12th November 2023
Novelisation of movies was a big thing in the 90s and 00s which seems to have since stopped on the whole. And this is probably one of the first that I read back then. GoldenEye makes for a really good, enjoyable, and memorable movie, so it’s a shame the book doesn’t live up to it.
The book contains a reasonably faithful representation of the plot of the film. But translating between media doesn’t really work in this case.
Gardner is clearly working from a script, and so doesn’t have the dialogue down as well as the finish film. The characters are much more verbose, and several of the punchlines are missing that get the best laughs.
He’s added a lot that’s not in the film (or I suppose kept bits that got cut). There are filler scenes that help to bridge gaps that the film doesn’t bother to explain, for example. And these feel awkward and contrived - there’s probably a good reason the film just skips them and leaves them to the viewer’s imagination, or we all collectively just agree to ignore.
One of these additions in particular stood out for being overly gratuitous. Gardner adds a lot more explicit sex than the film contains. He’s also added a scene of creepy sexism that’s incredibly inappropriate and frankly should have been in 1995 and I struggle to see how it was acceptable then.
The narrative is clunky, and doesn’t feel right as a novel at all. The only reason that the book works is that it reminds you of how good a film it was, and makes me want to watch it to refresh my mind of what really happened, instead of this mess.