Top positive review
Bond – the Next Generation
on 7 August 2017
For whatever reason, and despite Ian Flemming himself stating that Timothy Dalton was the closest interpretation to Bond that he’d seen, Dalton left the iconic role after only two films (which weren’t as bad as some people like to make out!). And, the role of the super-spy went to the man producers had been trying to attract for some time – Pierce Brosnan. And, although it’s probably fair to say that when people look back on the history of Bond, he too wouldn’t be described as many people’s ‘favourite’ Bond, he did make advances in bringing the franchise right up to date.
Right from the beginning we meet our new Bond bungee jumping into a Russian base. Now, I know these days most people know what bungee jumping looks like, but, back in 1995, it was actually quite an event seeing it done on the big screen. Yes, the plot isn’t anything we haven’t seen before, i.e. a Russian presence trying to exact revenge on the West, but it’s just so new seeing such a ‘modern’ Bond. Gone are the days of blatantly ‘blue-screening’ the action behind the actors and now Bond can happily sky-dive into a falling plane and make it look real (well, as real as jumping into a falling plane and piloting it to safety can look!). I feel like I have to dwell on this ‘modern feel’ because it is this film’s major change from previous incarnations. The action looks better, the chases are more fantastical (the ‘tank chase’ being the highlight!) – it’s just totally Bond for the new nineties generation.
The ever-wonderful ‘Q’ is on hand to smooth over the transition of old to new Bond, but the modern feel is not just helped by (another) new Moneypenny, but also having a female M, brilliantly played by Judi Dench, who states much of the criticism that’s been levelled at Bond throughout the franchise, i.e. he’s a misogynistic relic of a bygone age! Add great supporting performances from Sean Bean, Robbie Coltrane and Famke Jannsen (a henchwoman who likes to crush her victims between her thighs in the heat of – er – ‘passion’ and you have an action-spy movie that really roles along nice. As I mentioned, the plot isn’t anything spectacular, but the overall look, feel, cast and a wonderfully-snarling rendition of the title song ‘Goldeneye’ by a Tina Turner at her best, really elevates what – by rights – is nothing more than an average movie to one that really feels like the Bond franchise has been given a shot in the arm.
‘Goldeneye’ may not be technically the greatest of the long-running saga, but it certainly cements its place in the franchise by being the most different from what came before it. It’s definitely worth a watch if you’re a fan and should even entertain casual fans of the action genre. Oh, and did I mention that Pierce Brosnan is also pretty damn good as the lead? He keeps the wry charm of Roger Moore and the ability to add just the right amount of humour to the role without it becoming a parody of itself. Plus he’s believable enough as an action hero when he’s gunning down hordes of faceless Russian hoods. Overall, a damn fine ride.