As we cautiously approach the modern era of Eon’s Bond series we encounter previously unheard-of hardships: a five year gap between films, a new actor that was – almost – his own predecessor, a monumentally ugly villain’s lair that turned out to be the real-life home of British espionage and a major London landmark, a new M, the Secret Service being called MI6, chilling new interpretations of orthography… the list is endless. CBn’s resident notary Jacques Stewart sets out to chronicle the most inteResting examples in the 007th Minute of ‘Goldeneye’. As always opinionated.
Agree or disagree in this thread.
The 1980s. Custodian of my childhood. Bringer of the Austin Montego, Kevin the Gerbil, acid-washed jeans and absolutely nothing else. Remover of Charles Hawtrey, the Ayatollah Khomeini and tolerable Doctor Who.
Apologist for four-and-a-half duff James Bond films.
That exquisite first hour of The Living Daylights almost compensates, but has no real prospect of succeeding against James Bond XII: Underage, Undershaven, Underwater and Under a Geriatric; James Bond XIII: The Jewels ‘n’ the Clown; James Bond XIV: Aching, Baking and Earthquaking; James Bond XV: The Usual Letdown and James Bond XVI: Really Don’t Bother.
Quite a bit to put right, then.
With awards-bothering Skyfall laying waste to all that dares cross its path, be it ‘Obbitses, vampires or narrative coherence, it can be hard to recall – or recognise – GoldenEye’s achievement. Given the parlous state of Bond at the time, the films exhausted and unpopular, Mr Gardner grinding out his contractual obligation in ever more contractually-obliged ways, there was considerable doubt whether Bond films would return, could return, whether they would find an audience, whether there was any point. Whilst its supporters would claim that Licence to Kill wasn’t a disaster given that it recouped five times its budget , five times sod all is sodallsodallsodallsodallsodall (science fact). If the 1980s taught us anything – apart from never rub another man’s rhubarb – it’s that with Bond films, chuck money abite. Cheapo Bond gets noticed. You can’t make it with donkeycock, roadkill and offcuts of sickly bald Romanian orphan and not be found out. Speculate to accumulate, and spending lots on GoldenEye must have been pretty blimmin’ speculative. Change required.
Artistic merits of the decision aside, on a business basis Timothy Dalton had to go. Nobly, he went. Save for how he enunciated his Ts, he hadn’t clicked, and MGM/UA had shareholders to feed and receivers to fend off with a rickety chair and a whip. What was needed was a Bond built by a corporation to appeal to every demographic but not too strongly in any direction otherwise it could alienate, a Toyota Corolla of a James Bond, a reliable mass-market unthreatening consumer good, an item.
Gambolling off the conveyor skipped something calling itself a Pierce Brosnan. Halves of everything, Fate having associated him with Bond for many years in the PublicEye, and Luck not having exposed to the mass audience his astonishingly recondite talent beyond the challenging role of Man What Gets Fruit Thrown At Him in Mrs Doootfiah, subject to any prior demands on his time with knitting catalogue shoots, he was patently the chap. Bros-Nan, with GoldenEye as his definition, was a brilliantly populist strategy, bringing us something for everyone along with absolutely nothing for anyone looking for anything specific.