Director: Guy Hamilton
There’s no doubt that James Bond is a cool character, yet his movies rarely match his appeal. Having pretty much seen the whole series, I have some pleasant memories, but they’re mostly scattered through uneven installments. The early films starring Sean Connery are the most classy and stylish, the ones made in the 80s with Roger Moore are full of campy fun and the latest with Pierce Brosnan set higher standards as far as loud (but not necessarily inspired) action spectacle goes. The thing is, none of the 19-something movies reaches its full potential. Actually, the best Bond movies aren’t even from the series: “True Lies” is as romantic as it is action-packed, and “Austin Powers” is ten times more fun than the Bond films it spoofs! But that doesn’t mean that a picture like “Goldfinger” ain’t entertaining.
In this particular movie, 007 is sent to Miami by M to spy on Goldfinger, a very powerful businessman who is suspected to smuggle gold around the world illegally. Things are actually much worse than that: the evil Goldfinger is planning to kill 60 000 people and nuke Fort Knox to make his own gold more precious and to please his Oriental financiers, who are eager to see the Western economy crumble. But they have underestimated Bond’s ability to use his charm and wit to save the world. So we’re on for vintage James Bond, as played by the incredibly charismatic Sean Connery. Macho and playful, Bond never loses his cool no matter the danger he’s facing. It’s pretty amusing to see the trademarks of the series, which are truly established in this film. There’s Bond in a white tuxedo lounging after blowing some stuff up. Then there’s the colorful opening credits, with the sensuous theme song over shots of golden babes. To help him in his mission, Bond is given a bunch of nifty gadgets, as well as one kick ass car equipped with machine guns and other stuff.
And of course, our Brit secret agent spends more time enjoying the hospitality of the villain than fighting him. They go golfing and they talk a whole damn lot, as Goldfinger explains his whole plan to 007 for no reason. And what would be a Bond pictures without the babes! He must shag at least four chicks during each mission, notably Pussy Galore, Goldfinger’s personal pilot. Can you guess if she will succumb to Bond’s flirting and betray her boss? You know what? Bond’s womanizing might be the most interesting thing in these movies. Especially in the old movies, the action scenes are really not that good. Two gunshots, a little explosion, a U-turn? When you’ve been watching Hong Kong flicks, that’s kind of a letdown. And when it takes forever to set-up the climax, I had to make a big effort not to fall asleep. The only action scene that’s really cool is Bond’s showdown with Oddjob, Goldfinger’s sumo henchman with a sharp steel Frisbee as a hat. So “Goldfinger” is sometimes very enjoyable, but it’s too uneven for me to call it a masterpiece.