Thunderball

Thunderball: A NATO bomber carrying nukes ditches in the sea prompting a ransom from SPECTRE and 7-day ultimatum – and James Bond is the only person with a lead.

Ciao... Seeing double vision

Thunderball is a pretty shocking follow-up to Goldfinger, with almost zero memorable – let alone iconic – scenes /or lines. It’s also punctuated with too many lengthy and boring underwater set-pieces, peaking with a battle that goes on forever and lacks any audio element.

What's that sound? Nothing...

The only vaguely famous scene would be the card game in the casino with one-eye’d Largo. As far as villains go, Largo is pretty poor, but his main henchman – straight-edge Vargas, takes the piss: what a pitiful baddie. I almost felt sorry for those two.

Aye aye cap'n

If Thunderball’s good for something it’s showing us deeper into Bond’s psyche – he blackmails and forces himself upon women,  will sleep with absolutely anyone, does whatever it takes for King and Country, and is so reckless that he doesn’t care who’s life he endangers!

Bond getting ready to pump for information

The most memorable scene is the ridiculously sped-up projections at the end, genuinely laugh out loud material – yet Thunderball won the Oscar for best SFX. It’s a bit of a car crash for a Goldfinger follow-up and far, far, far too long given how little happens.

Score: 2.5/10

Now pay attention 007

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Largo, one eyed sailor – Number 2 – just following orders. 5
Henchmen: Ginger Fiona / Straight-Edge Vargas – the worst henchman ever. 2
Bond Girl: Bikini girl Domino / Spa Worker Patricia. 4
Action: Tranny fight / Boat Chase / Scuba War. 4

Vargas does not drink... does not smoke... does not make love... loser

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7 comments
  1. Darren said:

    I have to say, I think you’re being a mite harsh. Sure, the moment where Bond blackmails a nurse into having sex with him – repeatedly – kinda spoiled the film for me, but it’s not bad. It’s just… Bond-by-numbers, I suppose. Wait until you get into Roger Moore. You’ll be begging for Thunderball.

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  2. joem18b said:

    You mention the lack of an audio element in the underwater scenes. I’m just writing a review of Red Beard, which came out the same year as Thunderball. It was the first time Kurosawa had four-track to work with and the first time that he included diagetic sound and other audio elements in one of his movies. Monaural was lousy for that. I wonder if, in spite of its budget and high-tech emphasis, Thunderball didn’t yet have access to stero? I know nothing about movie sound; guess I could google the question. It just caught my eye when you called out the film for its lack of gurgling.

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  3. Stu said:

    “If Thunderball’s good for something it’s showing us deeper into Bond’s psyche – he blackmails and forces himself upon women, will sleep with absolutely anyone, does whatever it takes for King and Country, and is so reckless that he doesn’t care who’s life he endangers!”

    A very good point! With this fourth film we have finally gotten to know 007 fully but by now we are receiving hints at just how cheesy some notes of the series with be.

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  4. Will said:

    I kinda hate Thunderball as well, but 2.5 seems a bit harsh. It’s ridiculously overlong and the underwater stuff is a supreme bore, but I still enjoyed it as a Bond escape. There are some that call it the best Bond film, but I’ll never understand that.

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    • Stu said:

      I believe the line of thinking is “Thunderball” as the best “Bond Film” rather than as best “Bond” film. Don’t get me wrong, I am also bothered by “Thunderball” in a number of ways.

      http://www.undy-a-hundy.com/?p=1384

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  5. Sounds like a lot of Thunderball fans coming out of the woodwork here! As rated in my Top Trumps bit the staple and re-occurring features in Thunderball (Villain, Henchmen, Bond Girl and Action) are all well below par. For me, it just totally kills off this film for me.

    Darren, like you say, would still rather watch this than most of the Moore catalogue!

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