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Special Edition

With GOLDENEYE ($35), Pierce Brosnan was finally afforded the opportunity to step into the role of James Bond, after his commitment to the television series REMINGTON STEELE had forced him to decline the part, when it was first offered to him. GOLDENEYE is a solid Bond adventure, with the suave and sophisticated Brosnan proving himself to be the ideal choice to take on the mantle of 007. My only complaint about the film is that the script is a bit too action oriented, which doesn’t allow enough character development. By the way, GOLDENEYE not only brings a new James Bond to the silver screen, the film also introduces fans to an entirely new M (superbly played by Judi Dench) and a new Miss Moneypenny (Samantha Bond) to the series. Both actresses are so engaging in their new roles, I only wish that these delightful ladies could have had a few more moments of screen time. Additionally, Desmond Llewelyn is so enjoyable the role Q that I always hate to see him disappear right after he gives 007 all of the new gadgets required for latest assignment.

GOLDENEYE is a post cold war tale, in which James Bond must deal with stolen Russian satellite weapon, known as Goldeneye. Like a nuclear weapon, Goldeneye emits a powerful electronic pulse that is capable of knocking out every piece of modern technology for miles. Finding the arms dealer that hijacked the Goldeneye satellite leads James Bond to a completely unexpected adversary. As villain Alec Trevelyan, Sean Bean proves to far more interesting and charismatic than the typical megalomaniac, one usually finds in a Bond adventure. Famke Janssen is outstanding as femme fatale Xenia Onatopp; Janssen's beauty and sexually charged performance make her a truly unforgettable henchwoman. As Bond Girl Natalya Simonova, Izabella Scorupco gives a solid performance in a role that doesn't require her to be the typical damsel in distress. The cast of GOLDENEYE also features Joe Don Baker, Robbie Coltrane, Tchéky Karyo, Gottfried John, Alan Cumming and a hilarious little cameo from Minnie Driver.

MGM Home Entertainment has made GOLDENEYE available on DVD as a first rate Special Edition. GOLDENEYE utilizes the same great looking transfer that MGM previously issued on DVD a couple of years back. A new transfer might have eked a bit more detail out of the film elements, but under the limitations of NTSC, GOLDENEYE won't look significantly better until it is issued in high definition. As it stands, the image is sharp and well detailed, without any distracting instances of film grain. Additionally, the 16:9 enhanced presentation of GOLDENEYE is framed in its proper 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio. Color reproduction is very strong and very appealing. There are highly saturated hues that are recreated without evidence of chroma noise or distortion, plus the flesh tones appear quite natural. Blacks are faithfully rendered and the contrast is incredibly smooth. Digital compression artifacts rarely made the presence known.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has a killer mix that action movie fans are certain to enjoy. From the opening moments, all the way through to the film's climax, there is an almost constant barrage of sounds. The mix takes full advantage of the Dolby Digital format, with all of the sound channels being highly active, including the well deployed split surrounds. While there are plenty of sounds in the mix, the soundstage never sounds cluttered. Dialogue is cleanly reproduced and never buried under the other sound elements in the mix. Bass is very deep and very authoritative, adding the requisite punch to all the low rumbling sound effects. Eric Serra's excellent score is well integrated into the mix, plus the GOLDENEYE theme song sung by Tina Turner is especially well reproduced in 5.1. A French language soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English and French subtitles.

The well-designed interactive menus utilize animation, music, sound and full motion video. Thanks to their nifty secret agent interface, the menus prove to be a whole lot of fun. . Through the menu system, one can access the standard scene selection and set up features, plus the DVD's wealth of extras. Topping the list is an audio commentary with director Martin Campbell and producer Michael G. Wilson. Their talk is fairly entertaining and filled with a lot of behind-the-scene information and anecdotes, making it a worthy listen for any Bond fan. There are two featurettes on the disc; running about 20 minutes total. One is a typical 5 minute promotional short, featuring interviews with the cast and crew, while the other, The Goldeneye Video Journal, runs about 15 minutes and is far more in depth, taking the viewer onto the set of GOLDENEYE. Also included is The World of 007 documentary hosted by Elizabeth Hurley, which runs approximately 45 minutes and is a retrospective of the James Bond film series. Filling out the supplements is a music video with Tina Turner for the song GOLDENEYE written by Bono and The Edge, plus 2 theatrical trailers and 12 television spots.

GOLDENEYE is a highly enjoyable Bond outing that fans are sure to want to add to their collections. MGM Home Entertainment has delivered a great looking and great sounding Special Edition that makes the film highly collectable on DVD. Recommended.




DVD reviews are Copyright © 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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