007: Goldeneye (1995)
Goldeneye 2012 DVD Re-issue Cover
By late 1992, the lengthy litigation that had prevented a new James Bond film from going into production had been resolved between EON Productions and MGM/UA, which was now under a new management team. The two companies formed an agressive strategy to return Agent 007 to the big screen. However, the task was not easy. Not the least of considerations was that in the years following A Licence To Kill the Soviet empire had crumbled and the Cold War had come to an end. Conventional wisdom in the film industry was that it would be futile to attempt a comeback for James Bond. He was best left as an icon of the past.
Yet, Cubby Broccoli was determined to bring Bond back in a big way. Although Cubby had passed the torch of day-to-day film production to Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson, he was still very active in the important decisions made during this period. He had hired writer Michael France to write and research the story that would become known as Goldeneye. Several stories were written by different writers which were soon scrapped for including locations which would prove unavailable or for action sequences that were very similar to those used in the Arnold Swarznegger film True Lies. However, another potential crisis loomed: Timothy Dalton resigned from the role of 007. Despite rumours of the contrary, the Broccoli's had never interviewed any other actors for the role and Dalton's amicable departure caused a casting dilemma.
Proof that patience is a virtue came with the selection of Pierce Brosnan for the new 007. Brosnan, still smarting from his heart-breaking loss of the role in 1986, was enormously pleased when he was informed in June 1994 that the part was his. The choice of Brosnan - a popular one with the public - was inspired as he represented a complete revitalization of the 007 franchise. A major press conference was called in London and Brosnan won over the media with his low-key demeanour and self-deprecating sense of humour. Privately, he later admitted, he was extremely nervous about the pressure he would be carrying. Not only was his career on the line as a leading man, but the financial statability of an entire studio rested on his ability to establish himself as a relevant action hero for the 1990's.
The next problem occurred when Pinewood Studios proved unavailable for filming - ironically because it had been taken over by the Sean Connery film First Knight. Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli made the dramatic decision to build an entirely new studio at Leavesden, an air-field twenty miles outside London. An abandoned Rolls-royce factory there could be converted into gigantic sound stages. It fell to production designer Peter Lamont, executive producer Tom Pevsner, associate producer Tony Waye and their crews to construct a state-of-the-art facility in six-weeks - a remarkable achievement. Martin Campbell was signed on to direct the $50 million film. Immediately prior to production, EON invited the world media to a spectacular press conference at the new studio, where the entire cast was formally introduced.
Box-Office results for Goldeneye made true believers out of even the most hardened cynics, with record-breaking grosses posted internationally. While Goldeneye succeeds in updating 007 for a new millennium, it also boldly retains the classic elements of the series: exotic locations, glamorous wardrobes, women with suggestive names and hi-tech gadgetry. The chief asset of the film is clearly Pierce Brosnan, who in the years since 1986 matured both physically and as an actor. In retrospect, the best things that could have happened to him was not getting the part in 1986 - he is far more suitable as Bond of the 90's, a fact that he now willingly acknowledges. Brosnan has a very commanding screen presebce abd a unique ability to deliver a witticism. Indeed, it can be said that for the first time since the Sean Connery era, it would be difficult to imagine any other contemporary star in the role. Brosnan was fortunate to have an excellent supporting cast chosen on the basis of their abilities, not box-office clout.
Goldeneye is not a perfect film. The script (which eventually had contributions from numerous writers) is often erratic, with individual scenes more engrossing that the main scheme, and the musical score by Eric Serra often works against, rather than enhances, major sequences. Still, the return of James Bond was welcome news for a world which had almost forgotten that an action hero could have style and grace. Even after thirty-five years, nobody did it better than 007.
Mission Assignment (may contain spoilers)
James Bond and his colleague and close friend Alec Trevelyan (Agent 006) are assigned to destroy a Soviet nerve gas factory during the Cold War. The mission goes awry and Trevelyan is executed by Soviet General Ourumov.
Nine years later, M informs Bond that a secret Russian weapons system called GoldenEye has been stolen, so may be in criminal hands and could cause massive destruction. Bond discovers the weapon may be in the possession of Janus, a mysterious, unseen organized-crime chief operating in the new Russia. Bond is shocked to learn that Janus is actually Trevelyan, who is plotting with Ourumov to financially cripple London electronically then cover up the crime by firing the GoldenEye over the city. Bond - with the help of former Russian computer programmer Natalya Simonova - penetrates Trevelyan's secret lair in Cuba and, in a fierce battle to the death, destroys his former colleague and thwarts his plan to use the GoldenEye for purposes of mass destruction.
In the Bond tradition, locations for GOLDENEYE were extensive and exotic. Most impressive were the locations in Monte Carlo, where Bond becomes embroiled in intrigue at the casino and in the port area. The car chase between the Aston Martin and Xenia's Ferrari was filmed on the mountain roads in the south of France. Russian locations were confined to second unit work, and were later seemlessly edited into sequences shot at the St Petersburg set built at Leavesden Studios in England. For the scenes in Cuba and on the unnamed Caribbean island where Bond romances Natalya, Puerto Rico proved to be a suitable locale. The miraculous bungee jump in the pre-credits sequence was shot at a dam in Locarno, Switzerland.
Marketing & Merchandising
Official Teaser Poster
'You knew the name. You know the number' read the tagline on the teaser poster, which featured a striking photograph of Pierce Brosnan in a typical Bond pose. In case anyone did need an introduction, a superbly edited teaser trailer was shown in cinemas in the summer of 1994. Reaction to it was so strong that the media carried news stories that audiences were loudly cheering the return of 007. In New York City, a gala premiere was held at Radio City Music Hall to a sell-out crowd of 6,000, followed by a party for cast and crew at the Museum of Modern Art. In London, the social event of the season was the royal premiere and a black-tie party held at the Imperial War Museum, which was decorated with the Soviet icons from the film. 'Red Army Guards' stood watch outside, and inside Russian folk bands and a full orchestra entertained an eclectic gathering of show business celebrities ranging from Bono to Martin Scorsese.
On UK Television Johnathan Ross hosted an excellent, light-hearted documentary entitled In Search of James Bond while in the USA Elizabeth Hurley did the same with The World Of 007. BMW launched a massive marketting tie-in with the Z3 Roadster, starting with a press conference at Central Park in New York City with Pierce Brosnan, Desmond Llewelyn and Izabella Scorupco. Later, journalists were wined and dined at the famous Rainbow Room then driven in their own Z3 to the premiere at Radio City. The company even issued intricately detailed 1:18 scale commemoratives of the car and demand was so high that they were made available commercially.
There were many notable merchandising and publishing tie-ins. John Gardner adapted the screen-play into a novel. The Making Of GoldenEye was published in the UK. An updated edition of The Incredible World Of 007 was available in the USA, Britain and Japan. Seemingly every country had either a souvenir brochure or a commemorative magazine. In Germany, Playboy devoted an entire issue to Agent 007 and saw it become an instant collectors' item selling for up to £50. Corgi produced a replica of Bond's Aston Martin DB5 in GOLDENEYE packaging, along with Xenia's Ferrari. Sohni-Wicke made a toy Walther PPK and accompanying accessories for the boys' market. Other collectables included GoldenEye Trading Cards, a resin statue of Pierce Brosnan and commemorative watches and crew jackets.
Director: Martin Campbell
Writers: Ian Fleming, Michael France, Jeffrey Caine, Bruce Feirstein
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Izabella Scorupco
Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime, Thriller
Release date: 24 November 1995 UK
Film number: 17
Theme: "GOLDENEYE" Tina Turner
Soundtrack: by Eric Serra
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Pierce Brosnan - James Bond
Izabella Scorupco - Natalya Simonova
Sean Bean - Alec Trevelyan
Famke Janssen - Xenia Onatopp
Joe Don Baker - Jack Wade
Judi Dench - M
Robbie Coltrane - Valentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky
Gottfried John - General Ourumov
Tchéky Karyo - Defense Minister Dmitri Mishkin
Desmond Llewelyn - Q
Samantha Bond - Miss Moneypenny
Michael Kitchen - Bill Tanner
Serena Gordon - Caroline
Top Secret dossiers
During production, Roger Moore visited the set at Leavesden. He quipped that early tests of Brosnan were not impressive, so the producers had called him back to the role
While in London to promote the film, Desmond Llewelyn was lured into a surprise segment of This Is Your Life in which he as honoured by old friends and Bond colleagues.
Credit for the spectacular bungee jump goes to stunt co-ordinator Simon Crane and stunt man Wayne Michaels. Michaels made a mind-boggling 640-foot plunge, accelerating to 100 miles per hour. To prevent him from being slammed into the wall of the dam, the bungee cord was attached to a crane to allow him maximum clearance.
Goldeneye Vehicle article (Coming soon)
Goldeneye Gadget article (Coming soon)
Goldeneye Music article (Coming soon)
Goldeneye Character article (Coming soon)
Goldeneye Trailer (Coming soon)
Goldeneye Opening titles (Coming soon)
When Bond is fighting the man in the striped shirt on the yacht, Bond wraps a towel around the man's neck and uses it to beetle toss him down a flight of stairs. The towel is wrapped around the man's neck, and it leaves Bond's hands as he tosses him. In the next camera shot, the man goes tumbling down the stairs and the towel has disappeared. It goes to a final camera shot, and the towel is still in Bond's hands and never left in the first place.
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The Box Office
GOLDENEYE proved to be a box-office powerhouse which defied the conventional wisdom that big-budget action films suffer if released in the winter. The film smashed box-office records internationally and went on to gross a staggering $351 million world-wide, making this by far the biggest Bond film of all in terms generating revenue (although Thunderball still stands as the record holder in terms of the number of paid admissions).
Date Published: 24 December 2012 Last Updated: 23 December 2012