Look at Goldberg is One of the Best Wrestling Documentaries Ever 

TV

Detective vs Sleuths Detective vs Sleuths

Detective vs. Sleuths: Buckle Up for a Bumpy Ride

Culture

Incredible Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin Fan Film Takes The Franchise Into R-Rated Territory

Culture

The Gray Man movie review The Gray Man movie review

Netflix’s The Gray Man is its Most Expensive and Emptiest Star Vehicle

Culture

Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop 1987 Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop 1987

Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop is an Anti-Fascist Classic 

Film

Marvel at San Diego Comic-Con Marvel at San Diego Comic-Con

Marvel at San Diego Comic-Con 2022: A Full Recap

Culture

Connect