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Review: written 10th January 2008 Goldeneye (Ultimate Edition 2 Disc Set) [DVD] [1995]

Boys with Toys

This was Bond back as fun, not serious - and a successful transition it turned out to be. It is hardly the reimagining it seemed back then, more of a return to the tongue in cheek of Roger Moore - except this time with an actor who could pull it off.

There's lots to like - Famke Jensen is one of the most deliciously over the top hench(wo)man in decades, Sean Bean plays 006 with great style, and there are surprising cameos - Robbie Coltrane, Minnie Driver, for example. Eric Serra's synth-rich score works pretty well, with enough of the classic themes coming through at moments you want them to - like the start of the glorious tank chase. And let's not forget two of Goldeneye's key successes - Judi Dench as M was certainly surprising casting, but it turned out to add a hugely successful character foil to Bond's `misogynist dinosaur'. Aside from Judi Dench bringing the role of women in Bond movies into the modern world, Isabella Scorupco plays a fine traditional Bond girl, with added sassiness. And then there is that whole self aware aspect - Bond is recognised for being a `relic of the cold war', and there is even a few half heartedly psychological moments where Gasp! We are encouraged to understand the character a little better.

Locations are the best in some time for a Bond movie, with St Petersburg appearing in person... surely the ultimate sign the cold war has ended, when a Russian city appears in a Bond movie without Prague or some other Eastern European city standing in for it... Negative points if you want to quibble... there's something about Bond with a machine gun that's just not right. Bond is supposed to be pinpoint and precise, and it's a shame the Brosnan movies got away from that to have him spraying bullets all over the place. And a few of the characters are just a bit too cartoonish, drawing one out from an otherwise well paced and well plotted movie. All in all though, there's no doubt that Pierce Brosnan's first stab at the Bond role made it his own for a decade. Goldeneye is one of those perennially entertaining and rewatchable movies that made the Bond franchise so durable.

As usual, the ultimate edition has every extra imaginable, significantly more than the previous Special Edition. Sadly however, we do not have the making of documentary that accompanied all of the previous movies. It's a shame that for this ultimate edition they could not have put together some sort of retrospective documentary with interviews as they had for the previous movies, and merely put together all the pre-existing material they could find. Picture and sound are immaculate.

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