"Who's strangling the cat?" — looking back on GoldenEye

"Who's strangling the cat?" — looking back on GoldenEye

Contrary to popular belief, Pierce Brosnan was not Cubby Brocolli's first choice to replace the ageing Roger Moore as James Bond in the mid-1980s. Timothy Dalton was, but he was unavailable due to Brenda Starr

 

Cubby eventually went with Brozza. He was all skinny and signed up to play 007 in The Living Daylights. The publicity around Pierce improved Remington Steele's ratings, and another series was commissioned, contractually requiring Brosnan to return to the show. And then, Timothy Dalton became available.

 

Pierce revealed that he was driving in the States when he saw a massive billboard of new Bond Timothy Dalton staring back at him. Brozza was devastated but finally got his chance in 1995.

 

Nine years after he was initially cast, Brozza hadn't bulked up much. His lack of physical appearance in GoldenEye is jarring, with that silly bouffant hair. Not to mention his lack of screen presence acting-wise. 

 

 

Tina Turner was a peculiar choice to perform Bono and The Edge's theme song when the aim must've been to get Bond to appear to the younger generation after a six-year hiatus. 

 

By '95, Tina had gone to seed. She was well into her 50s and long past her peak success. She'd never had a UK number one, and GoldenEye didn't change that — peaking at number ten in the UK singles chart. This song is a fan favourite, but Tina is like nails down a blackboard to me.

 

We see a Daniel Kleinman title sequence for the first time. Computer-generated images integrate elements of the film's plot rather than Maurice Binder's naked chicks.

 

 

Eric Serra's score has some moments, but it's largely awful. Ladies First, which we hear when Bond is racing with Xenia Onatopp, is like something out of a Commodore 64 game. iT'S far one of the worst pieces of music ever committed to a Bond film.

 

Robbie Coltrane and Alan Cummings have these weird Russian turned Wee Jimmy Krankie accents going on. Sean Bean begins sentences sounding like Prince William and ends them sounding like Jimmy Saville.

 

Feeding into Mike Myers' hands for the Austin Powers trilogy soon to follow, Alec Trevelyan sets up some elaborate death for Bond to escape from. You'd think that of all the people Alec would know Bond has a knack for evading these setups.

 

Overall, the supporting cast is solid — but dear old Desmond Llewelyn is a little shaky as Q. He was into his 80s by his 15th Bond film came around, and it shows. You can clearly see him reading off cue cards. 

 

 

They went with a new Moneypenny in Samantha Bond. The producers probably didn't have the heart to drop Desmond from his few minutes on screen every few years. It does seem quite laughable to believe that a man of his age is at the forefront of MI6's cutting technology.

 

The absolute highlight of the film is the superbly choreographed fistfight between Alec Trevelyan and Bond during the film's climax. Although Bond seems to coast through the action of GoldenEye a little too easy — fending off an army of Russians with the help of a leather belt. 

 

It's a far cry from when we last saw 007 in the guise of Timothy Dalton — battered, bloodied and bruised — suit torn — crawling out of a tanker full of cocaine. 

 

Brozza doesn't quite seem entirely comfortable with the role yet and appears undecided on where to take his characterisation of Bond. Yet, after the brooding and dark Dalton, he played it safe. With a little bit of Sean and a wee bit of Roger, Brozza was a crowd-pleaser. 

 

 

His performance in GoldenEye fails to excite me. I find him incredibly flat, wooden, and monotone. He would grow into the role in his subsequent films, but with comfortability came smugness and smarminess that made him unbearable post-GoldenEye

 

Eric Serra lends his voice to his song, The Experience Of Love, for the end creditsLike most of his 90s computer game sounding score, this dreary and cheesy song is enough to make your ears bleed. 

 

Much like Sam Allardyce and the England job, Bond was a gig Pierce had waited for all his life. And again, much like Big Sam, it all went pear-shaped after one outing.

 

Copyright © 2022 J W Emery Ltd. All rights reserved.

Joe Emery

Joe is Editor of For Bond Fans Only and a writer by trade. When he's not watching Bond, he can be found listening to The Beatles and worrying about West Ham. You can find him on Twitter @JWEmeryLtd

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