Published on December 3rd, 2015 | by Thompson
Gonzo Bond Movie Reviews: Goldfinger (1964)
Instead of ripping on the new James Bond film, Spectre, I’ll instead piggyback on its short-lived popularity by reviewing every Bond film in a Gonzo fashion. I’ll be under the influence for each review, so by the end of the series readers will know which Bond films are best to watch while high and a little drunk.
The Gonzo Bond Rating, or GBR, is based on 007 ingredients that make a good Bond film: 001) The First Five, or first five minutes of the film including the credits, 002) The Game, or plot, 003) Bond’s Game, or Bond’s performance, 004) Bond’s Villain, or the villain’s performance and general evilness, 005) Bond’s Gear, or cars, guns, and gadgets, 006) Graphics, or explosions, stunts, and the like, and, of course, 007) Bond Girls, which is not necessarily performance driven, as is the case with Dr. No.
I puff on my sativa vapor pen and drink Madison River’s The Juice Double IPA as James Bond (Sean Connery) is tasked with investigating Goldfinger’s (Gert Frobe) smuggling and uncovers his plans to “rob” Fort Knox.
The First Five
007 (Sean Connery) swims ashore wearing a bird hat breathing device and uses a grappling hook to climb the wall of a compound that looks like a diesel storage facility. He kicks a guard in the face, finds a secret door in one of the silos, plants some C-4 and a timer on some tanks of Nitro, goes back down to the dock and takes off his break-in gear revealing a white tuxedo. He puts a rose through one of his jacket holes and hits the club where a girl shakes her chest for a customer while looking at him. Bond smiles, checks his watch, and lights a cigarette as the bomb explodes. The cantina empties except for one man to which Bond speaks of the events, speaking of “heroin bananas” inciting revolution. Bond finds the dancer bathing in her room, showing off her legs. He hands her a towel. She kisses him, showing off her wet, soapy back. Bond’s gun bumps her boob.
“Why do you always wear that thing,” she asks.
“I have a slight inferiority complex,” he replies.
Bond catches the reflection of an assassin in her eyes as he kisses her, tosses him in the tub after a good fight, and throws in a heat lamp, electrocuting him.
“Shocking,”he says, basically stepping over the broad. “Positively shocking.”
Roll the “Goldfinger” theme, perhaps the best Bond theme, and gold-painted girls dancing with images of the film projected on their bodies. Perfect.
The plot of Goldfinger is practically perfect and starts fast, when Bond catches Goldfinger’s accomplice helping him cheat at cards from a Miami Beach hotel balcony and tells him to lose all his winnings back. Bond, of course, does as he does with the beautiful blonde and manages to not only infiltrate Goldfinger’s compound, but gives him a reason to keep him alive, as do his CIA friends. Pussy Galore’s gorgeous crew of pilots [spoiler alert] execute their plan to gas Fort Knox, but Bond appeals to Pussy’s maternal instincts, giving Bond and the CIA a chance to stop Goldfinger. It comes down to the final 007 seconds.
Connery is impeccable again as 007 – still way too smart to work too hard. He beats Goldfinger in golf by catching him cheating, but plays it off perfectly. He manages to [spoiler alert] wiggle his way out of losing his penis to a laser and wrestles with Pussy (Honor Blackman) a bit before she gives into him. Bond does have one great fight with Oddjob (Harold Sakata), the man who throws a hat, and [spoiler alert] dispatches him with his own weapon.
Bond’s game with the ladies is also at its best because he has his toughest task yet: turning Pussy against Goldfinger. A wrestling match in a barn results in Bond winning over Pussy, but we get a good look at his game early in the film, as we should. After catching Goldfinger’s accomplice, Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton), at the Miami Beach hotel, he tells her “that should keep him occupied for quite some time,” and pulls her chair towards him for a kiss and pushes her face down affectionately. [Spoiler alert] Oddjob knocks Bond out, and he awoke to find Masterson dead on the bed, painted gold.
Goldfinger is the first villain in the Bond series that is both really smart and diabolical. The fact he would kill a woman by poisoning her with gold paint is incredibly evil, and you expect him to kill Bond when he captures him.
“Do you expect me to talk,” Bond asks, tied to a metal plank under a laser.
“No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die,” Goldfinger replies, walking out of the room.
You can’t help but think he’s going to succeed when he shows off all his money and badass war room with moving furniture and floor. He explains to Bond that his motivation isn’t just to become incredibly rich, but to go down in history as the best criminal mind ever. Those are the best villains – criminals doing it for the fame and not the fortune.
Goldfinger has a clear weakness, though. He’s incredibly self-conscious. His only mistake is the mistake all Bond villains make – not killing him when they have the chance. His scheme is planned just about perfectly, except his second in command is female, and Bond is the alpha male.
“Where’s my Bentley,” Bond asks Q.
Although it’s never failed him before, he says, we can’t help but love the Aston Martin DB5 – the true, original Bond car. It has rotating license plates for multiple countries. It’s bulletproof and comes equipped with weapons that include oil slick, machine guns, and an ejector seat.
“You’re joking,” 007 says.
“I never joke about my job,” replies Q.
Bond is also borrowed a tracking device that’s placed in his shoe, and Goldfinger reveals the golden gun, which is awesome.
The Aston Martin DB5 is responsible for some of the best graphics in a Bond film yet. Using the oil slick during a chase results in one car falling off a cliff in flames. The chase scenes actually look as though the cars are being driven fast, but [spoiler alert] a mirror forces Bond to drive into a concrete wall, into the hands of Goldfinger.
The aerial effects are cool but not incredible. The women manning the sticks are what catches the eye, but when they fly over administering the toxic gas, the aerial shots of all the people at Fort Knox falling to the ground in unison is pretty amazing.
The set design in this film is immaculate as well. Goldfinger’s pool room transforms into a war room in seconds.
I docked a point for the Bond girls in this film because there wasn’t that one voluptuous female all Bond movies require. Every Bond film should have the eye candy that’s simply there to look good. Both Masterson and Pussy are pretty flat-chested, and Pussy is a bit manly for my taste in Bond girls, much like Halle Berry’s performance in Die Another Day. Bond girls shouldn’t be helpless, but Pussy’s demeanor is that of a man for much of the film.
Total GBR: 069/070
Goldfinger is nearly a perfect Bond film, only lacking a busty Bond girl. The plot may be the best ever, and the villain is certainly better than any in the series thus far. The introduction of the Aston Martin DB5 isn’t quite as beautiful as the Bond girl Goldfinger lacks, but if you’re looking for a Bond film that has just about everything, this is it.