Half of Everything is Luck
Warning: this review does contain a few vague spoilers.
Goldeneye is the 17th James Bond film which follows 007 on his quest to find a missing helicopter and a Russian weapon satellite. This film stars Pierce Brosnan as 007, Sean Bean, Izabella Scorupco, Famke Janssen and Joe Don Baker.
Unlike the previous two movies, Goldeneye marks the return to the more humorous James Bond movies. Part of that can be attributed to Pierce Brosnan taking over the role, but I'm sure the box-office mishap of the last movie didn't help things.
This story also reverses Bond's shift to his friends being more important than his country, which really felt weird since I watched Licence to Kill and Goldeneye within a couple days. Did the writers forget about what the last movie was about, or did they just choose to ignore its existence? Some events in Bond 16 should have had massive repercussions, yet none of them are even addressed, which makes me think they just chose to ignore it altogether. Sure, there were six years between movies, but I think this choice was a huge mistake.
At least the action was pushed beyond anything we've seen in a Bond film for a very long time. It was as if the writers tried to make up for the missing years with even more action and violence. We've never seen such a massive wake of carnage behind our hero spy as we get in Goldeneye. Normally he has to take out a few groups of thugs, but he goes against legions of soldiers and mercenaries this time! Hell, he even rips through a city in a tank!
The action and pace may be intense, but you will likely need to turn off your brain to enjoy it. There are quite a few errors in Goldeneye, although most of them revolve around the writers not really sure how certain things work, like E-Mail, the Internet, EMP, security checkpoints, spy agencies, aircraft, satellites... You know things that have absolutely no bearing on the plot of the movie at all. Oh, wait, all of them do... Oops. Sure, most people didn't really know much about such things at the time this film came out, but with how knowledgeable we are today, many of these flaws are extremely noticeable, as is the out dated technology. Sure, all 007 movies have parts that ignore logic, but this film laughed in the face of logic.
Compared to the earlier movies, the gadgets that Bond is given almost seems primitive, as well. Sure, a few are neat, but most of them are just altered versions of ones used in past movies. What happened to MI6's tech being decades ahead of the world's?
But, we got some fantastic characters to make for it, right? Yes, and no. The villains were very colourful, and enjoyable to watch, as was Bond's allies, although we never really get to know them. After two movies doing a fantastic job at building believable characters, Goldeneye gives us little more than brief dossiers on each of them.
They also never change. Each character is the same from the beginning to the end of the movie. Sure, desperation does make Bond's main ally a bit more physical, but it is still easily within the believable bounds of what she might have been before. We just don't know enough about them so say otherwise.
This leaves me really conflicted about Goldeneye. Yes, it is an entertaining movie with intense action, good characters, and a decent plot, but it is full of flaws and the characters could have been so much more. If it wasn't for the two Dalton films, this movie would have fit in with the Moore era films perfectly, but the drastic shift back and forth is very hard to ignore. If you enjoyed the Moore Bond movies, this will certainly be a great flick, but those looking for realism should definitely look elsewhere.
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