The James Bond Film Festival. Part 1: Dr. No
The James Bond Film Festival. Part 2: From Russia with Love
The James Bond Film Festival. Part 3: Goldfinger
The James Bond Film Festival. Part 4: Thunderball
The James Bond Film Festival. Part 5: You Only Live Twice
The James Bond Film Festival. Part 6: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
The James Bond Film Festival. Part 7: Diamonds are Forever
The James Bond Film Festival. Part 8: Live and Let Die
The James Bond Film Festival. Part 9: The Man with the Golden Gun
The James Bond Film Festival. Part 10: The Spy Who Loved Me
The James Bond Film Festival. Part 11: Moonraker
The James Bond Film Festival. Part 12: For Your Eyes Only
The James Bond Film Festival. Part 13: Octopussy
The James Bond Film Festival. Part 14: A View to a Kill
The James Bond Film Festival. Part 15: The Living Daylights
The James Bond Film Festival. Part 16: License to Kill
I apologize for being late. It’s been a rather stressful couple of weeks.
Goldeneye changes the cast of the James Bond series once again. Pierce Brosnan makes his deput as our favourite secret agent, and Judi Dench appears as “M”. Joe Don Baker re-appears, only this time as CIA agent Jack Wade. He was previously in 1987’s The Living Daylights as evil soldier wannabe Brad Whitaker. Bond gets a BMW and an Omega instead of an Aston Martin and a Rolex.
The Cold War is over in 1995, so Bond must battle new enemies. This time it is Janus, a Russian underworld organization. Janus steals the new Tiger helicopter, which just happens to be shielded against electro-magnetic pulses. General Arkady Grigorovich Ourumov (Gottfried John) and henchman – erm, henchwoman – Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen) steal the key to Goldeneye (a spaced-based EMP weapon) and destroy the ground station, surviving the EMP in their stolen helicopter. There are only two survivors, Boris Grishenko (Alan Cumming) and Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco). Bond is sent to find Goldeneye and deprive Janus of its terrible weapon.
The pre-title sequence has Bond (Brosnan) and 006 Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean) breaking into a secret Russian facility. 006 is killed, and Bond makes his most spectacular – and unbelievable – escape yet. Fleeing the Russians, he tries to commandeer an airplane (a Helio Stallion, I believe). But the pilotless aircraft plunges over a cliff. Bond leaps after the plane and, freefalling, catches hold of it and flies to safety. A nice stunt shot (aided by special effects), but pretty unbelievable.
The film plays out well as a spy drama, until Bond and Simonova are captured by the Russians. How? Well, it seems 006 wasn’t quite dead. In fact, he had joined forces with Ourumov and his execution was a hoax. 006 is in fact “Janus”, named after the Roman two-faced god. The jig is up for Ourumov once Simonova tells Defense Minister Dmitri Mishkin (Tchéky Karyo) that Ourumov was the one who stole Goldeneye, killed the staff, and destroyed the ground station. But Ourumov is too quick for the Minister. He shoots a guard and Mishkin with Bond’s PPK, planning to pin the murders on Bond. And here’s where things start going a bit downhill. I just didn’t buy Bond’s escape. Those Russians are lousy shots! I didn’t buy the tank chase either. Sure, it was exciting; but I consciously had to suspend my disbelief. I’ll always wonder how Bond got the tank ahead of the speeding train.
If you’re wondering how computer geek Grishenko was not killed at the ground station, he was, of course, Janus’s “man on the inside”. Using his own computer tricks against him, Simonova traces him to Cuba. Here again reality breaks down as the CIA and USMC seem to have free reign to romp about this enemy nation. And what an Evil Lair! Much more complex than the “official” Goldeneye ground station in Russia. Why? Naturally the big dish antenna (I think it was Arecebo doubling for Goldeneye’s antenna) was hidden in a lake. Why did it have to be so big? The “home unit” was moderately sized.
Infiltration, capture, escape, confrontation. Pretty “formula” stuff. The former 006 is killed as his plans literally collapse around him.
I liked Goldeneye. But the beginning was, in my opinion, better than the last half. I like Epic Battles, but I got the sense that this was “battle for battling’s sake”. Overall, however, I think this one is superior to most of the Roger Moore films and a couple of the Connery ones.