Starring: Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi
Director: Terence Young
Running Time: 130 mins
Thunderball is a British film and the fourth instalment in the James Bond series. Following an elaborate robbery of two nuclear warheads by an agent of SPECTRE, Bond must travel to the Caribbean to prevent the evil organisation from launching the weapons and save the world.
This may not be the most beloved of all the Bond films, but it features everything that we do love about 007. A mad, preposterous plot about the fate of the world, a madman with nuclear capabilities, great gadgets, and a dashing hero coming to save the day. That all makes it a lot of fun to watch throughout, even if the story itself isn’t particularly interesting or consistently exciting.
However, let’s start with why this film is a right laugh to watch. The story is split into two main acts, the first is Bond’s discovery of this diabolical plan, and the second his efforts to bring it down, and throughout both of them, you get all of the classic best bits of Bond that you just love to see.
Whether it’s seducing every woman he meets in the first hour of the film in the most ridiculous fashion, or the fact that half of the entire film takes place underwater, with the classically clichéd ‘undersea lair’ making a return, or even the countless innuendo used every which way by Sean Connery, there’s so much to laugh at and have a good time with in this film, and, in the end, that’s what you really want from a big-budget action film.
The entertainment factor is high enough to distract you from the relatively average story line, so there’s no doubting that this is a massively enjoyable film to watch in the end.
However, we do have to talk about the story too, and it isn’t that great. It’s not awful in any Quantum Of Solace sort of way, but it’s overrun by the endless use of Bond clichés cultivated during the first three films, and isn’t really that exciting or unpredictable at any moment.
Fortunately, the 007 formula is one that we all love, and that’s what makes this entertaining, but putting too much emphasis on just coolness and not effective storytelling (a half-hour long underwater fight with no dialogue, for example, isn’t that engaging to watch) ultimately falls a little flat, and that’s why this just isn’t as good a Bond film as some of the more renowned classics, and that’s why it gets a 7.5 from me.