Celebrating fifteen years of GoldenEye

You know the name. You know the number. Wednesday 24 November is the 15th Anniversary of the release of GoldenEye, Pierce Brosnan’s debut as 007 in the UK, and the first new Bond movie we’d had since 1989.

Sadly, we’re now in period when Bond’s future is looking as shaky as it did back in the early-90s, just before the world’s interest in the character hit an all time high.

I was at university in 1995, and a regular at Morningside’s Dominion cinema. I remember spotting a small poster there early that year, one which depicted Brosnan clad in a tuxedo and clutching the iconic Walther PPK, the text noting that GoldenEye would be released in November.

I’d seen both A View to a Kill and The Living Daylights at the cinema on their release, but had missed out on the glory years of the 1960s, a time when Bondmania swept the globe and Sean Connery was who every man wanted to be and every woman wanted to be with.

GoldenEye had been written for Timothy Dalton to star in, following his final outing in 1989’s Licence to Kill, but he declined. This left the door open for Brosnan, the actor forced to turn down the part in 1986 due to commitments on US series, Remington Steele.

With no Cold War to fight, the producers were taking a gamble that Ian Fleming’s character was still relevant, the trailer reminding us that it was a new world, with new enemies.

This was a bold adventure for 007, one which embraced the past (Desmond Llewelyn as Q, vodka martinis, cheesy one-liners) while trying something new (a female M, no Aston Martin, no John Barry score) and, on the whole, it succeeded: GoldenEye was huge fun and still stands up to repeat viewing.

Brosnan may have been unceremoniously dumped in favour of Daniel Craig for 2006’s Casino Royale, but I still enjoy his portrayal, even if the films did lose their way towards the end.

Now, with MGM, the company which bankrolls Bond, in turmoil, it looks like 2012 is the earliest we’ll see a new film in the series. Will it star Craig? Will it go back to basics? Or is Bond past his sell-by-date?

Whatever the answer, let’s all watch our GoldenEye DVDs next week and remember a time when Bond wasn’t a four letter word to Hollywood financiers.

I’ll add some more GoldenEye-related posts over the next few days, but in the meantime here’s the trailer that introduced us to the new 007:

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