[Back in 2018, there was a social media challenge on Facebook in which a person posted a picture a day for 10 days of 10 films that made an impact on them. However, I went a step beyond and posted an explanation as to why they made that impact. For the sake of posterity, they're being reposted here in their entirety (with some modification/update where warranted)]:
Day 9 of 10 movies that had an impact on me. 10 films that inspired you, 10 days, one image. I was nominated for this challenge by Andrew Baldwin. Inspired or not, thy will be done.
This choice would have been more appropriate for day 7, but that would have been too obvious. Suffice it to say, this one was difficult because it’s more the film series rather than any one film that impacted and inspired me, and it can be summed up in a single line:
“Bond. James Bond.”
What started as a mocking introduction in “Dr. No” has morphed into a declaration (Hell, Roger Moore’s delivery of the line practically demanded acknowledgement by genuflection). A character who started out as a stone-cold killer changed to become something different within the times he was represented. He’s been derided as much as he’s been celebrated: a representative of arrogant-yet-in-decline British imperialism at best, and “kinda rapey” (in Millennial speak) at worst. Yet for all that, 25 films later, we still follow his adventures no matter where they lead. The films were an exotic travelogue at a time when tourism was not so affordable. Some of the lushest scores by John Barry were inspired by this series (as well as some of the most dated. I’m looking at you, Georgio Moroder and Bill Conti) and the women; oh god, the women…
(Wipes drool off computer)
Connery is undisputed King; the standard by which all others are judged. Craig is the worthy title holder and longest serving actor in years if not in film. Moore was the charming tongue-firmly-in-cheek rogue with a twinkle in his eye. Dalton was damned good and closest to Fleming’s literary take, despite the naysayers (think about it. He was Craig before Craig); a great Bond in a world that wasn’t ready for it. Lazenby was…ok.
But this...this is MY Bond, and this was his best film. I had been waiting for “Goldeneye” since the television series “Remington Steele” premiered. Brosnan was a natural for the role. Because of that show, the public believed he would be the successor (the producers of RS must have felt the same, for how else can one explain the off-key parody of the “Bond” theme used in the series’ very first episode?).
He was to have been Bond for 1987’s “The Living Daylights”, but a last-minute “fuck you” stunt by NBC precluded that from ever happening. The public would not let go, though. Brosnan’s series of “Diet Coke” commercials kept the hope alive. EON Productions had to take legal intervention to stop Putnam Books from putting Brosnan’s silhouette on the covers of the John Gardner-penned continuation novels. For six years, the franchise was put on hold due to various lawsuits. In 1994, when the litigious smoke cleared, Brosnan's frustrating journey to the role finally ended here.
“Goldeneye” reinvented the mythos without destroying it (a female “M”, a Moneypenny who, while still love struck, wasn’t exactly pining either), putting everything that was great about Bond there for all to see. It had Brosnan’s only adversary who was 007’s equal (Sean Bean), a very crazed, effective assassin (Famke Janssen in a go-for-broke performance), a capable heroine who wasn’t afraid of one-upping “our hero” (Izabella Scorupco).
The irony is that this pop-culture build up to the crown yielded a triumphant climax in this one film…to the detriment of those that followed. Because of the lackluster reception to Dalton, the aforementioned years of litigation that kept Bond out of theaters, coupled with the changing zeitgeist, the producers “played it safe” with the character. Thus, the three films that followed were nowhere near the standards here. Unfortunately, it’s also undeservedly tarnished Brosnan’s take. One only needs to see films such as “The Fourth Protocol” and “The Tailor of Panama” to see what “Goldeneye” hinted at.
A sexist, misogynistic dinosaur and relic of the Cold War he may be but to this day, Bond endures. In my opinion, Brosnan made it his own, and this is his Bond at his finest.