Thunderball ★★★½

Surprisingly I enjoyed this quite a bit more than the first time I watched it. I still think it puts its worst foot forward with an overly silly pre-title sequence, and then the strange spa scene-setting that manages to blend absurd plot contrivance, goofy spa torture devices, and a heaping dose of sexual assault. Once Bond gets to the Bahamas though? It’s pretty much gravy. The Bahamas themselves make for the ideal Bond setting, offering sunshine, a good color palette, sharks, bikinis, and the lingering specter of colonial rule; the perfect mix for a disaffected agent of an imperial country to wander around and cause havoc in. The film, Terrance Young’s third Bond, is really a mix of the director’s more detective oriented entries combined with The Bond Formula and action of Goldfinger, which —while maybe not a perfect brew— makes for pretty good balance of Bond hang-out moments and giant battles. Speaking of which, I even enjoyed the giant underwater battle this time which may be twice as long as it needs to be, but must have been hell to coordinate considering how well choreographed it is. It’s hard to hate on an action movie with this many goons getting harpooned.

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