Saturday, December 1, 2012

Thunderball (1965) review

Thunderball was Sean Connery's fourth film as the secret agent James Bond. It is considered to be a step down from the series' previous films which included classics such as Dr. No, From Russia With Love and Goldfinger. And it certainly is. Thunderball includes some memorable moments but it isn't much fun until the end and it has a villain that isn't fleshed out and way too much focus on the Bond girls. Plainly, Thunderball is a mess. It has a beautiful setting but its story is as generic as they come and it just isn't much fun.

Thunderball has James Bond going to Nassau in the Bahamas to stop Largo (Adolfo Celi), a SPECTRE commander from detonating two nuclear warheads and sending the world into chaos. Bond heads down and meets two girls, Fiona (Luciana Paluzzi) and Domino (Claudine Auger) who both help and hurt him in his quest to stop Largo. The film has several underwater sequences including a final epic underwater fight that is the most fun the film ever has.

Thunderball is mostly boring. There is not much going on and there is hardly no action until the final sequence. All the focus is on the Bond girls it seemed like to me, and they are both barely discernible from each other. It just seems like it goes on for a long time. And the film gets off to a weird and slow start. Connery is not as strong as he is in Goldfinger but the thing that bothered me the most was the villain.

Largo is a member of SPECTRE. He is the basis of the Number Two character in Austin Powers (in fact there are several things in this movie that Myers took inspiration from). But there is no motive. There is no reason that Largo is doing what he is doing. I guess that you are supposed to just assume that he is evil but I'm used to more complex villains like Darth Vader and even Silva from Skyfall. It just seems so weak. And with someone that wants to kill a million people, you expect that they either have a reason or they are just crazy. Largo has neither. It just seems like there isn't enough there for a villain and that this guy just felt like killing people. I don't know, I wasn't a fan.

The only fun part of Thunderball is the underwater fight sequence at the end of the film. It's such a cheesy end to the film that it only feels right for a poor movie. There is a bunch of spears and guns and sharks and it is really stupid. But it is a lot of fun.

Thunderball has a few good things about it. I liked the theme song and the opening credits sequences and the ending but that is not enough to justify a watch. There are plenty more Bond films that are better than this one.

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