Five days ago HE commenter “hupto” posted an anecdote about the aesthetic preferences of younger action audiences (if that’s not a contradiction in terms) and an overheard response to a 6.9.12 double-bill showing of Goldfinger and Thunderball at the Aero in Santa Monica.
Goldfinger had just ended and the author was on his way up the lobby stairs to the men’s room when he heard a young guy complaining to his girlfriend about how slow and boring Goldfinger was. The submissive girlfriend asked if they’d be staying for Thunderball and the guy replied “hell no!”
This young sophisticate had apparently been persuaded that the ’60s James Bond / Sean Connery films delivered action highs along 21st Century lines (the idiotic Kingsman flicks, the Fast and Furious franchise, etc.). I recognize how the pacing of Goldfinger could seem, to a cinematic knuckle-dragger, a bit slow and steady, and that this 1964 Guy Hamilton film (my third favorite Connery after From Russia With Love and Dr. No) is more invested in character and dialogue than your average teenager or 20something of today is used to.
Nonetheless I found this anecdote hugely depressing.
I began expressing a similar kind of gloom when I realized that hardcore action buffs weren’t taking to Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, which I adored.
Excerpt from 11.7.11 review: There’s something almost stunning about the straight-up realism in Haywire‘s fight scenes. Or nostalgic, I should say. For as I mentioned last night, and as Soderbergh himself noted during last night’s post-screening q & a, the fight-scene realism is a kind of tribute to the train-compartment battle between Sean Connery and Robert Shaw in From Russia With Love (’63).
“Soderbergh’s shooting and editing of the Haywire fight scenes is exquisite. Haywire is faster and more furious than Drive, but Soderbergh is clearly coming from the same ‘tone it down, think it through and make it real’ school of action cinema. At no time do Haywire‘s action scenes give you that awful feeling of being artificially adrenalized and jacked-up for the sake of coherence-defying Michael Bay-o sensation.”