THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1995, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Saturday, November 18, 1995 TAG: 9511171141 SECTION: DAILY BREAK PAGE: E2 EDITION: FINAL TYPE: Movie Review SOURCE: BY MAL VINCENT, MOVIE CRITIC LENGTH: Medium: 70 lines
AFTER SIX years, James Bond is back with a flurry.
``Goldeneye,'' the 17th installment in the long-running series, will be - and deserves to be - a hit. Setting aside the grave interpretation that Timothy Dalton gave the role is the new Bond, TV's Pierce Brosnan. It's a little like casting Cary Grant in the part. Brosnan has all the required cool and charm but not the gruff sexuality.
The producers apparently have given up on adapting 007 to the PC 1990s and gone back to the character created by the late Ian Fleming. The Bond women are all here. Izabella Scorupco plays a Russian computer analyst who is clearly no bimbo. Famke Janssen steals the feminine thunder as the evil Xenia Onatopp. She crushes her victims between her thighs.
There is, however, one nod to the '90s. M, 007's boss, is a woman, played with a tough exterior by Dame Judi Dench.
As plots go, ``Goldeneye'' makes no more sense than most other Bond films. Russian gangsters are trying to use a secret satellite system to mess up the world's financial records. The villain (Sean Bean) is none other than 006, a former friend of Bond's. He isn't much of a villain; indeed, he's the weak link in a film that otherwise pushes all the right buttons.
With $55 million invested - the most expensive Bond film in history - the movie is a knockout, especially in the first hour.
It opens with what's being called the longest bungee jump on record - a breathtaking free fall down the side of a dam. There's a tank chase and a plane dive, both of which are played a bit close to parody. The stopovers include Monaco and Puerto Rico (representing Cuba). St. Petersburg, Russia, is represented by a set built in London.
``Goldeneye'' bogs down a bit in its second hour. (At over two hours, it is too long by about 30 minutes.) Like a symphony that builds to several crescendos, there are several moments when you expect it to end, but it doesn't.
A nice, nostalgic touch is the return of Desmond Llewelyn, who played the gadgets expert Q in most of the Bond film. Most missed, though, is the music score by John Barry. In its place is a rather tepid score by Eric Serra. The title song, written by U2's Bono and The Edge, is given a delightfully earthy moan by Tina Turner, but it is nothing to get excited about.
Then, of course, there are the expected one-liners. When Onatopp tells Bond that he doesn't need his gun, he replies, ``That depends on your idea of safe sex.'' There are at least a half-dozen groaners.
Directed by Martin Campbell, a newcomer to the genre, ``Goldeneye'' has as many special effects as any Bond film, and, for the most part, it delivers. It should be the real test as to whether a Bond audience still exists.
All reservations aside, ``Goldeneye'' is a lively, worthy addition to the awesome Bond canon. Only it's length is a major detriment. MEMO: MOVIE REVIEW
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Izabella Scorupco, Famke Janssen,
Joe Don Baker, Desmond Llewelyn, Judi Dench
Director: Martin Campbell
Screenplay: Jeffrey Caine and Bruce Feirstein
Music: Eric Serra
MPAA rating: PG-13 (cartoonish violence, sexual innuendo)
Mal's rating: three stars
Locations: Chesapeake Square, Greenbrier in Chesapeake; Janaf, Main
Gate in Norfolk; Columbus, Kemps River, Lynnhaven 8, Surf-N-Sand in