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'GoldenEye' is up for review in the MI6 June 2010 Bondathon

01-Jun-2010 • Site News

To celebrate the spate of upcoming Bond film anniversaries and the pave the way to Bond 23, we thought it was high-time the forum (Keeping The British End Up) pulled together for an official review of the whole series.

A film will be presented each month for viewing, discussion and review; running in conjunction with the main site, overall ratings and a selection of the best reviews will be published at the end of the month on mi6-hq.com.

The film that introduced the long-awaited Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, "GoldenEye" is up for review in this month's Bondathon...

Introduction

There was a time when things were not looking so good for James Bond. "Licence To Kill" had underperformed at the Box Office and Danjaq, EON’s parent company, were caught up in a lengthy legal battle that essentially halted the production of the Bond films for the foreseeable future. Many thought James Bond might be facing an early retirement.

By the mid nineties the legal battle had been resolved but Cubby Broccoli’s health had deteriorated so badly that he no longer felt able to continue as the series producer, and Timothy Dalton, after waiting patiently for a number of years, finally decided he had waited long enough and quit the role.

007's next adventure, "GoldenEye", could potentially make or break the series. With this knowledge in mind, Cubby’s daughter Barbra Broccoli and her half-brother Michael G Wilson, stepped in to take the reins with a view to completely reinvigorating the franchise.

However, that wasn’t all that was being reinvigorated. By the mid-nineties there was somewhat of a cultural revolution taking place in Great Britain. The music and the movement of Brit Pop had coalesced and Britain was once again somewhere to be proud of. It was into this welcoming cultural embrace that GoldenEye would launch itself. Who better to remind Britain of how Great it could be than its most famous secret agent?

Broccoli and Wilson already had a script in place for "GoldenEye" that had been developing over the previous years. By the time it came to filming, Michael France’s story had been polished and finessed into a taught script by Jeffery Caine and Bruce Feirstien.

For their lead they turned to Irish actor Pierce Brosnan. Pierce had been approached for the part once before, only losing out on the coveted role due to contractual obligations on "Remington Steele". Many had said that he was born to play Bond, and, after missing out six years previously, Pierce was more determined now than ever to prove that to be true.

To direct, Broccoli and Wilson looked to New Zealand born Martin Campbell, known for his brilliant television series "Edge of Darkness". Campbell brought solid direction and a fearsome determination to the film.

And "GoldenEye" was good. It was really, really good. It exploded onto the screen, a slick new gunbarrel irising into an introduction to our new Bond with a stunt that arguably is the best in the series.

We had a brilliant pre-titles that not only establishes relationships for the rest of the film, introducing the brilliant Sean Bean as 006, but also is one of the best self-contained Bond adventures of all the films.

We had slick opening titles from Daniel Kleinman, who proves himself more than a worthy successor to Maurice Binder by offering up a sequence that perfectly sets the thematic tone of the film.

We had new M in Judi Dench that blew away the cobwebs of the indistinct relationships of the years since "Moonraker", and the collapse of the Cold War and Bond's place in this new World is addressed and dismissed before Bond even leaves her office.

I could go on and on about all the things "GoldenEye" delivered, the fantastic cast, exotic locations, directional score and superb production design, but I'll simply say that what we ended up with was a great film. "GoldenEye" was a return to form. Here is a film that takes elements from all that we know and love about Bond and his World and offers them up in a new and exciting way. There are plenty of oh so cool, punch the air moments. A tank chase through St. Petersburg, a fight on the precarious metal antenna suspended hundreds of feet above the radar dish below. Pierce's Bond is a careful balance of smooth charm, schoolboy cheek and reserved machismo. It could so easily have gone wrong. It could so easily have been pastiche, but it somehow all works. "GoldenEye" takes all the elements and becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

We should not forget that we have a lot to thank "GoldenEye" for. This is the film that pulled Bond back from the brink and helped to keep James Bond alive. It didn't just revitalise the franchise; it saved it. And no matter that the franchise has walked an errant path since, without the film's success, James Bond might very well be just a relic of the Cold War.

- Introduction by double o' nothing

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