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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26


Shane Hnetka
Published Thursday November 26, 07:24 pm

It’s the 20th anniversary of the 1995 James Bond film Goldeneye. What’s so special about Goldeneye, you ask? Well, nothing much — besides the fact it saved the James Bond franchise from oblivion. With Spectre breaking box-office records (despite being mediocre), it’s hard to believe that there was a time when the Bond films were almost done for good. But there was.

License Almost Revoked

When Goldeneye hit screens on Nov. 17, 1995, it had been more than six years since the last Bond movie. That was 1989’s License to Kill— not a bad movie but considered a bit of a flop compared to that year’s other big action films (Batman, Lethal Weapon 2).

Soon after License to Kill was released, the Soviet Union collapsed and the Berlin Wall fell. Many saw this as a sign that Bond movies were obsolete, which sort of made sense — Bond is a spy and the novels were set during the Cold War.

But the doomsayers forgot that Bond movies steered away from Cold War intrigue in favour of international mega-crime. Sure, there was the odd Russian villain — but for the most part, Bond baddies were evil masterminds with hidden bases, obsessed with world domination. Or at least, the profitable extortion of major world powers.

Operation: Goldeneye

20 years ago MGM and the Bond producers were desperately trying to kickstart the franchise and save MGM at the same time. They succeeded with Goldeneye, which  cast Pierce Brosnan as the new Bond in a movie that addressed the fall of the Cold War and reintroduced Bond as a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur”. The resulting movie proved that Bond still had a place in the action genre. It also introduced Dame Judi Dench as Bond’s boss, M (Dench would play the role for almost 20 years until they killed her off in Skyfall). And the villain wasn’t quite the standard megalomaniac Bond usually faced off against — it was a onetime 00 agent and friend to Bond, Alec Trevelyan  (Sean Bean). The personal connection worked a lot better than, say, (spoiler alert redux) tying long-time Bond villain Blofeld to Bond’s childhood like the most recent effort did.

Goldeneyeisn’t quite a great Bond movie — it has some flaws and the score is pretty annoying — but it saved the British spy and propelled the long-running franchise into the juggernaut it is today.

So happy anniversary, Mr. Bond. We don’t expect you to die anytime soon.


Shane Hnetka is a Regina film and comic book nerd. He also writes Dog Blog’s weekly “Sunday Matinee” column at

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