I hate James Bond. I hated this movie. I hate this movie poster that has a picture of a dead body on it and proclaims "Everything he touches turns to excitment!". Like sexy dead ladies! Even Ebert's essay has the dead, gold-covered girl as his still image, Bond stroking her sexily. This is dumb. "Not every man would like to be James Bond," he says, waxing poetic, "but every boy would." I hope not.
This is one of those movies that ruins my day. That the less I say about it, the better, because I know that no one will agree with me and it's not even worth how taxing arguing about it might be.
There are so many things I take issue with in this movie. I know some of it is just personal prejudice, because I have always hated James Bond. Perhaps not being a boy has cursed me with this fate. Many people write about these movies and say that young boys want to be James Bond, and yunno, I can't really relate to this, never having been a young boy. I like gadgets and action movies. I can deal with stupid plots and sexism. I like grindhouse, guys. I just don't like James Bond. I'd rather watch Cannibal Holocaust again than sit through the first scene in Goldfinger one more time. Please don't take offense if you like these movies, though. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone has certain issues that set them off. This movie just hit some of mine, you know? Full disclosure - I've never seen this movie before, so these are just my first impressions. They may not be nice feelings or fun feelings, but it's just my opinion.
I don't hate this movie because it's campy and silly. I don't even hate it for it's loose and meh plot. I didn't feel anything for James Bond after the first ten minutes of this movie. This is what professors taught me were key moments. "If you can't hook them in ten minutes," they would say, "you've lost them." So I was lost. I didn't care about the hero of the movie, so none of the events mattered to me. It was never tense for me when he was in danger because I didn't care so much what happened to him. I don't know if I'm missing something here, but I just didn't really feel anything for this movie or it's characters. Goldfinger wasn't really that scary. He was kind of boring. Maybe if he was gold face man or something it would have been better, I don't know.
Look, I have to get this off my chest, because this is what most put me off from this movie and all reviews of it. It is pretty hard to root for a character you hate, right? I hate James Bond. He is a jerk. He also rapes Pussy Galore in this movie. I know, I know, no one really wants to talk about this. He does. Ebert claims it's a "sexy karate match", which I feel like he says because wacky music plays. Many people review this movie and claim it's "semi-rape" or "almost date rape". Let me step in and clairify this for you. There is not "semi-rape". While Whoopi Goldberg may have tried to teach us that there is such a thing as "rape-rape" she is wrong. When someone has sex with you against your will it is rape. Always. You cannot actually be "sort of raped". You either are violated or are not. If it seems rapey enough to be "almost rape", it probably is rape.
It's frustrating to me to see people dance around this issue just because they have nice memories of the movie, or like most people I know, saw it when they were seven and too young to understand the scene. I unfortunately am old enough to understand the scene. It is even more annoying to me that no one can just call it what it is.
I think it's fine to love James Bond and James Bond movies, even with this scene. Having rape in a movie does not ruin it for me or make me hate it. What is not sitting well with me is that it's not acknowledged appropriately, if that makes sense. It's demeaning to men and women to have wacky and then romantic music play during the scene and to make it seem jokey and fun. I know it's a movie and not IRL as the kids say, but this sort of thing is not really helpful to anyone, ever. It's not so bad that it's in the movie, just that if it feels wrong enough that people are calling it "semi-rape", we might as well go all out and call it what it really is here.
That is a lot of words about rape, but it's pretty annoying when a film critic like Ebert complains about some movies for having non-serious rape (Blue Velvet) and then ignores other ones. He wrote his review for Blue Velvet in 1986 when it came out, bashing it for not taking S&M and rape seriously enough. But it's ok in 1999 when James Bond does it because funny music plays and she sort of like, fights back, maybe? Ugh, stuff like this just bothers me.
Plus she was a pretty cool character up until that scene. She was tough and unique and smart and had her own weird, flaming flying circus and stuff. But Sean Connery is pretty hot, so eh, she gives up. If she was raped by Bond and stayed cool and tough instead of all melty and romantic it might not have been quite so dumb, I think. It's too bad that she couldn't have stayed an interesting character and she sort of just melded into doing whatever Bond wanted. It makes it feel like the writers and director had no feelings for the characters. Just like how I felt when watching the movie, hrm....
It's one thing for the internet to be dumb, but it's another for the movie to show, clearly, that they didn't care about her as a character, you know?
I don't know if I'm angry at the movie, Ebert, the internet, or James Bond. All of them, I guess. What a dumb way to spend my night. Oddly enough, a guy who runs a blog where he critiques film while pretending to be The Hulk is more eloquent about this movie than I can be and makes some good points. Thanks, Film Crit Hulk! You are awesome.
Anyway, really, I feel like I've said more than enough. I hate talking about stuff like this because it makes me sound like a jerk, but I really could not muster the energy to pretend to have liked something about this movie. Plus, it's all gross and humid out which makes everyone feel all bleh and out of it.
Ebert's Great Movie Essay on Goldfinger