James Bond(Sean Connery) is back for his fourth mission in a movie which is shot on a large scale and is the first underwater adventure of series. It is not only grandiose but is also beautiful. It is complete with three bond girls each of whom have a substantial presence. The film was a success, earning almost a 150 million worldwide, beating the three previous Bond films. John Stears won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects . Thunderball is, one of the most financially successful movie of the series.
SPECTRE agent Largo(Adolfo Celi) is able to breach into the NATO and get his hands on two nuclear bombs using which SPECTRE no. 1 blackmails the Us and UK governments to pay a huge amount as ransom. Bond is sent after the two warheads to Nassau where he first has to track the location of the bombs, overpower the enemies and ultimately apprehend Largo. In his en-devour he is helped by Domino(Claudia Auger) who has her own personal scores to settle with Largo. Bond also meets a femme fatal in Fiona( Luciana Paluzzi) who would stop at nothing to do her evil master’s will.
Thunderball is a long film and many critics over the years has panned it for its length. However I feel that the movie works big time because of its slow pace which lets the viewer take notice of the beautiful compositions of Bahamas and Paris that the cinematographer captured and the director Terence Young envisioned. Having said that, Thunderball has its share of heart in the mouth moments aplenty. take for instance a sequence where Bond is haplessly tied to a contraption which is said to improve his spine but may have very well killed him. There is moments pause in the visuals as everything liquidates much like the way the character in question might have felt. The climax where commandos are dropped off from a plane into the water and a long shot is used to show how far in the water the adversaries had traveled with the city in the backdrop is sensational. All the underwater sequences are wonderfully filmed and will make you feel that everything was actually for real including the Great Grotto shark sequence.The fact that in the 1960s most of the special effects were created without using computer generated imagery and almost every action had to be performed makes the achievements of Thunderball even more worthy of applause.
Sean Connery seems to be enjoying himself as Bond and this being his fourth film playing the super spy, the comfort levels are clearly visible. Claudia Auger looks alluring and does her bit on the acting front as well. Not that we look for Oscar worthy performances from Bond Girls. Luciana Paluzzi takes up the most attention in the role of a villainous yet seductive assassin who literally gives Bond a run for his money. Adolfo Celi is likable as Largo. he has the perfect looks and attitude for the character.
The plot even though linear and devoid of any twists apart from some in the beginning is still good enough to hold you to your seats and then there is the visuals which will make you forget many flaws including a love making scene underwater wearing full scuba gears. Bond films are not known to make complete sense but this one scene could have easily been done away with as this sticks out like sore thumb and an insult to the logics of the writer and director.
Overall, Thunderball is a decent watch if not for anything else then for the visuals.