Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Most Secret-Goldeneye

ABOVE: Bond jumps down to the Chemical Weapons plant at Arkhangelsk. 
BELOW: 007 is joined by 006 - his friend Alec Trevelyan for the mission.

The gun-barrel follows the man in the suit. He shoots us and we go all wobbly as the blood oozes down...
A small plane flies over a massive dam, as a man in black runs along the top to a platform on the centre, uncoiling a rope as he arrives and snapping a karabiner onto the railing. Stomach-churningly, he stands on the very edge for a moment to compose himself, before launching himself out into the dizzying void. The tiny figure falls – and falls, hundreds of feet until his rope slows his descent. Pulling some sort of piton gun, he fires it into the concrete to reel himself down onto the roof of a structure at the base of the mighty dam. Using an odd-blue laser attached to the gun, he cuts his way through an access hatch. We get a close-up of ice-blue eyes, focused, determined and then we're in the toilet...
ABOVE: Bond gets his first glimpse of Xenia
A Soviet soldier sits on the throne, reading his paper. Man-time. Sensing something amiss, he sets his paper aside and no sooner than he sees Pierce Brosnan hanging upside-down than he's been knocked out by him. Brosnan – Bond sneaks around the Soviet base, (Arkhangelsk) silenced PPK at the ready, slipping into a storage room. A silenced pistol is thrust at him, the owner speaking in urgent Russian... but it's 006!. They are working together on this operation, 006 – Alec Trevelyan (Sharpe star Sean Bean) coldy despatching a scientist while 007 opens an armoured door with a keypad gadget. They find themselves in a large chamber filled with racks of barrels, some kind of volatile chemical by the looks of the place. 007 is just thinking it's all been too easy when the alarms go off and the Russians arrive...

006 locks the door to buy some time; agreeing to set their timers for six minutes, the two Double-O's set about placing explosives around the chamber as Colonel Ourumov (Gottfried John) and his men turn up, blasting their way through the heavily re-enforced glass as both 00's exchange a bit of banter to ease the tension. 006 is caught, forced to kneel at gunpoint by Ourumov who demands Bond's surrender. As if. Bond re-sets his timer to three minutes and walks out, Alec shouting his defiance as Ourumov shoots him, Bond diving away as his men open fire – nearly blowing the gas tanks. Ourumov orders them to hold their fire, as, to his amazement Bond pushes a trolley full of tanks across the place. (Nice to see even James Bond gets the squeaky trolley)With what has to be forty barrels aimed at him, the inevitable: a nervous squaddie pulls the trigger, the Colonel immediately shooting him for his stupidity. Reaching a conveyor belt, 007 uses it to escape, shooting the lock holding the barrels to set them bouncing and cascading down onto the hapless troops...

Bursting out into the daylight Bond is clearly just out of the frying pan as half the Soviet Army seems to be after him, chasing him out onto a mountainside runway. Blasting away at his pursuers he spots the plane taxi-ing along the runway. Reaching it, he piles aboard to throw the pilot out – but gets thrown out with him in the struggle. Grabbing a motorbike, 007 roars off after the pilot-less plane. Ouromuv pauses; there is no where to go; the runway terminates with a breathtaking drop to oblivion. As the plane rolls off the edge into space, 007 hurtles out into nothingness behind it, leaping off the bike to go into a free-fall dive above the aircraft. Screaming towards the earth, Bond manages to grab hold of the open doorway and pull himself into the pilot's seat, heaving desperately at the stick to try to pull out of the dive. He shatters into a thousand tiny pieces...

OK, maybe not; much as we are fairly sure Bond will never actually die, killing him in the opening sequence would make for a short film and lots of disappointed movie-goers. Of course, what happens is the plane roars triumphantly over the chemical weapons facility as it erupts in a series of gigantic fireballs, blown to bits by the OO men's explosives. Cue Tina.

We are inside a giant gun-barrel; an eruption of flame and a bullet comes towards us out of the mouth of the gun and speeds away from us. Nudie silhouette girls in artsy poses and Tina Turner sings the theme tune. Giant sickles fall, a giant hammer falls and smashes. A giant golden eye. A big statue of Lenin falls. This isn't subtle; the collapse of the Soviet Union is emphasised so heavily Homer Simpson would get it. Never mind – it's spellbinding; a two headed girl, one mouth holds a cigar, a luger emerging from the other. A reference to duality?, to having two-faces?, a clue?... we see some outsized floating PPKs and some lovelies with sledge hammers smashing up the mighty communist statues then a golden eye blinks at us and we are propelled down another gun-barrel...

And out onto a road in the South of France. An Aston Martin DB5 races along, the familiar number-plate BMT 214A letting us know this is James Bond. Changing down, he brakes and throws the car round a hairpin bend, frightening his passenger. This is Caroline, an English rose character sent by MI6 to evaluate 007. Bond power-drifts impressively round a bend and catches a glimpse of a sporty red Ferrari in the mirror which pauses briefly before overtaking, a stunning black haired woman at the wheel. A challenge!. Playfully, the two drivers compete, each briefly taking the lead in a high speed duel of nerve. A tractor! - the Ferrari skids around it and goes into a flat spin, before rejoining the chase. By now neck and neck, the two cars come down a winding mountainside side by side... unaware that a cycle race is labouring up the hill towards them. Spotting the obstacle, Bond gallantly waves the Ferrari through first. Ladies first... but as the cars whizz past, the cyclists all fall down in a heap. By now incensed, Caroline exerts her authority and demands Bond stops the car, which he does, leaning in for the kill and flipping open the centre armrest. Sadly, some jobsworth at the Ministry must have objected to the original gadgets as all it contains now is a chilled bottle of Bollinger and a glass. Bond seduces the awfully breathless girl and we are treated to the broad sweep of the coast at Monte Carlo.
Bond's Cars: The wonderful Aston Martin DB5 and the BMW Z3 Roadster. Bond in a BMW?

Night-time in the Millionaire's playground. The Aston pulls up at the Casino de Fleming and Bond is on first name terms with the Porter. (This always tickles me with the Bond films...) Bond saunters into the Casino and if you think he's in a turtleneck and cords you really haven't been paying attention. Brosnan passes the Tux test (All Bonds being rated on their ability to look smooth in one. I look like an embarrassed debt collector in mine) and – wouldn't you know it?; Madame Stig is winning at Baccarat. She is wearing a racily low cut dress. Can't remember the hair. Anyway, she is smoking a cigar. James loses the first bet and there's some meaningful banter between them before he beats her, smoothing over the cracks by offering her a drink. He has... you have been paying attention, right?. Just checking; a vodka martini – shaken, not stirred. She has the same, straight up, with a twist!. Ooo-er Missus... they exchange names. Meet Xenia Sergeynva Onatopp – Bond is onto her accent; Georgian. (It isn't) She assures us things in the Motherland are different since the old days. Sensing a wrong 'un, Bond teases her about the plates on her car – they are counterfeit, at which her fella – a uniformed Admiral no less, turns up and escorts her away. Odd, you wouldn't think a five foot Clement Freud (RIP) lookalike would be her type...
ABOVE: Xenia Onatopp, played by Famke Janssen.
A fairly naff and incongruous performance is taking place in an amphitheatre, from which Bond spies on Xena and Admiral Stumpy as they repair to an impressive yacht for the night. He has a gadget, an electronic monocular-camera that transmits its images back to HQ. 007 notices a French
Naval frigate across the harbour, an ominously high-tech helicopter sitting on the pad astern. Pressing a button on his car stereo – you have to pause the film to appreciate how ghastly a nineties Alpine cd-radio looks in a DB5 – a printout of his images, complete with evaluation!. (I'd be impressed with that speed and capability now and this was nearing twenty years ago...) The yacht Manticore is leased to a corporate front of the Janus crime syndicate, of St.Petersburg. Xenia is an ex-Soviet fighter pilot with suspected links to the Janus syndicate. The cartridge in your printer may need replacing. The radio plays an audio message from Moneypenny restating the printed message, M's order to observe from a distance and a saucy joke about staying Ona-topp of things...

Onatopp leaps on the Admiral, dressed to kill in stockings and basque. She's wearing... ok, bad joke, anyway she's a wild beast, clawing and pawing at the bloke and flips onto her back, legs scissored around him. He starts to look like he's passing a pineapple as she tightens her nylon grip, a mysterious hand quietly lifting his id card from his dress tunic as he expires. She's clearly a sadist and Admiral Chuck Farrel, Canadian Department of Defence (Shouldn't that be an s?) is no more.

Next morning, James Bond slips onto the Manticore and briefly fights with a crewman, as across the bay martial music strikes up. Theres some kind of display planned aboard the French frigate, lots of assorted top brass and their wives turning up to see the show. Look – there's Admiral Farrel and his good lady. Eh? - but, isn't he... he is – and very; Bond finding his body, a rictus grin on his face. (Here we see the difference between Bonds; Roger Moore could never have resisted an 'at least he died happy' joke, whereas nineties Bond leaps into action.) Racing to stop the display, Bond takes a speedboat across the bay. The Tiger helicopter is, we are told, unique. Incorporating stealth technology it can withstand electronic interference, radio jamming and even Electro Magnetic Radiation. The Helicopter crew are heading to the aircraft (Look for the black haired one; Wayne Michaels, the stuntman who performed the outrageous Dam jump) when they are shot by Xenia. Posing as the crew, Xenia and an accomplice walk out and climb into the cockpit. Bond races aboard to try to stop them, but is tackled and held at gunpoint by French sailors. He has to watch, helpless as the Tiger is flown away.

Severnaya. A secret satellite communications facility deep in the icy wastes of Russia. A fortified bunker with a dirty great Satellite dish on the roof. Inside the high-tech facility there are lots of screens and a large Map of the World (Compulsory for all Bond movies). At her console, Programmer Natalya (Last name Simonova, played by Izabella Scorupco)
is trying to access the system, but creepy Hacker type Boris Grishenko (The normally likable Alan Cumming) has set a new password; Knockers. (Boris would be slappable enough, but he has an annoying habit of leaping up, fists raised and exclaiming that he is InWincible.). Boris is amusing himself hacking into the US Department of Justice computers and, unimpressed Natalya goes for a coffee whilst Boris goes outside for a cigarette. Just as the Tiger lands, flown by Xenia with our old friend Ourumov in tow. Now a General and Head of Space Division, Ourumov gains access to the facility, the voice recognition system verifying his identity. Claiming to be running an unscheduled test of the facility, he orders Goldeneye to be test-fired, cheekily using his watch to time the hapless Major in charge.

We learn there are two operational satellites in orbit, code-named Petya and Mischa and the Major marches off to unlock a high-tech safe with his handprint. Inside are two golden keys and a small box – the Goldeneye firing device. As he hands them to Ourumov, Xenia opens fire with an AK-R, killing everyone inside where they stand or sit. She looked happy enough killing poor Chuck, but now she's panting like a dog. Sick puppy. Only Natalya, in the small kitchen, survived. Sliding the firing device into it's slot, the two villains insert the golden keys, turning them together to send a pulse of laser light into a receiver; they now control the satellites. Xenia sets the co-ordinates for Severnaya itself and, out in space, the satellite spreads its solar wings; Goldeneye is ready to fire. There's a noise; one of the Severnaya staff reaches up to hit the alarm. As Xenia deals with it, Natalya climbs up onto a chair to apparently escape through the ceiling. Xenia spots the ventilator has been moved and fires a killing burst into the ceiling. Stealing the firing device and keys, the traitors escape in the Tiger as, some distance away, the first Russian fighters scramble to reach Severnaya.
Moneypenny, played by the stunning Samantha Bond
London at night; the number 36 Bus rolls across Vauxhall bridge, a modern ziggurat looming across the Thames, lights ablaze through the armoured glass even at this hour. Inside Britain's top-secret MI6 HQ, James Bond is met by Moneypenny, looking rather stunning in evening dress and even hair. He gives her the line, but this is post-feminist so it's clear his heart isn't in it. (Samantha Bond is easily the hottest Moneypenny to this point, much as dear Lois had her moments.) Bond is admitted to the Situation Room where Bill Tanner, M's Chief of Staff greets him with a hurried briefing. Despite being supposedly abandoned, Severnaya sent a distress call and a satellite image of the base revealed the missing Tiger on the pad. Bond's hunch was right, but just as Tanner bemoans what he called 'The evil Queen of numbers' the very evil Queen in person pops up behind him. Yes; Dame Judi Dench in the first of her seven outings as M. Chastened, Tanner continues with the BIG SCREEN;three MIGs have been scrambled. The nature of Severnaya is in dispute; MI6 had suspected the existence of Goldeneye, but statistical analysis from the new powers that be (Hence the Queen of numbers dig) had ruled out Soviet capacity for such naughtiness.

A cupboard door opens tentatively and Natalya emerges, frightened yet unscathed. The three MIGs are racing towards the installation, flashing overhead to report all seems to be in order. Inside, Natalya stands forlornly amongst the bodies of her comrades, her friends. She sees the countdown and realises that Severnaya is doomed just as in orbit, the Goldeneye weapon fires it's Electro-Magnetic Pulse – instantly wiping out the entire base's electronics, which arc and explode as if struck by some weird lightning. Back in the Situation Room the BIG SCREEN fizzes and goes blank – what the?... the electronics on the MIGs over Severnaya are fried and so are the pilots. One crashes into the doomed base. Inside, poor Natalya!; she cannot get out; the voice recognition as toasted as the rest of it. The way out presents itself in unlikely form; the base of the satellite dish comes crashing through the roof; a ladder to freedom...

MI6 HQ and the British satellite has been knocked out as have two of the American; another is pressed into service and we see the extent of the electronic devastation; an area covering a thirty mile radius is blacked out. The consensus is clear; EMP. Goldeneye is a myth no more, Bond conjectures an inside man was involved. On the ground at severnaya, Natalya stumbles through the snow and finds a sled with dog-team. A way out.
ABOVE: (From Top left) M, Bill Tanner (Michael Kitchen), Boris and Janus (Trevelyan)
M's office. After speaking with the PM by phone, M relays the latest; Moscow are claiming a training accident. M offers 007 a drink; her predecessor kept a bottle of cognac – but she's a bourbon woman. Little is actually known about the shadowy Janus syndicate, the top man is unreliably described and there are no photos of him on file. Onatopp their only connection. Having trawled the files of possible suspects for access to Severnaya, the top name is General Ourumov. The analysts have ruled him out as a traitor – Bond posits these are the same analysts that ruled out Goldeneye's existence and ruled that the Tiger posed no immediate threat... M lays her cards on the table; stating that Bond thinks she's just a bean counter, more interested in numbers than instinct, whilst she thinks Bond is 'a sexist misogynist dinosaur... a relic of the Cold War'. If he thinks she lacks the balls to send a man to die, he's wrong – but she won't do it on a whim. She orders him to find Goldeneye, whoever stole it and stop them. He is not to go off on a vendetta against Ourumov or blame himself for Alec Trevelyan's death. This scene really is a revelation; a female M (Inspired of course by Stella Rimington's appointment as head of MI5) that shows herself more than able to slap down the famous James Bond – even if she's not quite up to speed in the job herself. Memorable.

Moscow; a committee sits in a Kremlin chamber. General Ourumov appears before the committee. In his capacity as Head of Space Division, he investigated the Severnaya incident and it's the work of Siberian Separatists. He offers his resignation, but the assembled dolts won't hear of it. Defence Minister Mishkin asks for his assurance there are no other Goldeneye satellites and straight-faced, the old liar gives it. He is shocked at the report there were two survivors; Boris and Natalya and promises to investigate...
ABOVE: The Q Scene.
Hurrah!: the Q-Scene!. James Bond saunters (He really saunters rather elegantly does Pierce) into the Lab and it's no let-down. Amidst the usual gadgets and machine guns we find dear old Desmond in a wheelchair, having broken his leg... A ski-ing accident? - no, a rocket launcher disguised as a leg cast of course!. Naturally, it misses the target and blows the kerrist out of the tea area. On to the new car; a BMW Z3 roadster, all-points radar, self-destruct system and all the usual refinements; stinger missiles included. There's a belt, with a rappelling device – but, being the veterans we are our attention is firmly on the innocuous BT phone-booth in the background. Sure enough, a luckless minion goes to make a call and is immobilised by the oversized airbag that pins him to the glass. The next bit of fun here is a silver drinks tray that is really an X-ray document reader, revealing the contents of an envelope to be Bond's British Airways ticket to St.Petersburg. Lastly, Bond gets a pen that's a 'Class 4 Grenade', three clicks to arm etc. Q lets Fred demonstrate the pen's effectiveness – Fred being a target dummy. BOOM!; Fred's half the dummy he used to be.In the middle of one of Q's increasingly futile 'return the equipment undamaged' pleas, a female minion is blasted across the lab in an ejector-chair. Bond examines what looks to be a harmless baguette sandwich and it is, its Q's lunch!.

ABOVE: Big Boy's Toys: (Bottom) the Goldeneye device (Top left) 00-Issue Mines, operated remotely by the Omega Seamaster 300M watch (Centre)
The BA flight touches down in St.Petersburg and Bond makes contact with an agent with the immortal words; “In London April's a Spring month.” In Berlin ze crocodiles are flying in ze moonlight would have been my choice. The contact, an American is clearly unimpressed by the Cold War style codeword stuff and leads 007 to his (laughably tiny) Russian car. Dropping his luggage, Bond draws his PPK and demands to see the Rose. The agent shows him a tattoo on his posterior, confirming his identity as Jack Wade of the CIA. (Played with gusto by Living Daylights veteran Joe Don Baker) Wade has to get his comedy car running with a variety of tools and a whacking with a sledge hammer. The Janus head man is rumoured to travel by Soviet-era armoured train. With no way to get to Janus, Wade offers Bond the next best thing; his competition, an ex-KGB tough-guy arms dealer with a limp named Zukovsky. Bond asks if it's Valentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky, prompting the lovely throwaway: Wade; 'Yeah, you know him?' Bond; 'I gave him the limp.'
Bond meets Wade and Zukovsky.
Also in town is Natalya, who enters the local IBM dealership under the pretence of buying a pile of PCs for foreign schools. (With 500meg hard drives, no less!) The dealer gives her a quiet place to test-drive a PC and she sends Boris an e-mail. They exchange e-mails; he thought her dead, she tells him about Ourumov firing Petya and stealing Goldeneye. Boris warns her to trust no-one and arranges to meet her at a church. Wade takes Bond to meet Zukovsky, Natalya goes to church. A gust of wind makes the door slam, spooking her. She runs into the arms of Boris, but he's with Xenia Onatopp. Valentin Zukovsky (The magnificent Robbie Coltrane) bemoans the free market economy, walking away from some kind of deal in his club as a girl-group starts rehearsing to murder 'Stand by Your Man'. (The preceding scene, a black market arms deal for counterfeit guns was cut from the film for reasons of pace.) Entering a private salon, the click of Bond's pistol makes him pause to deliver this beauty; “Walther PPK - seven point six-five millimetre, only three men I know carry such a gun. I believe I've killed two of them...” Zukovsky's men get the drop on Bond and the ex-KGB man is wondering why he's dropped by. Bond offers a deal; he'll arrange for Zukovsky's current deal to go through as planned and whilst the buyers of the plastic explosives will be detained, Zukovsky's man – and the money will not. In exchange, he wants to be introduced to Janus. All Zukovsky knows of Janus?; he's a Lienz Cossack, the treacherous group who worked for the Nazis in the war and surrendered to the British in the hope they would be allowed to continue the fight against communism – only to be betrayed, returned to Stalin's tender mercies.

At the Grand Hotel, Bond takes a swim in an ornate plunge pool. Janus' contact arrives in the shapely form of Xenia. Things get steamy and she bites Bond's lip before getting into a tussle. She goes for the thighs of death trick that she used on Admiral Chuck, but Bond is made of sterner stuff, ramming her up against the wall. By this stage in the scene it's hard to tell if they are fighting or fu- mbling about, a henchman turning up just in time to get a sauna bucket in the face. Cocking his PPK, Bond insists on seeing Janus. A rather embittered Xenia drives Bond to a deserted spot and he ko's her. The place, rather aptly is a graveyard, but for statues not people. The symbols of communism are scattered around; statues of Soviet leaders and the like. Hidden amongst all this: the Tiger helicopter. Warily, Bond advances through the discarded monuments, weapon drawn. A voice from the past stops him in his tracks: Alec Trevelyan!. His face scarred from the explosion that nearly killed him, he is as twisted mentally as facially. Embittered against the status quo, he changed sides to his own. He sees Bond as Her Majesty's loyal terrier, whilst they are both orphans – Bond's parents lost to a climbing accident, his Father killed himself and Alec's Mother, ashamed of their betrayal. MI6 knew of their background, but thought Alec too young to know of his Cossack heritage... hence Janus, the name of the two-faced Roman god. All a bit much, but it gets the point over: Alec bad. Angry at Bond's setting the timers for three minutes instead of the agreed six, Trevelyan wants Bond dead. As Bond goes to shoot him, a dart knocks him out.

Coming to, a groggy Bond is roused from his stupor by kicking and screaming. He is in the pilot's seat of the Tiger, Natalya behind. Both are tied to their seats and the countdown to a missile launch is underway. The missiles are set to target the helicopter!. Head-butting the control panel, Bond succeeds in starting the rotors up just as the missiles launch, streaking into the sky before – ominously – turning back towards the doomed chopper. Handily, there's an eject button right by the pilot's head. Without dwelling on the opportunities for mishap this offers, Bond nuts the button sending the rotor blades exploding away and the entire cockpit rocketing upwards as the heliflopter is blown to smithereens. Floating down under parachutes, the cockpit lands gently. (The Tiger is indeed, uniquely fitted with just such a system – before anyone makes the 'Ejector seat in a Helicopter' joke...) Barely are the two free of the cockpit when the Army arrives to arrest them, taking them to the Defence Ministry building to be shoved into a cell awaiting interrogation.

Alone, Bond tries to persuade Natalya to trust him; she does, telling him of Boris' treachery. Defence Minister Mishkin turns up, accusing Bond of stealing Goldeneye and rather carelessly setting Bond's PPK on the table. He has all the evidence – A British Agent with a Severnaya programmer and the Tiger. Mishkin and Bond argue, until Natalya cuts in with the truth; it was Ourumov. She reveals the existence of a second Goldeneye satellite when, speak of the devil, here's the man in person. He tries to argue his innocence, picking up Bond's pistol, but then shoots the guard and Mishkin before emptying 007's Walther. Tossing the gun to Bond, the traitor shouts for the guards and it kicks off, Bond disarming a guard and doing his best to start WWIII. Shooting his way out through waves of Russian soldiers, Bond leads Natalya through the building and into the gallery of a massive archive room, Bond buying them time by pushing the racks of files against the door. A courtyard outside is full of tanks (Only one looks to be Russian - aren't those British Chieftains done out to look Russian?). Ourumov leads the troops in pursuit on the ground floor as Bond blazes away, cutting down the unfortunate Russkies below. Natalya slips! - falling into the hands (literally) of the soldiers. Bond uses his belt – firing the piton into the ceiling and using it to swing the length of the gallery, kick a squaddie in the face and crash through the window to land in the tank compound. We see Ourumov kidnapping Natalya and Bond's eye falls on a Russian tank...

The car speeds away, Ourumov holding Natalya at gunpoint in the back. Suddenly, a massive wall behind them erupts; the Russian tank bursting through to land on the roadway below!. At the controls, Bond sits in the driver's seat, the heavy tank skidding on the wet road as he fights for control. Cursing the traffic jam that has halted them, the treacherous General looks behind to see a determined Bond roaring up behind. The car tries to escape down an alley that's barely wide enough; they should have let Bond go first as its much wider after his tank has ploughed through. With several jeeps full of troops in pursuit, Bond crunches his way out onto the riverside, the rubble he leaves forming a handy ramp for the jeeps to hit the river. More jeeps and now Police find themselves face to barrel with the mighty tank, deciding reverse is the gear to be seen in (I know; go with it), crashing into each other, their crews diving for safety as 007 drives straight over the wreckage. Carnage. A symbol of Western affluence, a Perrier truck meets a symbol of Soviet strength – or somesuch; the tank cuts through the truck sending cans of water scattering everywhere. Mayhem. Just to confirm his popularity with the St.Petersburg Tourist Board, Bond drives his tank at a statue, demolishing the base and, bizarrely ending up with a bronze winged horse and rider for a hood ornament. Madness!; this scene is a treasure, you just have to trust your earnest correspondent here and get hold of a copy...

The chase continues under an overhanging walkway, the horse and rider embedded briefly into the brickwork, only to fall onto the pursuing Police cars which then skid in a shower of sparks into the back of the tank. Adjusting his tie, Bond continues. Ourumov's car skids to a halt by an ominous armoured train, to be met by Xenia. The train pulls away, as, inside in a luxury carriage, Janus/Trevelyan finishes lunch and greets his guests. Bond's escape amuses Janus, but he soon turns his attentions to Natalya and gets creepy. But what's this in the tunnel ahead? - it's JB in his tank. Just as Janus is getting rapey, the driver spots the danger ahead and hits the alarm. Full speed!, janus is going to ram the tank. Bond fires a shot at the heavily armoured beast thundering towards him and goes over the side as the train cracks the tank into pieces, itself ending up in a fiery wreck.

Xenia and Trevelyan slowly regain their senses, the former 006 going for his AK-R a second too slow; Bond has the drop on them both, but Trevelyan calls up Ourumov who has the girl. There's time for only one shot; will 007 shoot his former friend or try to save Natalya?. Bond whirls and shoots Ourumov, but this gives Xenia and Trevelyan the time to bolt, locking James and Natalya in the steel-plated communications carriage. As Bond looks for a way out, Natalya gets on-line to try to find where Boris is. The roof of the next carriage slides open to reveal Xenia at the controls of a mini-helicopter. Trevelyan radios Bond with the news the timers are set for the same six minutes he was given; they have three minutes to escape. The diddy-copter flies away as, in a computer room somewhere, the wily Boris is on-line backing up his files when he notices Natalya is spiking – or hacking him. Handily, 007 has an Omega watch with a laser built in and starts cutting his way through the floor panel. With the seconds falling away, Natalya traces Boris... he's not in London, Paris or Madrid... New York, Toronto or Chicago...the little red line traces its way across the global map... Bond kicks the floor plate through and grabs her just as the trace reaches Cuba. They do the standard action movie 'running away from explosion' thing and there's some quality banter followed by a thawing of relations between East and West. I mean they have a snog. Do pay attention!.
Goldeneye is anything, but quiet!
A sub-tropical paradise. The happy couple motor along in the BMW enjoying the drive, when the radar system warns them of Jack Wade's plane which lands on the road ahead. Jack has brought a present from Q and the message that the CIA has no knowledge or involvement with Bond's insertion into Cuba. Legal niceties dispensed with, Wade then hands Bond the plane complete with satellite imagery from Langley and a hint that if they stay below 600 feet no-one at the US Coastguard will notice a thing. They are after a satellite dish the size of a football field, a duplicate of Severnaya – Wade assures them there's no such thing, Natalya insists otherwise and Wade departs in 007's BMW with a warning from Bond; don't press any of the buttons. Dusk on the beach. Palm trees, golden sand and the waves lapping gently. A beach house awaits the two lovers in paradise. James Bond sits, lost in thought as Natalya tries to talk him out of killing Trevelyan. Things become heated and, this being a 15 we cut to a log fire and the two lovers lying together. He could have taken his watch off.
Natalya (Izabella Scorupco)-a capable, talented woman and more than a match for 007.
Cuba; the tiny plane flies in low, climbing above a sheer cliff face as Bond and Natalya search for the hidden installation. They fly over thickly wooded hills and over a roughly circular lake, but there's nothing. Doesn't Bond remember You Only Live Twice?. They make a second pass and Bond has just begun to dismiss the dish idea when – shishhh-BOOM – a missile bursts from the surface of the lake and shoots the Cessna down. The stricken plane skims across the lake and into the jungle. A badly stunned Bond manages to haul Natalya, unconscious from the wreck before passing out. As if in a dream, Bond comes round to see a hazy silhouette above... a helicopter, an abseiler preparing to fast-rope down?. Dazed, he hauls himself to his feet as Onatopp fast-ropes down, booting him hard in the chest and kicking seven bells out of him (pausing only to lick his face) before trying to kill him with the thigh thing... get a ThighMaster, love!. Natalya suddenly takes a swing at the headcase, but gets head-butted for her trouble. Acting fast, Bond hooks Xenia back on to the rope and fires the rifle slung across her back (An AKM for the rifle nuts amongst you) into the helicopter, causing the pilot to swerve and yanking Xenia up into the forks of a tree, killing her before the chopper hits the ground and goes up.
 Xenia gets squeezed.
The Control Centre is indeed based on Severnaya; look, there's a big map and everything. Perhaps in keeping with the localé, this version is a touch more Hotel lobby. Sean – I mean Trevelyan is impatient for the Satellite to be fired. A harassed Boris assures him it will be in range in six minutes. Trevelyan orders the dish to be prepared. Outside, Bond and Natalya watch in amazement as a trio of giganourmous telescopic pylons raise a central dish assembly from the lake as it begins to drain into the World's biggest plughole. Racing around the perimeter, they are spotted and Trevelyan orders them killed. Boris asks for the target co-ordinates and is given the answer: London. The huge assembly starts to turn in preparation, but before they can act, the guards arrive and open up, forcing Bond and the girl to dive into the massive dish, sliding down into the centre where a ladder leads to a promising water-tight hatch...
After killing Onatopp, 007 goes after Janus/Trevelyan.
At the Goldeneye control, keys are turned and the system is on-line: God Save the Queen!. Klaxons sounding and guards running in all directions we could almost be in a Sixties Bond... 007 and Natalya sneak around and get a glimpse of the mainframe computer. She goes for it, whilst Bond engages the enemy – and there's an Army of Russians queuing up to kill him. He arms a few mines, then slides his PPK out, hands up in surrender. He is frisked and marched off, his captors unaware of the mine beeping away on the bullet-riddled fuel tank, a pool of petrol spreading across the gallery. Meanwhile, Natalya has crept into the computer room – some ominous Liquid Nitrogen tanks behind her – and gets to work on the system. Face to face again, Trevelyan relieves Bond of his gear. Being an ex-00, he knows what the flashing light means on 007's Omega, pressing the button to disarm the mines.

Bond has seen the plan; Trevelyan has broken into the Bank of England via computer, to electronically transfer a huge amount of money just before the satellite fires, erasing any record of the transactions. Bond plays the old card; goad the villain. He accuses Alec of being a common thief. The guards find Natalya and grab her, but she's just had time to encrypt the files. Trevelyan outlines the grandeur of his scheme – the entire Greater London area will be hit, erasing Tax records, the Stock Market and credit ratings, Land registries and criminal records (That last at least wouldn't happen – the Police National Computer database isn't in London). Sixteen minutes and forty-two seconds to go before England learns the price of betrayal. Natalya is brought in and Boris greets her warmly. She warms his face with a stinger of a slap and sets about him before being restrained. In the scuffle, Bond's grenade-pen was knocked to the floor and picking it up, Boris starts clicking it angrily. Oh-oh. An alarm sounds, indicating the satellite's retro-rockets are firing and Boris sets to work to try to find what Natalya has done. He has an annoying habit of twirling his pens and clicking them which makes for a sweaty moment as we try to keep count. Was that two clicks or three?. The satellite has been programmed for re-entry, to burn up harmlessly and she's changed the access codes. Clever stuff. Holding a gun to Bond's head, Trevelyan barks at Boris to fix it, but he can't crack the code. An enraged Boris clicks the pen thrice and waves it in the girl's face as he screams for her to give him the code. Bond whacks the pen away just as it explodes right in the middle of all that fuel... KA-BLOOOEY...

With a risk Boris might still break the new codes, Bond has to destroy the transmitter. A life leads the pair to the gantry and leaving her with a pistol, 007 races along the catwalk to reach the transmitter array. In the ruins of the control room, Boris is working to crack the code, a guard left with him ordered to shoot him if he moves. Trevelyan takes a cable car to the transmitter as, in orbit above, the satellite begins re-entry, starting to glow red-hot. Bond and his former friend exchange gunfire as Bond races to the centre of the transmitter, the array begins to move as Boris cracks the new code. Inside a machine shack a massive chain and gear system operates the giant mechanism involved to move such a huge apparatus. Janus and 007 come to blows, Bond grabbing an oversized crowbar which he jams into the chain to jam the antenna. With that taken care of, he goes after Trevelyan to settle his account, getting jumped by him in the process. The two engage in a vicious fight, a violent and grimly brutal affair that echoes – deliberately – the memorable fight between Connery's Bond and Red Grant in From Russia With Love. (Brosnan and Bean did the majority of the stuntwork for this fight themselves – a brave decision that adds immensely to the credibility of this scene) Regaining his pistol, Trevelyan has the drop on Bond – who drops himself; through the floor, on an extending ladder which slides down to provide access to the transmitter element itself, high above the centre of the dish a hundred feet below.
ABOVE: Fight to the Finish.
With 007 trapped, Janus calls up his helicopter gunship to finish the job as he slides down the ladder, knocking Bond back to the bottom rung to hang by one hand. Savouring the moment, Janus pauses before stamping down on Bond's hand and only a wire stops our hero falling to certain death. The madman clambers down to strangle Bond as the gunship comes in to hover. Suddenly, up pops Natalya behind the pilot, gun to his head. This forces Trevelyan to take his eye off the ball and Bond head-butts kick and boots him backwards off the element, grabbing him by one boot to stop his fall. Knowing he is doomed, he asks; “For England, James?.” Bond replies “No – for me.” and lets go. Trevelyan – Janus, falls to lie, broken on the bottom of the dish.

Boris screams in frustration as the satellite explodes, Natalya forces the gunship pilot to hover close to the array to allow Bond to make a daring leap to catch the skids seconds before a huge explosion tears through the array, the smoking remains dropping down to obliterate the mortally wounded Trevelyan and destroy the control room below. Annoyingly, Boris pops up (Make your own computer pop-up jokes, I'm far too busy...) with that 'Yes!!! I am inWincible' line as the Liquid Nitrogen tanks rupture in the heat and soak the irritating gimp. A gimpsicle?.

Bond drops to the soft grassy ground, Natalya jumping down after him, leaving the Gunship pilot free to quietly (in one sense of the word) fly off to, presumably go into business offering Helicopter Tours of the Carribean. The Hero kisses the Heroine, assuring her they are alone. Cue Jack Wade in US Marine Dress/Slobby and Bond isn't impressed; was this the cavalry?. At a signal from Wade, a platoon of US Marines suddenly reveal themselves – they had been all around in a comedy circle, their first-rate fieldcraft and camouflage now apparent, their extraction choppers suddenly dropping down to hover in the clearing. With a – now ominous – offer to the lovers to 'finish de-briefing each other at Guantanamo', the whole party leaves in the helicopters.

James Bond will return.
ABOVE: Michael G.Wilson and Cubby Broccoli meet the new Bond, Pierce Brosnan.
Is it any good? - I'm not a huge Brosnan fan. The BMW Bond never felt right to me, with his Mid-Atlantic accent and model looks (If not physique) he seemed more of a clothes-horse than a man of action. That said, Goldeneye was a superb ouvre and Brosnan certainly does his share of the action. He certainly looked good in the tuxedo... overall, his 007 had some good outings; The World is Not Enough being by far my favourite, with the much-lambasted Die Another Day an honourable second.
Pierce Brosnan came to fame as Remington Steele, but his role in The Fourth Protocol must have brought him closer to the part of 007. His late Wife, Cassandra Harris was herself a Bond girl, featuring as Lisl von Schlaf in For Your Eyes Only. She died in 1991 of Ovarian Cancer at the tragically young age of 43.
Goldeneye was dedicated to Derek Meddings; Bond fans will know the name instantly. His miniatures and models improved the scope of the Bond films immeasurably - Goldeneye was his last 007 Film and to see his work, simply watch the Arkhangelsk scenes, the Severnaya sequences and the Cuban lake drainage scene. You might spot some of it as model work, but I have honestly seen most of this amazing man's work and am still not sure which is model and which the real thing. A real artist.   
 BELOW: The Late Derek Meddings puts the finishing touches to the Severnaya miniature.
Production switched to a purpose built facility at Leavesden Aerodrome, Pinewood being unavailable. Eric Serra provided the soundtrack and it's, frankly, fairly awful. The normally wonderful Tina Turner sings the title song, a brave effort at a bland number written by the even blander Bono and the talent-vacuum that is The Edge. No, not a fan.  

Lastly, a mention for Daniel Kleinman, who has provided the opening titles for the James Bond films since the legendary Maurice Binder's death. In fact, with the exception of Quantum of Solace, he has produced these mini-masterpieces on every film since Licence to Kill (He directed the music video for the song and this brought him to the attention of the producers). Goldeneye was his first Bond and it is an impressive debut, making good use of the emergent CGI technology. To see the progression - watch the credits to Goldeneye, then Skyfall. These are real treats and a great way to frame the films that follow.

No comments:

Post a Comment