GoldenEye is terrific Bond techno candy, but the hyped scenarios, stunts and gadgetry of 007 are beyond passé now, they’re artifact. It’s very possible that the only reason this adventure became the one of the biggest grossers of the series is because audiences are enamoured of Pierce Brosnan. Difficult to be anything else. He’s spectacularly good looking—the ultimate cutie pie. His Irish freckles, crooked bottom teeth and those great creases in his neck compliment the black hair and blue eyes. As we all know, Brosnan was the heir apparent after Roger Moore wisely declined any further duty, but NBC refused to release him from contractual obligations. The delay is providence: though Timothy Dalton barely matched the super agent as we perceive him—he’s a shade too gritty, almost as sinister-looking as any nemesis (and why he’s nearly perfection in “Framed”)—Brosnan hadn’t yet facially matured, his GQ thinness and swank too youthfully priggish. 007 has to look experienced in the field and in bed and verbalize the tongue-in cheek entendres with masculine aplomb. Some of us resisted Moore’s Bond because he lacked these essentials. An icon of phallic worship, Bond has to get the juices flowing, and that’s something Moore never did. James also has to be an impeccable clotheshorse, and no one on screen in recent memory does more for the blue shirt and blazer than Brosnan. Sean Connery’s beefiness, which went flab in his last installments, was often at odds with his attire; he wore tuxes well but he was comicly longshoreman-like in business suits. (Not true in Never Say Never Again, which ran out of steam once Barbara Carrera prematurely exploded; never kill off too early a villainess who is your movie’s best asset.) Moore’s debonair ascots made us doubt the unqualified maleness, though George Lazenby didn’t when wearing kilt in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and Dalton’s swarthiness clouded Bond’s urbanity. Perhaps the requisite of indispensables for 007 is that the camera must love him. Not unlike the way it eats up Mel Gibson in The Year of the Living Dangerously, the camera gobbles up Brosnan. Capably helmed by Martin Campbell, GoldenEye is an amalgam of the Bonds, with bows to From Russia, With Love and You Only Live Twice. It’s sharply edited by Terry Rawlings, nicely underscored by Eric Serra, who also sings the end song “The Experience of Love,” which he co-wrote with Robert Hine, and it’s superior to Tina Turner’s title track. While second best to Brosnan, the Bond Broads are quite the dishes. The chief villainess Xenia Onatopp, played by Famke Janssen, certainly knows how to put the squeeze on things; a Julie Newmar type, she gets orgasmic over killing and she’s particularly funny when panting “He’s going to derail us.” (She boo-boos, however, when not using a silencer to kill 2 pilots.) The heroine is another crossbreed—Izabella Scorupco as Sheena Easton, Nastassja Kinski and, on one occasion, Michelle Pfeiffer. She thumbnails a Bond attraction: “Boys with toys.” This time Bond’s boss is Lady M, played by Judi Dench as a harridan-in-a-Glenda-Jackson suit, and she gets the movie’s top one liner: “Unlike the American government, we prefer not to get our bad news from CNN.” The script takes a few gratuitous steps into character: James admits that the reason he appears cold is that “it’s what keeps me alive”; M calls him a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur.” Light on his feet, bungee-jumping with the confidence of nine lives, he’s really one hellofva pussycat. Brosnan brings something uniquely appropriate to faulty articulation: in pronouncing “precisely,” he enunciates “purr-cisely.” Moneypenny voice-mails, “I trust you’ll stay Onatopp of things.” Purrcisely.

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Text COPYRIGHT © 2001 RALPH BENNER  All Rights Reserved.