November 17, 1995 in Seven

Guess Who’s Back? Bond … James Bond

Michael H. Price Fort Worth Star-Telegram
 

‘Goldeneye,” the new James Bond movie, is a prefabricated hit that pushes all the correct buttons in a rather mechanical manner.

The classically cool Bond mannerisms are there, enacted with great verve and two-fisted ferocity by series newcomer Pierce Brosnan, and the spectacular stagings of desperate escapes, rescues and attacks are as thrill-packed as those that made the series’ opening volley, “Dr. No,” stand apart from all the other new films of 1962.

But formula is formula, and high style cannot disguise this paint-by-numbers method.

Which makes “Goldeneye” a delight in more or less the sense that a well-prepared cafeteria meal is a delight.

Brosnan, who in demeanor and attitude resembles a prime-of-youth Sean Connery, seems plenty impatient with the politically polite world of the 1990s.

The Brosnan Bond is a throwback to the treat-‘em-rough-and-make-‘em-like-it school of sexual etiquette, and his take on world politics is pretty much likewise.

Screenwriters Jeffrey Caine and Bruce Feirstein make much of Bond’s being such a lousy MCP, even as they feel compelled to issue reminders to Bond that “the Cold War is over.”

But of course the Cold War is only “officially” over, and Bond is among the few to acknowledge this truth.

So Her Majesty’s most dependable Secret Service agent remains vigilant against the subversive attempts at world domination that he has been combating since he sprang full-blown from Ian Fleming’s typewriter two generations ago.

This time out, Bond must contend with a ruthless nemesis (played by Sean Bean) who is every bit Bond’s equal.

The Bean character is introduced as a colleague of Bond’s, and proves by degrees to be a menace. There’s a threat of worldwide cataclysm involving a marauding space satellite, but the richer element of climax involves a battle royale between Brosnan’s Agent 007 and Bean’s defrocked 006.

The Bond women are another of the series’ crucial ingredients, and Famke Janssen (as the deadly yet desirable Xenia Onatopp) and Izabella Scorupco (as an uneasy Bond ally named Natalya Simonova) are no disappointment.

Elsewhere in support, Joe Don Baker registers strongly as a cynical American operative, and Robbie Coltrane of British TV’s “Cracker Mysteries” registers a chilling note as a ruthless dealer in munitions.

Dame Judi Dench becomes the first woman to play Bond’s superior, the mysterious M.

No fair spilling the beans, but suffice to say that Bond saves the day, as always.

And of course Bond is obliged to stand between the human race and utter destruction.

Yet another sequel has already been promised.

Here’s hoping that Pierce Brosnan will return to the role.

MEMO: Two sidebars appeared with the story: 1. “GOLDENEYE” Location: East Sprague, North Division and Showboat cinemas Credits: Directed by Martin Campbell; starring Pierce Brosnan, Izabella Scorupco, Joe Don Baker, Famke Janssen, Robbie Coltrane Running time: 2:10 Rating: PG-13

2. OTHER VIEW Here’s what another critic says about “Goldeneye:” Bob Thomas/Associated Press: If anything, “Goldeneye” gives you too much of a good thing. Two hours and 10 minutes is a long span for what is essentially one long chase. There may be just one fireball explosion too many.

Two sidebars appeared with the story: 1. “GOLDENEYE” Location: East Sprague, North Division and Showboat cinemas Credits: Directed by Martin Campbell; starring Pierce Brosnan, Izabella Scorupco, Joe Don Baker, Famke Janssen, Robbie Coltrane Running time: 2:10 Rating: PG-13

2. OTHER VIEW Here’s what another critic says about “Goldeneye:” Bob Thomas/Associated Press: If anything, “Goldeneye” gives you too much of a good thing. Two hours and 10 minutes is a long span for what is essentially one long chase. There may be just one fireball explosion too many.

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