1. CBn Reviews 'GoldenEye'

    By Devin Zydel on 2006-06-26

    Over the last several months, members of the CBn Forum have been reviewing all the James Bond 007 films in the “Countdown Threads“. If you wish to join in on the forum discussion all you have to do is register. Now here are some selected reviews, varying in opinion, of GoldenEye

    ‘GoldenEye’ by Turn

    Half a good Bond film and half that seems to underachieve making for a good, but less than entirely satisfying film for me.

    I thought there was trouble when the gunbarrel began with the underwhelming Eric Serra theme that rendered the song almost unrecognizable when it needed a bombastic rendition and Brosnan fires in a stiff motion. What followed, though, amounted to one of the best stunts (the bungee jump) and teasers in the series UNTIL they couldn’t leave well enough alone by making Bond fly into the plane. And here I thought the Moore era ended a decade ago.

    The beginning of the film proper was rousing with the return of the good old DB5. Nice to see Bond in the casino and Xenia is simply one of the most fantastic Bond women ever. But things drag somewhat after that. The Severnaya scenes seem to drag and there seems to be a lot of time taken to reestablish Bond for a new audience.

    The scenes in Russia are fine, especially the meeting in the Soviet graveyard, one of the most atmospheric Bond scenes yet. But I have to admit I am probably the only person who finds the tank scene underwhelming. It’s like an outtake from the Blues Brothers with just a lot of destruction as Bond uses a mode of transport he’s never used as the main emphasis of the chase.

    The train scene is good until Bond uses the all-too-convenient laser watch to escape. Didn’t Connery use that device 12 years before? Shouldn’t Bond be a little more creative than that? Then we get the BMW which really has no purpose except EON got a good deal in promoting it to waylay other costs.

    The assault on the stronghold was good. I especially love the scene where Bond arms the Bond with bullets flying around his head and he merely shrugs as if they were pesky flies. The fight with Trevelyan is one of the series’ best. But the very end is somewhat lame, but at least we’re spared the juvinile double entendre.

    As far as characters go, they are also mixed. Bean makes a decent villain even if his motivation is a bit thin. I am amazed at how many people like the Natalya character. She’s okay, but nothing great. She reminds me a lot of Kara from The Living Daylights, but is more annoying and opinionated. When I think of the character I am reminded more of the incessant whining and yelling than anything else.

    Wade is useless, whereas Zukovsky is at least interesting here. Orumov is a good character and Xenia steals the film. Brosnan does a good job here although you feel he has a few things to work out. He exceeded my expectations, though, on his first try.

    So, GoldenEye is a very mixed bag with the bad dragging down some really good elements to make the film less than I wish it would or could be. But it’s gotten somewhat better over the years for me.

    ‘GoldenEye’ by tdalton

    GoldenEye, Pierce Brosnan’s first film as 007, may go down as the only Bond film in the franchise that has little, if anything, to do with the character of James Bond. The character of James Bond is “outbonded” in this film by the outstanding Sean Bean, who turns out to be the only part of the film that keeps it from surpassing Die Another Day as the worst in the series.

    Considering that Pierce Brosnan was considered for the role in 1987, eight years before the release of this film, it’s amazing how young he still looks, and how wrong he would have been for the role (from an age perspective) back in ’87. Even in 1995, Brosnan still appears to be a bit young for the role, but to his credit, he does fit the bill quite well in the follow up, Tomorrow Never Dies.

    Ultimately what keeps this film from being great is that it takes an incredibly long time for the plot to get going. First of all, it’s amazing how Bond just happens to be in Monte Carlo at the beginning of the film when all of Janus’ nefarious schemes begin to go down. There is no reason given for Bond being there, other than cutting out at least a half hour of detective work on the part of Bond.

    Other errors that detract from the film are contained within the PTS, where Trevelyan is shot at point-blank-range by General Orumov, yet somehow manages to survive both that and the destruction of the facility. It’s not possible for Orumov to be using blanks, as later in the sequence he uses the same weapon on one of his troops, fatally wounding him. Basically, the producers made a very big mistake here and hoped that the audience wouldn’t catch it.

    But now, back to the main problem with the film. Over the course of the entire film, Pierce Brosnan is “outbonded” by Sean Bean every step of the way. With the exception of the whole nefarious plot to rob the banks of London, everything else about Bean’s portrayal of Trevelyan just simply screams James Bond. He is ruthless when it’s called for, he does a fantastic job of delivering the one-liners that his character is given, and he just overall captures the essence of Fleming’s Bond, something that Pierce Brosnan was unable to do with this film. Bean will probably go down as the biggest missed opportunity in the history of the franchise, as I believe that we would have experienced a true golden age for the Bond franchise had he been given a chance to step into the role.

    With the whole issue of Sean Bean put aside for a moment (which is hard to do, since he overshadows the film even when he’s not on screen), attention should be turned to Natalya, played quite well by Izabella Scorupco. Really, the entire film revolves around her character, often forcing Bond to take a back seat to her. Without her presence in the film, Bond would not have survived to the end, it’s just that simple. Without her screaming in his ear in the helicopter, it’s unlikely that he would have woken up in time to hit the ejector seat. Without her piloting the helicopter at the end of the film to rescue him from the satellite dish, both he and Trevelyan would have suffered very much the same fate. Sadly, while her character is quite good, she marks the beginning of the Bond equals that would plague the Brosnan Era.

    GoldenEye is also, perhaps, the most self-aware Bond film in the series. Constant efforts are made to remind the audience of who James Bond actually was, or at least how the current production team perceived him to be at the time. Every step of the way, it felt as though the writers were forcing characters into positions to make some kind of social criticism of the Bond character, from M’s “dinosaur” and “relic of the Cold War” remarks to Moneypenny’s radical update, which was used to remind Bond that his past encounters with the Moneypenny character would no longer be considered appropriate for the post-Cold War Era.

    One part of the film that I did enjoy, however, was Eric Serra’s score. While it is widely bashed as being the worst of the scores, I find it to be very refreshing and it fits in with the tone of the film quite well. It would have been nice to see Serra get another chance at a Bond film, and to see how he would have grown into the job. Also, the writing team of U2’s Bono and The Edge team up with Tina Turner for a fantastic title song.

    Overall, GoldenEye just isn’t a very good film at all. There are several major plotholes that are not addressed, and there is just not enough going on to hold the attention of the audience. And, the fact that Sean Bean completely steals the show from Pierce Brosnan and proves that it should have been him in the role instead, help to take away from what had the potential to be a great film. One can only imagine how great this film could have been had it been Timothy Dalton or Sean Bean as Bond versus Anthony Hopkins as Trevelyan. Either one of those combinations would have been outstanding, but the film that the audience was ultimately given was lackluster, at best.

    ‘GoldenEye’ by DLibrasnow

    In what will surely shock some on CBn (who are under the mistaken impression that I dislike Pierce Brosnan) let me now proceed with my lovefest review of his first James Bond movie – GoldenEye.

    After a six-year absence it was with breathless excitement that I sat there in a darkened movie theater at the Mall of America in Minnesota waiting for that familiar gunbarrel sequence focusing on one of my favorite television and movie actors.

    What followed was a great couple of hours with the best femme fatale in a 007 movie since 1983s Fatima Blush. Famke Janssen was so much fun as Xenia that she dominated the screen in every scene in which she appeared.

    Brosnan throws himself into the role with vigor. With something definitely to prove after being denied the role eight years earlier he gives a rousing and thoroughly entertaining performance as the British secret agent. Brosnan never looked better and it’s only a shame that he failed to live up to his initial promise with his subsequent movies.

    Judi Dench gives the series, and all the tired old-boy M-scenes of previous movies, a shot in the arm with a fresh take on the part of Bond’s boss. The dialogue was crisp and crackling and although the novelty has since worn off back in 1995 it was a welcome change.

    One of my favorite young British actors Sean Bean (of the Sharpe series and ‘Stormy Monday’) appeared as the main villain. It was great to finally get a good, involving fight back in the 007 movies as the two agents threw themselves around the lofty inclines of a radio transmitter.

    Which brings me to – secret villains base. It’s not quite a hollowed out volcano, but hiding the transmitter under a lake was a nice touch. The actual location has since appeared in a number of movies and television shows but at the time of GoldenEye‘s release it was exciting to see a return to the world of secret villains super-lairs.

    One element I really liked was the score from Eric Serra. It was fresh, different and toe tapping good. Serra thankfully used the James Bond Theme sparingly (unlike some idiots I could mention) and I really enjoyed it.
    Overall a good, solid James Bond movie that allowed the viewer to have a fun, entertaing ride along with the actors.

    ‘GoldenEye’ by Tarl_Cabot

    A superior film to Brosnan’s more recent outings but it still ranks #16 [out of them all] for me because of some incoherent script issues, a weak score, a horrible song(the worst)and a a great pre-title savaged by cheesy special effects in place of a real stunt performed.

    Brosnan makes a good debut but he’s a little erratic in his approach. It seems like he doesn’t want to be too serious (Dalton) but he does anyway, and it seems he doesn’t want to be too campy, (Moore) but he makes some one lame liners so it seems he really seems to want to be SuperBond -everyone’s all purpose 007.It’s a fair effort but the film never allows him to knock it outta the park. Still, a pleasnant Bond film, especially after a 6.5 year hiatus.

    ‘GoldenEye’ by A Kristatos

    It was a tough choice for me to choose which Brosnan movie I liked better, Tomorrow Never Dies or GoldenEye. For me, GoldenEye finishes a tad behind Tomorrow Never Dies for third place amongst the Brosnan Bonds, probably due to the ultra modern and very unBondlike Eric Serra soundtrack, and an over-the-top ending to the PTS (Bond freefalling to catch an out of control airplane? Puhleeze!). Both movies are very similar in that they both feature strong villains and Bond girls. Both utilize their locales very well. And both films helped revitalize the Bond franchise amongst the general public, even though I find both Timothy Dalton movies very well regarded.

    Utimately, the Serra composed GoldenEye soundtrack just sounded completely misplaced in a Bond movie, though Run, Shoot and Jump was one of the best action cues of the entire series, and the Natalya romantic theme was also very well done. The rest of the soundtrack (with the exception of the recomposed tank chase scene music) was rubbish.

    In short, GoldenEye was everything one would expect in a Bond movie. Great villains (Sean Bean is terrific in this film), fights, girls (with the exception of the most highly annoying Xenia Onatopp), chases and humor make this movie very good. Also, a terrific debut by Pierce Brosnan as James Bond really gave the series the shot in the arm it needed, as Brosnan portrayed Bond with the perfect balance of humor, toughness and charm. If only the soundtrack could have leaned toward the more traditional “Barrylike” sound that David Arnold scored for Tomorrow Never Dies. GoldenEye then would have been truly golden for me.

    ‘GoldenEye’ by Moonraker

    A great Bond movie. It introduces Bond to the 90’s in a great way. The 5 year gap gave the producers enough time to get it right. The characterization and the action is great and the story line is believable. The score is horrible and ruins the impact on alot of scenes (car chase). Other than that it is a great Bond film.

    ‘GoldenEye’ by Qwerty

    While this film it often looked upon as the magnificent GoldenEye that brought Bond back to the 90’s and Brosnan into the role, I think, because of those reasons, it is sometimes overrated.

    The plot of the film is a good one, the idea of two 00’s fighting against eachother as the good and bad of the film is a top idea and it is executed rather well. The GoldenEye satellite is also a great idea and it puts a nice spin on the usual superweapon that is just supposed to fire a laser, rockets, etc. Top marks there.

    The casting is all around pretty good. Pierce Brosnan gives a good performance as James Bond, continuing in his next film as well. Sean Bean and Famke Janssen are terrific villains as well, even though the over-the-top Xenia easily steals the show. She’s all the more better because of it. I thought Natayla was an okay Bond girl, albeit rather average, and not one that really stands out like some of the others do.

    I’ve come to like Eric Serra’s techno-laden score more as time goes by, there are some great cues in it, such as The GoldenEye Overture used throughout. The main titles along with Tina Turner’s magnificent opening song are easily some of the best as well. The film had to bring Bond back into the 90’s with style, and it certainly accomplished that. I do enjoy the film greatly, but there are others which I consistently rank higher.

    ‘GoldenEye’ by BondIsMoore

    Plot: GoldenEye. One of my personal favourites. This was the film that introduced me to Bond. I think everybody knew of Goldfinger but when I saw this I was blown away. The story is very personal and rich. Here, we have the main villian being not only an ex double O but a close and personal friend of Bond. The GoldenEye weapon was also a very realistic threat and not too far fetched (Moonraker). The story moves quick and doesn’t waste time reintroducing everyone to the new generation of Bond characters (M) and the story continues to be strong right until the end. The 006 charater was a great figure to hold Bond up against. It was a glimpse to what maybe Bond may become if he gave in to his personal wants (greed, money, power). This film made Bond human again and made people realize that Bond was back!

    Acting: Pierce Brosnan’s first outing is probably the second best(Connery) introduction of a new Bond. He was very real and tough but still charming. He was a great choice which helped resurrect a dying series. Judi Dench really reinvented M and made the charater a little more caring and not so pissed off all the time. Sean Bean is amazing as Alec and Famke Janssen was sexy as Xenia Onatopp. Izabella Scorupco was porbably the most real Bond girl since Octopussy and she is also very hot!

    Score: I love the score. It’s very different then any other Bond. The main theme is awesome and probably my favourite theme next to A View To A Kill.

    Why this is in my top 5: This is #4 because it’s just a great action film. Great characters, great plot, great acting, great score, etc. They could of taken out Bond and put Jack Baur in, it still would be a great film! Thank you GoldenEye for making me a Bond fanatic.

    ‘GoldenEye’ by trumanlodge89

    “Were you expecting someone else?” No, Pierce, not at all, but you were about 5 years too late. GoldenEye is a great throwback Bond film with the right mix of realism and fantastic elements. Great villian, quirky henchmen and a hot Russian girl; what more could one ask for in a Bond flick?

    Our man Broz opens his Bond career in grand style. The jump off the dam is the second coming of Roger’s ski escape in The Spy Who Loved Me. Absolutly great sequence. And the PTS doesn’t let down. (although, where did that mountian come from?) Here is Bond being Bond. A simple mission, with the quips (pithy comebacks) and the clever escape.

    Note to EON producers: Alec Trevelyan is a real Bond villian. Gustav Graves is not. The scene where 006 is revealed as Janus is one of the best moments in the series. The dialogue is so good in this scene (it is in the whole movie, in fact).

    Xenia Onatopp is a character Ian Fleming would’ve loved. A gorgous Russian who got VERY excited when killing. This is an original character. A man who feels no pain (nor pleasure) loses a lot of credibility after it is done 3 times (Thunderball, Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough).

    My main beef with this movie is the music. Two pieces of music work in this movie. The title song and the tank chase. I give Serra credit for trying something new, but its BOND. You don’t screw around with the formula too much in one movie. If you want a new sound, try to ease it in gradually. The opening sequence (post titles) is the worst music to ever be featured in a Bond film. And dont get me started on the end credits. That song wasnt even an original. Tina Turner does a great job on the title track, writen by Bono and The Edge. The lyrics make little sense, but what title theme does?

    They need to start making Bond movies like this again.

    ‘GoldenEye’ by K1Bond007

    I’ll be the odd man out here and list GoldenEye as my second fav. This film is just overall fantastic and one of the best for a mix of everything the film version of James Bond is. Easily Brosnan’s best. A great pre-title credit teaser with Bond transfering from the motorbike to an airplane after going off a cliff. The tank chase, the race between Xenia and Bond at the beginning, the fight(s) between Trevelyan and Bond etc. I have major respect for this film for bridging James Bond to the future – to our modern day. This film could have gone so horribly wrong, but it successfuly made a shift for Bond to the post-Cold War era while staving off Bond becoming “a relic of the Cold War.”

    ‘GoldenEye’ by Double-Oh Agent

    Bond is back! And in 1995, never had those three words sounded so good. After a six-year absence due to problems dealing with MGM’s owner, 007 hit cinema screens once again, this time with a new Bond in the shape of Pierce Brosnan, and suddenly all was right with the world.

    While GoldenEye retained many elements that had made the Bond series a huge success over the years, some things were changed–most notably a new boss, only this “M” was a woman. Judi Dench took over the role of MI6 chief, Barbara Mawdsley, and she had some pointed things to say about her best agent that also cleverly put all those political correctness crazies in their place. In effect, she was saying: “In this film, Bond may be updated for the 90s, but the important things that are essential to his character like gambling, drinking, womanizing, etc. would stay the same.” Ian Fleming would have been proud.

    The bad: Not a whole lot but I would have to say Eric Serra’s score was a disappointment. While I don’t hate it, it just doesn’t work in the film. I actually prefer listening to the score on my stereo than listening to it while watching the movie. There are some good tracks, however, that do work. The best of these is Run, Shoot And Jump–a great action song. I only wish there was more of it to hear. Perhaps the biggest problem with the score is the virtual lack of The James Bond Theme throughout. 007 makes a return to the silver screen for the first time in six years and we have to strain our ears to pick out snippets of his theme song? Please. And then we get a James Bond car–with Stinger missiles, I might add–but it’s only on-screen for two minutes! And no shots of the gadgets being used? Why make a big deal of the car at all? It’s all a bit of a letdown. Where the producers could have shown that stuff in the movie, I don’t know, but as it’s presented, it’s all just a big tease.

    The good: Pierce Brosnan IS James Bond in this movie. While his acting is a little off in a couple of places–namely at MI6 headquarters–the rest of the film, he is rock solid and easily quells anyone’s fears of his ability to play Bond. (The makeup department could have trimmed his hair a little shorter though.) Sean Bean’s Alec Trevelyan is a great villain. The idea to have the bad guy be a former double-oh agent (006) was inspired. I especially like the bit about Trevelyan disarming Bond’s timing devices after Bond is captured. “Still press here do I?” And their climactic fight is particularly brutal and hard-hitting, rivaled only by Bond vs. Grant on the Orient Express in From Russia With Love and Bond vs. Peter Franks in the elevator in Diamonds Are Forever.

    The Bond girls are, in a word, beautiful. Famke Janssen’s Xenia Onatopp is over the top but deliciously so. She is so beautiful and sexy that many a man might still be willing to face the possibility of death to get between her crushing thighs. Janssen seems to be enjoying herself and gives it her all in the role and her performance is all the better for it as she steals most every scene she is in. She’s definitely one of the more memorable henchmen/henchwomen in the series. Izabella Scorupco’s Natalya Simonova, meanwhile, is no shrinking violet either. Her brains and willingness to get involved in the action are also memorable. Originally distrustful of Bond, she quickly switches to his side and her occasional banter with Brosnan over his care of various transportation is funny, particarlarly her questions: “Do you destroy every vehicle you get into?” and “What is it with you and moving vehicles?” Scorupco and Brosnan have good chemistry and she is very likable. I just wish the producers would have kept her hair her natural blonde color. While she is good looking as a brunette, she is absolutely gorgeous as a blonde. But I guess her being a brainy computer expert would be more believable (stereotypically anyway) as a non-blonde.

    Alan Cumming gives a funny and solid performance as computer wiz Boris Grishenko and Dench is good as “M”. I also have to add that it is very nice to see the appearance of Bill Tanner in the film in the guise of Michael Kitchen. While the character may not quite be what Fleming created or the actor in the role, it is still the closest we have gotten to it in the series so far and just the fact that Tanner is in the film is good enough for me.

    The plot is good and holds together well and the use of locations, namely Monte Carlo and St. Petersburg, Russia, is great. And the stunts, oh my, the stunts, are incredible. We get not one, but two fantastic stunts in the pre-titles sequence. The bungee jump off the dam is simply pure Bond and I love the part where Bond is trapped in the chemical factory surrounded by Russian guards. How he gets out of that is really clever with a nice touch added via the squeaky wheel. The tank chase is fantastic and absolutely hilarious as Bond’s indestructible vehicle destroys everything in its path. The part where Bond stops the tank to allow a Russian police car to run into it and then promptly straightens his tie is classic.

    And lastly, Bond’s fights with Xenia and 006 are great. The fight with Xenia is quick but hits all the right notes while the fight with Trevelyan is a down and dirty, drawn-out affair that one should have when former good friends are turned vengeful enemies. My only complaint with the latter fight is that it is shot so tightly that it is kind of hard to see what all is going on sometimes. Other than that, I it’s all good and I can’t wait to see more fights like that.

    GoldenEye was a triumphal return for 007 and ensured that the most successful movie franchise in history would continue well into the future. But Brosnan was only getting started with GoldenEye. In his ensuing films he would get more comfortable in the role. However, it was his first Bond movie that was the best. GoldenEye? No. This was GoldenBond.

    ‘GoldenEye’ by Tiin007

    GoldenEye is definitely the best Bond movie out there. Brosnan had no trouble fitting into the role- his acting is superb. Natalya is an amazing Bond girl who, unlike many Bond girls, actually fits into the plot. The diverse group of villains is probably the best in the series. Sean Bean is perfect for the role of friend-turned-enemy Trevelyan. He reminds me so much of Bond- I often think that this is exactly what Bond would be like as a villain. Xenia is a great femme fatale. I especially love her “unique” way of killing her victims. Boris and Oromuv are also good baddies who help make the movie more interesting. Valentin is a pretty unique character- an ally that has a grudge against Bond (no, Q doesn’t count!). Jack Wade, though I would’ve preferred Felix, at least has some personality unlike previous allies (i.e. Chuck Lee). The score is ok, although at points the music sounds a little too sad. The best part about the movie is how Bond is not only successfully adapted to the 90s, but also feels like the same old Bond we’ve come to know and love. The movie has a modern yet classic feel. This action-packed adventure is a fine example of what a Bond movie should be.

    ‘GoldenEye’ by 00-FAN008

    It’s everything a James Bond film should have; an action-packed opening sequence, a new line of cool gadgets, a chase scene… with a tank! Not to mention, perhaps one of the greatest James Bond villians of all time; 006. It’s a James Bond stew. Pierce Brosnan looks damn fine in a suit, a tux… overall, he looks fine in the shoes of 007. It will be hard to find a better replacement.

    Tina Turner also has a wonderful opening song that sets the mood of the film very well. Although I’ve heard people say that some of the music by Eric Serra doesn’t suit the film, I would have to disagree. It suits the film very well, like the “GoldenEye Overture”, which is very reminiscent of the scene in which Alec confronts Bond in the statue park. Like the film GoldenEye, Serra’s music is dark, powerful, and enjoyable overall.

    GoldenEye‘s conclusion in in league with From Russia With Love’s train fight sequence. This is another area where Serra’s music fits in so well; it perfectly reflects the intensity of the situation. I also thought that the satelite dish was the ideal location for the climax. It honestly could not have been any more exciting.

    The only real thing lacking in GoldenEye would have to be use of the BMW Z3, James Bond’s new car. We only get to see it a few times, and when we do get to see it, the fancy new missiles Q has installed are not exposed to blow up any bad guys. Even though James Bond never uses the Z3 in any action sequences, we were still happy to see the return of the Aston Martin DB5, as well as an exciting tank chase sequence, which is perhaps one of the greatest moments in Bond cinematic history.