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IN SHORT: More of the sameLet us begin. The boss saw the film first and came into the office raving about it. $7.95 on Cranky's scale. Brosnan's a great Bond. The villain wasn't so great, but it was OK. I was pumped. I was ready. I laid out my eight bucks and waited for the lights to go down......
These are the things we have come to expect in a James Bond movie:
And that great guitar riff on the James Bond Theme which I've been scatting out loud the last two weeks while waiting to see the new Bond, Pierce Brosnan, in Goldeneye. Everything you expect is there. Too bad. It's been six years since the last Bond and, to be quite honest, the series had been going stale. Timothy Dalton had the macho, hard-assed Bond down pat. But he failed in that he couldn't loosen up even a little. Moore was slick. Connery was.... well, he was Connery. He defined the character. Nothing since has come close. Except for Schwarzennegger in True Lies, but that wasn't a Bond movie, was it? Technically, no. Stylistically, you bet it was. Which is why I anxiously awaited Brosnan's crack at the Bond Franchise.
Franchise, in film terms, means "money machine." And in the six year fallow, there was a lot of speculation as to how the Producers Broccoli would invigorate the property. A Female Bond (Sharon Stone) was discussed. A Black Bond (Spike Lee!) was discussed. Mel Gibson and Liam Neeson were mentioned, but it was all a moot point. We all "knew" that Pierce Brosnan, who had been offered the role a decade ago, only to lose it when his NBC Remington Steel bosses messed up the deal (read the story elsewhere), would be the next Bond. It was time for Brosnan to take the role. He's perfect for the role.
It's too bad he has nothing to do. Yep, the 17th picture in the Bond Franchise is very much like the 16th and the 15th and the 14th and so on and so on. Except that the great guitar riff has been totally bowdlerized and is practically nowhere to be heard. The opening sequence is terrific. By the time it was done, I was so damned pumped I couldn't wait for the next scene. Which was the incredibly numbing new would-be-hit-theme song. And then a sort of car chase/ car race which goes on way too long. And then Bond gambles. Wrecks St. Petersburg, Russia with a tank. Takes a quick sex break. And then... well you know the rest. I and the rest of the paying audience sat there in silence. Bemused silence. Not bored, but not envigorated.
Remember, I wanted to cheer. I wanted to see Bond save the world. I wanted to see the bad guy die a horrible, screaming bloody death. And I kept waiting and waiting and waiting. And when the credits started to roll at the end, I went running for the bathroom, cuz I just couldn't wait anymore. I was terribly disappointed. The villain died a bloody horrible death. The big set blew up. So what?Desmond Llewellyn returns as "Q" to perform one of the, as always, delightful sequences. Judi Dench is delightful as the new "M", a hard ass who doesn't particularly care for 007. The women were beautiful. The weapon was world threatening, but the nefarious supervillain was more like a Marvel Comics character -- always getting killed but never dying. Kind of like Stavro Blofeld. No thrills. No chills. No real suspense. In short, you've seen it before, and you'll probably see it again in two years if business remains as usual.
How is Brosnan as Bond? He's got the looks. He's got the possibilities, no question about it. But he has NOTHING TO DO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He drives a car. He drives a tank. He blows up a train. Business as usual. Cranky advises the Producers Broccoli -- please write a story. Keep it dangerous. Keep it sexy. Don't keep it the same as Bond #12 or #11 or #10 and so on and so forth. And put the title sequence to rest -- only three maybe four of the theme songs have been any good, IMO. Goldeneye is not a waste of time. It's the same old Bond film. Maybe the next one will be better. A man can only hope.
So, on the Cranky Critic's movie rating scale of one to eight bucks -- eight being what it costs to see a movie here in New York -- your humble servant rates Goldeneye at
which usually means wait for the rental -- but you should really see Bond on the big screen. Really. I am sooooo disappointed.
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