Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Blog-A-Long-A-Bond #4: Thunderball

Relevance of pre-credit sequence: "That's not a widow, it's a man Baby!". Bond attends the funeral of an enemy only to discover that he's actually not dead and disguised as his grieving wife. Bond kills him and escapes on a jetpack for no other reason than to show off! Standard set piece opener but enemy had links to the continuing SPECTRE subplot running through Connery's Bond films.

Bond song: Thunderball by Tom Jones. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. After Bassey they stick with the Welsh theme and have Jones belting out about his Thunderous Balls!

Time elaspsed before we hear "Bond... James Bond": 1 hour 23 minutes. However it is said by a woman not Bond himself!

Attractiveness of Bond Girls: Bond continues his worrying trend of forcing himself onto women until they give in and sleeps with a woman at the health clinic and a woman working for SPECTRE ("My dear girl, don't flatter yourself. What I did this evening was for Queen and country. You don't think it gave me any pleasure, do you?"). But the prize for sexiest Bond girl so far goes to Domino who is absolutely gorgeous, if a little dim.

Best Innuendo: [Bond is standing in the doorway between their apartments as Fiona takes a bath] Fiona : Aren't you in the wrong room, Mr. Bond? Bond: Not from where I'm standing. Quick mention of the line "I hope we didn't scare the fishes" after we are supposed to believe that Bond and Domino have had sex underwater whilst wearing scuba gear!?!

Best One Liner when despatching a villain: [after shooting Vargas with a spear gun] "I think he got the point."

Best Gadget: The Aston Martin makes a brief reappearance but the best new addition was Bond's jetpack that was only used in the opening scene.

Evilness of villain:  While SPECTRE remains the constant threat, it was personified this time by Emilio Largo who poses not much physical threat (unless he is torturing a defenceless girl) but is backed up by dozens of nameless henchmen who Bond despatches with relative ease.

Feasibility of evil scheme: This one is the more traditional villainous schemes where SPECTRE hold NATO to ransom for, cue pinky, $100 million dollars after they steal two nuclear warheads. Of course, this is entirely plausible because if people leave laptops and USBs with security leaks on them lying around then it is possible that nuclear warheads can go missing.

Does Bond end the film on a boat in a romantic clinch: Of course! After Bond and Domino jump off a boat that is about to crash (along with another person who seems to have been forgotten about, left to drown in the ocean) they have a quick smooch in an inflatable liferaft before getting skyhooked up in the air. Yes, it seems that Nolan might have stolen that bit in The Dark Knight.

Overall I'm not quite sure what to make of Thunderball. I hadn't seen it in years and couldn't remember much about it except for the underwater fight and the fact that it was the one that was remade as Never Say Never Again (that was the Justin Bieber film right?). I was surprised to see that this was the biggest influence on Austin Powers: SPECTRE's lair and the method of dispatching employees who don't come up to scratch, No. 2 who wears an eyepatch and owns a pool of sharks (albeit without laser beams on their heads), etc, etc. However it is very slowly paced compared to the previous films and at 130 minutes it is too long.  Definitely my least favourite of the Bonds so far.

P.S.  Isn't it funny how Sean Connery's toupee differs with each passing film?

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