Thunderball

Thunderball ★★★

When I watched this as a kid, I was never a big fan of Thunderball and that still holds true today. The main problem is that the story lacks forward momentum. On paper, the plot should be exciting as Bond needs to track down two missing nuclear bombs before they are launched yet I never feel that urgency. Bond spends the first act in a spa resort (although its silly, this part is actually kinda fun) then spends the rest of the movie paying social visits to the villains. I like the fact that this is another movie that focuses on Bond conducting an investigation but it doesn't flow very well from scene to scene making it hard to follow at times.

Also, much of the action takes place underwater. The way this is filmed is very impressive but I never found underwater fights to be that entertaining (people just move much more slowly). With all that said, I don't think Thunderball is a bad film; I always enjoy the aesthetics of this era of Bond, Bond has some classic puns and good humor, and there are some great scenes throughout (I love the SPECTRE meeting as well as Bond's escape from the sharks). However, if I wanted to watch a Connery Bond film, this would probably be the last one I would reach for.

Quick Bond Ratings:

Cold Open: C - This is a pretty fun scene with Bond fighting a bad guy disguised as a grieving widow. Of course, the highlight is Bond taking off in a jet pack. It's not bad but felt really quick.

Theme Song: B - "Thunderball" features the powerful voice of Tom Jones. I really dig this song; another classic sounding Bond theme with that strong brass sound.

Gadgets: C - The jet pack is obviously the highlight gadget but the rest are not as flashy (geiger counter watch and camera, breathing apparatus, and a pill you swallow that tracks you (??)).

Stunts: B - The stunt work and coordination to do a huge underwater fight is pretty incredible. Also, apparently the glass designed to keep Sean Connery safe in a pool full of sharks failed to keep a shark out. Combine those with some awesome car and boat explosions and there are some exciting stunts in this movie.

Villain: D - Emilio Largo doesn't make for a particularly memorable villain. He has an eye patch and he is referred to as Number 2... but that's about it. I do like how he gets rid of people by throwing them into a shark infested pool but he just seems like a generic bad guy without any personality. Fiona Volpe is a bit better as a Bond girl that is able to take advantage of Bond.

Bond Girl: C - Claudine Auger as Domino makes for an elegant Bond girl but it feels she doesn't get quite enough screen time. However, she does have a compelling story and surprisingly plays a crucial role in the climax of the film.

Favorite Line: "Mind if my friend sits this one out? She's just dead."
(Interestingly, although Bond introduces himself multiple times, he never says his famous line "Bond, James Bond").

1965 | James Bond

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