Thunderball

Thunderball ★★½

Nobody ranks Bond better for Bond-a-thon

Quick question first... Is "You swim like a man" the worlds worst attempt at a pick up line?

Right, I thought it would be fitting to review this one underwater... So scuba diving gear on... here we go

The ....... prooobleeem ......... wwiiithh ......... shooooting .......... looots .......... of ........... thhhe ............ fiiilm .............. undeeer .......... waaater .......... is ............it .......... is ........ alllll ........... sooooo ............. slooow.......... It ........... gets ........ really......... booooooring. ...... [gasp] ....... Alllsoo ....... half ........ the ............tiiiime .......... you .......... can't ........... telll .............. whoooo ........... the ........... fuuuuck ............. is whoooo..',"':;.-"'@&"';:.;,.........................................
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Turns out iPads are fucking useless underwater.

Right back on dry land.

The underwater sequences are no doubt ground breaking and at times breathtaking to look at... I just don't find them particularly exciting. Considering the film cost about nine times more than Dr No, you do start to wonder if that was money well spent. Still, until Skyfall came along, Thunderball was the most lucrative Bond film, so I imagine the producers were very happy with their investment.

Thunderball is a classic case of sequel bloat. Longer run time and more than a little self-indulgent (unlike the start of this review). This film takes a bloody long time to get anywhere. Let's put it this way... you could have rocked up to the cinema forty minutes late and STILL caught M's initial briefing with Bond. The underwater sequences are far too long, especially those in the finale. A lot of the problems with Thunderball could have been solved with some judicious editing, some however would still exist. The story still relies far too much on coincidence, the character of Domino is woefully under written and it is definitely lacking those memorable Bond moments.

It's a shame because buried underneath the bloat is a decent Bond film trying to get out. I love the femme fatale character of Fiona Volpe, played by Luciana Paluzzi. Easily the best female part in a Bond film to date. She doesn't get a satisfying exit though. Largo is a pretty cool villain replete with eye patch and shark pool. Connery is still fully engaged in the part of Bond, exuding confidence and cool. I also love Ken Adam's production design, another round of great sets here. The humour feels slightly downplayed compared to Goldfinger but there's still a few great one liners. "I think he got the point" is a favourite. The bathtub scene where Volpe says "would you mind giving me something to put on?” and Bond nonchalantly hands her a pair of shoes is hilarious and beautifully played.

So, certainly not a complete loss but it does show bigger is not always better.

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