James Bond 007 Ultimate Edition â€“ Goldeneye
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Izabella Scorupco, Famke Janssen, Joe Don Baker, Alan Cumming, Robbie Coltrane, Judi Dench
Director: Martin Campbell
SUNY Purchase '05
"I don't compromise my values and I don't compromise my work. I won't give in." -Michael Moore
James Bond 007 Ultimate Edition â€“ Goldeneye
Review By: Rocco Passafuime
By the 1980's, while still internationally successful, the Bond films began a steady downhill decline in popularity, particularly in the U.S., as the series found itself increasingly overshadowed by Hollywood spectacles. After the surprisingly lukewarm critical and commercial reception of the very dark 1989 007 film Licence To Kill, the series entered the 1990's into a period of hiatus, with critics and the moviegoing public wondering if the over 30 year-old franchise was finally finished.
In that time, the Cold War, which had set much of the basic backdrop for the original Bond novels, had finally come to an end. However, series producer Albert R. Broccoli and his groomed successors Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson realized it was time for the character to enter life in the more peaceful (and politically correct) post-Cold-War age. The end result would be the franchise's 1995 comeback film Goldeneye, now available on DVD.
The film begins as agent 007 James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) teams up with agent 006 Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean). However, their mission hits a snag when they are captured by Russian soldiers, led by colonel Ourumov (Gottfried John) and while Bond manages to escape, Alec does not.
Eight years later, it's revealed that much has changed in the world around Bond since that mission. Not only has the Cold War come to a complete end, but MI6's longtime secretary Moneypenny (Samantha Bond) is not the mere sounding board of flirtation he has known for so long and the organization is now headed by the first woman under the title of M (Judi Dench).
His mission this time is to stop Ourumov, who is now a general in the Russian army, from taking control of a Russian satellite known as Goldeneye and using it to destroy London. Assisting Ourumov is Janus crime syndicate member Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen).
After stealing the control disk for the weapon, Onatopp blows up the facility, kidnapping one computer programmer Boris Grishenko (Alan Cumming), while the other, Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco), manages to escape alive. After Boris lures Natalya into Onatopp's clutches, Bond, in the midst of putting the pieces together and rescuing Natalya, soon discovers that there's a third member involved in this conspiracy, none other than his former fellow double-0 agent Alec, who's survived and has joined forces with Ourumov as revenge against the British Secret Service.
At a time when many in the film world was heavily skeptical that a such a distinctly Cold War icon like James Bond would survive into the post-U.S.S.R. age, Goldeneye manages to be the 007 film that proved that the character was more than still relevant.
Goldeneye proved to be a much-needed breath of fresh air that revitalized the aging franchise. One thing that makes this entry work in its favor is a mostly all-new cast of the story's recurring main characters.
Former Remington Steele star Pierce Brosnan, while not
Despite a rather clichéd Cold-War-esque plot, Goldeneye manages to take on a much more freshly sober and modern spy thriller atmosphere, thanks largely to the engaging direction of Martin Campbell, who provides plenty of action and humor. Added to this is the composer Eric Serra, who breaks from tradition for most of the movie. He provides a score that's surprisingly chilling for a Bond film, yet undoubtedly adds to the new refreshed approach.
The DVD's picture quality is in the 2:35:1 widescreen aspect ratio, with the sound quality in Dolby Digital Surround 5.1. In addition, the first disc includes an audio commentary track by director Martin Campbell and co-producer Michael G. Wilson. The two manage to provide informative commentary, with the occasional light-heartedness here and there.
Despite being saddled with a rather staid and clichéd story, Goldeneye still manages to be one of the most exciting Bond films in nearly 15 years, due to its refreshing modern approach in direction, casting, and overall approach. While all this overall does little to prevent the film from being merely a modern retread of From Russia With Love, it more than succeeds in giving the seemingly on-life-support Bond franchise new life again.
Movie Grade: B
DVD Features Grade: B-
Overall Grade: B