Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Goldfinger (Digitally Re-Mastered)

“Pussy Galore.” Yes please.

Originally released in 1964, this is the third Bond film starring Sean Connery. It is also the first Bond that really encompassed all the elements that make up the (now well known) Bond cocktail – the girls, the guns, the gadgets, a villain with a unique side-kick, the elaborate traps, etc. For many this is the pinnacle of Bond films (followed closely by From Russia With Love).

So why am I reviewing a film that’s 43 years old? Well because here in the UK it has just been re-released (as part of ‘The British Summer of Film) Digitally Re-Mastered and shown as a Digital Presentation.

I had two reason for checking this film out –

1) I wanted to see this classic Bond adventure on the big screen.
2) I haven’t watched a digitally projected movie at a cinema yet, and this was my first chance.

I’m guessing the majority of people have already seen this (most likely several times), so reviewing it per se is probably going to be a waste of time. I hadn’t watched it myself for a few years – so I’ll give a brief overview of my thoughts.

First Sean Connery as Bond, he really is the classic and the best. Watching his performance again as 007 was really quite interesting and nostalgic as he carries a balance of arrogance and charisma around him that none of the new Bond comes close to. I could see bits of Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig in his acting, (or rather they took their style from Connery). Brosnan took the charm and expanded it, where as Craig to the arrogance and developed that. Connery is the true Bond that has all these elements and carries them off effortlessly.

The one thing that ruined the film was (believe it or not) Austin Powers, every time a certain music was used or OddJob was throwing his deadly hat, I couldn’t help but see the comedic side. Though fortunately I managed to shut that out quite early on and just enjoy the film.

It really is quite remarkable though that a film some 40 years old stands up as well as this does, with the exception of the few ‘spoof reminding’ moments it was a joy to watch. The whole childhood fantasy of “I want to be just like Bond when I’m older” came back. I really had fun, the one-liners come off naturally and it really shows how much Bond has done for modern day action films.

The girls all look stunning, Goldfinger is still one of the most iconic Bond villains and OddJob is a sinister henchman. This remains one of the best Bond films.

But you already know that, so lets get onto the second part of the review.

The digital presentation, how was it?

It felt a little weird watching a digitally projected film at first, just because I’m so use to little scratches squiggling over the screen or cigarette burns popping up in the corner when I’m at the cinema. This was crystal clear however, so perfect it seemed like I was watching a DVD on a 50 ft high TV screen. It’s hard to explain, but the clarity and definition on the image was incredible and very noticeable. If you live in the US you’re probably use to it, but in the UK not many cinema seem to be embracing digital as it’s so expensive!

The other thing that made it particularly strange was the fact that this was an old film, you expect a film that was made in the 60’s to look a certain way, but no, because this had been digitally re-mastered it looked like it was shot this year. It really was impressive. The opening shot flying around the Miami hotel, or over Fort Knox and the surrounding town near the end were two of the standouts as there was so much detail, it was hard to take it all in.

I can’t wait to see a film that was originally meant for digital on the big screen now in this format. I imagine a film that is heavy on CG like Transformer would be especially impressive.

I’m thoroughly glad I watched this classic again, and I can’t wait to see another film in the digital format.


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