Bond: Pierce Brosnan
Classic, Cheese, or Crap?: CLASSIC
In 1995, the franchise returned from a six year hiatus. Legal woes involving rebroadcast rights had halted production for more than half a decade – the longest hibernation Bond has experienced since he first premiered on the silver screen in 1962.
But with Goldeneye, the series returned with a bang. A modern feel, a great movie, a great new M, and most importantly, the people’s choice as Bond…
Brosnan’s path to Bond was a strange one. Almost ten years earlier, Brosnan had been heavily considered as the successor to Roger Moore. The surge in popularity he experienced due to his potential as Bond led NBC to exercise a clause in his Remington Steele contract, however, and the television series commitment prevented him from landing the role.
Which never stopped people from wanting to see him as Bond. Dalton, who did follow Moore, not not only had to be compared with his predecessors, but with the Bond people wanted. I’ll always be convinced it was a factor in the Dalton films failing to connect with the public. Not the only factor, certainly, but definitely a factor.
And so, Goldeneye launched with no small amount of anticipation. Not only was Bond back, but we finally had the actor we wanted in the role.
Within minutes, the film won us over. The pre-title sequence features a 720 foot bungee jump off of the Verzasca Dam in Switzerland… undeniably one of the greatest stunts in the franchise’s proud history of stunt work.
The movie takes off from there. There’s the excitement of finally meeting another 00, the rest of the explosive pre-title sequence, the zippy car chase as Bond crosses paths with Xenia Onatopp for the first time, the snappy interchange of Judi Dench’s first scene as M.
M: You don’t like me, Bond. You don’t like my methods. You think I’m an accountant, a bean counter more interested in my numbers than your instincts.
Bond: The thought had occurred to me.
M: Good, because I think you’re a sexist, misogynist dinosaur. A relic of the Cold War, whose boyish charms, though wasted on me, obviously appealed to that young woman I sent out to evaluate you.
Bond: Point taken.
It doesn’t get much better than that folks!
The rest of the cast is strong as well. Between Sean Bean and Gottfried John, the villains are strong. The Bond girls are great, both good and bad. Izabella Scorupco is a good Bond girl, not amongst the best, but far from a detraction. And Famke Janssen is one of the best Bond Bad Girls ever, without a doubt. Joe Don Baker and Robbie Coltrane make nice supporting appearances and Desmond Llewelyn continues his tradition of Q. In fact the only character I don’t care for is Alan Cummings snivelly toad of a programmer. Your mileage may vary.
The movie isn’t without it’s flaws. There are definitely plenty of moments where you could nitpick character choices or moments within the action sequences. But to me, the great cast, the great pre-title sequence, and the long awaited arrival of Brosnan as Bond are MORE than enough to outweigh any minute issues I might have here or there.
It’s a high octane Bond, true to the spirit of the franchise, loaded with tons of great moments.