1995-2002 The Rise And Fall Of Pierce Brosnan
Legal wrangling over, Broccoli got on with picking up the pieces of the shattered Bond franchise. After six years away, in a changed landscape of CGI-led blockbusters and darkly comic indies, what place was there for 007?
To answer the question, EON finally bagged Pierce Brosnan, who threw himself into the role he’d been prevented from essaying in the 80s. Pitching his performance as the mid-point between Moore’s light-hearted playboy and Connery’s steel, Brosnan offered the best of both worlds.
Audiences, it seemed, hadn’t tired of Bond, making Goldeneye the most successful 007 movie at the box-office to date. A fitting legacy for Broccoli, who died in 1996 having seen his life’s work revitalised and renewed.
Instantly, Bond was a player once more, and the production line swung back into place. Brosnan’s follow-ups served a familiar, knowing mix of straight-forward action and quip-heavy dialogue – but, by cleaving so close to old templates, those diminishing returns kicked in quicker.
By 2002’s Die Another Day, all too self-consciously trading on its status as both the 20th official movie and the 40th anniversary of Dr No’s premiere, the self-parody had become absolute.
Another break was implemented, the goal – a wholesale revamp, or reboot, of the Bond name, going back to basics with Casino Royale.
Lifelong Bond fan Quentin Tarantino offered his services as a potential director. Brosnan was eager; Broccoli’s heirs – daughter Barabara and son-in-law Michael G. Wilson – weren’t so keen. However, they did have their own bright idea...
Positively Shocking Quip: A bad guy is killed following into a printing press; Brosnan’s considered response is, “They’ll print anything these days.”
Boys With Toys: A grenade in a pen. Not massively exciting in Bond movie terms, but just what all writers with a looming deadline need to focus the mind.
Petrolhead: No British loyalty here, as Bond opts for a Beemer. However, with its nifty Ericsson remote control allowing a more flexible approach to driving, he’s almost forgiven.
Girls in Bondage: Michelle Yeoh as Wai Lin, Denise Richards as Dr Christmas Jones, Halle Berry as Jinx
Expecting You To Die: Sean Bean as Alec Trevelyan; Jonathan Pryce as Elliot Carver; Robert Carlyle as Renard
Action! 007 commandeers a tank in St Petersberg and goes careering through the streets in Goldeneye, as the Bond theme – hitherto muted – is blasted out of the speakers to confirm Brosnan is Bond.
Belting It Out: Unlikely collaborations in pop: Tina Turner singing the Bono/Edge-penned Goldeneye.
James Bland: Brosnan kite surfs on a tidal wave in Die Another Day. If the idea isn’t lame enough, the shonky CGI execution seals it.