Reviews…James Bond Reviews: Goldfinger

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“Do you expect me to talk?”

“No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!” 

The Bond: Sean Connery

The Villain: Auric Goldfinger

The Henchmen: Oddjob and (briefly) Pussy Galore…yup.

The Bond Girls: Jill & Tilly Masterson and Pussy Galore.

The Plan: “Operation Grand Slam.” To increase the value of his own gold, Goldfinger plans to detonate an atomic bomb inside Fort Knox irradiating the gold inside and making it untouchable for over 50 years.

The Gadget/Car: a homing beacon, and finally…the introduction of the super duper impractical Aston Martin!

The Song: “Goldfinger” by Shirley Bassey

Released in 1964, Agent 007’s third outing is Goldfinger. In short, it’s an all-around fantastic and perfect Bond film. That’s it. This review is over. *drops the mic*

Ok…I’ll elaborate. It’s a superb entry that features a walking sexual innuendo, a famously parodied henchman, and gold. Lots of gold.

Goldfinger is considered by many fans to be one of the best of the series and for good reasons. It serves as a template of sorts that most of the Bond films will follow. It’s a definitive Bond film and it really set the standard for the ones to follow. Even if you aren’t a Bond fan or haven’t seen any of the movies, you are at least familiar with this one. You may have seen the iconic image of the girl covered in gold paint, know the famous exchange between Goldfinger and Bond, perhaps you’ve heard the incomparable Shirley Bassey belt out “Goldfinger” or you know the name of the Bond girl…or maybe you’ve just seen Random Task from Austin Powers. Either way, I think this movie is a perfect starting point for someone just getting into the world of James Bond. One of the best things about this entry is he finally gets my future car: the 1964 Aston Martin DB5. See, James Bond drives real cars. Not lamestangs or anything like that. (Except when he does. Later.)

We begin with a great opening hook and are then driven forward with one of the best Bond themes ever recorded. What follows is a Bond film that is filled with awesome. James Bond is just simply cool in this movie. There’s really no other way to describe him. You know this Bond means business in the opening hook when he removes his wet suit to reveal a tuxedo and then detonating a bomb. Despite all the dangers, chases, and traps Bond ends up in, he always finds a way to weasel, kaboom, or awesome his way out.

For those seeking an action packed thrill ride of a Bond film, try this one. Arguably, the centerpiece of the film is a cool car chase featuring James Bond’s classic car and non-standard equipment like machine guns, oil slick, smoke screen, and my favorite: The ejector seat!  There’s a big shoot out between the US Army and Goldfinger’s men, and finally the Oddjob/Bond fight is entertaining, well choreographed, and has a shocking ending. Several sequences add a lot of suspense including the immortal scene where Goldfinger has Bond right where he wants him: strapped to a table with a laser slowly making its way up to his fun-zone.

The characters are fantastic including Auric Goldfinger (Get it? Double-whammy. Cause gold.) He is a great villain who you love to hate. He’s just so snobby and vile and has no redeeming qualities about him. “Operation Grand Slam” is so meticulously planned you almost think it might be plausible. One wonders how James Bond is going to stop the baddie this time! Goldfinger really hates James Bond and his hatred for him is matched only by his love for gold. This man loves gold way too much. His whole world is built around it! Gold guns, gold tables, gold this gold that. He’s a villain that ranks up there at the top not because of his physical threat level or his intellect, but because he’s just a cold and nasty fat man. His snobbery is so bad you might think he belongs on a “reality” show about rich families.

Always by Goldfinger’s side is his bowler hatted-henchman Oddjob. He’s probably one of the most recognized and associated things with this movie alongside the girl covered in gold paint. Oddjob is a dude who throws his blade rimmed hat (NOT his shoe. Who throws a shoe? Honestly.) and it can cut through marble. He’s silent but deadly and incredibly loyal to his boss. He’s one of my favorite henchman up there with Jaws and Mr. Stamper (leave me alone. I like him.) He’s usually awesome…until some jerkwad picks him as their character in the Nintendo 64’s Goldeneye. Seriously if you’re one of those people that picks Oddjob there’s a special place in Hell for you.

There are three Bond girls in this film but most only remember two Jill Masterson (the golden girl) and the famous and boldly named Pussy Galore. She differs from most Bond girls as initially she’s resistant to Bond’s charms and wants nothing to do with him. But alas, James Bond. In addition, she’s a significant Bond girl because up until now the Bond girls in the previous two movies were mostly just there to look at and didn’t do anything major to move the story along. Here, we get a strong, confident and independent woman who nearly manages take out James Bond himself!

While  the locations (aside from the girls) in Bond films often provide much of the eye candy, 007 doesn’t go to very many locations in this outing. However Goldfinger is a very attractive film in other ways. As you can assume by the title, throughout the movie the cinematography utilizes gold. There is gold everywhere. This ranges from the obvious like gold bricks and the colors Goldfinger himself wears along with the items he owns like his gun and Rolls Royce, to the color of the girls’ hair and uniforms. The most obvious gold featured is the iconic image of the girl painted in gold. When I was a little kid and hadn’t seen any of the movies but had seen that picture and knew the name of the movie, I assumed it was a movie about a guy who was like King Midas. (Spoiler alert: I was wrong.)

There really isn’t anything negative I can say about this movie. Like I said it’s pretty much a perfect Bond film. Everything about it is excellent. Auric Goldfinger is a memorable Bond villain, Oddjob is iconic, Pussy Galore is great, the action is superb, and James Bond, as usual, is just plain awesome.

Justin Davis will return…to review: Thunderball!

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