Here’s Luke from Oracle of Film‘s review of Pierce Brosnan’s first film as James Bond.
“Does taking refuge in the arms of all those willing women help you forget those you couldn’t protect?”
Number of Times Seen: 5
Brief Synopsis: A criminal organisation steal a super-weapon, the Goldeneye, which has the power to wipe out civilisations if demands are not met. Enter Bond. James Bond.
My Take On It: Goldeneye was my first Bond, which means that, as a result, Goldeneye has always seemed to be the ideal Bond movie, the bar every other Bond movie should aim for. As I grew up, I realised that the irony was that Goldeneye, in many ways, is a reflection on the many trademarks and quirks of Bond, rather than an original Bond in itself.
Goldeneye’s main job is to entertain. That is both the strength and downfall of, not just Goldeneye, but every Pierce Brosnan entry in the franchise. On one hand, the depth that Licence to Kill veered towards is all but abandoned. On the other, it is hard to resist the non-stop enjoyment that one gets when watching this movie. Goldeneye probably does this better than the other three Brosnan’s camping up the idea of the dangerous Bond femme fatale (Onatopp – really?). Bond’s seduction of the Bond girls is not quite as thinly-written as the Connery era, but it still suggests a certain male fantasy playfulness. It is hard to not like, but at the same time, it is difficult to ignore the fact that Brosnan is giving the feminists something to drive the nails into Bond’s coffin with.
But there is enough talent here to not write Goldeneye off as a fun, yet weak entry. Martin Campbell is a capable director (we will discuss his true talents when we hit Casino Royale). His opening scene is a statement that the change in lead actors is being handled with good hands. The villain is an interestingly three-dimensional one, even if the twist surrounded the character is laughably guessable. Best of all, is the casting of Judi Dench, as M, which goes down as one of the best decisions in Bond history. If the women viewers find themselves cringing over the weak Bond girls, they will get a kick out of Judi Dench reducing Bond to a sulking schoolboy with a monologue that rips apart every male stereotype thrust open the character. Brilliant.
Bottom Line: Yes, this one is, in many ways, just a more expensive version of the routine fun Moore gave us, but it is hard to not like the entertainment value here.