Sunday, January 31, 2010

Goldfinger (1964)

As a James Bond fan, I know I'm going to peeve a lot of people off by saying this, but: "Goldfinger" is not the be all and end all of Bond films. Sorry folks, but I don't think its the glorious film that everyone else seems to think of it. Is it good? Damn right. Is it the best Bond film? No. Here's why.

STORYLINE: James Bond is called in to investigate some unusual dealings with Mr. Auric Goldfinger and is asked to find out how he is smuggling gold between countries without letting the authorities know. Seems like a routine job for your awesome British spy, but Bond discovers a greater plan on hand when he finds that Goldfinger is amassing money and power to take on Fort Knox in one of the biggest capers the world has known.

PLOT 5/5: With the first two Bond films focusing on being more serious and realistic, this is the first one to truly grasp the ridiculousness of being an Action film. The budget is bigger so they went all out on everything with "Goldfinger". Of course, I give this movie props for essentially creating the blueprint for all Bond movies to come and be compared to, but really some of it is completely outlandish - but at the same time completely charismatic and enjoyable. Here we have the first Bond car complete with awesome chase and we even have our first 'official' opening credits Bond song done of the bodies of gold-painted women. The story is a little out there, a guy that as accumulated this much power seems a bit outrageous when it comes to his setup (really, you converted an entire room to explain your plan to knock off Knox when you just planned to kill them anyway?) but we'll get to that in a second. The story is actually quite interesting and will keep you glued to the screen. The final flight with Goldfinger does seem a little short and ends oddly I think though.

BOND 4.5/5: Connery as Bond is tough to get over. He just has this weird ability to be a complete dick and extremely lovable all at the same time. This one shows us a Bond that really never seems too worried (sans his bomb disarmament) and that is a bit away from the realism part. He does it well though and it's hard not to smile when he cracks a one-liner. Shocking.

VILLAIN 4/5: Here's one for the books. I'm not a huge fan of Goldfinger as our villain. Both he and his henchmen Oddjob seem a bit too cartoony for my tastes. Goldfinger is so obsessed with gold that at times it brings out a 'what the fuck' instead of intensity like it should. He even has a golden gun at the end that nobody seems to notice. He has all this power and wealth and yet he's an idiot and decides to actually go to Fort Knox himself to help out....WHAT?! No wonder SPECTRE never picked him up. The mysterious Dr. No would be displeased with his stupidity. Goldfinger does have his moments that work like any time he is with Bond on screen. The talk at the laser in particular is just awesome. I also give Goldfinger an extra point for having picked up Oddjob. Nothing says, "I want to make myself feel better as a person for being evil" than hiring a small mute Korean man built like a tank with a magic hat and a deadly throwing arm as your manservant. If you can keep someone like that in check, then you are awesome.

BOND GIRL 3/5: Again I think this is where this one suffers the most. Initially you think Jill Masterson is going to be...nope. Dead. Then maybe it's her sister Tilly...nope - death by Korean tank. Finally, towards the last third of the film, we get Pussy Galore (which ironically IS her name in the book too) who is this tough as nails pilot helping Goldfinger to get rich quick. At first, she definitely steals her scenes with a nice film presence and that tough shit attitude but then...this is a huge but...she randomly just changes her mind and then disappears from the film. What?! She has this moment with James who, to quote the film, "appealed to her maternal instincts" and, so much for that tough ass act! The character ceased to seem at all real there and just turned into a plot point for me. Sorry, you started off great and then you jumped plane...literally.

"Goldfinger" as a film is still a delight for me to watch with some charismatic performances on all sides. Even Oddjob's grunts intrigue me. The over the top approach can be a little much at times (I still wonder the statistical chance that Bond would meet Jill's sister in Switzerland) but it never really hurts it all that much. This one did succeed in creating a comparison point for the rest of Bond films (for eternity essentially) and I give it that. It's good, but not as great as some would like to think. 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

1 comment:


    Yes, it is so the be all and end all... because I say so, and no one agrees with you, so you miss out on a roll in the hay with Poosie Galore. Remember, that's "Poooosie".

    No, honestly, by my standards, it's all that.

    And my favorite Bond villain, played by Gert Frobe (the evil Doctor Mabuse's Inspector adversary in the 60's series).