In the mid 00s, 007 was in the need of a change of direction.
2002’s “Die Another Day”, although a huge box office hit, had not been received well critically and wasn’t sitting well with fans. Bad CGI? Obnoxious product placement? A Madonna cameo? The franchise had returned to cartoonishness reminiscent of the worst of the Moore era.
Pierce Brosnan expressed willingness to return as Bond, but his four picture deal had been satisfied. EON Productions was also considering recasting the role with a younger actor (Brosnan was about to turn 50). After a period of deliberation, when an agreement on a one picture deal could not be reached, Brosnan announced he was retiring from the role, and EON announced they were giving the Bond franchise a “reboot”.
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…
This is one of a small handful of Bonds that don’t fit well into the classifcation system. “Live and Let Die” is one of the better Moore Bonds, but I didn’t feel it was good enough to be called classic. It’s got some cheese to it, but the “L’eau du Fromage” isn’t as strong as other films in the catergory.
But in the end, between the voodoo and the Tarot cards and the pimps… I had to go Cheese.
“Die Another Day” was Pierce Brosnan’s fourth and final Bond film.
Prominently featuring Halle Berry (at her zenith), sporting the latest techniques in special effects, and a themesong by the legendary Madonna, the movie was an enormous success. It grossed over $400 million worldwide.
It was also the moment I knew the Brosnan era needed to come to an end.
“From Russia With Love” was the second Bond film ever made. At that point, the franchise wasn’t even a franchise. I mean, if you only have two movies, wouldn’t the second one just be called a “sequel”? It’s widely hailed as being the most realistic Bond movie ever… that the action and plot of this film hew more closely to the real world activities of Cold War era spies than any other Bond film.
It’s undoubtedly a classic.
Yet I have to admit it’s my least favorite of the five “good” (DN->YOLT) Connery Bonds.
Bond wrestles a huge, fake rubber snake. He gets in a tricked out gondola in Venice that’s part amphibious landing craft. Jaws survives a fall from about 15,000 feet, and a fall from a waterfall from about 150 feet. Bond goes to space. While there, he knocks out the cloaking device on the Villain’s Space Station, and the US responds with a contingent of like, 10 Space Shuttles, each loaded with lasergun equipped spacemarine astronauts, in 3 ½ minutes. In 1976.
“For Your Eyes Only” is one of my least favorite Bond films of all time. I recognize that the public views it far more fondly than I, but I can’t get past the fact it commits the cardinal sin for Bond movies.