GoldenEye 1995 ★★★½

See, I had a problem with Goldeneye right from the outset that actually had absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the film, whatever that may turn out to be. The problem was the N64 game.

I knew that it was going to take an effort on my part to actually watch and appreciate the film and not spend the whole time trying to match scenes to levels in the (absolutely brilliant even to this day) game. I didn't always succeed (I started having a conniption when that bloody silo made an appearance) but I think I did a lot better than expected. Mind you, I haven't played it for a few years.

It's strange, actually, when I was younger it had seemed like an age had passed between Licence To Kill and Goldeneye when in fact it had only been 6 years. Still long enough, of course, for us to have lost Timothy Dalton and gained Pierce Brosnan. Whilst the change between previous Bonds had been, I thought, quite smooth, it doesn't feel quite so smooth here.

It's not Brosnan's fault, actually, as he has all the tools for the role and does a very good job. And it's not the fault of the plot either which really does show a great deal of patience in unfolding an intricate but never confusing storyline. Story-wise, it's arguably the best Bond film to this point.

Indeed, on its own merits it's a fine film but the problem with series like this is that you cannot just judge it on its own but as part of the series as a whole. In many ways the series has moved on - it thankfully has moved with the times, looking and sounding sharper and is considerably more technologically advanced. And internet usage!

Tone-wise, however, it's an odd one. It starts out in a flurry of double entendres that would have had Roger Moore's eyebrows working overtime. It also had other daftness like 'Xenia Onatopp' and Alan Cumming's rude passwords. Contrast this with the most violent scenes in the series to date and Famke Janssen orgasming whenever she kills someone, and it's a slightly uncomfortable mixture at times - although not as uncomfortable as the dreadful scene between new M Judi Dench and Brosnan in her office, easily the worst part of the whole film. Mind you, the bit on the beach is quite shit, too.

But it does overcome these issues and is entertaining at a slower, more Connery-esque pace. The cast is exceptional, too, possibly the best yet. Janssen is commendably insane in her role and an outstanding Bond girl, but I think that the absolutely lovely Izabella Scorupco is almost as good in a less showy role. Sean Bean is also excellent as the main bad guy, but Cumming is an irritant, Robbie Coltrane doesn't get nearly enough to do, and Tcheky Karyo is in much the same boat.

Aside from the incredibly ridiculous, even by Bond standards, pre-credit sky dive into a falling plane, there is only really one action set piece that really stands out, too, that being the superb tank/car chase, but it's rarely meandering or slow and proves to be a high quality return for 007 despite my probably petty quibbling.

I want to play the game now. But I have no idea where my N64 is :(

20 Comments

  • Goldeneye on N64 is a classic, makes me wonder why no one really attempted successfully to ape it and it's excellent multiplayer....

  • I find the problem watching it back is that after playing the game i now have an intense hatred of Natayla. Painful Memories

  • Ugh, agreed, Paul.

    STOP BEING SO SLOW AND MOVE, BITCH!

  • That "Control" level on 00 Agent was maddening.

  • It's the best Bond that Brosnan was in. Unfortunately, he was a great Bond stuck in some of the worst films.

    But I like the edge to this one.

    Also, skip the Goldeneye remake for next-gen consoles. It's not even close to being what we hoped for (ie: the N64 game with killer graphics -- we need GoldenEye: Source for that)

  • Christ, I'm really looking forward to my next Bond viewings now!

  • When you finish, I will be interested to see your overall Bond ranking.

  • Yes, I'll be doing a list and ranking - not just of the films but also the theme tunes, bad guys and Bond girls!

  • I agree with what Adam Schoales said. It’s a real shame Brosnan was in some of the weaker Bond films (including the outright worst for me, Die Another Day), as his performances were really good.

    I’ll always have a huge soft spot for Goldendeye as it was the first Bond Film I saw at the cinema, and the opening sequence where he dives into the plane was just absolutely stunning on the big screen. That aside it’s still a really good film and the last great Bond for me.

    Steve, I look forward to seeing your final rankings. I’ve tried putting several Bond lists together but found it too hard to get an order I’m ever truly happy with.

  • I think I should be able to put together the ranking without too much fuss, I'm looking forward to doing it, too. I think my next project after this will be Hitchcock films. Should keep me busy!

  • I'll keep an eye out for those Hitchcock reviews. He's someone whose work I really need to watch more of. I've seen, and greatly enjoyed, the big hitters from his filmography, but a quick look at his back catalogue shows there's still a ton I've yet to see; he was ridiculously prolific.

  • I did Hitchcock films last year. Watched something like 30-35 of them for the first time. So I'll be looking forward to that too. ;-)

  • It's a god Bond film I guess, and very evocative of my 'era' because it was the 1st saw on the big screen being about 15 at the time, but Brosnan never sat right with me as Bond; he just doesn't have what it takes, coming off as smug rather than likeable and something to aspire to/dream of being

  • I do like Pierce Brosnan and clearly he was hamstrung by some dreadful films after this, but I do agree with you to a certain extent. I would have much preferred Dalton's no-nonsense Bond to have stayed on, I have to say.

  • I think he's the girl's Bond. Most ladies like Brosnan, most guys think he's a smarmy cunt. There's too much of the wristwatch model about him, I can almost smell the aftershave as he swaggers towards his Beemer

  • Do they? But he's all plastic. None of the Bonds are particularly my type but if I had to pick one it would be Dalton.

    BTW are you drunk ? :D

  • "his Beemer" = problem number one

  • @Noetic, indeed.
    @Antonomasia, alas I wasn't, though I had been drinking. Only a couple of bottles of beer though. Does my writing style change after imbibing?? ;)

  • @Mark Hah. It was more the general sudden exuberance and commenting on about 20 reviews :D It was nice to see you posting a little bit more again.

  • I needed to take my mind of things. I saw someone had commented on Steve's Dr No review in the feed and decided to 'investigate' hehe. Thanks

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