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2013-06-22: Transfered all of my 2011 "My Year in Music" posts from Facebook.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Superficial Bond Reviews --- #17: Goldeneye

* The party starts with 007 making an insane bungee jump off a dam.
There's already gadgets in play, wires 'n' lasers 'n' shit, and we still haven't seen Bond's face. Instead, there's an almost expressionistic shot of his eyes, instantly reminding me of the shot of Lazenby's eyes in the rear view mirror from On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
Then our new James Bond, Pierce Brosnan, shows himself. Ta-daaah! Good start, man. Welcome!
And, as if I weren't happy enough already, Sean Bean pops up as 006, and we finally get to know another 00 a little better. Not only that - did I mention it's Sean Bean!? I love Bean!
The next second, everything explodes in an insane action scene, 006 eats a bullet, and Bond drives a motorcycle off a cliff and dives into an airplane.
As a wise man once said: Shit, meet pants!

* The title sequence is more elegant than I've seen in years - since Goldfinger, I guess.
Tina Turner is this year's artist, and tries to outdo Shirley Bassey in every way, belting out the title tune like a rabid camel moaning through a broken tuba: Gooooooaaaaalldeeehhhhnnnnnneeeeeeyyyyyyyyeeeeeehhhh!!!
Can't say I blame her.

* Goldeneye is on a roll from early on - and we can thank chicks and cars for that, to a large extent.
Before the temporary deafness from Tina Turner exposure has fully dissipated, we are treated to some kind of sexual car duel between the ever-so-suave Brosnan and this movie's villainess, played by Famke Janssen. It's a brilliant scene, and every element in it reflect the characters' identities, even the cars (Bond owns an Aston Martin DB5 privately now - I'm guessing that MI6 pays him vast sums).
After this dramatic encounter, 007 immediately bangs his shrink. She's way below his league, but she can give him a clean bill of mental health - so he whores himself out. No lovvie-dovvie bullshit here, just straight ol' prostitution.

* Famke Janssen's Xenia Onatopp should be more thoroughly discussed, I feel, as she's definitely the best femme fatale in the entire Bond series.
Having a character who gets a joygasm whenever she kills someone, and whose favorite assassination method is crushing her victim with her thighs during sex, is a recipe for success. The scene where she and 007 have... uh... intercourse?... is simply a fantastic blend of humor, hanky-panky and hand-to-hand combat.
So on second thought: She's hot, she kicks ass, and she makes you think "aaaaawwwyeaaaahhh!" about the prospect of being assassinated. What's to discuss?
Too bad that Janssen completely overshadows good Bond girl Isabella Scorupco. She's doing a good job with what she has to work with, and she's not horrible to look at, but... sorry, not enough.

* At this point, you may think that I have a major hard-Walther for Goldeneye (and you may be right), but all is not well in Bond Town.
- Bond still can't connect with his women - this is a perpetual Bond problem - and having some kind of looong, tiresome chick flick scene with emotions on the beach won't fix that. Everybody's just thinking about Xenia's thigh muscles anyway.
- For all the finesse in writing and direction that's introduced here, we are still treated to another ludicrous death trap scene. "I must kill you, mister Bond, so I - ha ha! - let you live and put you in this thing here, where I'm sure you can't escape, ever! Goodbye, mister Bond!"
No wonder that Canadian guy had to make fifteen Austin Powers movies. Too much material!
- Oh, and there's the car.
I've been complaining that too many Bond movies has left our hero without a car, but when it's time for Goldeneye to present its choice... it's a stinky, rotten, metrosexual, blue BMW Z3! Christ - a German car!? Is that the way you communicate the ultra-Englishness of James Bond? And you communicate 007's suave and cool nature with a blue convertible? No! That's communicating "I'm a dot-com billionaire with a receding hairline and a small penis"!
You have to consider that James Bond is a brand... and this choice urinates on that brand by being wrong. You may think that it's "just a car", but that's because you're an idiot.
The bitter irony of it all, is that Bond never gets to use the car for anything special. Maybe it's Q Branch's sick idea of a joke.
Hey, guess what. I'm thinking that maybe Bond shouldn't have a car anyway.

- "My name is Bond. James Bond. IT consultant."

* Having gotten that out of the way, I can get back to praising Goldeneye. Not necessarily the satellite itself, I mean the movie. Because honestly, the titular piece of space junk doesn't exactly offer anything new to the Bond saga (although I do have to admit that special effects have gotten so good by 1995, that the camp sci-fi factor has diminished).
What this movie does have, is scale: The EMP-firing space cannon, the huge satellite dish in the jungle, the insane tank chase through Soviet streets! It's proper Bond scale, not chasing down some lame drug dealer in Mexico or whatever.
Goldeneye even has the balls to introduce epic qualities to its dramatic scenes as well - just watch the scene where 007 confronts the Beanmeister in the park with the broken statues. "Beautiful and poignant" is something I never thought I'd say about a Bond movie, but there it is. It's official. Goldeneye has made me into a limp-wristed, pompous douche who uses words like "poignant". That's how powerful it is.

* And then we end up at the heart of the movie - 006.
Played with cutting intensity by His Royal Beanship, the fallen agent holds up a dark mirror to James Bond and shows him what he could've become. It's a real valuable experience, if you go for all that psychobabble shit, to see it play out - but it also raises the question "why the hell did it take them 17 (seventeen!) movies to come up this?"
After the talky parts that those fruity film theory geeks care about are finally over, we are even treated to one of the most awesome fight scenes in Bond history, when 006 and 007 put words into action. Throwing, kicking, punching, chains, shooting and the kitchen sink - it's intense enough to short-circuit your brain into thinking that Bond might get his head bashed in by a plank.
Until Beansky gets squished, that is.

* Bold statement alert!
Goldeneye is the best Bond movie of them all, and it's not even a close race.
In no other movie do all the elements that are needed for a James Bond adventure blend together so perfectly and give us what we've waited for for such a long time. We, the fans, have seen these elements and always knew that they could come together some day - and that's why we've suffered through so many shitty movies. Hope. Perseverance. Single malt.
Too bad that I think this is going to be the only time everything clicks and that all that's left for us is boredom, repetition and the occasional flash-in-the-pan "reinvention" that does absolutely nothing for the series.
Remember this in fifty years - when you've just seen Bond #45, and you wonder how the hell you can get those two hours back that you just lost.

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