After an unprecedented break of six years, Bond was back in the suave Irish form of Pierce Brosnan. With expectations riding high, this film had a lot to live up to and it never failed to deliver. Brosnan was an instant success as Bond, more light hearted than Dalton’s interpretation but with a lightness of touch that evoked the heyday of Moore and a physical skill that spoke of Connery.
A post-modern Bond for the 1990s, Goldeneye was the first to feature a female “M” in the shape of Judi Dench and also the first to be co produced by Barbara Broccoli, daughter of Cubby who acted as consulting producer on the film but was uncredited.
After a pre titles sequence acting as a prequel to the story, showing the apparent death of 006, Alec Trevelyan on a mission with Bond, the story picks up nine years later with Bond on the trail of Xenia Onatopp. Despite his best efforts, She and General Ourumov fly to a base in Russia where they assassinate most of the staff and escape with a control device for one of the two Goldeneye satellites, destroying the complex and taking Boris Grishenko, a computer genius with them.
Onatopp leads Bond to a mysterious man called Janus who turns out to be Alec Trevelyan, vowing revenge on Britain. Escaping with Natalya from the trap Trevelyan set for them, Bond pursues Ouromov through St Petersburg (in a tank!) and kills him before tracking Trevelyan to Cuba, where he has a plan to steal billions from Britan with the help of the Goldeneye.
A tightly written script was brought to the screen by director Martin Campbell, best known for the BBC thriller “Edge of Darkness” who proved himself more than capable of filling John Glen’s shoes and redefined Bond for the 1990s.
Sean Bean played Alec Trevelyan a scarred and bitter version of Bond himself, once allies now enemies. Isabella Scorupco was Natalya Simonova, an ordinary woman who has to find extraordinary strength to cope with her situation, professional Scotsman Alan Cumming played greedy computer expert Boris, with a catchphrase of “I am invincible!!!” and Famke Janssen made a fabulous impression as Xenia Onatopp (“No no no, no more foreplay” says Bond after her attempt to kill him) a Bond girl with more bite than usual and an entertaining habit of crushing her victims to death between her thighs, rapidly becoming one of the most popular villains ever.
Celebrated British actress Judi Dench made her first appearance as a female M, gloriously denouncing Bond as a “sexist misogynist dinosaur” and would continue to play the part in every subsequent film.
The theme was composed by Bono and The Edge and sung by Tina Turner and film was shot on location in Arecibo, St Petersburg and London before moving to a new purpose built studio converted from an old Rolls Royce factory. Beautifully treading the fine line between action and humour, drama and parody, Goldeneye reinvigorated the franchise yet again and became the highest grossing Bond film ever. Brosnan was well worth the wait!