So before we actually talk about this movie, I want to take a second to talk about the thing you probably more immediately associate with its title; the Nintendo 64 game. It was one of the first video games I personally ever played, and is a huge piece of gaming history, one of the earliest first person shooters, and a classic by any definition. I actually busted out the N64 and played through like half of it again last year, and I will tell you that it still totally holds up after 20 years. It’s also a pretty faithful adaptation of the movie, with all the locations and events well represented in 64 bits. You can even unlock classic Bond characters like Oddjob and Jaws, and the Golden Gun is available as a weapon, along with the laser cannon from Moonraker, so it sort of pays homage to the whole franchise. It might be the only movie adaptation video game to be better and more memorable than the movie it was based on. If you haven’t played it, I highly recommend you check it out. They did a re-release on Wii a few years back with modern updated graphics and Daniel Craig as the model for Bond instead of Brosnan, but I personally think the classic version is the only way to go for that authentic nostalgic feel. You can probably find an emulator or something.
ANYWAY. So let’s talk about the actual movie. We got a new Bond again! Apparently the franchise was caught in some legal difficulties after License to Kill, or just nobody wanted to touch it at that point, so there was a six year gap between this one and the last one, the longest break in the history of the franchise. I guess they figured that after six years, they should probably find a new actor. So Dalton’s out, and we have the most mediocre Bond yet! People always hate on Pierce Brosnan, and I probably will too as these go on, but he’s honestly not bad. He’s just not good either. If you ask me, he’s the absolute middle point. He doesn’t suck as bad as Roger Moore or George Lazenby, he’s not as good as Sean Connery or Daniel Craig, and he’s not as different as Timothy Dalton. He’s just totally serviceable and forgettable. So the movie starts with Bond infiltrating a Russian missile facility with 006, who’s played by Sean Bean. He dies in the first ten minutes, which is just classic Sean Bean. We then cut to nine years later, aka the present, aka 1995, which I guess means that the opening happened sometime around A View To A Kill. Or are we in a different timeline now? Whatever. So we spend a minute or two establishing Bond and then we meet the best part of this movie; Judy Dench’s M. She’s so badass. There’s a scene early on where Bond is pissed at her because she’s not letting him follow a hunch, and she just totally calls him on all his shit. She calls him an outdated relic from the cold war. It’s dope. This movie’s biggest crime is not giving her more screentime. But I guess that’s why Skyfall exists. So basically there’s some whole thing and it turns out that the bad guy is actually Sean Bean, who faked his death and is also secretly Russian. Man, it’s always fucking Russia. He’s got some plan to use a giant radar dish to destroy all the electronic data in England. Or something. He’s got a badass female henchman played by Famke Jansen, who was Jean Grey in the X-Men movies, and there’s a part where she’s tethered to a helicopter and it goes out of control and she gets yanked and squished against a tree and killed. It’s awesome. But then Bond says “she always did like a good squeeze” even though he clearly should have made some kind of tree joke. Overall, this movie is not bad at all. It’s still pretty cheesy, but now it’s like, 90’s cheesy, you know what I mean? Like Speed. Or Point Break. Anything with Keanu Reeves, really. It’s a little dumb, but it’s fun. Gone are the awkward attempted comedy sequences of the Moore era, and there’s a couple really good action sequences in this movie, including an awesome fight on this weird armoured soviet train in the snow, and a part where Bond drives a tank through city streets. The final fight between Bond and Sean Bean takes place with them hanging of the top of the huge radar dish, and it totally reminds me of Luke hanging off the bottom of Cloud City at the end of Empire. It’s pretty cool. Sean Bean’s a great villain, too. It’s interesting to see Bond go up against a former 00 agent, and he’s very much Bond’s evil Russian equivalent. There’s a couple of good scenes of dialogue between them where it’s clear that Sean Bean knows what makes him tick. I would recommend this movie as like a good fun 90s action movie. Oh, and also there’s a whacky hacker character played by Alan Cummings. Wait, he was Nightcrawler in X2. Weird amount of X-Men in this movie.
Overall Rating: 90s/10