UK / English
"You know the name. You know the number. "James Bond teams up with the lone survivor of a destroyed Russian research center to stop the hijacking of a nuclear space weapon by a fellow agent believed to be dead.
Amidst Controversy, Bond Re-Invented with Brosnan...
GOLDENEYE, the long-delayed debut of Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, was a
film mired in MGM's convoluted legal problems for six years, problems which
had nothing to do with the 007 franchise, but which happened to fall at the
worst possible time; after Timothy Dalton's 'Serious Bond' experiment,
LICENCE TO KILL, failed to break even in U.S. markets. Despite international
grosses that made the film a profitable venture, many American critics, long
grumbling that the Bond series had outlasted it's welcome, heaped abuse on
the newer, leaner direction for 'Bond', and it's taciturn, less
light-hearted star...and, with MGM's decision to put the expensive series
'on hold' until their own legal and financial issues could be resolved,
LICENCE TO KILL became the unfair 'scapegoat' for the delay.
Much happened during the six-year hiatus; with the collapse of the Soviet
Union, the Communist undercurrent of many Bond films (and the subject of
most of Ian Fleming's novels) was lost; Richard Maibaum, the series' most
prolific screenwriter, passed away, and ill health forced legendary producer
Albert ('Cubby') Broccoli to turn over his duties to his daughter Barbara,
and stepson, Michael G. Wilson (thus ending the other 'prime' 007
screenwriter's script contributions); many other key production figures
would retire, die, or move on; and finally, as the delay continued, Timothy
Dalton, nearing 50, announced that he was no longer interested in playing
James Bond (sparking rumors that Eon Productions, no longer honor-bound by
the senior Broccoli's choices, had given him 'the boot').
While all this opened the door for Pierce Brosnan's long-awaited debut as
007 (after his aborted first attempt, in THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS), with a new
'look' and style for the franchise, whether audiences would even accept a
new 'James Bond' adventure was in doubt.
Fortunately, everything 'worked'. Brosnan, now 42, was more ruggedly
believable as 007 than he would have been, at 34, and Dame Judi Dench, as
the first woman 'M' (referring to Bond as a "sexist, misogynist dinosaur"),
proved a perfect successor to the late Bernard Lee. While the plot of the
film, involving the master plan of a renegade Russian General (Gottfried
John) and an assumed dead 006 (Sean Bean) to use an electronic warfare
system (GoldenEye) against England was nothing new, Brosnan's daring-do and
one-liners (with humor restored to the franchise), as he proved his value in
the new world 'order', found an audience 'primed' for James Bond's
return...and the welcome cameo of the series' last original 'regular', "Q"
(Desmond Llewelyn, 81, and as cranky as ever), cemented 007's links to both
the past and the future.
James Bond's greatest crisis, whether he still had 'Box Office', had been
overcome, and with audience favorite Pierce Brosnan in place, his emergence
into the 21st century was assured.
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