YMMV / GoldenEye

The movie

  • Adaptation Displacement: The licensed video game is at least as famous as the movie, and in some circles, definitely more so.
  • Badass Decay: At the beginning of the film, it seems to have happened with Bond. The mission at the dam doesn't go so well, he's belittled for his womanizing, the Russians no longer take him seriously, the new M looks down on him, even Moneypenny has grown tired of his flirting. Then he starts tearing through St Petersburg in a tank.
    • Also subverted in real life. Pre-production, many of the financial backers and studio executives were worried that Bond might not have much of a purpose in the post–Cold War world.
  • Complete Monster: Xenia Onatopp, a psychotically sadistic Russian assassin working for the Janus Syndicate, has the dubious honor of being the most depraved Femme Fatale Bond has ever come across. Initially seen as a charming, elegant woman, Xenia reveals her true nature when in bed with her target, she kills him by crushing him between her thighs to suffocate him, getting clear sexual ecstasy from the murder; she later tries to kill Bond the same way. She steals his security clearance and murders several innocent sailors before eluding Bond. Later, when Xenia arrives in a Russian facility, she massacres all the techs with machine gun fire, getting very visibly aroused by the killings. Even her partner for the mission looks a bit stunned at it. Xenia has one of the largest body counts for a Dragon in the franchise, and unlike the majority of her male counterparts, Xenia is in it for money and thrills. She has no issue helping to use the Goldeneye satellite to plunge England into the dark ages as long as she gets rich from it. The fact that this gives her the ability to express her sexualized love for killing is just another perk.
  • Contested Sequel: As was always going to be the case with a series as long-running as Bond; while largely well-received upon release and being a favourite of many fans – in part due to being their first Bond film due to the issues in development – there is a large crowd that considers the film overrated and unfairly popular, particularly in the wake of Craig's Bond; others consider it to pale in comparison when compared to Dalton's Bond.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome:
    • Tina Turner's title song.
    • Eric Serra's "The Experience of Love" over the Closing Credits deserves a mention. Retroactively appropriate, as Pierce Brosnan's 007 was portrayed as being the most romantic within the original continuity (and he's also more caring and protective towards the ladies than Craig's Bond), as he had fallen in love with two women (Paris Carver and Elektra King), and sincerely likes three others (Natalya Simonova, Wai Lin, Christmas Jones and even Jinxnote ).
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: It's actually difficult to find a character in this film who isn't well-liked by the fanbase, largely because this film (and the accompanying video game) was the Holy Grail for those who grew up with Pierce Brosnan as Bond.
    • Trevelyan. On Bond villain countdowns, it's common to find him as the highest-placed character not to have appeared in an Ian Fleming novel, and Yaoi Fangirls also like him for some unknown reason.
    • Ourumov, who despite answering to Trevelyan is himself a great villain in his own right, and every bit as despicable as the man he's sworn loyalty to.
    • Natalya and Xenia are both found in many "Greatest Bond Girl" lists online, which is particularly impressive in Natalya's case because her character is probably one of the most down-to-earth and, besides a bikini scene, fanservice-less in the franchise. Fans have latched onto Famke Janssen's absolutely scene-stealing performance and delight in playing such an over-the-top villain who is still dangerous.
    • Zukovsky, who was brought back for The World Is Not Enough.
    • And who could forget Boris? I AM INVINCEEEBUL!
  • Evil is Sexy:
    • Holy crap, Xenia!
    • There are those who would happily trade places with Natalya when Janus is explaining how he and James used to share everything.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: Boris and his infamous Hawaiian shirt may be just be the trope codifier for this one.
  • Fetish Retardant: Xenia Onatopp's sex scenes. The problem has nothing to with her (she's drop dead gorgeous), it's just that the only "real" sex scene she has in the movie is with a balding, overweight guy. And it ends with him being forced to enjoy a good squeeze. Hell, the "sex" scene with the Admiral is nothing compared to how Bond reacts during his "sex scene" with Xenia in the sauna; check out his expression upon being trapped by Onatopp's Murderous Thighs: he's seriously stressed at the possibility of being raped. It should be noted that the latter scene is the only time "safe sex" is ever mentioned, in any context, in the series' entire history.
    Xenia Onatopp: You don't need the gun... Commander.
    James Bond: Well that depends on your definition of "safe sex."
  • First Installment Wins: Often regarded as Brosnan's best Bond film, but there are a few fans who prefer The World Is Not Enough over it.
  • Foe Yay Shipping: 006 and 007. They used to share EVERYTHING. It doesn't help that their reaction to each others' betrayal — real or perceived — comes off looking more like scorned lovers. Yaoi Fangirls took that and RAN. It also helps that the theme song is explicitly about a spurned lover looking for revenge.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • "Maybe you two would like to finish debriefing each other at Guantanamo, hmm?" Post-9/11, maybe not so much.
    • Perhaps also Hilarious in Hindsight, but in this film, M criticizes Bond as "A relic of the Cold War." In Skyfall, this same M is hauled before a government committee which criticizes her and MI-6 as a whole for the exact same thing.
    • Boris' hacking the US Department of Justice for kicks, and joking that if he is caught, "The Chief of Computers will call me a genius, move me to Moscow, and give me a million bucks hard currency", has become less funny after the allegations that Russian hackers tried to influence the US election in 2016.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: M tells Bond "If you think I don't have the balls to send a man out to die, your instincts are dead wrong. I've no compunction about sending you to your death. But I won't do it on a whim." Raoul Silva's backstory in Skyfall makes clear that it's not an empty threat. On top of that, Silva, like Alec Trevelyan, is a turncoat MI-6 agent with a desire for revenge against the agency as its Big Bad, and Silva, while sharing a few of Trevelyan's traits, isn't as devious as him. He is MORE devious and successful, though his plan doesn't involve destroying London entirely.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • It Was His Sled: Janus is Alec Trevelyan.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: For a very select group of female moviegoers who usually don't watch action flicks, they paid money to go see GoldenEye so that they can swoon over Remington Steele—err, Pierce Brosnan on the big screen. For some girls who were in their late childhood or adolescence in 1995 (and therefore were too young to have watched the show that first made Brosnan a sex symbol), they noticed the ultra-handsome actor in trailers and TV spots, so they were more than happy to accompany their father, older brother or boyfriend to the cinema to catch their very first James Bond film.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Alec Trevelyan
  • Memetic Mutation: Brosnan's 'painface', initially shown in this film.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Xenia and Ourumov definitely cross it when they slaughter the entire staff at Severnaya without a hint of remorse... with Xenia clearly deriving sexual pleasure as she carries out the massacre.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: Thanks in large part to its multiplayer function, GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64 is regarded as one of the best games of all time.
  • One-Scene Wonder: As in many Bond flicks, the MI-6 officials only appear once in the beginning for mission briefing. However, Judi Dench steals the show in her debut as M, giving Bond a tongue-lashing that her predecessors could have only dreamed of (and contributing, no doubt, to M's increased prominence in subsequent films).
  • Rewatch Bonus: In the opening sequence, Bond gets suspicious when he notices that he and Alec have had zero difficulty breaching what should be a very secure area—"It's too easy". Alec completely dismisses his concern—"Half of everything is luck, James." It seems highly irresponsible of a trained agent to react this way—until later in the film when Alec is revealed to be a traitor. He wasn't concerned because it's precisely the setup he wanted.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Although it is still regarded as a phenomenal movie, modern viewers might raise an eyebrow at the emphasis of Bond being modern. Even though the franchise has been wrangling with that issue, the fact is that it has been a cinematic mainstay for the past twenty years. However, in 1995, the issue was more valid, as The Great Politics Mess-Up was more recent, and Bond had been on a six-year hiatus and changed actors.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • The two scenes of a cutting laser in the film fail under even casual scrutiny due to the actors: the piton gun laser is an actual laser beam being filmed, which shakes and wiggles off the actual cutting metal regularly and reveals that it's nothing but a light, while the special effects of Bond's watch laser bend as the actor moves his hand out of line with the sparks.
    • A model jetfighter crashes rather awkwardly into a model radar dish.
    • There are also several rather obvious instances of stunt doubles, particularly during the sauna scene. Even when not pointed out thanks to the commentary, the recent remasters of the film have made it obvious that it is not Famke Janssen kicking Pierce Brosnan around or pushing him onto the bench during the distance shots.
    • The very first shot of Pierce Brosnan as James Bond isn't him, it's pretty obviously a stuntman jumping off the dam.
    • The tank upsets a truck hauling obviously-empty Perrier cans.
  • Tough Act to Follow: It's by far the most well-received of Pierce Brosnan's Bond films, and is generally rated as one of the best in the franchise. Then again, this was the film that revived the series after Development Hell.
  • Values Resonance: Viewers might raise an eyebrow at the idea of Bond being a relic of the past, but in age of warrantless wiretapping and Internet surveillance, the world of espionage in general has become a place where computers and the data-crunchers that sift through the data they gather are the movers and shakers of the profession, not glorified detectives in trench coats or suave ladies men sipping martinis. This film and later, Skyfall and Spectre, all wrangle with the question and essentially come to the same conclusion: there's a place for Bond, even now. Technology is limited and made fallible by the people that control it, the world is still just as dangerous as it was before, but in a different way, and there will always be a time when men like Bond are very much needed. Taken to its logical conclusion in Spectre, when a motion is passed that wipes out the Double-O section entirely (albeit briefly).
  • Win Back the Crowd: After the low-grossing (in America, at least) Licence to Kill and six years of no films, Bond fans and the general public were very happy to see GoldenEye. The movie was also well-liked by critics.