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Film Review: Goldeneye

Updated on June 11, 2017
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Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.

Background

In 1995, Martin Campbell directed Goldeneye, based on the character of James Bond by Ian Fleming, as the 17th entry in the James Bond series. Starring Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Izabella Scorupco, Famke Janssen, Joe Don Baker, Judi Dench, Gottfried John, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Cumming and Samantha Bond, the film grossed $352.2 million at the box office.

Synopsis

Years after the fall of the Soviet Union, MI6 is being retrofitted for the 21st century and Bond is sent to investigate the reactivation of an old Soviet space weapon. However, there is more to the mission than there appears to be and he is forced to face his past.

Review

One of the better post-Connery James Bond films, Goldeneye deserves all the popularity and praise it gets. Deconstructing the idea of James Bond in a world where the Soviet Union no longer exists, the film does well in taking the specific aspects of Bond it rips apart to put it all back together. The film begins with Bond’s mission not going according to plan and leads into him being belittled for his womanizing ways, finding that Moneypenny has grown tired of his constant flirting and his new boss thinks of him as a sexist relic who belongs in the past. Further, when Bond starts the mission, he finds his former Russian enemies no longer take him to be the serious threat they saw him in previous films and when he meets a CIA agent, he berates him for continuing to use the old code phrases. It presents a reality in which times have changed and James Bond is coming to find himself irrelevant. Yet, the pieces taken out of the formula to ask whether or not he belongs in the present world of spies are eventually answered. Soviet Russia may be gone and spies may not have to infiltrate and obtain information about an enemy, but they are still needed to thwart the schemes of those with machinations to usurp power for themselves and seek to do harm to the world. The film presents a world of changing politics alongside madmen whose ultimate desires never change and in this film, it's a man who wants revenge against the country of Britain. Bond also seems to know he's proving his relevancy, seen when he's eliminating Trevelyan who asks if it's for England and Bond replies it's for himself, an answer suggesting he's proving to himself and MI6 he's still a necessary asset.

The film brings quite a few interesting villains along for the ride as well, such as Xenia Onatopp, who finds sexual pleasure in gunning people down or crushing them with her thighs. What’s fascinating is the other villains seem to be visibly disgusted about the gratification she gets while killing. The main villain, Trevelyan, is a great villain too, as he’s one of the few who actually pose a legitimate physical threat to Bond while just as much an intellectual threat. Notably, the only reason he's defeated is due to a distraction caused when his helicopter is commandeered. A former MI6 agent, he's smart enough to know Bond's methods, calling Natalya his fatal weakness and forcing Bond to hand over his watch, specifically naming Q. Moreover, Trevelyan continues the deconstruction, asking Bond if the drinks he always orders are able to make him forget about the men he's killed or if the reason he's always bedding women is to forget the women who have been killed because of him.

Another facet in which the film sets itself apart from the others is in how it doesn't employ one of the standard car chases seen throughout the series. Rather, the car he gets from Q is only seen when he's driving and parking it. Instead, Bond opts to chase Ourumov through the streets of St. Petersburg in a tank.

4 stars for Goldeneye

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.

Awards won

BMI Film & TV Awards

  • BMI Film Music Award

Golden Screen, Germany

  • Golden Screen

Nominated For

BAFTA Awards

  • Best Achievement in Special Effects
  • Best Sound

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best Action/Adventure Film
  • Best Actor (Pierce Brosnan)

Awards Circuit Community Awards

  • Best Sunt Ensemble

IGN Summer Movie Awards

  • Best Movie Blu-Ray (For the "Bond 50 Box Set")

MTV Movie + TV Awards

  • Best Fight (Pierce Brosnan vs. Famke Janssen)
  • Best Sandwhich in a Movie (For the submarine sandwich with tomatoes & provolone)

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