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Seasons Greetings (or... How to Survive in a Bond-less Future)

We are just a couple of days away from Christmas 2021 and the beginning of 2022, a year where we'll celebrate James Bond's 60th anniversary and -most importantly for this space- 25 years since Nintendo's GOLDENEYE 007 video game was released.

This passing year leaves us with a bittersweet ending. We could finally enjoy the cancelled XBLA port for our beloved game based on the 1995 film this site pays homage to thanks to an anonymous party that leaked it over the net (not me, since my hardware is not good enough, but Moses couldn't enter the Promised Land either) during the first half of the year, but the long-delayed film NO TIME TO DIE turned out to be a sadistic gut punch for those who grew up to love and admire James Bond. Just for the record, the words "sadistic gut punch" are not mine, I took them from another Bond fan who is much more loved than me in this community of sorts just to show that I'm definitely not alone on this thinking, yet... I do agree one hundred per cent with these words. To make this sadistic gut punch feel worse, as the 25th James Bond film was continuously getting delayed through 2020, the Bond bosses have sent a C&D (cease and desist) letter to GOLDENEYE 25, a project lead by two talented developers to offer a non-profit PC adaptation of the N64 classic. A project that didn't harm them at all and, in fact, would prove how successful and well remembered are the characters and scenes of the first Bond film produced by Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli as a joint team on which the game is based. They deprived us of a new version of one of the best pieces of 007 merchandise to give us a suicidal, hopeless. lost and parodic Bond. And this is not a critique of Daniel Craig's James Bond. It is a critique of the James Bond we saw in NO TIME TO DIE.

They say Christmas is a time of hope, so here I am to try to bring hope to those who also felt stabbed in the back by seeing the character we always thought of as a hero who never surrenders letting himself be wiped out of earthly existence under a rain of missiles whom he watches first as they explode like fireworks over the clear sky. Both EON Productions and Ian Fleming Publications are hellbent on giving us a Bond-less future: with the character's death in NO TIME TO DIE, chances are Bond 26 gives us another reboot of the series with a checklist of things that won't offend anyone, or they start making period-piece Bond films placing the secret agent somewhere in the 1950s or1960s; and IFP will give us a new Bond novel by Anthony Horowitz set in-between Fleming books, but their 21st century fiction will deal with the adventures of Double-0 agents penned by Kim Sherwood in a context where our beloved 007 is missing or presumed dead. (Thank you, Kim, for showing your appreciation of GOLDENEYE, by the way.)

The point is... there is this feeling hanging around that the future is not apt for James Bond, and that indeed brings me back to the years prior to GOLDENEYE and what it represented in the series. I was too young to remember, but I do know (and got this confirmed by people at MGM/UA) that nobody banked on Bond's return in the 1990s precisely because he wasn't fit for the future. The Cold War was over, girls didn't want to be sexualized, heroes rarely wear dinner jackets anymore and a computer can solve everything, what can someone so old-fashioned as Bond do in the 1990s? Well, GOLDENEYE ended up proving we needed it and that he could retain his essence in a modern world with a few changes here and there (not smoking, for example). Over the film, Bond's ideals and manners are frequently mocked and some of the characters seem to tell him the words we regularly read in film magazine columns, that he was a relic of the Cold War, a misogynist dinosaur, things like that. But he proves that he's still a winner and can be as efficient today as he was battling Red Grant onboard the Orient Express or twharting each of Stromberg's plans to kill him. With the upbringing of #MeToo and other movements that disapproved some of 007's antics, the six years that separated SPECTRE and NO TIME TO DIE placed Bond in the same scenario and many filmgoers wondered how would he act in the 2020s.

And so, the Cary Joji Fukunaga film gave us the most monogamous Bond since the days of Timothy Dalton, the perennial in-your-face labeling of Bond as "an assassin" (come on, don't tell me he's like The Jackal or Léon or HITMAN's Agent 47, because he certainly isn't), a British woman of African descendence who bears the 007 number while Bond is retired... and a villain that dies but succeeds in ruining Bond's life, leading him to basically suicide. Bond is survived by two characters not created by Ian Fleming, but by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Cary Joji Fukunaga and Phoebe Waller-Bridge: Madeleine, his girlfriend from the previous film, and Mathilde, his daughter. "I want to tell you the story of a man: his name was Bond... James Bond", tells Mathilde to the daughter she had with Bond as both drive in the deceased secret agent's Aston Martin V8. The message is clear: the world can live without Bond, someone else can "take over" him. That character not created by Fleming can drive his car and say his most famous quote. Many will argue that I'm taking this way too far, but I can't stop seeing that Mrs Broccoli here is placing her unpopular characters (Léa Seydoux's role wasn't that well received when SPECTRE came out in 2015) over the one her great father popularized. No, James Bond can't die. That's simply wrong. The only person that could have killed him was Ian Lancaster Fleming, and he didn't. No "Craig is an alternate continuity" excuse either. That's simply wrong whether you like Dalton over Brosnan or Moore over Connery, or Connery over everyone. We never went to watch Bond die to the cinema, we went to see Bond as the prime example of good defeating evil.

Throughout this year, months before the mission that changed everything was screened everywhere in glorious IMAX screens (back when we said "It must be Boyle who wanted this ending, no, EON won't do that"), a friend talked to me about the days where Bond was associated to long nights of never-ending fun in front of the TV with a Nintendo 64 or seeing the lights of the cinema dimming out and expecting for the gunbarrel sequence with the assurance that it will be at the beginning, and that Bond will beat the villain, get the girl, and make out of anything alive. That was the Christmas of 1995 or 1997, and that was a great time to be a James Bond fan. You saw 40-something fans enjoying the new Bond films and kids getting interested in a character people saw as "outdated". I was one of those kids, and both the N64 game and the film GOLDENEYE made me a Bond fan. That was a window for watching all of the previous Bond films, trying to get the comics and going through the novels, Fleming and, eventually, the continuation authors. Brosnan's Bond made me love and appreciate all the other variations of Bond, as different or close the films were to GOLDENEYE or TOMORROW NEVER DIES. The mission of The GoldenEye Dossier is to relive those golden days from 1995 and 1997. We want this to be a space -and a voice- for those who are nostalgic of the film that relaunched the series and everything it inspired, and those who have felt strongly disappointed about NO TIME TO DIE. This is exactly why, from now on, this site will stop sharing news regarding the series' future projects unless they are related to the 17th James Bond film. That means you won't find Bond 26 news here, but either way, there are a lot of Bond fan sites dedicated to that. In case you were wondering, the idea behind The GoldenEye Dossier was always to celebrate the 1995 Bond film and its video game versions. If you wanted this to be a space of debate to argue if the film is the best of the series or not, or if Eric Serra's soundtrack is appropriate for the film or to share "rankings" and join Twitter games, you're likely to be very disappointed. Our Twitter and Facebook channels were made to get a better reach of the things published in the site, and this site is meant for those who love GOLDENEYE. In all honesty, if you never appreciated the film, this is not the place for you. There is a target audience for this site, just like there is a target audience for pretty much everything. I have no shame in admitting that, because there's simply nothing wrong with that. I write this piece for our readers just because I wanted to give you all an update regarding how this site will continue from now on, and because I heard from many people who really felt disappointed about the 25th Bond film. And I completely understand them. Christmas has always been special for those who grew up with Brosnan's Bond (particularly in Latin America, where these films were released in early or late December). And our Christmas deserves better than this forged Bond we saw last September. The only way Bond should die is if you suck at beating the Bunker or Aztec levels in 00 Agent, not anywhere else. Our Bond is someone we should admire, not feel sorry for. Our Bond is someone we should want to take after, not someone who should diminish to have our mediocre lives. Our Bond, as good old Desmond put it... never let us see him bleed and always had an escape plan. And these are not just vague words from THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH. This should be a philosophy of life. There is always a reason why we pick our heroes. Many people, over 23 years, asked me why I was too much into Fleming's character. Some speculated that it was because of the hot Bond girls (not gonna lie, Famke Janssen was desirable), others thought it was the gadgets, and sometimes I couldn't make up an answer. But the truth is... the James Bond persona was what drove me straight to James Bond. Seeing someone carrying a gun and a tux made me think this was a special kind of action hero, and when I watched him develop over the course of GOLDENEYE I felt I wanted to be him. I always looked forward to any occasion to wear a suit, I dreamed with an Omega Seamaster on my wrist, I learned to play baccarat thanks to him (and my dad who taught me the basics) and was among the few kids in the classroom who talked about the Soviet Union and the Cold War. Without James Bond, there can't be a James Bond film. By contrast, kids who left the theatre after watching NO TIME TO DIE cried, so I seriously wonder if they'd like to take after anything of that Bond we saw there or admired his "sacrifice" in any form. And I really hope they don't, or they'll head in a very bad direction. This Christmas, I want my readers to keep the flame of the real James Bond burning. Play GOLDENEYE 64 as much as you can, in any difficulty. Rewatch GOLDENEYE, be it on an old tube TV or a huge 4K screen. Raise a glass at James Bond 007 smiling at a luscious Xenia Onatopp, provoking him as she drives her Ferrari. Cherish as he blasts a tank through the streets of St Petersburg to rescue a damsel in distress. Feast your eyes and ears on Tina Turner's blasting song over Daniel Kleinman's exciting visuals and, by all means, celebrate as he cradles the beautiful Natalya in his arms as they have a relaxed giggle after being so close to death. It is precisely the fact that Bond is so close to death that makes him crave for life and enjoy it. Whatever fate Michael G Wilson, Barbara Broccoli and other involved parties have decided for our hero, they can't deprive us of our enjoyment. Their Bond might have killed himself in a spectacular fashion for whatever reason they deemed convenient, but our Bond -the last one that Albert R "Cubby" Broccoli himself approved- never dies.

I wish you all a prosperous, fun and hopeful Christmas and a happy 2022. May God always look upon all of you. Bond lives!

Nicolás Suszczyk, Editor and founder, The GoldenEye Dossier

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