Countdown to Skyfall: Goldeneye (1995)

Countdown to Skyfall: Goldeneye (1995)

GOLDENEYE (1995)

BOND: Pierce Brosnan

DIRECTOR: Martin Campbell (Green Lantern, Vertical Limit)

BOND GIRL(S): Izabella Scorupco (Natalya Simonova); Famke Janssen (Xenia Onatopp)

COOL GADGETS: Explosive pen.  Click 3 times and then, BOOM!

THEME SONG: "Goldeneye," sung by Tina Turner.  A welcome return to the Shirley Bassey days.  Solid.

IMDB PLOT SUMMARY: James Bond teams up with the lone survivor of a destroyed Russian research center to stop the hijacking of a nuclear space weapon by a fellow agent believed to be dead.

ICONIC MOMENTS: Bond driving a tank through the streets of St. Petersburg, destroying everything in his path.  At one point in all the carnage, he stops to straighten his tie.

FUN FACTS: Minnie Driver pops up in a small, strange cameo singing a bad version of "Stand by Your Man."  The 6.5 year hiatus between License to Kill and Goldeneye is the longest gap between any of the Bond movies.

VERDICT: They say your first is your best, and if that's true, then Goldeneye is the best.  I have fond memories of this one for several reasons.  It was the first Bond movie I ever saw.  I played the videogame ad nauseam in college.  I've seen it more than any other Bond movie, and, having just rewatched it again, I can confirm that Goldeneye, if not THE best, is certainly one of the best.  Pierce Brosnan jumps into the role as if he's been doing it all his life.  He is perfect for Bond, combining the best elements of Sean Connery and Roger Moore.  The script is pretty good too, pitting Bond against another 00 agent (played by a very young Sean Bean).  The action sequences are top notch, especially the pre-credits sequence (where Bond jumps off a cliff into a diving plane) and the aforementioned tank chase.  The Bond girls are both fantastic.  Scorupco makes for a beautiful ally, while Janssen is sexy and scary as Xenia Onatopp - just watch how she offs bedroom suitors with her thighs.  The music by Eric Serra is the one low point.  I like it in some places, but it's downright unacceptable during a breezy chase scene between Bond and Onatopp early in the film.  This is smart, exciting filmmaking and it set the bar for the modern Bond film.  Enjoy this one because the next few Brosnan Bond films amp up the ridiculous action to almost extreme levels.  Goldeneye, on the other hand, feels just right.

GRADE: A

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