Rewatching the James Bond films chronologically. It’s 1995 now, and Pierce Hawthorne, um, I mean Brosnan has taken the role, kicking off a new era in Goldeneye.
Blond blurb: Bond was betrayed years ago in the USSR by fellow agent 006, Alec Trevelyan. In the present, there’s no more Cold War, but there are still evil plots brewing. But wait, Trevelyan is still alive, part of a separatist group planning to use leftover Soviet nuclear tech for nefarious means.
Bond background: There’s some serious tension between Bond and the new M, played by Judy Dench. The scene where she rips into Bond about his cavalier attitude is a highlight, showing how much the world has changed around Bond. Being betrayed by his former friend weighs heavily on Bond. When asked how he can be so unemotional about it, he answers, “It’s what keeps me alive.” Also, we learn that Bond is an orphan, after his parents were killed in a climbing accident when he was young.
Bond baddies: Sean Bean plays Trevelyan with his famous ice-cold stare. Trevelyan is depicted as what might happen if Bond were to turn to crime, and he tries to call Bond out on his loyalty to an outdated system. Russian general Ourumov also brings a lot of intensity to his scenes. Robbie Coltraine shows up as a former Russian official turned Russian gangster, and he’s actually really funny.
Bond babes: The love interest is computer expert Natalya Simonova. She’s fine, but she gets upstaged in a big way by Famke Jansen as the bad girl, Xenia Onatopp. Jansen steals the entire movie, and you can see her becoming a movie star right before your eyes.
Bond best brains: Bond’s car has a built in fax machine. The ‘90s!!! The trip through Q’s workshop is especially Three Stooges-ish, with slapstick gags left and right. Bond gets a belt with a retractable grappling wire, a grenade disguised as a pen, and a BMW equipped with stinger missiles.
Bond bash-ups: The opening scene has Bond acting all nice and slick as he infiltrates a Russian base. Then he’s all slick in a car chase with Onatopp, and he somehow remains slick while trashing half of Moscow in a tank. Along the way, there are some truly impressive pyrotechnics when a Russian base is destroyed by a satellite. The finale takes place at a giant satellite dish improbably hidden in a lake, with more gunfights and explosions and a great final bad guy fall.
Bond bygones: The ‘90s were the decade of retro, when nostalgia for decades earlier riddled the pop culture landscape. As such, each Bond film from here on out has callbacks to previous films in the series. Goldeneye is especially notable in this respect, as the filmmakers strived to include as many “Bond-isms” possible. I must admit, there are a few times when the movie feels a little more set in the ‘60s then the present.
Bond baggage: The fall of the Soviet Union is a big impetus to the plot. Alan Cumming plays a wacky computer hacker who speaks in a lot of early internet jargon, and Miss Moneypenny makes a joke (or perhaps she’s not joking?) about suing Bond for sexual harassment.
Bond babble: Despite my jokes about ‘90s trappings, there’s actually a somewhat timeless feeling to Goldeneye. They set out to make a “pure” James Bond movie, and I say they succeeded. The movie’s great fun, and one of my favorites.
Next week: This… is… CNN.
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