Steele Bond

by Alan Rapp on November 13, 2008

in Essays , Theme Week

Timothy Dalton left the franchise after two films in the midst of MGM’s legal and financial nightmare that threatened to end the series for good.  But that was not to be.  Much like Dalton before him, Pierce Brosnan had been offered the role of Bond years before. but could not accept because of his starring role in Remington Steele.  Fast-forward a few years, and again like Dalton, Brosnan was given a second chance.

With GoldenEye Bond was relaunced with some subtle differences.  Bond was no longer the hot-shot top spy, now he was “a relic of the Cold War” who seemed out of place in the current world events.  M was also given a drastic makeover as Judi Dench took over the role, the first woman to do so, with a particular flair and wit.  The movie was a huge success and Bond and Brosnan continued for three more profitable films, making Bond not only relevant to the modern world, but worth the ticket price as well.

Brosnan’s acceptance included a clause that he would be able to work on other projects and has done well in such films as The Thomas Crown Affair, The Tailor of Panama, and the Irish family drama Evelyn.  He didn’t fade into the mist after his Bond years ended either.  He starred as a jewel thief in After the Sunset (read that review), and in what might be the best performance of his career, starred as a hitman who is loosing his nerve in The Matador (read that review).  He may no longer be Bond, but he rejuvinated the franchise, and since he’s departure has continued to make good films.

GoldenEye

A prototype helicopter, immune to EMP interference, is stolen by Xenia Onatopp (Famke Jannsen), who enjoys killing men with her thighs (hey, there are worse ways to go, right?).  Bond’s investigation leads him to uncover the leader of the terrorist organization, former 006, long thought dead, Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean) who plans to detonate the a secret Russian satellite weapon called GoldenEye over London to cover-up his theft from the Bank of England.  With the help of one of the project’s scientists (Izabella Scorupco), Bond travels to Cuba and puts an end to Trevelayan’s plans.  Brosnan does well in his first film (including a very good introduction as 007 leaps from the top of a dam, Judi Dench steps into the role of M, the BMW Z3 is introduced as his new vehicle, and a there’s a memorable car chase around St. Petersburg involving a tank.


Tomorrow Never Dies

Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce), a deranged head of a media empire, uses a stolen GPS encorder to create a volatile situation between China and the UK.  Bond is sent to stop the madman, and reconnects with an old flame (Teri Hatcher) who is now Mrs. Paris Carver.  Bond fails to save Paris, but with the help of a Chinese agent (Michelle Yeoh) he is able to find Carver’s stealth boat and prevent him from beginning a war between China and Britain.  The film follows the classic Bond formula with the powerful madman, Bond being dragged into service out of the arms of a beautiful woman (Cecilie Thomsen), two Bond girls (one who will tragically die), the evil henchman (Gotz Otto), and the safety fo the world at stake.


The World is Not Enough

Bond is sent to protect Elektra King (Sophie Marceau) from the terrorist (Robert Carlyle) who killed her father and once kidnapped her and has stolen plutonium from Kazakhstan.  Bond learns that Elektra is working with Renard, has kidnapped M, and plans to overload a nuclear submarine’s reactor destroying all the oil from the Caspian Sea, except the King pipeline.  With the help of a nuclear physicist, Dr. Christmas Jones (Denise Richards), Bond is able to foil the plot, save M, and celebrate a Christmas feast (heh).  A so-so addition to the franchise.  Beside the total unbelievability of Richards as a scientist (was Anna Nicole Smith unavailable?), the film does give us a memorable villain in Renard, and Marceau does well as the deranged femme fatale who is actually the brain behind the plot, the first woman to play such a role.


Die Another Day

The 20th film in the Bond franchise, and Brosnan’s last, begins with Bond captured in North Korea and held captive and tortured for 14-months when he is eventually released, but he has been disavowed by his superiors who believe he may have turned under captivity.  Bond then sets out to find the real mole in the agency which leads him to billionaire Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens).  With the help of a NSA agent (Halle Berry) Bond discovers Graves’ secret and uncovers his plan to use an orbital mirror to clean the DMZ between North and South Korea, discovers the true identity of the mole (Rosmund Pike), and saves the day.  The film pays homage to several of the previous Bond films with the return of the Aston Martin, a walk around Q’s laboratory turns up some old gadgets, and Jinx sports a recreation Honey Rider’s bikini from Dr. No.

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