Looking through an online list of films that turn twenty this year – in other words those released in 1995 – was far more depressing than it should have been. This is because out of the many movies that were released that year, very few had much of an impact on me. My interest in Toy Story has somewhat waned, and it has been too long since I’ve last watched Babe. I don’t think I’ve even seen A Goofy Movie. Fortunately there was one film that truly had a large impact on my childhood, and that film was none other than GoldenEye.
When I was younger, before The Dark Knight changed my perception of big-budget movies and the artistic merit of film as a whole in 2008, there were two genres that I typically gravitated towards: dumb comedy and car-heavy action. Naturally this meant that I was hooked onto the two Bond films that were released in the 1990’s, Tomorrow Never Dies and GoldenEye. Though the former was my preferred choice growing up (especially with its awesome chase scene that had Bond maneuvering a remote-controlled BMW), it is GoldenEye that has had the most lasting impact.
Chris Stuckmann is a YouTube reviewer, and in the past he posted some videos related to both GoldenEye the film and GoldenEye the video game. It was in these videos that I realized just how much of a presence GoldenEye had on my childhood, as well as that of other people who grew up in the nineties. He notes that GoldenEye had a nostalgic value to it, that “everytime that I watch this movie I’m thinking about the GoldenEye 64 lands and going into the dam and the facility, and the game combined with the movie just makes this big nostalgic thing for me.” (6:06) This resonated with me, as I feel much the same way about this film and its accompanying video game. In fact, I would argue that for those of us that grew up in the 90’s, GoldenEye was a staple. Both forms of the GoldenEye Media helped introduce us to the action genre. For that reason, this movie holds an irreplaceable spot in my memory.
I remember using matchbox cars to recreate car-chase scenes like the one in the movie (where Bond drives a tank through the streets of Russia and, in the process, takes out the entire Russian Police force). Re-watching the film and hearing that music not only brought me back to my childhood and the time that I spent watching it, but also the video game and the fun I had playing it.
As for the film itself, I still found it highly enjoyable even today. The plot is simple enough, with James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) trying to prevent a group of rogue Russians from utilizing a satellite weapon that blasts an electromagnetic pulse into a region. Even so there are some nice twists and turns, especially involving the character Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean). It also provides an interesting look at the concerns of the time, such as the emergence of technological warfare and the outdated nature of spy agencies – both themes that would later become focal points in the 2012 Bond film Skyfall. It also demonstrates the continued fear of Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union, as well as subtle references to the cultural changes occurring within the newly democratic state.
On the other hand, GoldenEye is more style than substance. It doesn’t carry the dark and gritty tone of the recent installments (though directed by Martin Campbell, who would go on to direct Casino Royale), and opts for a more “campy” tone. In addition, I wish that there was more of a role for Q’s modified BMW. The movie built it up as if it would become integral to the plot, the film’s “Bond-car.” It was even said to be equipped with guns, yet it failed to do anything remotely awesome in the movie. But hey, at least we got a tank right? Some of the effects look dated as well, though that is to be expected.
Nit-picking aside, I am happy to report that GoldenEye is a movie that holds up twenty years after its release, and I would still recommend it for anyone that has not seen it yet.
“GoldenEye (1995).” imdb.com. The Internet Movie Database. n.d. Web. 31 January 2015. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113189/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast