Saturday, August 15, 2015

GoldenEye (1995) | Villains

GoldenEye fakes viewers out by setting up General Ourumov as a main villain similar to the evil Russian generals from Octopussy and The Living Daylights. His plan is much simpler than theirs though and he really plays more of a henchman role to the scheme's actual mastermind. Ourumov would be a forgettable character if he weren't played by Gottfried John, who gives him a wonderful sense of bemusement. And I love how he runs into Bond's interrogation, breathless and barely in uniform, to prevent Bond's revealing anything damaging, which he does nicely. He just comes across as incredibly bright and it's too bad he's dispatched so easily once the true villain is revealed.

I love Famke Janssen, but I have a rough time buying Xenia Onatopp. She has some great moments (I adore the way she says, "Nice to meet you, Mr. Bond" at the end of their first encounter), but her orgasmic sadism is too much. She's insane to the point that she's no longer fun.

She's also a super sloppy lover and her make-out scenes hurt me to watch as much as they do her partners to participate in.

GoldenEye just killed it on casting its bad guys. Boris Grishenko is an annoying character, but so watchable thanks to Alan Cumming. Among his many flaws though, what bugs me most about him is that he types one-handed so that he can use the other to play with Bond's explosive pen. I get being a tactile thinker, but that seems excessive in that particular scenario.

Besides being played by the great Sean Bean, Alec Trevelyan finally delivers what Scaramanga was designed to: the anti-Bond. Scaramanga was a great assassin, but that doesn't make him an evil version of Bond, who - licence to kill or not - has never been about murder. Trevelyan used to do what Bond does and he knows Bond's thought processes, because they were his own. There's a great moment where he questions whether Bond's drinking and womanizing work as cures for all the deaths that Bond's witnessed or caused. He's a crucial part of GoldenEye's pulling apart the character of James Bond to see how he works and how he can be used going forward.

Sadly, Trevelyan works much better thematically than he does as an actual villain. He makes all the usual mistakes, starting with failing to kill Bond when he has the chance. Instead, he goes with an overly complicated plan that involves tying Bond into a helicopter cockpit that's going to shoot itself with its own missiles. And later, he makes the same error that SPECTRE kept making in You Only Live Twice when Bond's looking for the secret base in Cuba. There's no way Bond would have found it if Trevelyan hadn't shot a missile at Bond's plane to let him know he was close. Guess those other Double-Os really are that bad.

Top Ten Villains

1. Auric Goldfinger (Goldfinger)
2. Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Never Say Never Again)
3. Ernst Stavro Blofeld (From Russia With Love and Thunderball)
4. Ernst Stavro Blofeld (On Her Majesty's Secret Service)
5. Maximilian Largo (Never Say Never Again)
6. Francisco Scaramanga (The Man with the Golden Gun)
7. Dr. Kananga (Live and Let Die)
8. Doctor No (Dr. No)
9. General Gogol (For Your Eyes Only)
10. Karl Stromberg (The Spy Who Loved Me)

Top Ten Henchmen

1. Baron Samedi (Live and Let Die)
2. Fiona Volpe (Thunderball)
3. Grant (From Russia with Love)
4. Nick Nack (The Man with the Golden Gun)
5. Gobinda (Octopussy)
6. May Day (A View to a Kill)
7. Jaws (The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker)
8. Naomi (The Spy Who Loved Me)
9. Oddjob (Goldfinger)
10. Necros (The Living Daylights)

1 comment:

NoelCT said...

I've always liked the idea of Bean as an anti-Bond, but we never really got that in this film as, aside from the opening, we never see him in the field mirroring the movements and actions of Bond. Instead he just showed up again at the end like a typical bad guy. I don't think they really figured out how to do that character properly until Skyfall.


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