A bit overlong but still remains my personal favorite Sean Connery-era James Bond film. Great larger-than-life set pieces perfectly balanced out by carefully crafted slow-burn suspense sequences. Terence Young (Dr. No, From Russia with Love) returns to helm and I think this movie demonstrates that he was by far one of the franchises best directors next to Martin Campbell, John Glen, and Sam Mendes.
Connery gives probably his most self-assured performance yet as James Bond and Fiona Volpe (played wonderfully by the beautiful Luciana Paluzzi) remains one of my favorite femme fetales of the series next to Xenia Onatopp of "Goldeneye."
The usual make-or-break element of this film are the extensive underwater sequences, but personally I love them. They are gorgeously shot and the epic underwater battle between the good and evil Spectre army is fantastic.
Well, it doesn't take long before Bonds sets of for Nassau to foil this diabolical plot, and he's get a few beautiful woman to accompany him along the way.
This is a fun one. It's Connery (once again), and, while he's not as strong as he was in the previous two entries, he's still quite strong here, and very comfortable with the role. It's a solid film, but maybe one of my least favorite of the Connery era. It's not a bad movie, just not quite as exciting as some of the others. It's a bit goofy, but I think it really only adds to the charm.
Plus, we get some great underwater scenes, and those are quite well done, especially for the time period. Those are some of the best parts, but the cinematography in general is quite good, and there's some okay land sequences as well.
With a decent title theme from Tom Jones, a fine score in general, and an entertaining title sequence, this is a really fun movie, and a decent entry in the long running series. Give it a go.
The story finds Bond in the beautiful Bahamas, where he's searching for a pair of nukes that SPECTRE is using to blackmail the U.S. and Great Britain. It's not one of my favorite Bond movies, but it's certainly not a bad one. It's worth seeing for at least Domino, Fiona Volpe, and the lengthy battle scenes beneath the ocean.
Now Thunderball has a great story. It has great characters. It has great locations. What brings this film down is all the underwater scenes, which when looking back at the picture its the final battle underwater. It's just dull as hell. Don't even try watching this if even close to bedtime because that sequence will put you out like a light. Most of the underwater stuff can be attributed to Kevin McClory, the producer who would prove to be a thorn in the side of the series for another 15 years.
Thunderball isn't a bad movie. It's just not a very good James Bond movie after the first three installments and Connery seems to have started phone some scenes in with this one.
The plot is even more outlandish than Goldfinger's radiation of the fort Knox gold reserve, pushing the threat to a more global context with the destruction of major world cities by atomic weapons. As well as being a particularly poignant plot device at the time, in the midst of the Cold War, the gist of Thunderball may seem quite familiar to those who frequent more modern political action thrillers, such as The Sum of All Fears. Despite the larger than life premise, Thunderball remains far more grounded in reality than several later Bond exploits (including You Only Live Twice and Moonraker) which tended to drift into being overly silly and ludicrous. Thunderball still takes itself relatively seriously, with several surprisingly dark moments, which help counterbalance the slightly comical yet still thrilling sight of of seeing Connery in a jet pack, and dramatically aid the overall quality of the film.
However, Thunderball's significantly larger budget is mostly misused through underwater photography sequences, which, although interesting to look at (and were likely moreso back in the 1960s, where such a sight was very seldom visible to the public eye) for the most part fail to further the plot in any way, and drag on excruciatingly long. However, the film does boast some strong cinematography (and some stunning locations), the action sequences (including a tense chase sequence through a Mardi Gras parade) are solid, and an unreasonably catchy Tom Jones title track surprisingly helps not hinders the film.
Unfortunately, for however many of the film's previous strengths, the film descends into utter chaos during the film's final quarter with a painfully repetitive and indecipherable underwater battle (it is increasingly difficult to tell which underwater army is which, who is winning, or why it should even retain our interest) a boat chase flaunting special effects which have dated decidedly unfavourably, and laughably inexplicable character motivations seemingly thrown in to finally tie up the increasingly unravelling mess. It is a disappointment indeed to see what started out with such promise sink into such a banal conclusion.
The character of Bond himself is surprisingly reduced to far less screen time than is usual for a 007 film, which is unfortunate, as Connery gives arguably one of his strongest performances as Bond, oozing self assurance and panache, yet an unprecedented darkness amidst the one liners. ("I think he got the point" being the most classic) This time around Bond not only gets hurt, but is not afraid to hurt, unflinchingly bestowing surprisingly vicious physical punishment against his adversaries
The supporting cast proves to be a very hit and miss affair. While former model Claudine Augere certainly looks the part of a sixties Bond girl, but unfortunately for the most part retains the static lack of emoting also associated with them. Adolfo Celi's eye-patched frown makes a visually iconic Bond villain, and is suitably menacing, but as the film progresses, he loses his threat element more and more, eventually degrading to a flimsy carbon copy of an adversary by the final act. Luciana Paluzzi steals the show from all but Connery, making one of the most chilling Bond femme fatale figures in the franchise. Paluzzi, despite the potential to coast by on her sensual looks, refuses to play the part on autopilot, and exudes laudable charisma and threat throughout. The unfortunately named Rik Van Nutter makes the most generic and forgettable CIA agent Felix Leiter of the Bond series, but Bernard Lee and Desmond Llewelyn are on top form as the ever endearing M and Q.
As overlong and let down by some unfortunate overuse of budget and dated special effects as the film may be, Thunderball is nonetheless a noteworthy and suitably engaging early Bond effort. Connery himself, in one of his most charismatic renditions of the role is enough to merit watching, and the film for the most part runs along at a brisk enough pace to retain audience interest. While the film is less likely to enthrall those who are not already Bond purists, fans of the character or series should easily be able to extract moments of enjoyment from Thunderball
Emilio Largo: You know much about guns, Mr. Bond?
James Bond: No, but I know a little about women.
An okay Bond film, but a tough act to follow Goldfinger. The ending provides the most fun, with lots of 60s Bond action. Never consider watching Never say Never Again, the unofficial Bond series remake.
The story is fairly simple. An agent of the evil SPECTRE organization has stolen two nuclear bombs and is ransoming the free world for an obscene amount of money. Bond decides to travel to Nassau in the Carribean in order to follow a lead to the bad guys. Action and love making ensue, as Bond attempts to foil the evil plans.
This Bond film works well enough with the formula, with a great amount of effort placed into the action and underwater special effects.
James Bond: My dear, uncooperative Domino.
Domino: How do you know that? How do you know my friends call me Domino?
James Bond: It's on the bracelet on your ankle.
Domino: So... what sharp little eyes you've got.
James Bond: Wait 'til you get to my teeth.
The problem lies in how extended this film feels. The story really doesn't kick in until about forty minutes in, which could have been shortened. However, we still have Connery kicking ass as bond, as well as a couple of clever along with some 60s styled goofy moments.
Surprisingly this is the favorite Bond film for many, but I was never really thrilled too much by this entry. Its still a good one though and has a title song by Tom Jones.
Q: It is to be handled with special care!
James Bond: Everything you give me...
Q: ...is treated with equal contempt. Yes, I know.