I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most current. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. These aren’t reviews, just thoughts. I encourage you to hop aboard. The James Bond film franchise is one of the largest out there. They’ve been around for 50 years for a reason. Let’s get started!
Thunderball was a Bond film that pushed the boundaries, as underwater filming was utilized for multiple extensive sequences. Unfortunately, this bold decision to film underwater backfired against the cleanliness and speed of the narrative. The scenes where characters were submerged (save for one with only Bond, a goon, and sharks) dragged on for too long. The makers of this film overstepped their bounds too soon, as I see it.
Regardless, Thunderball displayed the desire of the filmmakers to reach new heights (and depths) with Bond. It is the first Bond film to truly push the envelope.
In terms of gadgets, Bond gets more of them, but they aren’t too spectacular. Tricked out scuba gear isn’t enough to impress me, especially after a JETPACK was teased in the opening scene and never utilized again.
I must mention that the Bond girl in this film was incredibly hot. Just had to throw that out there.
Thunderball was certainly a hard regression from its predecessor, Goldfinger, largely due to the dragged out water sequences. Director Terence Young is to blame for that, as he has proven in the past that his ability to keep the narrative moving is poor. Bringing him back aboard the franchise was a big mistake, in my opinion.
Bond doesn’t change much in this film. He still womanizes, he still lives dangerously, and he still gets work done. Thunderball’s place in the Bond franchise is simple: It’s the first to push to envelope and strive for something larger than itself. I smell grand action sequences in the future.