Digging Double Oh Seven: GoldenEye (1995)

The six year gap between License To Kill and GoldenEye must have been unbearable for longtime Bond fans. Up until that point, there had been a new installment every two or three years since the series debuted with 1962’s Dr. No. A combination of legal problems, unfortunate passings and illness, this expanse of time lead Timothy Dalton to opt out of playing Bond again, so the role went to Pierce Brosnon who was actually favored to replace Roger Moore a few times and was even offered the part but couldn’t do it because of Remington Steele contracts. Other changes this time around are the wonderful Judy Dench as M, Famke Jansson as henchwoman Xenia Onatopp, Joe Don Baker in his first good guy role Jack Wade and Alan Cummings as a computer geek who falls in with the bad guys.

Continuing where Dalton left off as Bond, Brosnon’s version keeps things a little more dark and realistic. Well, for the most part. Some folks might have a problem with the opening sequence’s getaway on a physics level, but if you can’t enjoy all that I feel bad for you. Not only does Bond bungee jump to a secret facility, team up with fellow Double Oh agent Sean Bean (forgot to mention him above), shoot and fight a bunch of guys and then ride a motorcycle off a cliff to soar down, get into a plane and fly it to safety. It was AWESOME. The over the top action sequences (there’s also the tank chase which is pretty epic), Famke’s wonderfully crazy Xenia and another wonderfully light appearance by Desmond Llewelyn as Q bring things up a bit but overall the movie has a pretty serious tone.

Even with the somewhat darker tone, I still had a lot of fun with this movie. In addition to all the elements I’ve already mentioned, the idea of a Double Oh going rogue and returning to face off against Bond is super interesting and I’m kind of surprised hadn’t been used before. It’s also interesting that this is the first of the Bond flicks to be completely original and not have any references to Ian Fleming’s books or short stories. It comes across in the story which has a lot to do with computers and EMPs and giant satellites and the like. Like every movie involving computers from the mid 90s, though, anything having to do with them seems cute and quaint now. When the beautiful on-the-run code monkey and soon-to-be Bond Girl Natalya Simonova (played by Izabella Scorupco) tells some guy the kind of computer she needs, I chuckled to myself. Phones can do what that computer could do.

It was interesting going back and watching this movie for probably only the second time. I was 12 when this movie came out. I don’t have specific memories of going to see it in theaters, but I think I did. Even though I’ve talked about my love of the Bond series, it always tended towards the older movies because those are the ones I watched with my dad on tape or TV. I remember liking Brosnon’s Bond movies for the most part, but there wasn’t any nostalgia there because they were modern. Looking back now, there’s definitely some nostalgia now because these are the Bonds of my teenage years and I saw most of them in theaters with friends throughout high school and possibly college (I’ll have to check out some dates and get back to you with the specifics).

Digging Double Oh Seven: Moonraker (1979)

In an effort to make up for missing a few days of DDOS thanks to sickness I decided to watch another Bond flick today: Moonraker. It’s funny how similar Moonraker is to The Spy Who Loved Me, but I wound up liking this movie a lot more. The flick starts with Bond using a parachute (the red and yellow color scheme is even the same), Jaws is in it, he finds himself entwined with a secret agent from another country, the villain wants to kill LOTS of people and the flick ends with Bond’s sexual conquest being spotted by both of their superiors. And yet, I dug it, mostly because Holly Goodhead doesn’t flippantly decided to bed with the guy who killed the guy she was dating. In fact, I get the feeling that she’s actually using her wiles in much the same way as Bond is: for the good of job. She also seems to hold her own better than Agent XXX ever did in the previous flick.

As I mentioned, the film opens with yet another parachute sequence, but this one features Bond jumping out of a crashing plane without a parachute in an effort to catch up with an assailant who already jumped and steal his chute. Again, the stunt looks freaking real because dudes were really jumping out of planes with thin chutes under their sport coats so it looked like they were jumping without them. It’s pretty sick. However, I hate how Jaws survives falling out of a plane and landing on a circus. I know these movies aren’t based in super-realism (at least not until Casino Royale) but that got under my skin a bit. Oh, the flick also has a butt ton of space fights, which is pretty awesome in addition to TWO boat chases, one of which involves a motorized gondola that turns into a hovercraft. I love that stuff. Plus the tram fight! So many moments of awesomeness!

And man, how crazy is Drax’s plan? He trained a new master race, built a space station to house them and devised a plan that would kill only the people on Earth so him and his peeps could come back and restart the Earth. Intense. Speaking of villains, did you know that Jaws turns into a good guy and finds love in this movie because kids were writing to the producers and asking for such a change? Ridonc! Good for him though. I guess landing on a circus and meeting a cute blond has a tendency to change one’s worldview.