Movie Review: GOLDENEYE

It’s hard to imagine, but the first half the 1990s didn’t have a single James Bond movie released. Most shocking of all, before the November 1995 release of Goldeneye, most critics and causal movie fans were convinced that 007 wasn’t necessary. In many of the same ways as The Spy Who Loved Me brought the franchise back to life in the late 70s, Goldeneye was that for the mid to late 90s. Pierce Brosnan’s long-awaited turn as Bond was a true audience-pleaser. It even spawned one of the most popular video games of all-time. In fact, to this day, I still meet people who think this movie is an adaption of the video game.

Image result for goldeneye

My GE Notes:

  • The score is the only truly negative thing about the film. Eric Serra makes Marvin Hamlisch and Bill Conti sound like John Barry and David Arnold.
  • That opening bungee jump is still one of the most impressive stunts in Bond history. Remember when bungee jumping was a huge fad?
  • Pierce’s first line is said inside a toilet stall. Not exactly Sean Connery at a casino table.
  • The pre-title sequence is solid, but having it take place 9 years before the movie starts always throws me off. Bond hasn’t aged a day!
  • Sean Bean as 006/Alec Trevelyan makes a formidable villain, but the twist would have worked much better with a lesser known actor and without the reveal in the trailers/promotions.
  • These Russian soldiers are the most easily shot men I’ve ever seen in a Bond flick. Add to the fact that they have horrendous aim, they might as well be dressed as Stormtroopers.
  • Speaking of soldiers being shot, besides the cameo of Minnie Driver badly singing “Stand By Your Man”, keep an eye open for Dougray Scott in the opening action sequence. Colonel Ourumov shoots him.
  • Did MythBusters ever do an episode on how Bond uses terminal velocity to drive off a cliff to catch a plane?
  • Tina Turner’s song is alright I guess. I like Tina, but the song (written by Bono and The Edge) sounds like a poor version of a Shirley Bassey ballad.
  • Speaking of music, and back to Eric Serra’s war-crime of a soundtrack, the music in the car chase between Bond and Xenia Onatopp (On a top? Onatopp.) sounds like a cross between Sonic the Hedgehog and a porno.
  • I’m a sucker for a Bond-in-a-casino scene, and this one is up there. Brosnan looks like he was born to wear a tux and say his name is Bond, James Bond. It’s interesting that his hybrid of Connery and Moore works best in his first outing, and less so in the next three movies.
  • They really play-up the words internet and CD-Rom and modem. Very mid-90s.
  • Boris has to be in the top five most annoying characters in the franchise.
  • Natalya Simonova is one of the most beautiful Bond girls, to go along with the fact that she might be one of the most capable Bond girls.
  • Judi Dench’s first go-around as M is a delight to watch. I still like her best when paired with Craig, but she has some really great dialogue to throw at Brosnan.
  • It’s pretty amazing that this is the only time a Bond production actually went to Russia for filming.
  • This Q lab scene ranks up there as one of the best in the series. Brosnan almost cracks up.
  • The BMW z3 roadster is beautiful, but wasted.
  • What was up with Wade being obsessed with gardening?
  • Robbie Coltrane steals the two scenes he is in.
  • Bond vs Xenia in the sauna is part action scene, part sex scene. It’s a terrific piece of fun.
  • The tank chase is a very memorable scene, but it does drag on a bit.
  • I don’t care what anyone else says, the train has a face and it looks like Sam the Eagle from the Muppets.

Image result for goldeneye train

  • Chair has to be the easiest password ever.
  • The beaches in Puerto Rico (subbing for Cuba) are stunning. I hope they still are.
  • Is it just me or does the Natalya crotch-shot last longer than it should?
  • This is one of the few Bond movies that doesn’t suffer from a lackluster 3rd act.
  • Every time I watch this movie, I try to count along with Bond. How many freaking times does Boris click the exploding pen?!
  • Pierce Brosnan is no Connery or Craig (or even Lazenby) when it comes to hand-to-hand combat, but his fight with Alec is bruising.
  • Alec Trevelyan gives us perhaps the most painful Bond villain death. First the bone-crunching fall, and then crushed by the antenna.
  • The movie ends with once again, the only thing truly wrong with it. A soft, elevator music of a song called “The Experience of Love”.

Bond’s coolest moment? Walking through the casino, playing Baccarat against Xenia, ordering a vodka martini and saying his name. Classic Bond stuff. 

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? Having to check out Wade’s tattooed ass. 

Bond’s best line? “I like a woman who enjoys pulling rank.”

Best acting performance? Famka Janssen as Xenia Onatopp ranks as a great hench-person. Those eyes, those thighs! Ouch!

Bond’s #MeToo #TimesUp moment? Seducing the MI6 official there to evaluate him in Monte Carlo. 

Worst line in the movie? “Boys with toys.” Izabella Scorupco as Natalya Simonova.

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 97th time? Xenia’s taunting face in the train when Bond has to decide the mission or the girl. 

Best action sequence? The opening in the Russian chemical weapons facility. 

Who or what is the title song about? I’m guessing a woman who has been sexually attracted to Bond for a long time. The line “You’ll never know how I watched you
from the shadows as a child” still disturbs me. 

Best looking cinematic moment? That 3rd act in Puerto Rico/Cuba. It could be a postcard. 

How could the villain have succeeded? By not making it personal. Bond was his friend and shouldn’t have gotten him involved. 

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? Originally this was written for Timothy Dalton, so I think Dalton could have done this one minus some silly gags.

Does Bond ever think he might die? Just before he uses those gas tanks as cover in the pre-title action scene. 

What would have made the movie better? Hiring David Arnold to do the score. 

What’s in a name? Bond doesn’t go by any other name in this. 

What’s in a title? Goldeneye is the name of the Jamaican vacation home of the late Bond author Ian Fleming. 

Drinking game: Take a shot of bourbon each time Boris says “invincible” and “slugheads”.

“WTF?!” moment: When Bond walks past some freaky outdoor theater play in Monte Carlo. 

Fun fact: The original script for Goldeneye was so similar to 1994’s True Lies, that it had to be rewritten. 

Overall ranking: 6th out of 25. 

Review synopsis: Brosnan’s first Bond movie ends up being easily his best. He’s suave, urbane, and a natural for the role. The girls, the gadgets, the villains, the locations…it all checks off. It’s been over 20 years now and Goldeneye still ranks up there with classic Connery and Moore flicks, and it’s not too far off of Craig’s modern day best. It’s pretty damn close to being in the top tier of 007 adventures. 


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