007: Best Of Brosnan – GoldenEye24.10.15 # Review # 8 Comments
To mark next week’s release of Spectre (86% on Rotten Tomatoes right now), myself and fellow Movie Moron contributors DalmatianJaws and Adam Mason have been delving into the world of Bond to bring you joint reviews covering the franchise’s highs and lows. We originally did these breakdowns in 2012 but they’re just as relevant now. Here Adam and I discuss GoldenEye, or as Tina Turner would have it, Gold-en Gold-en-eyyyyyyyyye. It’s the first movie with Irish actor Pierce Brosnan as Bond, and it’s also his most highly praised entry into the series. Here’s the original trailer:
DNWilliams: Alright, let’s start at the top: that opening bungee jump. Is it great, or is it great?
Adam Mason: It’s freaking amazing. What a classic way of bringing Bond back to life. And Brosnan gets probably the single best Bond intro out of all the actors, with that hilarious toilet joke.
DNW: I do enjoy that. The opening is a good combination of things that have been notably good about other Bond introductions. In our reviews we’ve taken note of Bond having a slow reveal in Dr No, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and The Living Daylights in particular, which is what we get here – nice wide establishing shots of the dam and close-ups of Bond that don’t give you a good look at him. Followed by a wonderful stunt, reminiscent of the Roger Moore ski jump, all complemented by a lack of score. Brosnan doesn’t have the Union Jack parachute, of course.
AM: Which is a minor shame.
DNW: Which I find agreeable.
AM: We’ll agree to disagree on that. It’s worth mentioning the lack of score here, because the music is uniformly rubbish throughout the film. Eric Serra’s score gets just about everything wrong, even muffing up the classic theme at the opening.
DNW: I don’t want to let the parachute thing go – you weren’t around to give your opinion on Moorisms in Bond the first time, so I’m interested. I tend to think Brosnan does Moore Bond better than Moore did.
AM: Brosnan’s got the cheeky chappy thing down. Most of what Moore did I have an angry knee-jerk reaction to, mostly on the basis of ‘I’ve read the books and this is nothing like it rahahahah’. However, the parachute is so flaming iconic that I find it hard to argue with. It could only have been more Cool Britannia if he landed in a Mini and drove away. It’s probably one of the few stunts in Moore’s run that became truly memorable, alongside the croc-jumping from Live And Let Die and the mountain climb in For Your Eyes Only.
DNW: I find it funny that that stunt is adored, but American flags simply existing in the Spider-Man movies is frowned upon. Seamless transition: the upside down toilet joke you mentioned is very Spider-Man.
AM: Good link! It’s a great intro to the new face of Bond. Funny and ruthless. Though, with hindsight, an indication that Brosnan’s run would be hampered by punch lines and one-liners. The intro to 006 is also very well done, with him emerging from the shadows, something he does twice in the film. Then there’s the hint of darkness as he shoots an unarmed scientist.
DNW: The 006 intro also features the ‘You’re late, 007/I had to stop in the bathroom’ line, which is great. Brosnan sure as hell looks the part and Bean is a really good counterpart. Their acting sensibilities aren’t dissimilar and they play well off of one another from the outset.
AM: Two excellent casting choices. Brosnan managed to inject the humour back into the character, although I always thought he struggled with the ruthlessness. There is that great moment in Tomorrow Never Dies where he shoots an unarmed man in the head point-blank. But aside from that, he never got the chance to stray away from the cheeky chappy act.
DNW: I strongly disagree and will be reminding you of this in the next review!
AM: Haha! Looking forward to it! …I really like the opening sequence as a whole. It brings out the new Bond, villain, suggestion for the story, and the fantastic red herring villain of General Ourumov.
DNW: The plane stunt shouldn’t work, but it does.
AM: It’s ridiculous, but loveable at the same time. And, again, iconic – something that defines Bond.
DNW: It’s about as preposterous as it gets, but while you’re watching it, it just makes sense somehow. He’s diving into a crashing plane. It’s just nuts.
AM: It just looks great. Bond movies are defined by their memorable visuals and this is one of those moments that live on in the memory.
DNW: So then we move onto our opening titles. Unpopular opinion time: this Bond theme is super overrated.
AM: That is an unpopular opinion. It’s not the best, granted, but it’s a cracking number. And the design of the titles is great, although the sight of falling Soviet iconography makes me want to sing ‘I am the man who arranges the blocks…’
DNW: I was watching a countdown of the greatest Bond films on TV the other day and Tina Turner’s GoldenEye was the goddamn number one! Completely and utterly undeserved, made me dislike it even more.
AM: That’s wrong, it’s clearly Goldfinger.
DNW: It’s clearly You Only Live Twice, but I forgive your error.
AM: Would be, had Robbie Williams not ripped it off for ‘Millennium.’
DNW: It’s not Bond’s fault you listen to Take That.
AM: That’s my mum’s fault. Moving swiftly on…One thing I have noticed: when the film first came out, Sean Bean’s name came at the end of the cast list, to fool the audience into thinking he was just a cameo. I’m re-wtaching it now and his name is in the villain spot. His identity is given away on the back of the DVD, too. I find that very strange.
DNW: I never saw it without the knowledge that Sean Bean was the bad guy, which I’m sure is the same for a lot of people, so it’s hard for me to contextualize.
AM: I didn’t know the first time, I find it so weird. It was a brilliant bit of sleight-of-hand. So after the titles, there’s the obligatory car chase. I love how they get the superfluous stuff out of the way first, the cars, the casino, etc. Although Bond’s excuse for pursuing Xenia is paper thin.
DNW: Right, the car chase is incorporated into an evaluation of Bond. It’s basically watching Bond take a driving test and showing off. I’m not wild about it. I wasn’t a fan of the flirty car chase in M:I-2 either, so maybe I just don’t think they work in general. And the music is 90s as hell, in a bad way. It is quite a nice intro to Xenia, I guess, but considering what a great Bond girl she is, she deserved better.
AM: And Brosnan’s conquest of the evaluator is so strange and forced. It’s like they wanted to remind people he’s a ladies’ man.
DNW: They picked an unusually irritating woman. She’s a contrast to most of Bond’s women, at least.
AM: And she wears… what is that… a tweed jacket?
DNW: Whatever it is, it’s not cool. Bond’s clearly not that fussy here. Back to Xenia though, I like the fact that in the casino, she takes her drink straight up with a twist! Tee-hee!
AM: It’s a scene packed with double entendres. ‘One rises to meet a challenge,’ and ‘I like a woman who enjoys pulling rank.’ This is Bond with a teenage erection.
DNW: It’s Bond opposite Famke Janssen. I think we can agree that she is pretty great. The thigh-grip kill is one crazy-ass gimmick too.
AM: It’s amazing. Genuinely. It should be laughable, but it’s Bond, so an S&M-themed villainess is totally acceptable. And Famke Janssen is terrific in the role.
DNW: The scene where she actually deploys that kill is the intro scene she deserved. Easily one of my Top 5 Bond girls.
AM: Agreed. She steals every scene she’s in
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