For decades, it was a near certainty that a new Bond film would be released every two years. This trend ended after the release of Licence to Kill (1989). It wasn’t supposed to be that way originally. Timothy Dalton had signed a three-film contract and GoldenEye would have fulfilled his obligation.
Work on GoldenEye actually began in 1990, but there was a big problem: the film entered what is politely termed “developmental hell” when conflicts arose between MGM (owner of United Artists, the studio that released the Bond films) and Danjaq studio (which owned the right to make the Bond films). Litigation dragged on for years, until Dalton’s contract expired in 1992. Despite that, Dalton was rumored to be in the next film up until 1994, when he officially stated that he was “out” as James Bond. As a replacement, the studio cast Pierce Brosnan (and according to one story, he’d actually been considered as the successor to Roger Moore but his obligations to the Remington Steele television show prevented it from happening at the time).
Even with a new actor, it is plain to see that GoldenEye was written for Dalton’s Bond, especially in the opening sequence. The feel is still somewhat “gritty” (a trademark of Dalton’s Bond) and Brosnan’s interpretation wouldn’t really gain its suaveness until Tomorrow Never Dies (1997).
I’ll be the first to admit that the music in the next couple of Bond films is relatively weak. This was the seventeenth film in the series and the trend of using the same plot points over and over again were beginning to show (though it wouldn’t become painful until Die Another Day (2002)).
Nevertheless, the title song certainly had a lot of star power behind it. It was performed by Tina Turner and written by Bono and The Edge (of U2 fame, how cool is that?) Beyond the song however, there’s not a lot to talk about. Many criticize GoldenEye’s score because there is a relative lack of the iconic “James Bond theme.” It was certainly a far cry from the iconic themes of the Connery films (Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice come to mind).
Two notes of trivia: GoldenEye is notable for introducing Judi Dench as M and also featuring Sean Bean as the villain (in one of many films where Sean Bean dies a rather horrible death).
Wish I had more to say about this film, but don’t worry, things are slightly better in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), so until then!
Check out the rest of the “Introducing James Bond” series here
Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂
*poster and images are the property of Eon Productions