WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: As the film advances into its final act, it does descend slightly too far into mind-numbing action territory.
VERDICT: Charming and fun for the most part; 'Thunderball' does a great job bringing enjoyable lightness to the mystery. Shame it becomes slightly over-run by action towards the end.
The story by now is very generic: SPECTRE steals two nuclear warheads from a jet and holds the world ransom. Bond is sent to the exotic Bahamas to investigate the sister of one of the pilots of the stolen jet and comes across Number Two of SPECTRE Emilio Largo played by Adolfo Celi and dubbed by Robert Rietty.
"Thunderball" is well known for its underwater action sequences which were quite revolutionary at the time and still look great. But some scenes especially the ones near the end go on for far too long and are very clunky and dark making it hard to see who's fighting who underwater. But the best sequence in the movie is a suspenseful scene where James Bond is shot in the leg and is running for his life from SPECTERE agents which showed that James Bond was still human and not Superman.
The acting is good. Sean Connery once again steals the show as James Bond and is more confident in the role. The Bond girls are as beautiful as ever. Claudine Auger is alright as Domino but Luciana Paluzzi steals the show as one of the best femme fatals of the series SPECTRE agent Fiona Volpe. Adolfo Celi is good as Largo but not as good as the previous villains in the last three movies.
Terence Young returns as director for the last time in the series and while the direction is solid it doesn't compare to his best Bond film "From Russia With Love". I think this is probably because they were trying to replicate what made "Goldfinger" such a success with audiences. They managed to succeed with this one because "Thunderball" managed to out gross "Goldfinger" and had James Bond all the rage.
Despite some flaws "Thunderball" is an entertaining Bond episode from the Connery era.
It does have its moments but there's not enough tension or pace in the rather uninteresting plot to make you care.
Peter Hunt gets a little too experimental with the editing in the action scenes at times and instead of ramping up the dynamics, ramps up the comedic value instead.
On the whole, duller and less engaging than the average Bond but not without some merit, some classic lines and a few entertaining scenes here and there.