Thursday, 5 May 2016

GoldenEye (1995)

"I think you're a sexist, misogynist dinosaur, a relic of the Cold War."

I saw and enjoyed this film at the pictures back when I was an 18 year old student at Liverpool University, briefly: I ended up dropping out and getting my degree later. I must admit, though, that disappointed as I am on a second viewing I can't entirely blame this film.

So why did GoldenEye disappoint this time round? Well, to a large degree it's Pierce Brosnan. He really is shockingly rubbish, just phoning in his performance and displaying no charisma whatsoever, something which is not the case with his non-James Bond career.

But it's more than that: it's the script. It feels as though, after a six year gap, they've forgotten how to do James Bond. Only Desmond Llewelyn connects this to any previous film, and really does suddenly look so shockingly old. And the attempts to make ironic references to Bond's inevitable sexism- his combative relationship with the new female M and the new Moneypenny's flirtatious mention of "sexual harassment"- just aren't as clever as the film thinks they are.

Where are the glamorous locations? Yes, it's the '90s, and Russia is fleetingly friendly if also incredibly corrupt, but Siberia is no place to set a Bond film, and brief scenes in St Petersburg and Cuba don't make up for that. Xenia Onatopp is a genuinely brilliant and very Bond character- a female assassin who kills her victims by squeezing them with her legs and a delightfully Freudian nightmare for men- but there's not much else here that's brilliant.

It's hard not to compare this with the Austin Powers films- and unfavourably- given the conscious contrast between the social mores of the '60s and '90s, respectively. And you can tell it's the '90s when bond starts the film with a bungee jump. But this is a slow, ponderous film that takes ages to get going and just lacks oomph. Not their finest hour. In fact, I'm so underwhelmed that I'm going to press pause on watching the Bond films for a bit.

Oh, and we have the bizarre absence of the proper Bond theme tune at the very start. Legal reasons?

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