johnlink ranks THUNDERBALL (1965)

I didn’t grow up watching all of the Bond films. They were sort of off my radar. I’ve since been picking them off one by one, and it is probably the only movie series out there that I don’t care which order I see them in. Though I love Daniel Craig in the role, Sean Connery will always be James Bond.


I watched THUNDERBALL (1965) on 3.11.14. It was my first viewing of the film.

When agents of the villainous SPECTRE steal a couple of nuclear missiles, the entire range of ’00s’ is called in. One such, of course, is 007, James Bond (Sean Connery). Initially put on an assignment which seems off the main target, Bond gets the powers that be to allow him to follow a hunch. He ends up, of course, in the thick of the action.

The villain is Largo (Adolfo Celi), an eye-patch wearing top henchman known as Number One (more on that in a minute). There are Bond girls of course. There’s the good like Domino (Claudine Auger), the bad such as Fiona (Luciana Paluzzi), and the cannon fodder known as Paula (Martine Beswick). Everything follows the normal Bond formula so ticking off plot points would only serve to ruin the fun.

Fans of the AUSTIN POWERS series will find comfort here. The cat stroking unseen head of SPECTRE is featured in a cameo. His Number One (spoofed as Number Two in AUSTIN POWERS) becomes the lead bad guy, which does make the entire thing a little less ominous. The film doesn’t feel outdated despite having been parodied. And a nice scene which has all of the ’00s’ meeting in a single room nicely parallels the meeting of all of the SPECTRE agents.

The climactic underwater battle in THUNDERBALL isn’t the best Bond finale. It is slow moving and a little underwhelming. The journey there is fun, though, so it’s not like this is a drag of a movie. There is more intrigue than action in this Bond, and this isn’t a terrible thing.

Connery wears the suit comfortably by this, his fourth, Bond film. He is as good as he is in anything else. But this is a typical fourth entry in a movie series in that it isn’t going for anything that will break the mold. The best that can be said is that the hand-to-hand fighting seems to have seen an uptick in realism over the previous entries.

Auger’s Domino is a wonderful good-Bond-Girl, though her voice had to be dubbed by Nikki Van der Zyl (who did the same for Ursula Andress in DR. NO). This wasn’t obvious in watching it, but it sort of sucks to realize in retrospect. So, you know, don’t read this previous paragraph. Sorry.

All in all, this is a perfectly find James Bond film. It is in a tier below GOLDFINGER, to be sure, but there are much much worse ways to pass an evening than to visit THUNDERBALL.





~ by johnlink00 on March 13, 2014.

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