Famke Janssen, who played the bizarre and deadly Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye, turns 42 today. (And, appropos of nothing, today would have been my 19th!! wedding anniversary, had I stayed married. But I didn’t.)
Archive for GoldenEye
Karyo, who had a small but impressive turn in GoldenEye as Defense Minister Mishkin, turns 54 today.
The role was originally written for John Rhys-Davies, to return as Pushkin, but Rhys-Davies wasn’t interested in what amounted to a cameo. Karyo took over and did a fine job.
At first, I was going to post the whole list, but then I thought, this might generate a lot of discussion, and a few at a time seems better.
I’m doing a top six because Casino Royale upset the top five I had settled on and gotten happy with, and I sort of agonized over that.
Anyway, here it is:
1. From Russia with Love
3. The Spy Who Loved Me
4. Casino Royale (2006)
5. The Living Daylights
6. Diamonds Are Forever
I am pleased with a list of excellent films that represents the full range of actors and eras and sensibilities of the James Bond franchise. Five of the six actors, and two very different faces of Sean Connery. Hardcore spying is dominant in all of these movies, except Diamonds Are Forever, but even that film has a powerful thread of true espionage and horror mixed in with the humor. (I will defend DAF unto the death. Possibly it needs its own thread; we’ll see.)
From my surveys of a few hundred hardcore Bond fans, asking for a top five, the top ten vote-getters are:
1. Casino Royale (2006)
2. From Russia With Love
3. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
4. The Living Daylights
6. For Your Eyes Only
8. Licence to Kill/Dr. No (tie)
10. The Spy Who Loved Me
From the IMDb’s survey of over 11,000 users, asking only for one favorite Bond film back in December of 2006, the top ten vote-getters were:
1. Casino Royale (2006)
4. From Russia With Love
5. Dr. No
6. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
7. The Spy Who Loved Me
8. Live and Let Die
9. You Only Live Twice
The composer of GoldenEye turns 48 today. Lousy film score, but happy birthday anyway.
Today is the Action Heroine Blogathon. There are lots of kickass action Bond girls, so I thought a lot about who to feature today. Even a relatively passive heroine like Domino Derval manages to kill the villain with some pretty decisive steel in her eyes.
Finally, I decided I just had to talk about GoldenEye, because it has two, count ’em two ass-kicking women.
Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco) spends about half the movie in a fairly dowdy skirt-and-cardigan. Despite the lack of Bondian glamour, I rather like the outfit, because it’s expressive of the character; it’s what Natalya actually would wear. From the beginning, she shows not only strength, but depth. She’s tough enough and smart enough to be the only survivor of the Severnaya massacre, but human enough to weep for her dead friends.
Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen) is her total opposite. Insanely glamorous, she’s also just plain insane. I don’t think there’s much in the movies as disturbing as watching Xenia have an orgasm while killing a roomful of people. Over-the-top is a fine line, and Janssen treads it admirably. She’s a FREAK with a capital FREAK, but she’s also a real character, stopping just this side of Fatima Blush territory.
In terms of action, yes, Natalya knows “how to use one of these” (guns) and Bond looks suitably pleased. She pushes him, hard, and she yells at him. Maybe somebody out there wants to call her a bitch, but y’know? Life in danger, things about to explode, not time to be polite. It’s more evidence that she’s human; fear, anger, and frustration are as present as action and adventure.
Back to back, villainess and heroine, ass-kicking and kicking-ass, GoldenEye is the must-see for the fan of the action female.
Friday’s USA Today had an interesting interview with Casino Royale director Martin Campbell.
Two interesting points. First, Campbell confirms that a future, more robust DVD release is planned, and acknowledges that Sony is milking the fans. Which, nice.
Yes, we are doing a commentary. I think (the studio) tends to milk these things (with Bond films). When I did GoldenEye, I did it with the producer (Michael G. Wilson). We’ll probably do it with (the producers). There may be some deleted scenes.
Next, will Campbell come back for Bond 22? He doesn’t say no.
After GoldenEye, I was asked to do subsequent Bonds, but I declined because it felt as if I’d be repeating myself. But this one is based on a Bond that’s more interesting. To be honest, I would just say I’d never say never.