Bonding with Bond, Day 4: Thunderball

One intrepid RT editor is watching all of the James Bond films in order.

by | October 24, 2008 | Comments

Today is Day 4 of my journey, and I’ll be talking about Thunderball and some of the things I’ve noticed about the franchise in general.


Thunderball (1965)

ThunderballIntro3

I have to say, I’ve really liked the opening credit sequences thus far. They’re thematic, yet consistent in style, and they establish a trademark of sorts on the franchise. Dr. No started it all with the credits colorfully projected across the bodies of dancing women, and each successive movie has customized the concept; Goldfinger‘s women were appropriately slathered in gold paint, for example, and now with Thunderball, the credits are displayed amidst a backdrop of women tumbling underwater. Great execution of a novel idea.

So now, having watched 4 Bond movies, I’ve made some general observations I’d like to share, even if they’re not entirely specific to Thunderball — be warned, spoilers may follow. First, it’s apparent that the opening scenes, which are mostly irrelevant to the rest of the film, exist simply to remind us how amazing 007 is. In Thunderball, he attends the funeral of a colonel who’s killed two of his colleagues and faked his death, choking the life out of the colonel, escaping via jet pack (yes, jet pack), and speeding away in his Aston Martin. A totally irrelevant but blissfully testosterone-packed 5 minutes.


ThunderballJetpack
Secondly, Bond is a sex addict and a bit of a misogynist. He’s hot, he knows he’s hot, and he milks it down to the last homogenized drop. Maybe this was a given for others, and I probably acknowledged the probability of this on some level, but not to the extent that I’ve witnessed in these films so far. I had always pictured him more to be a suave, seductive womanizer, and while he’s certainly that, he takes it to the next level. He will lay any woman he can get his hands on, including the mistresses and operatives of his enemies, often manhandling those who dare to misbehave. In fact, if he knows a woman is out to get him, he’ll get her into bed just because he knows they’ve been told to do whatever it takes to get close to him… and then he’ll kill them or have them arrested.

That each and every one of these ladies conveniently falls in love with Bond feels a bit like a copout way to justify the mysoginy. When he practically rapes Pussy Galore, for example, does she turn right around and fire one off into his swimsuit area? No, and in fact, she ultimately betrays Goldfinger and helps Bond defeat him! The Bond girl in Thunderball, exotic Dominique “Domino” Derval, whose initials are appropriately DD, is the mistress of the film’s main villain, Emilio Largo. As Bond swaggers his way into her life, she falls for him, and next thing you know, she’s planting a harpoon in Largo’s back. Conclusion: Bond’s lovin’ is so righteous, it turns bad girls good.

Thirdly, I have to acknowledge the brilliance of the concept of SPECTRE. By allowing glimpses of Blofeld and populating his rogue’s gallery with a gaggle of peons with generic names, the writers (perhaps Ian Fleming himself, in the books?) have set themselves up with unlimited sequel fodder. I can imagine audiences returning to theaters for each installment in hopes of seeing the ultimate showdown between Bond and the mysterious cat-stroker. What, Largo wants to blow up countries with nukes? That’s wicked and all, but look, there’s this other guy behind the scenes pulling the strings!


ThunderballEmilioLargo

Thunderball is enjoyable, though the plot is a bit simple (“Give me money or I’m gonna blow you and your people to smithereens!”), and the climactic underwater battle is somewhat uninspiring. Bond remains uflinchingly cool; he could suffer a subdural hematoma and still keep right on solving mysteries and snacking on pecans. I think that these first four films I’ve seen will have given me sufficient perspective on the franchise to get a lot out of tonight’s viewing, the “original” Casino Royale, one of the unofficial James Bond movies and a spoof on the agent.

Favorite line: “I think he got the point,” after nailing a would-be assassin to a tree with a spear gun.

Favorite moment: The scene in the clinic when Bond is almost killed by some antiquated physical therapy machine. The hot nurse he’s been flirting with comes in, afraid she’ll get in trouble for allowing it to happen, and Bond tells her he can be convinced not to tattle if she goes to bed with him. I’m sorry, but that’s like something straight out of amateur porn. In other words, incredible.


Other Articles:

Tag Cloud

First Reviews Funimation true crime Classic Film Creative Arts Emmys Music satire marvel cinematic universe action-comedy mission: impossible Arrowverse Apple TV Plus independent New York Comic Con Rocketman cops leaderboard Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Masterpiece ViacomCBS Mary Tyler Moore YA Best and Worst golden globes Cosplay National Geographic FOX ID travel comic books festivals NBA halloween tv feel good TruTV twilight Amazon Prime Video Certified Fresh latino reboot Anna Paquin Fall TV Pop binge heist movie Year in Review Sci-Fi A24 sag awards 71st Emmy Awards ITV Image Comics know your critic wonder woman jamie lee curtis YouTube Premium Trophy Talk 4/20 adventure Columbia Pictures Drama GIFs dramedy Martial Arts dark Fargo 99% Superheroe TCA Awards Neflix period drama foreign hidden camera docudrama Universal Pictures Opinion MSNBC stoner scary international Alien Winter TV video DC streaming service chucky Starz VICE royal family 2020 Elton John Pacific Islander CNN quibi fast and furious OneApp Crunchyroll X-Men Turner Classic Movies Calendar DGA singing competition cancelled television free movies Pop TV target HBO game show suspense Schedule cancelled TV series GoT Polls and Games facebook parents Sony Pictures President superhero spider-verse gangster news comic book movies crime drama VOD hispanic composers Photos Universal south america MTV zero dark thirty venice CBS scorecard 007 CW Seed transformers new zealand ESPN Captain marvel TV Land die hard TLC Epix NBC kaiju Mudbound Spectrum Originals 90s IMDb TV Binge Guide ghosts Superheroes what to watch cars rt labs critics edition ABC rotten movies we love thriller streaming movies 2019 video on demand Women's History Month women Horror screen actors guild Paramount Network remakes vs. Paramount Plus vampires Endgame WarnerMedia doctor who comic DC Comics trophy TIFF TV One archives Chernobyl game of thrones Animation Tarantino Rocky Biopics new star wars movies talk show Reality ABC Signature sports theme song CMT Mindy Kaling critics Adult Swim IFC LGBTQ 45 Teen werewolf stand-up comedy cooking See It Skip It hispanic heritage month spain Logo E! Disney aapi halloween teaser Comics on TV directors technology YouTube Red batman fresh Family Cannes Britbox blockbuster Amazon kids crime thriller cartoon Ovation Marvel FXX Fantasy dogs Red Carpet Pet Sematary Brie Larson Chilling Adventures of Sabrina psychological thriller Toys Amazon Studios Esquire canceled festival green book docuseries Thanksgiving A&E Television Academy Mystery Sneak Peek 21st Century Fox marvel comics 73rd Emmy Awards HBO Go kong psycho Holiday FX First Look Prime Video justice league book TV renewed TV shows dexter nbcuniversal 2015 Freeform Black Mirror comic book movie Emmy Nominations Watching Series posters Christmas new york San Diego Comic-Con revenge Pride Month SDCC debate japanese science fiction boxing all-time 2018 LGBT TCA 2017 book adaptation American Society of Cinematographers BBC America Vudu Awards Tour Shudder tv talk space Paramount Hear Us Out genre HFPA elevated horror live event nature war Comedy Central TV movies razzies Super Bowl Oscars The Purge TV renewals Musical SXSW sequels Film Peacock Comedy laika streaming Academy Awards RT History Disney streaming service series diversity Emmys Hollywood Foreign Press Association Nat Geo blaxploitation prank indiana jones Mary poppins Shondaland concert Dark Horse Comics zombie disaster police drama rotten films E3 DirecTV strong female leads Hallmark mob Fox News OWN USA Network BET worst king kong TNT ABC Family Stephen King movie italian japan golden globe awards Sundance Now anime Valentine's Day aliens VH1 emmy awards Holidays lord of the rings Countdown versus classics serial killer Wes Anderson Rock scene in color historical drama mcc Ghostbusters Box Office boxoffice Ellie Kemper Nickelodeon Star Wars Exclusive Video 2017 unscripted trailers Lifetime The Arrangement miniseries Crackle comiccon Extras Fox Searchlight BET Awards cats Heroines blockbusters 2021 robots Showtime Mary Poppins Returns Western anthology deadpool Tumblr Winners child's play criterion Marvel Television Syfy king arthur hist TCA telelvision Spring TV political drama Tomatazos 79th Golden Globes Awards supernatural BBC One dceu screenings adenture canceled TV shows sequel Rom-Com Turner black comedy CBS All Access documentaries dc El Rey finale 2016 TBS crossover award winner breaking bad GLAAD french Baby Yoda Set visit WGN Discovery Channel Lifetime Christmas movies Reality Competition medical drama Spike popular Walt Disney Pictures Warner Bros. Infographic BBC PlayStation 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards best Television Critics Association children's TV Pixar reviews Food Network crime cinemax animated toy story Trivia Disney Channel nfl RT21 20th Century Fox christmas movies The Witch USA toronto MCU Musicals art house Lionsgate romantic comedy cults indie spy thriller Election spinoff scary movies a nightmare on elm street rt labs cancelled spanish language james bond Writers Guild of America Acorn TV PaleyFest IFC Films television mockumentary rt archives Trailer witnail sitcom name the review Character Guide Hulu universal monsters Amazon Prime harry potter rom-coms documentary HBO Max Hallmark Christmas movies The Academy Apple Awards AMC Plus Summer joker Action movies Black History Month BAFTA 24 frames Disney Plus APB legend SundanceTV The CW Pirates live action asian-american Quiz mutant Travel Channel Legendary AMC YouTube young adult Disney+ Disney Plus NYCC Apple TV+ Comic-Con@Home 2021 monster movies dragons The Walt Disney Company Sundance TV pirates of the caribbean slashers Comic Book romance Podcast Tags: Comedy The Walking Dead Avengers hollywood zombies social media superman Marvel Studios jurassic park cancelled TV shows stop motion franchise godzilla History TCA Winter 2020 dreamworks ratings PBS football 93rd Oscars TCM biopic Video Games Netflix Christmas movies spider-man Tubi high school 72 Emmy Awards Premiere Dates Instagram Live based on movie slasher Grammys spanish politics Star Trek casting natural history DC Universe Nominations adaptation Broadway Bravo Tokyo Olympics 1990s Kids & Family critic resources worst movies olympics discovery sopranos Sundance saw comics Interview richard e. Grant Country Lucasfilm Film Festival biography basketball Cartoon Network comedies black FX on Hulu obituary Marathons Song of Ice and Fire Netflix australia