TBT: Goldeneye (1995)

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It’s a brand new month and once again time for a whole new way to dork out on Throwback Thursday. After taking the week off last week I am back and feeling refreshed after sifting through a month of Adam Sandler films. (Speculation is probably going to run high about whether I threw in the towel on that theme or if I just simply got lazy and didn’t do a fifth TBT for the month. . .either way, I ain’t tellin’!) But we’re back and better than ever, and it’s time to look back on some classic action films, and I wish now that this month had more Thursdays because pairing down the canon of James Bond films to just four is going to be some task. But I’m willing to do it, as long as you’re willing to trust me that I know what I’m doing (I don’t). I’m really just going to be making this up as I go along — because how can I honestly up and declare that these four that I select for the month are ‘the best?’ What I will do though, is call these four my favorites, and that they best represent the series based on the actor playing 007 at the time. So let the espionage, back-stabbery and misogyny commence!

Today’s food for thought: Goldeneye


Status Activate: November 17, 1995


Mission Briefing: 007 is tasked with preventing a nuclear space weapon from firing on London. In order to do this he has no choice but to expose the identity of the terrorist, believed to be a former MI6 agent, confront him and stop him at all costs.

Mission Support: 

  • Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco) — to be quite frank, purely emotional support
  • Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean) — can be kind of flaky but will show support if necessary
  • Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen) — not the kind of support any agent wants or needs; approach with extreme prejudice
  • Jack Wade (Joe Don Baker) — technical back-up
  • Valentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky (Robbie Coltrane) — loyalty unquestioned, though a man with serious trust issues
  • General Arkady Grigorovich Ourumov (Gottfried John) — a man supportive of his own ambitions, and considered a traitor to his country; MI6’s top suspect in the attack on Severnaya; approach with extreme prejudice
  • Russian Defense Minister Dmitri Mishkin (Tchéky Karyo) — slightly ambiguous motives; approach with caution

Q Branch: Q (Desmond Llewelyn) strongly advocates the use of several small devices that might help you out of a tight spot, particularly if you have any interest in pursuing this slippery Ourumov fella. A quick rig of your belt buckle and a simple exploding pen should do the trick. Best of luck out there Bond.

Performance Evaluation: Rico Suave, a.k.a. Pierce Brosnan in his first outing gets betrayed by fellow agent — though apparently his inferior, based on his 006 status — Alec Trevelyan when a botched mission in an underground laboratory in Arkhangelsk, Russia leads to the two forming starkly different views on loyalty. . .to the mission, to the Crown, and ultimately to one another. Goldeneye is a rather emotionally charged action adventure that’s inarguably Brosnan’s finest hour in the tux.

Leaping from one ultra-classic action set piece to the next, Goldeneye tries not to slow down and almost forgets to breathe in its own gorgeous scenery though occasional slow moments are injected to ground the drama if only temporarily.

Characters are not only memorable but effective. Look no further than Jack Wade for some nice comic relief in addition to the requisite Q branch scenes, and at the heart of the drama lies the decay of a once sturdy friendship, which has gravity thanks to chemistry between Brosnan and Bean. Villains Ourumov and particularly Onatopp prove to be worthy opponents, and nerdy programmer Boris Grishinko provides yet another comedic thread, whose own fate may be the most suitable and uncanny of them all.

Perhaps it helps that the film was backed up by a quality (and classic, if you ask me) video game — Goldeneye is a serious magnet for nostalgia. Considering that Brosnan turned out to be not among the greatest portrayals, it’s an even more impressive feat that this turns out to leave quite the impression on the cinematic landscape. Ian Fleming would be proud of this one. And even though it’s not Martin Campbell’s best (such a distinction is reserved for his unforgettable Casino Royale), it gives his latest a serious run for it’s money in terms of being memorable.


Sean Bean about to be set adrift on memory bliss . . .

4-0Recommendation: Anyone who is a fan of the franchise has a soft spot for this gem. Like the Walther PPK or Bond’s signature martini, it’s simply a classic, for lack of a better word. Swift, sexy and (un)subtle, this film is a great load of fun and a definitive staple of the 1990s.

Rated: PG-13

Running Time: 130 mins.


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Photo credits: http://www.imdb.com 

21 thoughts on “TBT: Goldeneye (1995)

  1. Pingback: The Night Before | digitalshortbread

  2. YES! This movie is epic on so many levels. I bought the game for my son when he was small and I loved playing it with him. Then whenever I watched the movie he’d run into the living room and act out the opening and say the lines verbatim. “Goldeneye” marks Campbell’s first successful attempt at putting the franchise back on track. I’ve been enjoying these Bond posts, Tom! Nice work. Thanks!


  3. I have such a soft spot for this film too. The first Bond I saw in the cinema. From the opening stunt I was blown away. And the N64 game was incredible.


    • Cheers sir. Indeed, the opening sequence is one of the more memorable from any Bond film, if you ask me. 🙂 Such a classic. And the game as well. I think it was the very first thing I ever got on the first system I ever got.


      • A friend of mine once watched the film with me and mentioned he knew where all the doors were in the set as he played the game so often haha.


      • haah that’s pretty good. I got into the game so much I started comparing how the different scenes in the movie matched up to the levels in the game. Control room for the actual James Bond is an easier version of the one you have to get through in the game, I swear!!


  4. Yeah, that video game was pretty great, as is this review sir! Bond movies get endlessly repeated over here and this one always proves popular. Brosnan got some shoddy scripts thrown his way, although this one was pretty good. Bean is pretty good too which doesn’t always happen.


    • I can’t even imagine how often they must pop up on British television!! I’m not even thinking. But even still, I find this character is iconic and for me, playing this movie and several others like a Top 40 pop song on mainstream radio, over and over and over again still wouldn’t make it get old. 🙂 There’ just too much I love about Ian Fleming’s James Bond. Had to start the month off on a strong foot.

      And I wish I have seen more of Sean Bean to form a better opinion of him. Outside of this, I think I’ve only seen this thing called Cleanskin. Very obscure, and not as good. But he was decent in it.


    • Clearly you’re not well-versed in your James Bond. . . . whoever said that the goldeneye was a facial part?


  5. Awesome Review, Tom. Somehow this one slipped on by me in the 90s. I must have been raising children. Thanks for reminding me. However, Sean Connery is the only true Bond 😉


    • I might have to say amen to that Cindy, I’m torn between declaring him or Daniel Craig as the best. Connery has certainly done more, i’m not sure if Craig has enough material behind him to be worthy of ‘best Bond’ just yet. But I like Brosnan too, and it’s mostly due to this entry. If you have a chance, I highly recommend! 🙂


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