Saturday, December 1, 2012

Goldfinger (1964) review

Goldfinger is often known as the gold standard of the Bond franchise. While it may be surpassed by Skyfall, it certainly is a fantastic action film that is smart, witty, and packed with virtually non-stop action. This is one of the best of the series and it is helped by iconic set pieces and of course, the definitive Bond, Sean Connery. It's a blast.

Goldfinger is the 3rd film adventure of super-spy James Bond (Sean Connery). This time, he is in Miami, spying on Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe), a man that MI6 chief M is worried about. He falls into bed with Goldfinger's assistant Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton) but she ends up dead, covered in gold paint. Bond follows Goldfinger's trail and it eventually leads to more iconic set pieces and characters including a scene where Goldfinger threatens to saw Bond in half, the air pilot Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman) and a final battle at Fort Knox.

As I have said, I love the Daniel Craig Bond films. Casino Royale is amazing, and Skyfall may very well be my favorite movie of 2012. But Connery IS James Bond. He first played the character and it just feels like everything he does is iconic. And Goldfinger is full of iconic moments. "Martini, shaken, not stirred." was originated in Goldfinger in fact.

Also, it is entertaining almost from start to finish. There is a ton of action and a ton of special effects that you are almost always entertained. Another reason this Bond film is so good is that it is the perfect mixture of everything we love about the Bond franchise. There is tons of action, sex, and witty remarks but it is all balanced perfectly so that you don't feel like there is too much of anything. That is one area where I feel that other Bond movies lack. Thunderball is too much about the girls. Skyfall is too much about the action sometimes. Goldfinger lies right in the middle and that is the best thing about it.

The action is stunning too for an older film. It still holds up as exciting, entertaining and awesome. The final battle at Fort Knox has an amount of machine gun fire unrivaled by almost any other Bond movie that was released before 1990. The film has some problems with continuity and plausibility but isn't that the endless appeal of the Bond franchise? I mean, there is not a plausible story out of the bunch and in the real world Bond would be shot in a minute and not put into elaborate death traps. Bond is the ultimate guy. He gets all the girls, he gets to kill bad guys for a living and he gets to go on all sorts of exotic vacations. And he never ends up dead. That is the whole appeal of the franchise and Goldfinger shows off how awesome these movies are with extreme ease. It's one of the best I've seen so far.

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