Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Izabella Scorupco, Judi Dench, Joe Don Baker, Famke Janssen, Robbie Coltrane, Gottfried John, Alan Cumming, Desmond Llewelyn
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Written By: Jeffrey Caine, Bruce Feirstein
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 2hr 11 min
Six years had passed since James Bond was in our theaters, so the creative team behind GoldenEye had a bit of a mountain to climb. They needed to bring something new to the series, while simultaneously remind everyone who this character was. This was a ‘reboot’ for sure, before that term became part of the pop culture vernacular.
It’s somewhat unsurprising then to find GoldenEye loaded with everything we’re likely to recall first when we think about this popular character. He takes time to straighten his tie during an action scene, because he’s ‘James Bond’. James Bond also of course, needs to hook up with one or two exotic (often Russian) women as he completes his mission. There should be the obligatory meeting with Q (the always excellent Desmond Llewelyn) to discuss all the cool, yet deadly gadgets he’ll need, and lets not forget his favorite shaken beverage.
So while I can understand why the producers of this film felt the need to re-educate their audience. As a big fan of the series, I thought it hurt the film creatively, and did very little to develop the Bond character other than bring a welcome fresh face, Pierce Brosnan’s, to the franchise.
This Bond film did however, make some important changes (a little overdue perhaps) to the way women were portrayed in this universe. The most notable being, Bond’s boss, M, played with considerable class by the always excellent Judi Dench. Bond’s conquests weren’t all fawning fools either, as they had often been portrayed in past Bond adventures. In this film they are equal partners fighting for a resolution to the central conflict in the story, or murderous assassins equally as dangerous and deadly as our British secret agent. Famke Janssen certainly makes an impression as the murderous Xenia Onatopp!
All in all then I think is was a careful, yet solidly made Bond film. Changes were made to keep the franchise in step with the times, but this is still the Bond we all know so well. It also successfully introduced the character to a younger generation not completely familiar with the series.
If you’re a fan of the series, I think you’ll be happy with this film (like you haven’t already seen it!) Folks new to the series should enjoy it too as it takes the time to re-introduce the character’s well-known traits, while still being an entertaining action adventure story. The movie is rated PG-13, so the violence never gets too graphic.
The visual effects were not totally effective, but a big Bond adventure belongs on the big screen. At home a HD screening on a nice big TV will bring out the best in this film. Watching this on anything portable isn’t recommended.
Best Moment: << mild Spoiler >>
Bond is in hot pursuit, in a huge freakin’ tank! At one point smashing through a tall brick wall. As he does, the classic Bond theme music starts playing, and it’s a great moment in the movie.