A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Airing at 9pm tonight on Sky Documentaries, GoldenEra is a feature-length documentary film about the making of James Bond: GoldenEye 007, the iconic N64 game that celebrated its 25th anniversary earlier this year.


Writing and directing the GoldenEra documentary is Drew Roller, an Australian filmmaker and (obviously) huge GoldenEye fan. His main previous credit is Acoustic Uprising, a guitar-based doc from 2017.

In GoldenEra, we'd argue that Roller has really outdone himself, pulling together an admirable amount of interviews, including insights from several key developers and analysis from familiar faces of the gaming world (including the likes of James Batchelor, editor in chief of the trusted GamesIndustry.biz website).

Although it is easy to argue that there is no new ground to be found in the making-of story of such a beloved game (the fact that the incredible multiplayer mode was practically made in secret is the stuff of industry legend at this stage), Roller still manages to find new ways of looking back on the game we all love.

The uninitiated might also have predicted that watching people sit around and talk about a video game being made wouldn't be very interesting, but they would be wrong as well. All the talking heads clearly know their stuff, and even the most hardened fan will find something to enjoy here.

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Roller also made a genius decision to offer some visual variety: he has used the character models from the game, many of whom were based on the developers themselves, to digitally recreate several behind-the-scenes situations. The result is a fun comedic flourish that stops your eyes from getting bored.

GoldenEra never really escapes the feeling of being a fan film, because, well, it is a fan film. With an overabundance of graphics and some slightly choppy editing, at times you might feel like you're watching a DVD extra from years gone by, but we'd argue that this only adds to the nostalgia factor at play here, which was always a key draw.

There's only really a couple of downsides here. Some fans might be disappointed by some of the developers and executives that chose not to appear, for example, but there's not much we can do about that, and Roller does a fine job of weaving the whole story together using the key players that he did secure time with.

The only other downside is actually a massive positive for GoldenEye fans: since this documentary was made, it has been confirmed that GoldenEye 007 Remastered is coming to modern Xbox consoles and Nintendo Switch, and that does make the ending of GoldenEra somewhat out of date (unless they've re-edited the film since our press copy was sent over).

Speaking of massive positives for GoldenEye fans, it's worth mentioning in closing that there's something actually quite wonderful about this film. As well as telling the story of how GoldenEye was made and the influence it had on the industry, it also delves into the fandom that followed.

This game's cult following has grown over the years, leading to a huge modding scene and some wacky fan films, as well as forging friendships and even leading to marriages. That's the power of GoldenEye, folks, and this is the film to watch if you want to feel part of it.

GoldenEra airs on Sky Documentaries at 9pm on Saturday 24th September. It is also available to buy on Amazon Prime Video and other VOD services.

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