A-Ron’s Film Rewind Presents: “The name is Bond. James Bond”. A 25th anniversary celebration of “Goldeneye”. Pierce Brosnan’s first outing as the iconic British secret agent 007. Even though Brosnan was originally supposed to star as Bond during the 80’s, instead of Timothy Dalton. Brosnan eventually got his chance and proved to be double-oh perfect. Brosnan is not only the best, but the perfect Bond who was born to play the part and is the ideal combination of the four Bonds that preceded him. While “Goldeneye” was the 17th film in the franchise that introduced us to a James Bond of the 90’s, it was also an entry that was pivotal to the series. Considered to be both a revival and the entry that saved the Bond franchise. Director Martin Campbell finds a lot of fresh fertile action sequences and is certainly smart enough to never to make Bond look foolish and instead treat him seriously even if Brosnan could smirk and charm his way out of any potentially negative scenario. There’s a lot to unfold within “Goldeneye’s” production, including it’s troubled start to get off the ground, it’s various shooting locations, effects, stunts, it’s cast, it’s director, the iconic video game that was based off of the film to it’s massive success at the box office. It’s all revealed here as I break it all down and explain why “Goldeneye” came to be a successful revitalization, in effectively adapting the Bond series for the 90s.
James Bond or better known as 007, was created by novelist Ian Fleming in 1953. Bond is a British secret agent working for MI6 and has been portrayed on film by actors Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig. The Bond films are currently totaling twenty five film productions, with Daniel Craig’s last Bond film “No Time To Die” delayed until next year due to the pandemic.
In 1961, producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman purchased the filming rights to Fleming’s novels. They founded the production company Eon Productions and teamed up with financial backing from MGM and United Artists, as they began working on the first Bond film starring Sean Connery in “Dr. No” and every Bond film there after. Following “Dr. No’s” release in 1962, Broccoli and Saltzman created the holding company Danjaq to ensure future productions in the James Bond film series.
With a combined gross of nearly $7 billion to date, the films produced by Eon constitute the Bond series as the fourth highest grossing film series, behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars and Harry Potter Wizarding World films. Accounting for the effects of inflation, the Bond films have amassed over $14 billion and have won five Academy Awards.
While the twenty five James Bond films could warrant endless discussions, but we are here to celebrate one film in particular. “Goldeneye”, the 17th film in the franchise that’s celebrating its 25th anniversary this month (November 17th, 1995). While “Goldeneye” will always be remembered as the first film to introduce Pierce Brosnan as the new Bond of the 90’s. It can also be established as an entry that was pivotal to the series, considered a revival and the entry that saved the Bond franchise.
Now saved might be too much of a bold statement, but considering the road the Bond movie legacy was headed, it’s not a far from right statement. Tough guy and fan favorite Sean Connery and the more jokey Roger Moore, who between them starred in 14 Bond films, still loomed large. In only a two movie stint, 1989 saw Timothy Dalton’s last outing as Bond in “Licence to Kill”. Dalton’s final film had been the franchise’s lowest-grossing entry in the U.S. (taking in just $34 million) and was criticized for its dark tone and heavy violence. But despite “License to Kill’s” lackluster box office, Eon Productions and MGM, began planning in early 1990 for the 17th entry in the series, which would have seen the third return from Timothy Dalton as 007.
Eon chief Albert Broccoli parted ways with longtime screenwriter Richard Maibaum, who had worked on all but three of the previous 007 adventures and director John Glen, who had helmed the five previous entries (the longest stint by any Bond director). Broccoli was interested in bringing new blood to the series and some of his candidates for a new director allegedly included John Landis (“An American Werewolf in London”) and Ted Kotcheff (“Rambo: First Blood”).
Broccoli’s stepson Michael G. Wilson, whose a producer, executive producer and at times a co-writer on every Bond film since 1979’s “Moonraker” had penned a screenplay titled “The Property of a Lady” after a Fleming short story. Other writers worked on the script with Wilson, including television writer Al Ruggiero and the British duo of William Osborne and William Davies. Osborne described the new direction hey wanted to go in, saying: “The idea was that Bond was beginning to doubt whether he could still do it”.
The script went through revisions, which took plot points from the script and ended up in what later became “GoldenEye”. Soon Albert Broccoli (who died seven months after the release of “GoldenEye”) and Eon Productions began a protracted legal battle with MGM that would freeze all development of a new Bond film for the next two years. By the summer of 1993, MGM began talks with Eon about relaunching Bond. The green light was given for a new script, this time written by Michael France (scripted Sylvester Stallone’s “Cliffhanger”) and later rewritten by Jeffrey Caine and Bruce Feirstein. The story would address 007’s role in a post Cold War world and bring back some of the fun missing from the Dalton films.
The one thing that MGM made clear to Eon Productions was that they were not interested in making a third Bond film with Dalton after his declining box office of the two installments he had done. Although it was publicly stated at the time that Dalton was resigning on his own terms. At the time the then co-chairman of MGM Alan Ladd Jr. said, “I didn’t think that Timothy Dalton was the appropriate man for it. I thought they could do better” (Dalton has said to have a different side of the story).
Further work on a screenplay was worked on throughout 1994. Screenwriter Jeffrey Caine was brought in to rewrite France’s script and kept many of France’s ideas but added the prologue prior to the credits. Screenwriter Kevin Wade came in to polish the script and Bruce Feirstein added finishing touches. In the film, the writing credit was shared by Caine and Feirstein, while France was credited with only writing the story, an arrangement he felt was unfair, particularly as he believed the additions made were not an improvement on his original version.
While the story was not based on a work by author Ian Fleming, the title “GoldenEye” traces its origins to the name of Fleming’s Jamaican estate where he wrote the Bond novels.Fleming gave a number of origins for the name of his estate, including Carson McCullers’ “Reflections in a Goldeneye” and “Operation Goldeneye”, a contingency plan Fleming himself developed during the Second World War in case of a Nazi invasion through Spain.
“Goldeneye” was released six years (it’s longest stretch between movies) after “Licence to Kill”. It was released in a time where world politics had changed dramatically in the interim, as “GoldenEye” was the first James Bond film to be produced since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War and doubt over the character’s relevance in the modern world was a concern. Some in the film industry felt it would be “futile” for the Bond series to make a comeback and that it was best left as “an icon of the past”.
The producers even thought of new concepts for the series, such as a period piece set in the 1960s, a consideration of a female or an African American James Bond. “Goldeneye” came to be a successful revitalization and it effectively adapted the Bond series for the 90s. One of “GoldenEye’s” innovations includes the casting of a female M (more on that later).
New Zealand director Martin Campbell, who not only directed Pierce Brosnan’s first 007 film. But 11 years later he would also direct the first entry in Daniel Craig’s run in “Casino Royale”. Campbell was the man who would become a two time master of introducing a new James Bond to the world and reviving the franchise twice. Campbell was secured as the choice for director based on the strength of his previous picture, “No Escape” from 1994 with Ray Liotta.
As he discussed his memory of Campbell’s directing skills, Pierce Brosnan recalled some vivid details as to why the filmmaker made such a great fit for the project: “Martin Campbell could put the fear of God in one.…He vibrated at such an intensity, every day. One of his great directing notes was, ‘Sharp as a knife! Sharp as a knife! 150%!’, screaming ‘Action!’ at the top of his voice. You could see actors who had come in just for a day freeze in fear. But he was also very kind, also very attentive and very supportive to everyone. He was just extremely passionate”.
Action master John Woo was approached before Campbell to direct, but turned down the opportunity and is said that he was honored by the offer. Funny when you think of it because five years after turning down 007, John Woo went onto direct Tom Cruise in “Mission Impossible II”. Which in itself could be considered in the vein of the 007 films. But the search was on for a new actor to don the tux. Well, not really….
Brosnan had actually signed on as Bond before Dalton, for 1987’s “Living Daylights”. But TV network station NBC had held him to a television contract by renewing Brosnan’s series “Remington Steele” at the last moment. Brosnan told The Irish Post in 2019: “I’d done all the photos with the iconic gun pose. My late wife and I were about to toast our new life as Bond with a bottle of Cristal when my agent called and said, ‘It’s fallen through’. It was because I couldn’t get out of the Remington Steele contract that was unexpectedly renewed”.
With Brosnan not available, Timothy Dalton took over and eventually “Remington Steele” ran out of steam. But late producer Albert Broccoli never gave up on Bond and neither did Brosnan, who became available by the mid-’90s. The producers of Bond did have a back-up plan and created a list of actors to don the tuxedo and even had meetings with some of them, just in case Brosnan had ended up being unavailable or turned the role down. Names like Mel Gibson, Hugh Grant, Ralph Fiennes, Anthony Hopkins, Alan Rickman and Liam Neeson had been approached about the part, but the studio and Eon Productions had both agreed that they needed to go back and pursue Brosnan once again, they knew he was their 007.
Brosnan was officially introduced to the world as the new James Bond in June 1994. The 17th installment, “Goldeneye” was set for release for November 17th, 1995. Brosnan revealed that “Goldfinger” (the third installment in the series), was the first film he ever saw in Technicolor. He was just 11 years old. With Brosnan now secured as the next Bond, he had to deal with the high expectations of the iconic character. Brosnan told The Virginian-Pilot in 1995: “I think every actor has it in them of dreaming to play James Bond. I know I have this one chance to get it right. I feel a great responsibility to the role. There are big shoes to fill. Sean Connery is the man I kept seeing when I looked over my shoulder”.
“I didn’t want to get caught between what Sean and Roger had done. Yet, at the end of the day, my take was a little bit of what both had brought to the role. I leant towards Connery’s style, but couldn’t deny Roger because ‘GoldenEye’ was made in the tongue in cheek manner people had become used to”. In the end, Brosnan said having to cool his heels for a few years helped him to a deeper understanding of the Bond character. “I thought it was the end of the world but, looking back today, it all happened for the best. I was too young for the part during the ‘Remington Steele’ days. Today, I’m a bit wiser and have a few more scars on the soul”.
Brosnan displayed a canny knack for both the action scenes and those times when a nudge and wink were required. No other Brosnan-led Bond film walked this fine line so deftly. “Trying to play this role, I could see Roger’s way of playing it; I could see Sean’s way of playing it”, Brosnan told Esquire. “And I stole from both, because both had meaning to me and once I allowed myself to do that, I was free to find my own personification as the character. And it’s trusting yourself, having confidence in yourself to stand there and deliver”.
“Goldeneye” follows Bond as he tracks down who has stolen a deadly satellite weapon that can emit a massive electromagnetic pulse. It turns out that the mastermind is his former friend and one-time agent 006, Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean), presumed dead for years after their final mission together. Trevelyan plans to decimate England’s infrastructure as revenge for his parents, Russian Cossacks betrayed by the British government after World War II and sent back to the Soviet Union, where they were put to death by Stalin.
As mentioned earlier, although GoldenEye was not based on any existing Fleming material, the story in some aspects echoes the plot of the third Bond novel, “Moonraker”, which also involved a villain who was working for the British government but secretly plotted against it. This idea of a British Secret Service agent going rogue was also re-introduced in the 2012 film “Skyfall”, that featured Javier Bardem as the main villain.
“Goldeneye” had made several significant changes to the Bond mythology. With the opening credits setting the tone by displaying images of the Cold War-era statues toppling over amid the usual girls and guns, indicating that the movie was going to explore Bond’s mission going forward in a new world with new enemies. At one point in the movie, his boss M even refers to the agent himself as a “relic of the Cold War”.
Speaking of M, who was originally played by Bernard Lee and Robert Brown in the previous 16 films, was now being portrayed this time by Dame Judi Dench (who would reprise the role for six more films). The idea of having M be a woman was suggested as far back as 1985 by Lois Maxwell, the series’ original Miss Moneypenny. But it was only put into effect with “Goldeneye”, when the character was inspired by real-life MI5 head Stella Rimington. In the film, the new M quickly establishes her authority, remarking that Bond is a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur” and a “relic of the Cold War”. This indication was made to let audiences know that Brosnan’s Bond would be portrayed as far less tempestuous than Timothy Dalton’s.
Pierce Brosnan told Entertainment Weekly during filming that he wanted to ”find a chink in (Bond’s) armor…to peel back the layers and show his dark side”. It’s the first film to reveal that Bond is an orphan and both Trevelyan (006) and Russian computer programmer Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco) needle Bond about what makes him tick. Trevelyan pokes his former friend about the “vodka martinis that have silenced the screams of all the men you’ve killed”, while Natalya expresses frustration with his methods: “You think I’m impressed? All of you with your guns, your killing, your death…how can you act like this? How can you be so cold?”. Bond responds: “It’s what keeps me alive” as Natalya says: “No. It’s what keeps you alone”.
Natalya herself is much more of a modern woman than many previous “Bond girls”, she never once appears in a skimpy costume and even saves Bond once or twice during the movie. But “Goldeneye” doesn’t go all PC either: The second female lead, the villainous Xenia Onatopp (“X-Men’s” Famke Janssen), is a savage killer who derives sexual pleasure from crushing men to death between her thighs.
Certain elements, of course, did carry over from the previous Bond films, such as the opening gun barrel sequence (except “Goldeneye” was the first opening using CGI within the franchise), the requisite theme song performed by Tina Turner, the emphasis on astonishing stunt work and even the return of Desmond Llewelyn as gadget master Q. As for Brosnan himself, his performance falls somewhere between the toughness of Sean Connery and the suave good humor of Roger Moore, a balance that audiences really responded to.
Principal photography for “Goldeneye” began on January 16, 1995 and continued until June 2nd. The producers were unable to film at Pinewood Studios, the usual shooting location for Bond films, because it had been reserved for the Columbia Pictures film “First Knight” with Richard Gere and Sean Connery. Instead, an old Rolls-Royce factory at Leavesden Aerodrome in Hertfordshire was converted into a new studio, dubbed the Leavesden Studios. The process of the studio building is shown on the Blu Ray and DVD special features.
The bungee jump action sequence was filmed at the Contra Dam (also known as the Verzasca or Locarno Dam) in Ticino, Switzerland. was voted the best movie stunt of all time in a 2002 Sky Movies poll, and set a record for the highest bungee jump off a fixed structure. The casino scenes and the Tiger helicopter’s demonstration were shot in Monte Carlo. Reference footage for the tank chase was shot on location in St. Petersburg and matched to the studio at Leavesden. The climactic action scenes on the satellite dish were shot at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The actual MI6 headquarters were used for external views of M’s office. Some of the scenes in St. Petersburg were actually shot in London, where the Epsom Downs Racecourse doubled as the airport to reduce expenses and security concerns, as the second unit that were sent to Russia required bodyguards.
The French Navy provided the full use of their newest helicopter, the Eurocopter Tiger, to the film’s production team. The French government also allowed the use of Navy logos as part of the promotional campaign for it. However, the producers had a dispute with the French Ministry of Defence over Pierce Brosnan’s opposition to French nuclear weapons testing and his involvement with Greenpeace; as a result, the French premiere of the film was cancelled.
The sequences involving the armoured train were filmed on the Nene Valley Railway, near Peterborough in the UK. The train was composed of a British Rail Class 20 diesel-electric locomotive and a pair of BR Mk 1 coaches, all three were heavily disguised to resemble a Soviet armoured train.
“Goldeneye” was the last film of special effects supervisor Derek Meddings, to whom it was dedicated. Meddings’ major contribution was in it’s miniatures. It was also the first Bond film to use computer generated imagery. Among the model effects are most external shots of Severnaya (the scene where Janus’ train crashes into the tank) and the lake which hides the satellite dish, since the producers could not find a round lake in Puerto Rico. The climax in the satellite dish used scenes in Arecibo, a model built by Meddings’ team and scenes shot with stuntmen in Britain.
Stunt car coordinator Rémy Julienne described the car chase between the Aston Martin DB5 and the Ferrari F355 as between “a perfectly shaped, old and vulnerable vehicle and a racecar.” The stunt had to be meticulously planned as the cars are vastly different. Nails had to be attached to the F355 tyres to make it skid and during one take of the sliding vehicles, the two cars collided. The largest stunt sequence in the film was the tank chase, which took around six weeks to film, partly on location in St. Petersburg and partly on the old de Havilland runway at Leavesden.
A Russian T-54/T-55 tank, on loan from the East England Military Museum, was modified with the addition of fake explosive reactive armour panels. To avoid destroying the pavement on the city streets of St. Petersburg, the steel off road tracks of the T-54/55 were replaced with the rubber-shoed tracks from a British Chieftain tank. The T-55 tank used in the film is now on permanent display at Old Buckenham Airfield, where the East England Military Museum is based.
For the confrontation between Bond and Trevelyan (006) inside the antenna cradle, director Martin Campbell decided to take inspiration from Bond’s fight with Red Grant in one of the previous installments “From Russia with Love”. Brosnan and Sean Bean did all the stunts themselves, except for one take where one is thrown against the wall. Brosnan injured his hand while filming the extending ladder sequence, making producers delay his scenes and film later scenes earlier.
The ending of the pre-credits sequence with Bond jumping after the aeroplane features Jacques Malnuit riding the motorcycle to the edge and jumping, and B.J. Worth diving after the plane – which was a working aircraft, with Worth adding that part of the difficulty of the stunt was the kerosene striking his face.
The fall of Communism in Russia is the main focus of the films opening titles, designed by Daniel Kleinman (who took over from Maurice Binder after his death in 1991). They show the collapse and destruction of several structures associated with the Soviet Union, such as the red star, statues of Communist leaders (notably Joseph Stalin) and the hammer and sickle. In an interview, Kleinman said they were meant to be “a kind of story telling sequence” showing that “what was happening in Communist countries was Communism was falling down”. According to producer Michael G. Wilson, some Communist parties protested against “Socialist symbols being destroyed not by governments, but by bikini-clad women”, especially certain Indian Communist parties, which threatened to boycott the film.
The film was the first one bound by BMW’s three-picture deal, so the producers were offered BMW’s latest roadster, the BMW Z3. It was featured in the film months before its release and a limited edition “007 model” sold out within a day of being available to order. As part of the car’s marketing strategy, several Z3’s were used to drive journalists from a complimentary meal at the Rainbow Room restaurant to its premiere at Radio City Music Hall.
For the film, a convertible Z3 is equipped with the usual Q gadgets, including a self destruct feature and Stinger missiles behind the headlights. The Z3 does not have much screen time and none of the gadgets are used, which Martin Campbell attributed to the deal with BMW coming in the last stages of production. The Z3’s appearance in the film is thought to be the most successful promotion through product placement in 1995. Ten years later, The Hollywood Reporter listed it as one of the most successful product placements in recent years. The article quoted Mary Lou Galician, head of media analysis and criticism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, as saying that the news coverage of Bond’s switch from Aston Martin to BMW “generated hundreds of millions of dollars of media exposure for the movie and all of its marketing partners”.
In addition, all computers in the film were provided by IBM, and a modified Omega Seamaster Quartz Professional watch is featured as a major plot device several times in the film. It is shown to contain a remote detonator and a laser. This was the first time Bond was shown to be wearing a watch by Omega and he has since worn Omega watches in every subsequent production there after.
“Goldeneye” was the first Bond film not produced by Albert R. Broccoli, who was forced by failing health to turn the franchise over to Michael G. Wilson and his daughter Barbara, who still control it to this day. But Albert Broccoli did get to see the finished film and enjoy the return of the series he had shepherded from day one before his death in June 1996. “It was budgeted at $55 million, ludicrously little if you consider today’s standards”, “Goldeneye” director Martin Campbell told The Guardian. “I think United Artists had doubts about how the audience would respond after the big gap. The press had been asking if Bond was still relevant”.
In a happy twist, Roger Moore stopped by the set and served as an early validation for Brosnan. “I was a huge fan of Sir Roger Moore”, Brosnan told Esquire. “I was very honored and very proud to stand beside him that day. He was very gracious”.
“Goldeneye” was a box office success, grossing $106 million in North America and $356 million worldwide, making it the highest-earning 007 thriller since “Moonraker” and setting the series back on track for the next quarter of a century. Nearly every Bond film that followed, including Brosnan’s next three and the four so far starring his successor, Daniel Craig, has matched or outgrossed the one before it (the one exception, 2015’s “Spectre” which earned $879 million but did not hit the billion-dollar heights of 2012’s “Skyfall”). It was no coincidence that when it came time to reinvent Bond again for 2006’s “Casino Royale” (the first film to introduce Daniel Craig), “Goldeneye” director Martin Campbell was the person that Eon productions called upon.
With “Goldeneye” they’d managed to thread the needle, presenting a more modern Bond with just enough of that old school swagger. Pierce Brosnan would go on to star in three more installments in the series in 2002. Brosnan eventually came to feel his Bond was “never good enough”, he told the Daily Mail in 2018, because his initial film’s deft balance was missing. “I was caught between Sean Connery’s Bond and Roger Moore’s Bond and it was only really in ‘Goldeneye’ that I did my Bond”.
The theme song titled “GoldenEye”, was written by Bono and the Edge of U2 and performed by Tina Turner. As the producers did not collaborate with Bono or the Edge to perform the song and the film score did not incorporate any of the theme song’s melodies, as was the case in previous James Bond films. Swedish group Ace of Base (of the hot song “I Saw The Sign”) had also written a proposed theme song, but record label Arista Records pulled the band out of the project fearing the negative impact in case the film flopped. The song was then rewritten as one of their singles called “The Juvenile”.
The soundtrack was composed and performed by director Luc Besson’s frequent collaborator Éric Serra. Prolific Bond composer John Barry said that despite an offer by Barbara Broccoli, he turned it down for undisclosed reasons. Serra’s score has been criticised, with one critic Richard von Busack, from the Metro publication, saying that “It was “more appropriate for a ride on an elevator than a ride on a roller coaster” and Filmtracks magazine said Serra “Failed completely in his attempt to tie ‘Goldeneye’ to the franchise’s past”. With the end credits song, “The Experience of Love”, based on a short cue that Eric Serra had originally written for Luc Besson’s “Léon”, aka: “The Professional” one year earlier.
Later John Altman provided the music for the tank chase in St. Petersburg. Serra’s original track for that sequence can still be found on the soundtrack labeled as “A Pleasant Drive in St. Petersburg”. Serra composed and performed a number of synthesiser tracks, including the version of the “James Bond Theme” that plays during the gun barrel sequence, while Altman and David Arch provided the more traditional symphonic music.
In late 1995, the Topps company began publishing a three-issue comic book adaptation of the film. The comic was adapted by Don McGregor with art by Rick Magyar. The first issue carried a January 1996 cover date, but for unknown reasons, Topps cancelled the entire adaptation after the first issue had been published and to date the adaptation has not been released in its entirety.
The film was also the basis for “Goldeneye 007”, a hugely successful and popular video game for the Nintendo 64 developed by Rare (known at the time as Rareware) and published by Nintendo. It was praised by critics and in January 2000, readers of the British video game magazine Computer and Video Games listed it in first place in a list of “the hundred greatest video games”. In Edge’s 10th anniversary issue in 2003, the game was included as one of their top ten shooters of all time. It is based upon the film, but many of the missions were extended or modified for the game.
The “Goldeneye” game was modified into a racing game intended to be released for the Virtual Boy console. However, it was cancelled before it’s release. In 2004, Electronic Arts released “Goldeneye: Rogue Agent”, the first game of the James Bond series in which the player does not take on the role of Bond. Instead, the protagonist is an aspiring Double-0 agent Jonathan Hunter, known by his codename “GoldenEye”, who is recruited by a villain of the Bond universe, Auric Goldfinger.
Except for the appearance of Xenia Onatopp, it was unrelated to the film, and was released to mediocre reviews. It was not favored by several critics for using the name “GoldenEye” as an attempt to ride on the success of Rare’s game. In 2010, an independent development team released “Goldeneye: Source”, a multiplayer only total conversion mod.
Nintendo announced a remake of the original “Goldeneye 007” at their E3 press conference in June 2010. It is a modernised retelling of the original movie’s story, with new Bond actor Daniel Craig playing the role of Bond. Bruce Feirstein returned to write a modernised version of the script, while Hawaii born Nicole Scherzinger of “The Pussycat Dolls” covered the theme song. It was developed by Eurocom and published by Activision for the Wii and Nintendo DS and was released in November 2010. Both Wii and DS versions bear little to no resemblance to the locations and weapons of the original N64 release. In 2011 the game was ported to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 under the name “Goldeneye 007: Reloaded”.
On Sunday, April 19th 2020, when everyone was in lockdown due to Covid pandemic. Pierce Brosnan teamed up with Esquire UK for a live watch along and commentary to “Goldeneye”, streamed from Brosnan’s home in Hawaii. The screen icon took us behind the scenes of his first Bind adventure, discussing his time in the tuxedo and how it felt to take up the mantle, as well as interacting with his legions of fans. The fans were also encouraged to send in their questions to Pierce Brosnan who read them and answered them live during the stream.
All the viewers had to do was press play on their copy of “Goldeneye” at the same moment as Brosnan and listen along to his play by play analysis and commentary in real-time. I for one didn’t miss that opportunity to watch a live commentary with Brosnan and had fun hearing his experiences from the man himself. His live watch along is still available on YouTube that you can sync to your copy of “Goldeneye”.
“Goldeneye” has a dynamite opening reel that showcases the renewed vigor for the series. It’s two hours and ten minutes of well-executed thrills and high-tech mayhem. As 007, Brosnan is double-oh perfect and from the get-go I considered Pierce Brosnan to be the best and the perfect James Bond. Till this day, I still whole heartedly feel the same way. He is my James Bond because 1995’s “Goldeneye” was my first introduction to the 007 franchise. From “Goldeneye” I worked backwards and discovered Bond’s previous missions.
Brosnan’s right there, born to play the part. He is the ideal combination of the four Bonds that preceded him. He’s got Sean Connery’s effortless swagger, Roger Moore’s playfulness, George Lazenby’s physicality and Timothy Dalton’s steely focused determination. Legions of fans have said that Brosnan became the first actor to give Connery a run for his money. “Goldeneye” proved he was a natural for the role.
Although Brosnan doesn’t have to carry the load on his own thanks to the series’ best assemblage of villains. In 006 (played by Sean Bean), Bond has his evil mirror image. 006 is just as highly trained, knowledgeable in Bond’s tactics and just as daring. Sean Bean is tremendous here and provides Bond with an opponent that cuts him to the core more than any other foe due to their friendship. A major highlight of “Goldeneye” is the climatic mano-a-mano fight between 006 and Bond, with Brosnan and Bean doing all their own stunts just makes it that much more adrenaline fueled.
While he starred in four Bond films, “The World Is Not Enough” and “Die Another Day” are my favorite Brosnan entries. But it’s impossible to deny that “Goldeneye” is Brosnan’s shining moment as Bond in a period where the franchise was in a state of flux and fans had questioned if Bond was still relevant. Director Martin Campbell and screenwriters Jeffrey Caine and Bruce Feirstein tackle those questions in a thought-provoking manner without dulling what initially made 007 so endearing.
Martin Campbell makes a firm case for best direction in the series staging action sequences we hadn’t seen before. Which isn’t an easy feat considering this was Bond’s 19th film and referencing earlier battles had become a common occurrence. Campbell finds a lot of fresh fertile action ground and certainly smart enough to never to make Bond look foolish and treat him seriously even if Brosnan could smirk and charm his way out of any potentially negative scenario.