Thunderball (1965) – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Directed by: Terence Young

Spoiler Free

  • Bond: Moneypenny, next time I see you I’ll put you across my knee.
  • MoneyPenny: On yoghurt and lemon juice… ahaha… I can hardly wait.

Can someone please explain this piece of dialogue to me. What does it mean?  Does it make sense and I’m just missing the joke? Was it two random piece of dialogue haphazardly cut together? Is it code for something? It is a spy movie after all. It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen in a Bond movie and that’s saying something. Especially in this movie of assassins in drag and jet-packs, and that’s just in the first ten minutes.

With said jet-pack, as well as the mass underwater brawl, the seeds of silliness are sewn.  All the previous Bond films had been eccentric and but Thunderball occasionally slips into the ridiculous, with occasional glimpses of the horror that is Moonraker. It retains its grip however, and falls somewhere in the top half of the canon. Terrence Young achieves the goal of watchable, hollow, entertainment.

The plot revolves around some bombs or something, doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that Thunderball features one of the more inventive forms of assassination attempts on 007’s life. I would have given the film a perfect score if Bond had been killed via weird stretching machine. One wonders why such a machine would go up to ‘pulled-about-a-bit to death’ levels but nevertheless Bond comes out of it okay and with enough energy to blackmail a girl into sex just a few minutes later.

If there is anything distinctive about Thunderball it’s probably the inception of the really grandiose, now iconic, set designs. When Bond walks into the meeting with all the other double O agents, all with their backs to the camera, it adds a nice touch of theatricality. I also liked that Bond sits in the seventh chair in from the left, clearly someone put some thought into it. Spectre’s Paris headquarters make for a nice pastiche of corporate boardrooms, complete with murder chairs. Although it’s always seemed counter productive, to me at least, when evil organisations kill off their top people when they so much as cough the wrong way. Surely your killing off your best people at a faster rate than you can train up replacements. Then there’s the lack of team moral and loyalty to the cause that stems from such flagrant disregard for life, and that’s without even considering the pressure induced psychological afflictions numbers 2 through 15 must be suffering. No wonder they keep being foiled by one slightly drunk Scottish man.

Rating – 55/100

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