While GoldenEye may not be the best Bond movie, it holds a special spot on the top of my list because it introduced me and many in my generation to the James Bond character. There was a 6 year gap following Timothy Dalton’s License To Kill, and so when the franchise was rebooted with Pierce Brosnan, I was at just the right age (teenager) to really dive into the Bond movies. And GoldenEye was the perfect movie to get me hooked. It had all of the classic elements of Bond movies (great stunts, Bond Girls, action, etc.) I still remember being blown away by the opening scene which starts with a bungee jump off a dam, and then ends with a no parachute base jump off a cliff into an empty falling plane, which Bond then has to gain control of and pull up to make his escape. It followed in the Bond tradition of having a Swedish bond girl, Izabella Scorupco, although she was playing a Russian, and it had a memorable villain Bond girl, Famke Janssen, whose career took off after playing Xenia Onatopp. The arch villain Trevelyan was also well played Sean Bean, and was a worthy adversary—a former 00 agent who betrayed England and Bond.
“For England James?” asks Trevelyan.
“No…For me!” quips Bond as he drops him off a giant satellite dish. Classic.
The movie is enjoyable enough on its own, but there is a great bonus—it spawned one of the most influential video games. GoldenEye changed the way people viewed first person shooters, and also made video games much more social. I remember meeting at friends’ houses to play large tournaments, and four people could play at a time in the multi-player mode. In the single player mode, you could re-enact most of the plot to the movie, rescuing Natalia, and battling Xenia and Trevelyan. After watching the movie and playing the video game, I was driven to tear through the rest of the Bond library, renting each of the movies in the franchise. And I was sure to catch each of the new installments in the theater as they came out.
Skyfall in Theaters this Fall
The more recent Casino Royale also did a good job of rebooting the franchise once again with Daniel Craig, making it darker and grittier, but the follow up, Quantum of Solace, was slightly disappointing. From the looks of the previews, the Bond movies are getting back on track with Skyfall. You don’t see much of him in the trailer, but I think Oscar winner Javier Bardem will be a great Bond villain, and I’m looking forward to seeing this film once it hits theaters this winter.