Well, that was disappointing. Though, after the masterpiece that was Goldfinger, it’s not surprising that I found Thunderball a huge step down for 007.
If I could sum up 1965’s Thunderball in one word, it would be: Fine. It’s not great. It’s not bad. It’s fine. Overall, it’s not very memorable, and I honestly forgot all about it as I kept going about my marathon. I do like that it expands the intrigue around SPECTRE, and while they’re overly long, I found the underwater sequences impressive for the time period (the scene were a hijaked plane lands on the ocean and then sinks to the bottom was pretty cool and inspired).
The plot itself is a bit ho-hum, and the film plods along for quite some time without much actually happening. It certainly doesn’t help that Adolfo Celi’s Emile Largo, the villain of the film and SPECTRE’s second-in-command, is underwhelming (despite a good performance). Thunderball is the longest of Connery’s Bond films, and definitely feels that way. Hell, even Connery himself seems tired of the role, and is lacking the charisma he displayed just one film ago. That and he looks rather embarrassed when he dons that stupid jetpack early on in the movie.
The film is almost saved by the incredibly cool (but, again, overly long) underwater harpoon fight though. Can’t say I’ve ever seen anything quite like that before!
Here’s to hoping that You Only Live Twice takes things back up a notch or two…