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Goldeneye: Ultimate Edition

It was nine years coming. In 1986, Pierce Brosnan auditioned for the role of James Bond and got it, but — tied up in "Remington Steele" TV contracts — was kept off the set of The Living Daylights, leaving the part to Timothy Dalton. It's an intriguing "what if?" pondering what would have happened had Brosnan actually gotten the job when he was supposed to (would he still be going, or would there have been someone else before Daniel Craig?). But then again, he wouldn't have opened with 1995's Goldeneye, which proved to be his strongest performance as Bond. All in all, Brosnan made four Bond films, which is two more than Dalton, two less than Sean Connery (Roger Moore is the reigning champ with seven), and proved himself to be (of this writing) the second best 007. Not a bad place to end up, all things considered. Starting with a spectacular pre-credit sequence where Bond bungee-jumps down the face of a massive concrete dam and then uses a motorcycle to chase down a runaway plane (which then goes over a cliff, only for Bond to jump off the bike, into the plane, and at the very last second pull the stick up as the bombs he had set go off in the background), the film sets the stage for some high "wow" factor. From there, Bond tracks Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen), who literally sexes a man to death to steal a military helicopter. This chopper can weather a nuclear electro-magnetic pulse, which leads to the villain Janus's main plan: He hopes to use the Soviet nuclear weapon satellite "Goldeneye" to blast England moments after he's electronically stolen a bunch of money. Janus's identity is shrouded in mystery (although he'd likely be a rousing a 007 himself). Bond gets help from Russian computer programmer Natalya Simonova (Isabella Scorupco) and CIA agent Jack Wade (Joe Don Baker), while M (Judi Dench) seems a bit stodgy but relents to Bond's immeasurable talents.

Like all "first" 007 titles, Goldeneye is a reboot. Lois Maxwell was finally put out to pasture as Moneypenny and replaced by Samantha Bond's younger and more aware version (one who mentions sexual harassment and then uses it as a flirt), while M is now a woman and tells Bond he's a relic of the Cold War, which speaks more of the character than Brosnan (who was 42 at the time). It's these moments that most hurt Goldeneye, as if it can't decide if it wants to start fresh but can't help but wink at the Bond canon. By the mid-'90s, 007 needed to be reinvented, and the filmmakers wanted to have their cake (in this case, Bond qua sex machine/heavy drinker/fast driver) and eat it too (admit that those things are somewhat frowned upon in modern mores). In that way, the movie is shown up by the retooled Casino Royale (2006), which offers a new Bond by suggesting that all those other films happen in Bond's future (though possibly excepting Moonraker). Such may mess with the continuum and James Bond fanatics' heads, but at least it makes 007 a real person again. That said, Brosnan is to be commended for his turn, and he understood the character — but if this outing earns any gold stars, it's Famke Janssen's fearless and delectable performance as Onatopp, the ultimate bad Bond girl who's almost drawn from the Russ Meyer canon of "women you can't tell if they'd rather kill you or have sex with you, but you don't care which."

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Fox/MGM presents Goldeneye in a two-disc "Ultimate Edition" with the film on the first disc in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS, and dubbed French audio. Also on hand is a commentary by director Martin Campbell and producer Michael Wilson. Features on Disc Two include four deleted scenes with introductions by Campbell (6 min.), the featurettes "The Martin Chronicles," which focuses on the director (12 min.), the pre-production featurette "Building a Better Bond" (9 min.), production featurette "The Return of Bond: The Start " (6 min.), the car-centric "Driven to Bond: Remy Julienne" (3 min.), "Anatomy of a Stunt: Tank vs. Perrier" (6 min.), model-focused "Making it Small in Pictures: Derek Meddings" (3 min.), "On Location with Peter Lamont" (13 min.), comprehensive "Goldeneye: The Secret Files" (28 min.), "Goldeneye: The Secret Files: The Cast" (12 min.), and a storyboard featurette (2 min.). Also included is period special "The World of 007" (43 min.), "The Goldeneye Video Journal" (14 min.), a promotional featurette (5 min.), the Goldeneye music video performed by Tina Turner, two trailers, 12 TV spots, a stills gallery, and "007 Mission Control," which offers highlights of the franchise's repeated trademarks. Dual-DVD slimline keep-case. Available in MGM's "James Bond Collection: Volume 3."
—DSH



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