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Headscratchers: GoldenEye

The movie

  • You sit on it, but don't take it with you - why would a Russian security program have a 5 digit password? Why would that 5 digit password be a word? Why would the 5 digit password give you a hint? Why would the hint be a question in the enemy's language? I know a few of these questions can be chalked up to Boris' arrogance, but the utter simplicity of Boris' riddle just blows my mind. "Chair" was my second guess after "penis".
    • Because it's not a Russian security program—it's Boris's security program. It's all about Boris's arrogance. He's a great programmer, but he's also kind of an idiot.
    • I thought there was a bit of 'cleverness' on Boris' part involved, that he had Natalya fooled into thinking it had to be a body part, James guesses it immediately because he didn't know about Boris and Natalya's prior history.
  • Why go the bother of hiding your satellite dish so well that James Bond can't find it, only to then draw his attention to it by firing at him?
    • They uncovered the satellite dish as part of the scheduled plan for Goldeneye, regardless of whether Bond was there or not, and the attack on them afterwards was probably a cooincidental random patrol just finding them near the dish. The rocket attack was both so they could adhere to their schedule and because, since they knew that Bond had traced them to Cuba, they weren't taking any chances, regardless of who was in that plane.

  • Why, knowing full well of Bond's womanizing reputation, would the new M have sent a WOMAN to evaluate him, and such an easily flustered, swooning one at that?
    • For all we know, she DID do her job: to find out exactly how 007 behaves in such situations. And while she was entirely willing to play along for a while (why not?), she later went back and told M exactly what happened. It's worth noting that M's infamous "The Reason You Suck" Speech happens after this, though she doubtless knew as much beforehand.
      • M tells Bond his "boyish charms....obviously appealed to that young woman I sent out to evaluate you", so the girl obviously gave him full marks. M would probably say she underestimated him.
      • Given M's speech to 007 whos to say she didn't fulfill her role? M certainly didn't like the report and may have been evaluating the evaluator and sent somebody better later on.
      • Considering that in the next film she explicitly orders Bond to seduce a married woman for information, she seemed to get useful information out of the assessment.

  • The opening sequence makes no sense whatsoever - if the intention is simply to have 006 defect, why slaughter so many Russian soldiers to do so? Why couldn't he just shoot Bond when he had a gun pointed at him when the latter first entered the facility?
    • Trevelyan was already the Big Bad before the intro. His basic motive was that his parents, Lienz Cossacks, were indirectly 'murdered' by the USSR (his father committed suicide after killing his mother), and he believed the British let this happen. Trevelyan was consumed with hate for the United Kingdom. He was pretty much forced into MI6 by the British government despite Russian blood, as they didn't think he'd remember. He did. Trevelyan had to play along with MI6 despite hating it. If he had killed Bond and openly defected, it would have counted as high treason. The British Government could have captured him and imprisoned him for life. He couldn't take that risk, so, as the note below states, he wanted to identify as Killed In Action to prevent suspicion. Of course, he was a giant Chekhov's Gun, so it was kind of inevitable he was the villain.
    • 006 wanted to be confirmed as KIA. Who suspects a dead man?
    • Truth in Television: the USSR often displayed a very, VERY frightening willingness to expend dozens if not hundreds of its servicemen in order to cover up ONE defection. For the KGB and GRU, a few dozen dead soldiers and scientists in a burned out husk of a weapons plant that was manufacturing a weapon they could literally not use unless all the gloves came off would have been well worth it to obtain one defector of high standing in MI6 or another major Western intelligence organization with fresh intelligence and knowledge about how the organization worked.

  • A related matter: Why did 006 hate Bond so personally? Yeah, Bond represented the English government that he hates, but 006 keeps mentioning the 3 minutes that Bond switches the bomb to. However, Bond only changes the timers to 3 minutes *after* 006 is captured *and* after 006 goads him to. And then Ourimov "executes" him, giving Bond no reason to assume that 006 is still alive and needing rescue.
    • It is pretty easy to establish that Trevelyan isn't running on all gears by the time of Goldeneye, and so probably isn't thinking that rationally. However, it probably boils down to a combination of Bond's undying loyalty.
    • Moral Myopia. Trevalyn outright tells Bond that he was "supposed to die" for him, and he resents that Bond put the mission above their friendship, even if he predicted it.
    • If we consider the Trevelyan/Bond duality, then it makes so much sense. Bond is the antithesis of Trevelyan: unswervingly loyal, noble, proud in his service. Trevelyan is the complete reverse, a man with no morals whatsoever, completely obsessed with revenge. The money is just a sweetener for him. In effect, Bond is everything Trevelyan despises about Britain, right down to the hypocrisy: Bond halving the countdown time, always taking time out to screw women, and always failing to protect them. He's a symbol of Britain to him, which is why he goes out of his way to kill him.
    • Trevelyan doesn't tell Bond to shorten the timers, though. He just tells Bond to finish the job. In all likeliness he probably expected Bond to escape, but to give him time to escape the facility too.
    • Trevelyan has nursed a grudge over the death of his parents that has seen him enact a complex long game to revert the entire United Kingdom "back to the stone age" in response. Holding disproportionate and kind of irrational grudges is kind of his thing, so given that for whatever reason James Bond is directly responsible for half of Trevelyan's face being burnt off, is it any wonder that Trevelyan might be a bit pissed and hold a disproportionate and kind of irrational grudge?

  • Trevelyan's plan is to steal a ludicrous sum of money electronically then use the EMP pulse from the Goldeneye satelite to erase his tracks. One: if you cripple the British economy that way then the pound would drop in value significantly, causing your newly-acquired money to become useless. Two: if you use the EMP pulse to erase the records, then you'll be the only person who suddenly has a vast amount of British pounds following the crash, making it even easier to track you down. Three: it's 1995; most people still have banking books and physical records, and you still don't have the physical cash to spend. Four: never heard of back-up copies?
    • Even if he couldn't actually get rich off the scheme, he could skill raise all manner of hell in London with a massive EMP. It's possible that the promise of money was just to gain support.
      • That's a given. His primary goal is revenge against England for turning against his parents. The promise of a huge lumpsum of money was, at best, his way of gaining followers like Ouromov, Boris, and Xenia.
    • Trevelyn is a major arms dealer and professional criminal mastermind; he's probably got hiding places for the money so he can't be tracked. And as he says, he isn't only stealing money- he is stealing records of everything, which means he can potentially buy or steal huge swathes of land or property in the aftermath. And though the value of the pound might drop, he would still be friggin' rich if he stole enough.

  • Isn't Sean Bean a tad too young to have had his parents killed by Stalin after the war?
    • They explicitly were NOT killed by Stalin. His parents escaped only for his father to snap and kill both himself and his wife in a case of murder-suicide because he could not live with it. And a few fanfics have proposed the idea that while it is implied that he was orphaned shortly after Lienz, he was actually orphaned quite a bit later (possibly even decades after the war) as his father fought a loosing battle with his latent guilt until he finally lost it.
    • The character of Alec Trevalyen was originally written as an mentor to Bond, with Alan Rickman in mind.

  • Why use a 250m antenna? They're not astronomers, they don't need the enormous gain from a dish of that size. A ordinary, $100 satellite dish, plus a bit of tracking hardware, wouldn't look out of place bolted to a Moscow tenement, and would be completely adequate for communicating with any reasonable satellite.
    • You can't be a Bond villain without an elaborate hidden base. It's in the contract.
    • It's not "any reasonable satellite". Its a Cold War-era Kill Sat that isn't even supposed to exist. Petya and Mishka might have particular security measures so that you do need a giant antenna to make contact with it, which might even explain why the West had never noticed either of them before. Severnaya was almost as over-the-top, and that was an astronomy dish.

  • The whole point of Boris's Spike program is that it hacks into a target computer and stops them from hanging up. OK - this is 1995, instead of scratching your head or frantically extracting control boards... what's stopping you from just pulling the phone line from it's socket?
    • It's Hollywood. Remember, to them, it's all magical after all...
    • It could be that its still linked up even after pulling the plug. That's actually how some police traces work in Real Life - once they've got you, you can't sever until they let you.
      • I don't care how much magical technology you've got; if you remove the internet connection there's no way for it to keep broadcasting. The most it could do is release a virus onto the computer that will activate the trace again if you plug it back in.
    • Just because the rest of us were stuck using CompuServ back then doesn't mean the Department of Justice and a Bond supervillain are. It seems likely that he couldn't disconnect the hardline in time (he was yanking out electronics IIRC)
      • Yeah, he was ripping control boards out of the server. God only knows the amount of damage that caused. I guess seeing him pull a phone cord out of the jack is less dramatic?

  • Bond thought Alec was dead when he set the timers for three minutes. What the heck is Alec's beef? And why doesn't Bond point this out to him?!
    • As mentioned, Moral Myopia. He's upset about the scars, and he's selfish enough to hold it against Bond. He also dislikes how Bond's first thought when Alec was shot was to go to the timers (ie. the mission). And, of course, his plan involved Bond dying for him, for his evil scheme. He never intended to let Bond leave that building alive. He's an asshole plotting mass murder; Lack of Empathy is kind of a given.
    • He's planning to essentially destroy the entire United Kingdom due to his grudge over the death of his parents. Holding disproportionate and kind of irrational grudges is kind of his thing.

  • "You sit on it, but you don't take it with you." Why is Natalya convinced it's your butt? Is hers detachable?
    • Previous scenes established Boris as a pervert, she was just too fixated on that. Assuming that this password would follow his typical pattern (like "knockers"), she was so busy looking for the double entendre associated with "you sit on it" that she missed the meaning of the second part of the hint.
    • Something you sit on, that you don't take with you when thought of through a pervy mindset seems to be leading to a penis joke, but censors probably didn't want tallywacker, wingwang, or whatever cute name Boris would have thought up so they had her to go with a safer entendre.

  • How is a chair not something you can take with you?
    • Do you carry a chair around you all day, or do you use the chair already in the room when you get there? Yes, chairs can move, but they're not something you carry around with you.
    • Deck chairs?
      • An exception that proves the rule — 99.9% of the chairs most people sit on on a daily basis will be chairs that are already in that location waiting for them to sit on. Unless you're some kind of obsessive compulsive who can only sit on a special chair that he or she carries around with him absolutely everywhere, most people will not carry deck chairs around with them except on special occasions.

  • Not that supervillain lairs haven't been built underwater before, but how did Trevelyan build that satellite dish in Cuba where Jack Wade explicitly points out that you can't light a cigar without the CIA knowing about it?
    • Because Jack Wade was using hyperbole and was, quite simply, wrong.
    • Also, who says he built it? Could have been the USSR.

  • In the beginning Bond bungee jumps to the bottom of the dam's entrance, but he exits from some building at the top of a mountain. How did he get there?
    • I think thats meant to be either the other side of the dam, and / or the other side of the mountain. Its to do with the geography of the building, but its the same building.
    • The complex wasn't inside the dam, that was just the weakpoint in security. I think he's probably climbing through vents and whatnot for a long while before emerging in the bathroom.

  • How is Bond, driving a DB 5, able to keep up with Xenya, driving a Ferrari 355? On the roads upon which they were driving the Aston Martin would likely have been outpaced by a Mazda MX 5, let alone a supercar capable of going from 0-60mph in 4 seconds.
    • Heavily-modified cars are a staple of the series, to the point where RL auto manufacturers compete to have their cars featured in the films.

  • Speaking of cars: why did MI6 take the trouble to fly Bond's BMW to the USA?
    • Doylist answer: BMW, despite delivering the car too late to perform any stunts, had still paid to have their car driven in the movie and that was the only place they could fit it in so late. Watsonian answer: MI6 needed to use up some excess budget before the end of the financial month and decided that flying it out on a cargo plane ought to fit the bill.
    • MI6 always takes the trouble to fly out Bond's cars. In most cases, it turns out to be fully justified; this is one of the rare cases he doesn't need his weaponized death mobile.

  • Bond is chasing the bad guys with a tank. When he's about to reach them, they jump on a train, which immediately departs. The train is traveling at a high speed, so you'd think the bad guys managed to escape, but then they see that the tank is waiting for them in a tunnel ahead. How the heck did Bond manage to drive the tank there and place it in a tunnel well before the train got there? Did he use a teleporter or something?
    • Trains drive on tracks. And who is to say that those tracks go in a straight line? Maybe they loop around a bit, whereas the tank is able to take a shortcut, et voilá.
      • If Bond did indeed take a shortcut, it would've been nice for the movie to show it, instead of making it look like he got there by magic.
      • I can see that criticism, but I think the filmmakers didn't want to show a tank race a train right after a tank chase through a city. Also, Bond just standing there with his tank is way cooler. Think Dirty Harry atop the bridge when Scorpio kidnapped the school bus. The most unrealistic aspect is, I think, that Bond seems to have the St. Petersburg railroad network memorized. But then, what doesn't this man have memorized?
      • Also, in the scene where he watches them boarding the train, he drives the tank (tremendously noisy in Real Life) on a steel bridge, which would make the Earth tremble with noise. Nobody turns to look back.

  • Why didn't Orunov just kill Bond first (since he was the more dangerous guy) rather than kill the defense minister and hand Bond a loaded gun
    • At that point he's clearly flustered, panicking a bit about being found out, and not really thinking clearly. The plan to frame Bond was an afterthought after he realised that he'd kind of dug himself in a hole. Besides which, it's a James Bond movie. The bad guy's never just gonna shoot Bond in the head and have done with it, deal with it and move on.
      • In-universe, he needs Bond to be seen by a whole bunch of witness and causing damage/random death in order to have his own story be accepted and not be seen as orchestrating a coup (which is what he is doing. He knows Bond is going to have to run, and given they are in the heart of Russian's military HQ the chance of him escaping ought to have been nil.
      • So In-universe, Bond needed to shoot a couple casualties and get kind of far but not too far and kill a few Russians but not a lot of Russians? Not a very good plan
      • In-universe, he was pretty much winging it by that point so while it wasn't a very good plan, it wasn't completely terrible either. Out of universe, well if he was capable of showing truly good judgement he wouldn't a Bond Villain would he?

  • So in the opening, Bond bungee-jumps off the side of a dam and shoots a grapple line at the ground just before getting yanked back up. This means the bungee cord must have been at or near its maximum level of extension. How could James have possibly held onto that grapple gun with the bungee cord pulling him in the other direction? Shouldn't it have been ripped out of his hands?

  • Did Onatopp's death make sense?
    • If it didn't break her back or her ribs, then it simply deprived her of air; Realistically she should've been pulled through the 'V' of the tree branches and possibly been fine, but then that wouldn't have given us the ironic death or Bond's punny quip.

  • Why the heck did Bond drop his weapon while making out with Xenia in the sauna?
    • One could argue that while he knows she was involved in the death of the Admiral and the theft of the helicopter, he doesn't know how dangerous she actually is - and seeing his expression once she gets on top of him at last, it's quite likely he was unaware of her Murderous Thighs - plus it's along the same lines as Bond in Thunderball knowing that Fiona Volpe is a SPECTRE operative but still having sex with her; Also, in some respects, Bond is seduced by these women and believes he can handle them, only to be proven wrong. Both Volpe and Onatopp essentially use him for sex, only in the latter instance, Xenia doesn't even need to make love to him.. So, yeah. Basically, she seduces him. Watch the scene and after a point, Bond keeps going for the gun, but Xenia actively stops him, kicking him around until she pins him on the bench.
    • In the end, he is a man, can't help it.

Licence to KillHeadscratchers/James BondTomorrow Never Dies

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