GoldenEye

GoldenEyeSynopsis: The effortlessly suave and sophisticated Pierce Brosnan makes his acclaimed debut as Agent 007 in this sensational espionage thriller featuring the most eye-popping opening sequence yet! When an MI6 agent (Sean Bean) turns rogue and plans world domination with a terrifying satellite-borne weapon, Bond must pursue his former ally to Cuba, Monte Carlo, Switzerland and even Russia, all whilst dodging a sexy, deadly femme fatale (Famke Janssen) who will stop at nothing to put the ‘squeeze’ on the intrepid spy!

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Welcome to The Critical Eye’s ‘Mission Briefing Version’ commentaries of the James Bond movies.

Via thirteen key categories, over the course of the next few months we will rate and/or comment on each picture in brief. These MBV blurbs will also sometimes feature guest commentators, Bond fans and non-fans alike, thus offering a variety of perspectives on this iconic series.

We hope that you will enjoy TCE’s unique take on the world of 007.

GoldenEye

Date of viewing: January 16, 2014

GoldenEye
Opening sequence

The Thorn: 7.5 – Pierce Brosnan looks cool in the gun barrel sequence, even if he moves far too quickly, but the music SUCKS so hard that it’s jarring! Then we’re treated to a gimmicky bungee stunt (bungee jumping was all the rage at the time, and Bond was trying to remain relevant). The opening sequence is unfortunately marred by poor dialogues and exposition as well as James Bond’s first CGI stunt. Yuck. And the new credits sequence were distracting at the time, being so different. Now, they seem modern – and possibly innovative as everyone has copied that style since.

The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – Naked chicks tearing down old Russian statues; looks great and fits with the theme of the movie.

***

GoldenEye
Story

The Thorn: 7.5 – I like the post-Glasnost setting, and the chaos that ensued in the former U.S.S.R. afterwards – it made sense that there would be defectors and turncoats in the former regime who were now trying to make as much money as possible. I also like the notion that there would be a former MI6 Agent getting revenge for past ills done to his family (although you’d think they’d be screened!). But the science behind their scheme seems a bit sketchy to me.

The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – Bond has to stop a villain from using a satellite weapon on the world. Simple and classic.

***

GoldenEye
Banter

The Thorn: 7.5 – The writers try their best to bring back the witty banter for this one, but the lines are only so-so – as they have been for at least two decades by that point. The freshness is gone. Thankfully, the delivery is pretty decent, even if there isn’t much enjoyment of them by the actors.

The Horrible Dr. B: 0 – Intolerable innuendos.

***

GoldenEye
Villains

The Thorn: 7.5 – Spoiler alert: Sean Bean is an excellent presence as Alec Trevelyan, even if his character’s motives are slightly dubious given that he’d been a secret agent for so long. But his bond with Bond (haha!) was a nice touch, if slightly cliché (of course the hero gets betrayed by someone close to him!!!). Gottfried John was okay as the General and Alan Cumming was amusing as Boris.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Trevelyan, the villain, is ok but not impressive; he’s part of a bad twist where we are supposed to be surprised by his comeback, which is so obvious since he would not have been introduced in the first place otherwise. Secondly, after getting hold of powerful weapons, thanks to his henchmen, he simply plan to use it to steal money? Like Bond, I was disappointed by his lack of vision. The concept presented that he planned his revenge from childhood and became an agent of the country he seeks revenge is not very credible. Henchmen Ouromov does a good job, however henchmen Onatopp is annoying. Not only does she have an immature name, but she’s overacting.

***

GoldenEye
Bond Girls

The Thorn: 8.5 – Famke Janssen exploded onto the scene as Xenia Onatopp. I hate the name (even back then, it annoyed me), but her interpretation of this extremely cartoon character is priceless; she’s not real, but she’s perfectly Bond. Natalya Simonova makes for a decent modern Bond Girl. Meanwhile, the new Moneypenny doesn’t take crap from Bond, but she doesn’t have the same finesse as Lois Maxwell did. And the new M? Well, you can’t fault Judi Dench, but I just can’t get used to the new dynamic. I liked the stuffy old M and his exasperation.

The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – M and Moneypenny don’t take any crap from Bond’s juvenile innuendoes. Natalya is not particularly attractive but she got brains. Great cameo by Minnie Driver: go Minnie!

***

GoldenEye
Gadgets

The Thorn: 8.0 – GoldenEye brings back the gadgets and there are some good ones, like the exploding pen, the laser wristwatch, and piton belt. The corny ones (leg cast-rocket, phone booth air bag, X-ray document decoder) are all in Q’s boutique – where they should remain, given that humour is inherent to those Q Branch sequences.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – An important one is the grenade-pen, which plays a role toward the end. My favorite is the laser watch: I like it because it makes sense for an agent to have and wasn’t an obvious setup like the pen.

***

GoldenEye
Vehicles

The Thorn: 8.0 – Well, they sure brought out the heavy artillery for this one: on top of the Aston Martin and a BMW Z3, Bond also burns rubber through Russian streets in a tank. A TANK. There’s also an armored train, Eurocopter Tiger. And, while most of the vehicles get only token screen time (in particular, the BMW gets an extremely lame cameo), they’re still pretty cool. This film brought the class and extravagance back to the series.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Unlike many people, I like the tank chase. And yes tanks can go fast and skid; they have a slow acceleration, nuance. Bond’s tank is so fast that not only can it skid on wet surfaces, it can outrun a speeding train! Bond’s BMW is good looking but I prefer the Aston.

***

GoldenEye
Locales

The Thorn: 8.0 – There are a number of pretty nice locations, especially the large-scale ones in Russia; I love the opulence of the U.S.S.R.-era palaces and courtyards. Unfortunately, there are also poor sets, including a really fake-looking “Cuba”, where Bond and Natalya are surrounded by what looks like artificial plants (they’re probably not, but they certainly don’t look like they’re in a real jungle).

The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – The locales are not important but visually, the whole movie looks good. The photography has improved a lot compared to the previous movies.

***

GoldenEye
Stunts

The Thorn: 7.5 – There are some pretty awesome stunts, like the bungee jump, but these are marred by the fact that the series started to use CGI to make things look more impressive. This takes away from the impression of realism that the Bond series always brought to the table – we always sat there in awe of what their stunt teams were able to pull off. Now it just depends on their CGI budget. Le sigh… a new Bond for a new era, I suppose.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – There is a fair amount of stunts. Some are simple and effective like the stuntman somersaulting in a staircase; it looks great and doesn’t involve explosion, or hanging outside a flying airplane like an idiot. Talking about airplane, the worst stunt is Bond’s plunge to escape in a stalling airplane; the take-off from the motorbike is visually nice but the problem is in the editing; it takes Bond a full 30s to jump, get in the plane and return to a normal flight; this is so impossible, it’s embarrassing; the idea is cool but we all know that the plane has 5 seconds before crashing.

***

GoldenEye
Soundtrack

The Thorn: 1.5 – Eric Serra’s music is f-ing HORRIBLE: the James Bond Theme was missing at key moments (and barely appeared, actually), and it was too artsy-fartsy, avant-garde (Funky guitar for a car chase? Really?). It was spectacularly ineffective. How can I give it a 1.5? because it’s professionally recorded, that’s why. Just kidding: it’s because of Tina Turner’s theme, which is half-decent, if lacking a certain something. By far the worst soundtrack of the series.

The Horrible Dr. B: 0 – Absent until the tank chase, then it becomes very generic. Its very weird; I don’t understand why they refrain from reusing music already develop for the series?

***

GoldenEye
Best Bond moment

The Thorn: Bizarrely enough, as over-the-top and mental as it is, the tank chase sequence probably takes it for me. I have a friend who was turned off of James Bond films altogether by that sequence, and I understand. But I found it thrilling and amusing – if totally nonsensical (let’s face it!). I also liked our introduction to Brosnan’s Bond, when he pops up in the bathroom stall. Unlike the tank, though, I don’t think that this amused me when I first saw it.

The Horrible Dr. B: The women (beside crazy Onatopp) are smart and vocal about the immature and sexist behavior of the men in the movie. There are some strong and smart women in the series but they are rare. Amazingly, in this movie there are 3!

***

GoldenEye
Worst Bond moment

The Thorn: Without a doubt, watching Bond chase after a plummeting plane by driving off a cliff on a motorcycle – and then catching up to it, climbing aboard and taking control of the plane, was absolutely stupid. And the CGI!!! Oh my goodness, it looked horrible!!! Seeing that tore a hole in my heart at the time and it still stings. The gun barrel intro is a close second “Worst Bond moment” because it sets the tone, staining the film, really.

The Horrible Dr. B: The best thing about the movie is also the worst one: on one side, women are given a voice about the immature behavior of the men, but the movie is still as immature as before. Why stating this problem many time in the story and do nothing about it? The movie did not go far enough. The right thing to do was to not only feature smart and strong women, but to eliminate Boris the immature jerk, eliminate Onatopp immature name and behavior, and eliminate Bonds’ immature innuendos!

***

GoldenEye
Overall impression

The Thorn: 7.5 – I have to give props to GoldenEye for bringing the franchise back from the dead, but it lacks something. The film looks more sophisticated than past ones, putting Bond in a new league, and I also like that they pick apart the Bond mythos, challenging him and audiences in many ways. Not bad. As for the new James Bond… Brosnan poses more than anything, which is disappointing after waiting a decade for him to get the part; he makes Bond feel slightly superficial even though he tries to give him edge. So this ends up being a good, but not great, entry. With a stronger performance from Brosnan and a decent soundtrack, it would have scored much higher.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – I have a suspicion that the movie was inspired by the Connery era. Bond has to discover and infiltrate a villain’s secret lair, which is somewhat similar to the lair in You live only twice. There is also a funny scene where Brosnan has to exchange secret pass phrases with another agent just like Connery used to do. And they decided to baptize a women with an immature name, again unfortunately typical from the Connery era. However, Brosnan is no Connery. He does look good and can do the part ok; however he seems a little thin and superficial. Maybe because it’s his first Bond and he hasn’t perfected his role yet?

James Bond Will return inTomorrow Never Dies

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