vanessa’s review published on Letterboxd:
Movie #4 of For Queen and Country: A Bond-A-Thon
"Do you mind if my friend sits this one out? She's just dead."
Two years after the first appearence of SPECTRE in From Russia with Love the organisation is back although we still don't get to see Blofeld's face. This time they threaten to destroy an English or American city with two stolen nuclear bombs and once again Bond is the only one who could stop them.
If I hadn't seen Thunderball several times before I would expect a quite different movie from the opening sequence. First Bond is fighting a villain who is disguised as a widow - it's becoming a recurring theme that somebody dresses up as somebody else in the opening sequence - and after winning the fight he takes off with a jet pack which is something I'd rather expect in some of the later Bond movies considering the gadgets in the previous movies were mostly pretty normal. But then again maybe the later movies would never had weird gadgets like invisible cars if this movie hadn't started the trend.
I have to say that compared to Shirley Bassey's Goldfinger the song in this movie is a small let-down but Thunderball is still a pretty good song and the credits are beautiful and matches the movie perfectly and the lyrics "any woman he wants he'll get, he will break any heart without regret, his days of asking are all gone." sum up everything I complained about last week.
As for the gadgets, the Aston Martin from Goldfinger is back again although Bond doesn't use it too much since he spends most of the movie in the water. Apart from that Q also gave him a Geiger counter watch and camera, a tape recorder, a tracking device and a gadget that makes it possible for Bond to breathe underwater. Also, that's not a gadget but Q is wearing a pineapple shirt that's better than basically everything Bond is wearing throughout the movie. Together with the jet pack from the opening the MI6 clearly wins the gadget duel against the villains whose most impressive gadget is probably a motorbike with an integrated torpedo.
Now is probably a good time for my weekly James Bond shouldn't be allowed near women rant. Once again he forces himself on a woman and later blackmails her into sleeping with him or he would tell her boss that he almost got killed while she left the room. Like in the previous movie he uses Fiona as a shield when one of her people tries to shoot him although she begged him to leave with her and he could probably have escaped a few minutes later without any bloodshed and although he risked not only killing her but also injuring or killing bystanders or his own death considering using her as a shield could have gone wrong if she had resisted or if the bullet had missed her.
I give these movies a lot of shit for all the sexism but at least the women who are working for the bad guys are usually seen at least to some degree as valuable members of their team while Bond mostly treats every woman around him like an object. And while the female villains in the first movies were mostly bystanders they're slowly getting more and more responsibility.
Usually I'm not the biggest fan of underwater fight scenes because they're so slow but since they were using harpoons for most of the scene I enjoyed the scene more than I thought I would although I have to say that it is almost a little too long.
There are some minor complaints I have about the ending. Firstly the boat is going almost impossibly fast and I don't believe it for a second, and secondly after Domino saves the day and they leave the ship they decide to save the guy who helped her too only to forget about him immediately and leave him alone in the ocean while they fly away.
This was the third time I watched Thunderball and the first time I genuinely loved it, flaws and all. With every movie I enjoy the dynamic between Bond and Moneypenny more and I wish they had more than one or two scenes together. I liked that the villains had sharks because that's exactly what I would do if I were a movie villain and I loved how ridiculous Bond looked in his super short shorts and his weird legless wetsuit.