Hot off the heels of another incredible movie franchise review (AKA Avengers: Age of Ultron)… another blog post about a film in a legacy, but I promise you that it’ll be okay. You’ll probably even like this review.
Almost 20 years ago today, because it was released in theatres on November 17th, so I’m off by about a month, we were introduced to Eon Productions first non Ian Fleming based film.
The 17th spy film in the James Bond series. The one called…
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Izabella Scorupco, Famke Janssen, Judi Dench
Director: Martin Campbell
re-released on blu-ray September 15, 2015 (The Pierce Brosnan Collection)
Rotten Tomatoes: 82%, Audience Score 83%
The Guardian: n/a (good recap here)
Martin Campbell has a pretty good rap sheet. He’s directed some excellent films, including The Mask of Zorro, Casino Royale, and Edge of Darkness. Let’s ignore Green Lantern please.
Keep in mind all of these films came out after his first 007 film. Fun fact, the movies Campbell directed before Goldeneye came in groups of three. Three movies about the legal system, and before that, three movies which were essentially softcore porn, IMHO.
So how did the dude land this script?
That’s something for people who have a lot more time on their hands than me to figure out. All I know is that Eon Productions made the right decision.
The film starts on a Soviet Union base during the Cold War. James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) and another agent, Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean), are on track to blow up a chemical weapons factory when Alec is captured by General Ourumov (Gottfried John), who expects Bond to give up. Bond resets the timers from six minutes to three and walks out to surrender, just in time to see Trevelyan executed. Bond is able to escape via a conveyor belt and once outside the facility, using a motorcycle, leaps off a cliff after a plane. Miraculously he escapes as the weapons plant explodes.
Fast forward nine years, Bond is driving in the mountains near Monaco with a MI6 psychiatrist who is evaluating his mental state. During this time an impromptu race happens between Bond and Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen), thankfully he quits when the psychiatrist gets upset.
Cue Bond on assignment to observe if the Janus crime syndicate will be present at a demonstration for the Eurocopter Tiger, which is unaffected by electromagnetic pulses from nuclear weapons. Xenia shows up a second time and uses her sexual prowess to steal an admiral’s ID, but not before killing him with her thighs. Xenia and accomplice then steal the Tiger during the demonstration.
Later, in Severnaya, Siberia, General Ourumov and Xenia arrive in the Tiger helicopter at a communications outpost. Ourumov takes control of the “Goldeneye” from the officer in charge, and promptly has the team executed by Xenia. He then activates the satellite, which delivers an nuclear powered EMP blast to Severnaya. The pair escape in the Tiger, as it is unaffected by the EMP.
One of the technicians, Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco), manages to survive the destruction of the command center, and climbs out of the base in search of rescue. At MI6, the observation room watches the whole event, including Bond, who spots Natalya crawling away from the base. He reports this to, M (Judi Dench). They have a nice exchange, where M calls Bond a misogynist dinosaur and relic from the Cold War, and gives him instructions to investigate Janus, Goldeneye, and Ourumov in greater detail while in Russia, but not to make it about revenge.
And that’s all I am going to share with you for now. Not because of spoilers, because you can read a summary in a bunch of different places on the internet. As I mentioned the movie is almost 20 years old.
Pros: The technology is up-to-date (for the time period), Alan Cumming is hilarious as a seedy Russian hacker, the villain Janus is incredibly well done, and Brosnan has the right combination of wit and strength.
Cons: There is a bit of a formula to every 007 film, so it’s not too difficult to see where the plot is headed, and you’ll expect to see innuendo between Bond and Moneypenny or a battle of remarks with Q
Runtime: 130 minutes
Points of Interest: Having played the crap out of the N64 game after I watched this movie, I probably spent 100s of hours on it to be honest, it’s fun to go back and relive the “levels”, knowing how it will all lead to that final battle atop of “The Cradle” at Janus’ secret lair in the Congo. Also it was the first move to be released on DVD, crazy right? Lastly, Goldeneye is the nickname of Ian Fleming’s beachfront house in Jamaica where he wrote about the Bond universe.
And that is my third movie review. I hope you enjoyed my post! I look forward to hearing your feedback. Leave some comments and questions.
Out of theories for now, check back soon!