No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!
Warning: this review does contain a few vague spoilers.
Goldfinger is the 1964 James Bond classic that pushed the franchise to new heights, and lows. This movie stars Sean Connery as James Bond, Honor Blackman, and Gert Fröbe, with Guy Hamilton directing.
This third movie in the franchise really benefited from success of the others in both budget and acting skill. Just looking at the impressive scenes, the very advanced special effects (for its time), the intense action, the fantastic character designs, and the plot, it's easy to see why this is one of the most popular of all the Sean Connery era movies. It is also the movie that brought us the iconic girl painted in gold! Much of this shift is likely due to the new director, Guy Hamilton, who breathed new life into the franchise.
Besides a few of the outdated effects, like the terrible projections over people, and the clothing, Goldfinger could easily be mistaken for a much newer film. Yes, the technology looks outdated, but this movie contains lasers, GPS trackers, and dashboard GPS maps, far before the Internet was even thought of! Even Bond's car is advanced for its time with a handful of other impressive gadgets. Bond's tech in this film drove ideas and innovation for decades, which likely helped the movie win the award for Best Effects and Sound Effects at the Academy Awards, plus winning a handful of other awards and nominated for so many others.
Much of the movie's success also stems from the story not relying on the past movies. It was the perfect movie for moviegoers to get their first taste of Bond. We were treated with new villains, a very different plot, magnificent gadgets, and some of the most memorable characters in the entire James Bond Universe!
The big three characters were of course Goldfinger, Oddjob, and the questionably named Pussy Galore! Yeah, someone obviously had fun creating the names of these characters. These three had such fantastically outrageous roles and unique appearances that they are easily recognizable, even today. Goldfinger was by far the smartest villain we've seen in this era's action movies, Oddjob was a fantastic henchman, and Pussy Galore was finally the Bond Girl we were all looking for in the earlier films. Plus we got Shirley Eaton's most lustrous and memorable role as Jill Masterson.
The only real problem I have with this movie is the sudden shift in James Bond's character. Instead of the confident and suave man we enjoyed in the past movies, we got a pervert so cocky and sexist that he's basically a sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen. It's almost as if his past history with floozy women and his insane luck has made him feel like he will never fail, even in the worst circumstances. I'm sure his continued luck in dangerous situations and with women isn't going to help fix that attitude, too.
I think it's pretty obvious, though, that this is definitely a movie that I recommend everyone to watch. Sure, it gets very unrealistic and annoyingly sexist at times, but Goldfinger is by far one of the best James Bond movies ever made, and definitely my favorite action movie of its era.
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