After legal wrangles that could have cost ‘Cubby’ Broccoli the continuation of the Bond film series, Bond did eventually return in 1995- after a six-year hiatus. Timothy Dalton stepped down from the role some time before, which was quite a loss for some fans that had warmed to his more Fleming friendly interpretation. Enter Pierce Brosnan, who had almost been Bond some years before until his contract for TV series Remington Steele got in the way. Finally he had his chance to make the role his own.
Goldeneye (named after Ian Fleming’s Jamaican retreat) is another original story; with enough nods to Bond’s creator to make it feel like a genuine Fleming based 007. Where Goldeneye is radically different to previous films is that is transplants James Bond into the (then) modern world in a way which had never been done before. All aspects of the cold war exist only in past tense, as this had to be a Bond of the new ‘Glasnost’ age. In many ways it feels like a brand new series, a luxury granted by the passing of so many years since Dalton’s second outing. The style has been refined and updated. How much you like this depends on how much you believe the Bond series has a place as a current franchise. ‘M’ is now a woman, played rather marvellously by Dame Judi Dench, and there is a new charming Moneypenny in Samantha Bond (the best name for the job perhaps). Desmond Llewelyn, looking far more aged, is a nice link to the ‘classic’ Bonds, as he reprises his role of gadget master ‘Q’. There is no Felix Leiter, however, despite the film having a role that could well have been Felix. Even if the films don’t directly carry on from each other, Felix was still alive and well (just) at the end of Licence to kill. Continue reading