Thunderball (1965)

THUNDERBALL (1965)
Article #1620 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-21-2005
Posting Date: 1-18-2006
Directed by Terence Young
Featuring Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi

James Bond tries to discover who was responsible for the theft of two atomic bombs which are being held for ransom.

Because of their marginal science fiction elements, I will most likely be covering all of the James Bond movies sooner or later. The only real surprise I have so far is that this is only the second one I’ve covered, especially given the plethora of Italian knock-offs that have passed my way. Maybe it’s just as well; at heart, I don’t really enjoy covering these movies, largely because I’m in the minority opinion as far as these things go. In short, I’m not particularly partial to them; I don’t think they’re the coolest movies ever made, and I can’t think of a single moment in my life where I actually felt that a Bond movie would be just the right thing for me at that moment. To me, they seem like homogenized male fantasies of sex and violence put forth with a certain degree of shameless cockiness; they’re shallow (by design) but incredibly stylish. They’re certainly not badly made, and there are individual moments that are quite wonderful. Furthermore, because the fantasy does have a certain appeal, the movies can hold my interest for a little while, but I have yet to see one that really holds it for the length of the movie; somewhere at the halfway point, my attention starts to flag. Maybe if they were shorter…

At any rate, because the series doesn’t generate a strong reaction to me, I have trouble telling them apart; each one pretty much looks like the others to me. As a result, I find it difficult to comment on them. About my only real gauge of quality I have is to how good the villains and subvillains are, and on this level, this one is a bit of a disappointment. Adolfo Celi is mostly memorable for throwing people to the sharks and his eyepatch, and his hired thugs are singularly uninteresting compared to Oddjob. Yet at heart, I don’t think the movie works for me any less than some of the others, and the only real problem is that the underwater fight scenes do get particularly tiresome; I can only see so many scenes of spearguns going off before I nod off. If I have any hobby at all during these movies, it’s trying to see how many different actors end up playing Felix Leiter at one time or another during the series.

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