Thunderball ★★½

James Cameron must’ve shit his pants when he first saw this...

This one reminded me a lot of Dr. No in that it felt more like a sketch filled with Bond tropes than a separate entity. But Dr. No was a humble template of was what to come. This is so self-indulgent and self-aware of its tropes (plus it’s very long) that drowns (haha...) in the piles of money that was thrown into making it. 

It’s the first of Connery’s I haven’t liked, but it might be the most representative of the franchise as a whole (and the many parodies that follow). Starting out, it’s immediately apparent that this made in a post Goldfinger universe where Bond embraces the goofiness of his world. He has a jet pack! But most of the silly hijinks are not as fun as it’s predecessor, which was much leaner and stylish. Like some of the Brosnan’s, this has weird mix dark stakes and pulpy nonsense. Bond for example just coldly leaves a dead girl with an unsuspecting couple. Then there’s the sexism. It switches from something that still feels somewhat wrong in the movie universe to being out right embraced. He sexually assaults the nurse in the beginning and then after he’s saved from the back stretcher machine (???), he does the same thing and gets rewarded for it. Not great... Yet this generally becomes what a Bond film is.

If it sounds like I’m getting a little tired after watching 3 of these, Connery is right there with me. He goes through the motions and you can tell he’s getting bored with the character. Young too with his third outing seems bored with him too, eschewing character development of Bond and the eye patches villain for underwater photography and technological filmmaking advances (again, very much like Cameron films).

I did love the behind my the scenes peak at Spectre and their bureaucratic evil meeting. The panovision cinematography and under the sea footage in this 4K restoration is admittedly very pretty too. But there’s a reason why there aren’t more underwater action scenes in movies. (The only good one I can think of is in Top Secret...). Ultimately, it was sporadically entertaining but very bloated entry that sets a precedent for Bond to come.

added to: BOND... RANKED BOND...

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