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Topic: GoldenEye: The Last Roger Moore-style Film?

Some thoughts on the ways in which GoldenEye effectively evokes the spirit of the Roger Moore era...


When Pierce Brosnan debuted as James Bond in 1995’s GoldenEye and throughout the remainder of his tenure, critics often compared his portrayal positively to Sean Connery’s, bringing a more powerful and charismatic style of performance accompanied by a sense of genuine international glamour after the down-to-earth grit of Licence to Kill. However, I think it can be just as easily argued that GoldenEye draws heavily from the formula of the Roger Moore films. In particular, there is a vein of anachronistic Moore-esque silliness that runs through the entire Brosnan era, reaching its peak with the excesses of Die Another Day.


There are a few moments in GoldenEye which effectively bring back memories of the Moore era’s stylings. For example, in the Aston Martin vs Ferrari chase and the St Petersburg tank chase, we find the return of lengthy, comedic action sequences designed to showcase a series of building visual gags rather than display any real flourishes of dramatic tension. In this sense, the tank and Aston chases are spiritual successors to the AMC Hornet chase in Golden Gun and the gondola pursuit in Moonraker. Pierce Brosnan’s presentation of 007 as a smirking, louche playboy with occasional moments of steel essentially recalls Roger Moore; like that earlier incarnation, Brosnan tends to play up a self-mocking, lighthearted angle and play down the introspective, vulnerable edges of the character emphasised by Timothy Dalton immediately before him. Even Brosnan’s physical quirks, such as his habit of smartly adjusting his cuffs and tie after particularly dangerous manoeuvres, serve to call attention to how ridiculous Bond’s universe truly is, and thus serve the same function as Moore’s casually raised eyebrow in alerting the audience to the hero’s cartoonishly self-aware demeanour.


In story terms, too, Brosnan’s characterisation of Bond is an almost direct sequel to Moore’s version of the immortal agent. Following a prologue pre-titles sequence set in 1986, the film skips over the real time years in which Dalton portrayed the spy and moves straight on to 1995. Here Bond is ferociously upbraided by the new, female M: “I think you're a sexist, misogynist dinosaur. A relic of the Cold War…” What this monologue conceals, however, is that Dalton’s Bond had, in fact, begun to subtly develop beyond the stereotype which Judi Dench’s M lambasts during this briefing. In The Living Daylights, Dalton’s Bond enjoys only one full romance, with his love interest Kara Milovy; and in Licence to Kill Bond’s enemies outgrew the limitations of Cold War politics to encompass American drug smugglers. Throughout both adventures, Dalton plays Bond as a more sensitive, brooding figure, unsure of his place in the world and deeply distrustful of the MI6 establishment. In The Living Daylights, Bond bitterly claims to welcome the chance of dismissal from the 00- section by a frustrated M, while in Licence to Kill, Bond goes a step further and actually tenders his resignation from the Secret Service. Dalton’s Bond is ambiguous towards the trappings of intelligence work, and shows himself to be jaded and resentful towards M’s authority on a number of occasions.


On the other hand, GoldenEye marks a reversion to type; with his carefree arrogance and brash playful swagger, Brosnan’s Bond is modelled far more on the debonair womaniser portrayed by Moore than the moody, self-reflective take on the character pioneered by Dalton. From his smarming seduction of the psychologist Caroline to his early encounter with Xenia Onatopp at the gambling tables,  Brosnan’s 007 strides across the globe rather than carrying its weight on his shoulders, in contrast to the troubled and pensive loner of Dalton’s tenure. Even finer details, such as Bond’s amiable banter with Bill Tanner before M’s arrival, bring to mind the masculine clubbish atmosphere of M’s office during the Moore years, when M, the Minister of Defence, Bond and Q would crowd around the wood panels.


Some plot details here also reach back to elements of scenarios presented during the Moore era; Bond taking down swathes of hapless Russian soldiers echoes the pre-title sequence of A View To A Kill, while the presence of a scheming rogue military general, hellbent on outwitting both his native government and 007’s investigations, has similarities to the villainous General Orlov’s activities in Octopussy.


However, it is revealed mid-way through the film that this basic framework, using the familiar paraphernalia of a Roger Moore adventure, is a cunning dramatic ploy designed to hide the episode’s twists and turns. Sending 007 to the heart of Russia allows for an intriguing fish-out-of-water direction not usually found in Bond, and this paves the way for the shocking reveal that Bond’s nemesis is actually his former friend and colleague 006, orchestrating events behind the scenes. This backdrop allows for some genuinely interesting character interaction, made all the more unsettling because of the film’s previously adopted approach of employing nostalgic conventions from the Moore era, then more than a decade away from GoldenEye’s original release. This sense of central dichotomy, a blended cocktail of familiar and innovative elements, is what ultimately helps to make GoldenEye one of the most effective and enjoyable Bond adventures.



What do others think of the extent to which GoldenEye borrows from the Moore era before it, especially how Bond is portrayed here in comparison to Dalton’s two performances?  Was it the right move tonally to diverge so sharply from the introspective leanings of the Dalton films?

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Re: GoldenEye: The Last Roger Moore-style Film?

Great thread!  ajb007/martini GoldenEye is certainly a healthy mix of Connery and Moore's style with a bit of Dalton peppered throughout. DAD's second half feels more like a Roger Moore style film than GE, Mainly just the off-the-wall sci fi elements that being back memories or Moonraker. First half of DAD is contains absolutely nothing Moore-esque though so your OP still stands.

Final thought - TND maybe too?

....and the best he ever managed was a sermon on the mount.

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Re: GoldenEye: The Last Roger Moore-style Film?

I'd say DAD was the last Roger Moore-style Bond. Lots of double entendres, space-centered plot insted of a realtions/childhood centered one, Bond relies a lot on gadgets .....

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Re: GoldenEye: The Last Roger Moore-style Film?

I think the Brosnan films were definitely a step backward, following the perceived failure of the the two Daltons and the uncertain future of the franchise with Cubby's retirement. And the "nine years" passing does imply Dalton was never Bond in the years between, just as DaF starting in Japan implies OHMSS never happened.
Plotwise, Goldeneye pastiches a lot more of Thunderball and DaF , than any Moore film except maybe Moonraker. (there's more of MR the book than MR the movie)

Actually there's more Moore-era plots pastiched in the next film than there is in this one.


Brosnan couldn't do the quips though, no better than Dalton. And he did want to take the character in a darker direction, as Dalton and Craig got to do. He gets these little philosophical moments that I think no other Bond got, like in this film when they inexplicably stop at the beach house and he broods on the job of killing another double oh. Such moments happen in his other films as well, but are brief and get buried by the action setpieces, and the attempts to quip.

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Re: GoldenEye: The Last Roger Moore-style Film?

"Plotwise, Goldeneye pastiches a lot more of Thunderball and DaF , than any Moore film except maybe Moonraker. (there's more of MR the book than MR the movie)"

Where GoldenEye does echo the Moonraker novel is that, unusually for the films, only Britain is under immediate threat rather than, as is more common, the United States or the entire world. What do others think of this plot development?


"Brosnan couldn't do the quips though, no better than Dalton. And he did want to take the character in a darker direction, as Dalton and Craig got to do."

Brosnan does get a few tougher, ruthless moments throughout his era- the ones that come to mind are dropping a beaten Trevelyan to his death in GE and shooting Elektra dead in cold blood in TWINE- but as caractacus potts says, they are mostly jarring, and outnumbered by the prevailing comic atmosphere of his films overall.


Any other thoughts on the quintessential 'Moore-ness' (or not) of GoldenEye?

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Re: GoldenEye: The Last Roger Moore-style Film?

I wrote:

Brosnan couldn't do the quips though, no better than Dalton. And he did want to take the character in a darker direction, as Dalton and Craig got to do.

SpectreOfDefeat wrote:

Brosnan does get a few tougher, ruthless moments throughout his era- the ones that come to mind are dropping a beaten Trevelyan to his death in GE and shooting Elektra dead in cold blood in TWINE- but as caractacus potts says, they are mostly jarring, and outnumbered by the prevailing comic atmosphere of his films overall.

I don't find such moments jarring, just fragmented. As if the first draft of the script had a lot more context for these dark moments, but in rewrites that stuff got replaced by more conventional content. So they may seem to come out of nowhere. It's the attempts at humour I mostly find jarring, as they seem so artificial.

In the next film, there's a big build up about the tragic situation of Paris Carver, and our more philosophical BrosnanBond broods because he knows this mission will probably cost her her life. Yet five minutes after she dies, he's forgotten all about her and laughing out loud at what he can do with his BMW's remote control. She is never mentioned again in the final hour of the film.

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Re: GoldenEye: The Last Roger Moore-style Film?

"In the next film, there's a big build up about the tragic situation of Paris Carver, and our more philosophical BrosnanBond broods because he knows this mission will probably cost her her life. Yet five minutes after she dies, he's forgotten all about her and laughing out loud at what he can do with his BMW's remote control. She is never mentioned again in the final hour of the film."

The treatment of Paris' death in TND always felt a bit off- especially coming before such an exaggerated action scene as the remote control BMW chase. It reminds me of how Andrea Anders' tragic death in Golden Gun is followed by 360 degree car stunts and the triumphant return of Sheriff Pepper. Again, the wildly varying tonal shifts in parts of Brosnan's films do hark back more generally to the stylings of Roger Moore's era...