Sunday, April 01, 2007

Re-viewing Bond- GOLDENEYE (1995)

It’s a rare thing for my opinion to change about a movie. Only in a handful of cases have I returned to a film I disliked on initial viewing and realized that I was completely wrong in my first reaction. Such is the case with GOLDENEYE which I saw last on its opening weekend in 1995 and have hated ever since. I can pinpoint the moment when the film pissed me off clearly and that particular moment still irritates. But I can see now that the rest of the movie is actually very good. The moment where the film lost me that first time was what by this time in the series had become the standard ‘stupid, impossible action bit’. You know! That one little thing in so many Bond films that makes you roll your eyes going “Give me a break’. A few of the Moore films have so many of these moments that they become jokes that can in no way be taken seriously. Even some of the better ones have these moments and as a fan you just have to grit your teeth and accept them to enjoy the ride. Or maybe not.

But in this case I simply could not accept that Bond could magically will himself to fall faster than a prop plane in flight. This happens at the very end of the otherwise well done pre-credits sequence in which 007 and 006 (Sean Bean) break into a Russian chemical warfare factory. As Bond makes his solo escape the plane in question is flying under power straight down and Bond clearly leaves the cliff face well after it dipped toward the ground below. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of physics can tell you that there is no way for an object to fall faster than another object especially if the first object is powering away from the second. This is simply impossible. What made it even more irritating was I could immediately see a way for them to have staged this action scene that wouldn’t have been so freakin’ stupid. Why not just have Bond reach the side of the plane just as it tips over the edge and begins its crash dive? He would then have to pull his way down the side of fuselage as it plummets toward the ground to get inside and wrestle the plane’s controls to save himself. That’s an exciting scene just on paper and it wouldn’t have made me go ‘Yeah, Right!’.

Of course, I have to accept that most Bond fans have loved this film from the day it opened. I guess I let the stupid opening scene taint the rest of the movie for me but GOLDENEYE is still not a perfect 007 film. The love scene still feels like it was airlifted in from another movie, the Joe Don Baker scenes are less than inspired, the moment when the statue rides along on top of the tank is asinine and the way Bond meets the female baddie played by Famke Janssen is silly. I still think that most fans were just so happy to have Bond back after a six year hiatus that they would have been happy with anything. Even a film as bad as DIE ANOTHER DAY!

Still- GOLDENEYE is actually a pretty damned good Bond film overall. So I now go from thinking Brosnan had only one decent 007 adventure to thinking he managed to eke out a 50% batting average. It’s a shame really as old Pierce was a damned good Bond.

I’m glad I revisited this one.

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