“Back from the dead. No longer just an anonymous star on the memorial wall at MI6. What’s the matter, James? No glib remark? No pithy comeback?”
– Alec Trevelyan
MI6 00 agents James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) and Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean) are on a mission to infiltrate a Soviet chemical weapons facility where everything goes wrong. Alec is captured and executed by Colonel Arkandy Ourumov (Gottfried John), while Bond makes a wild escape as the facility explodes. Many years later, Bond is being assessed, and follows Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen). She is suspected to have ties to the Janus crime syndicate, and Bond needs to figure out the involvement and the extent as to what they are up to. After she murders an admiral, now General Ourumov takes over his identity. They hijack a prototype helicopter that can withstand an electromagnetic pulse and go to Severnaya. There they steal the control disks for the GoldenEye satellite weapons. Everyone at the facility is murdered, save one woman who makes it out, programmer Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco), and Boris Grishenko (Alan Cumming), another programmer who must be the insider that helped Ourumov and Onatopp out. They activate a GoldenEye satellite, and the weapon destroys the entire bunker.
M and Bond see the desecration of the Severnaya bunker, and Bond goes out to see what is happening. Natalya is unaware of Boris’s hand in the destruction of the bunker, and goes to meet with him in St Petersburg. Instead, he betrays her, and she is taken hostage by Janus. Bond’s new CIA contact is Jack Wade (Joe Don Baker), who is also on the GoldenEye mission, and at first they do not seem to get along. Bond wants a meeting with Janus, and only Russian Mafia head Valentin Zukovsky (Robbie Coltrane) can help him out with it. However, the two have a history, and Zukovsky is not overly thrilled to see Bond turn up to meet him. Bond is granted his meeting, however, but is horrified to discover that Janus is actually his “deceased” friend, Alec Trevelyan. He is a Cossack clan descendant, and still has it out for the British Government for their involvement in his parents’ death – the Cossacks were clans that worked with Nazi forces and the British turned them back in to Stalin, and they were killed. Bond is taken hostage.
Naturally, a whole lot of bad decisions and situations and escapes ensue, and Bond becomes rather close with Natalya, who offers boundless assistance in helping him out. Everyone still has no idea who stole the GoldenEye controller, Dimitri Mishkin (Tchéky Karyo), the Russian Minister of Defence, captured Natalya and Bond, convinced that Bond is a rogue agent and a thief. Natalya drops the bomb that Ourumov is responsible for the destruction of the bunker and the murders of all the people. Ourumov turns up at that moment and executes a guard and Mishkin with Bond’s gun. Natalya is captured by Alec again, and Bond needs to get to her.
When Alec reveals his master plan of robbing a bank and using the EMP to mask the crime as well as cripple Britain’s economy, Bond needs to save Natalya. The two spar as always. Will Bond be able to save the girl as well as take down Alec? Will he be able to get over his personal feelings of betrayal and operate like the agent he was trained to be? Despite all his talk of having to stay cold and disconnected, is it really that simple? Will Bond be able to continue avoiding Onatopp’s attempts to kill him?
A 6.5/10 for GoldenEye. Definitely not the most solid way to enter the realm of Bond, but Pierce Brosnan isn’t bad, though it seems to linger in the uncomfortable place of being between a serious Bond like Dalton and a corny one like Connery/Moore. I am just so glad to be over Moore, I will take anything. I thought that with the cast that they had, the movie would have been more wow, if you know what I mean. Not a terrible movie, just not the biggest bang to come back with after all the court cases and what not. I thought Sean Bean was great for his role, though, as always, he is a walking spoiler. I thought Alan Cumming’s character was good, though his talents were grossly underused. Famke Janssen’s character was just too damned weird, and the sounds? Eeek. The story that they had could truly have been a lot more solid. I really liked the tank chase, though. I was incredibly impressed to finally see Judi Dench step into the role as M, and had to laugh a little at how the boys franchise suddenly had to make way for a woman, and learn to respect her. The whole scene where she explained to Bond that he was an antiquated dinosaur cracked me up. There alone they highlighted moving into a new era, and how everyone felt about it. Well done. Desmond Llewelyn is still hanging on as Q, which is good to see someone is still there so far along in the show. Not a bad film in terms of Bond, just not the most solid way to introduce a new Bond, sadly, and I felt that there was not really enough to genuinely captivate my attention wholly.