RECIPE FOR GOLDENEYE
How do you make a Bond film to please every generation of James Bond fans?
Avid Bond fan and CLIFFHANGER (1993) screenwriter Michael France penned a story to adapt James Bond into the 1990s, still with Timothy Dalton on his mind. As Pierce Brosnan stepped into the shoes of 007, scribes Jeffrey Caine and Bruce Feirstein touched France's story to Brosnan's portrayal. The result: a tale well set after the new geopolitics caused by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the incipient globalization brought by technology, but with all the classic elements and flavour of the Bond adventures. The message is very simple: "The world has changed. James Bond didn't."
The work of director Martin Campbell on the 1985 BBC TV series EDGE OF DARKNESS and the 1994 futuristic thriller NO ESCAPE brought him to the director chair of the 17th James Bond film adventure. He lived and breathed every scene of the film, working seven days a week during the six-month shooting to plan and re-plan every frame of the movie. Thanks to his eagle-eyed attention for detail, GOLDENEYE has the perfect balance between action, drama and humour, resulting in a fantastic Bond film and a great 1990s action blockbuster. Campbell's talent would be reconsidered by the 007 producers once again in 2006 to introduce Daniel Craig's rebooted James Bond in CASINO ROYALE, which is also considered among the best films ever made in the series.
Modern Story, Classic Elements
A Committed Director
A frequent collaborator of director Martin Campbell, cinematographer Phil Méheux brought back that unique and exotic look the James Bond films were lacking in the late 1980s. The panoramic shots of the sunsets in the Caribbean beaches, the chiaroscuro takes as 007 walks in the Statue Park or infiltrates the Soviet facility, the close-ups capturing the best features of the leading actors made GOLDENEYE one of the finest looking Bond movies ever made. In 2006, Campell teamed with Méheux once again for CASINO ROYALE.
A Feast For Your Eyes
Ian Fleming used to say that action moments in a James Bond adventure should happen so fast that nobody would have time to question anything. This is what editor Terry Rawlings achieved in GOLDENEYE. The dynamic pace leave you in the edge of your seat and make you feel as if you were right inside the action. At the same time, Rawlings gave more time and sweetness to the romantic moments between Bond and his female companion, Natalya: as they both kiss on a Cuban beach, their image fades to the fire of the hearth of the hut where they are now relaxing after lovemaking, showcasing the passion between them both.
Fast-paced Breathtaking Editing
Eric Serra, the man behind scores for movies like LÉON, THE PROFESSIONAL (1994), THE FIFTH ELEMENT (1997) and LUCY (2015) was in charge of the GOLDENEYE score. His take was very different from the traditional Bond sounds of John Barry and brought a post-Cold War, industrial and somewhat metallic feeling into the score, which was an exceptional addition to the film. It is now very hard to imagine a different musical take for GOLDENEYE because the movie sounds exactly as a 1990s Bond adventure should, and besides his usual cold percussion sounds he offered a catchy and very romantic motif for the romance between Bond and Natalya. Serra also performed the film's romantic end title song, "The Experience of Love", while Tina Turner offered a bombastic performance for the opening credits song, "GoldenEye", with lyrics by Bono and The Edge. For more traditional Bond music, noted British composer John Altman made a symphonic version of the James Bond Theme for the tank chase scene.
An Innovative Soundtrack
No film would be effective without a strong cast, and GOLDENEYE is not an exception: Irish-born Pierce Brosnan makes his first 007 appearance, combining the best qualities of his four predecessors in the role, plus his natural charm and sense of humour we've seen often in the TV series REMINGTON STEELE (1982). Opposite him, we have English actor Sean Bean in the role of the villainous Alec Trevelyan, once known as agent 006, Bond's colleague and friend. Actresses Izabella Scorupco and Famke Janssen, respectively born in Poland and Netherlands, apport their quota of sensuality to the story by helping or exquisitely threatening Bond's life. The rest of the cast is conformed by very talented professionals like German-born Gottfried John, French character actor and musician Tcheky Karyo, and the well known British actors Joe Don Baker, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Kitchen and Judi Dench. All these performers have great onscreen chemistry and while they weren't A-list stars (with the exception of Dench), their interpretative qualities are crucial to the enjoyment of this movie.
International and Talented Cast
The return of James Bond couldn't go unnoticed in the era of globalization and the arousing of the internet. GOLDENEYE was announced with two very minimalistic advance posters, both heavily relying on Pierce Brosnan's face with stills taken by photographers John Stoddart, Keith Hamshere and Terry O'Neill. Then, art directors Randy Braun and Earl Klasky designed a very inclusive theatrical poster, showcasing the best action moments of the film in a striking black, gold and red palette. "No limits. No fears. No substitute" and "You know the name. You know the number" were the imaginative taglines used to promote the return of agent 007 after six and a half years of absence. This commercial campaign for the film was the irresistible, tempting invitation for many young men to the fascinating and explosive cocktail of GOLDENEYE and, perhaps later, to the unique and stylish world of James Bond.