I'm trying to get through these all in a year, but at my current pace, that isn't going to happen. I'm going to have to have a Bond Marathon some weekend soon to catch up to where I'm supposed to be. I should be watching Roger Moore by now.
THUNDERBALL Bond: Sean Connery - 2 tusks Connery still rocks as Bond, but by this point the luster seems to be fading. The performance isn't quite as inspired as the three previous but that's not a problem as he has a natural gift for this part.
Girl: Claudine Auger as Domino - 2 tusks Although she is only one of four Bond girls in this movie, she is the primary one. Domino harkens back to the Honey Ryder-type Bond Girl from Dr. No although, maybe not quite as innocent either at her introduction or at the end. She winds up being a distinct character and not just another pretty girl to dress up the movie.
I also have a soft spot for the atypical Bond girl role in Paula Caplan. I liked the assistant role and like the idea of a team surrounding Bond. But then, that takes away the uniqueness of Bond.
Gadgets: Rocket Belt & More - 2 tusks The gadgets show up big time in Thunderball starting off big in the opening with the rocket belt and ending with use of several gadgets underwater including the mini-breather. The Aston Martin shows up again briefly and there is the underwater jet pack as well. As I've said before, I prefer a gadget-lite Bond, but here they have usefulness and haven't gone off the deep end as far as believability.
Opening Theme: "Thunderball" performed by Tom Jones - 2 tusks It's Tom Jones. What more is there to say?
Villain: Adolfo Celi as Emilio Largo - 2 tusks The thing I like about Largo is that he was the kind of villain who got into the thick of it. He wasn't just concocting the scheme or sitting safely behind a desk and a control panel. The guy was literally diving into the thick of it and getting this work done. He was "Number Two" and you can see why. He wanted things done right, so he did them himself. And would have had no problems pulling it off if not for Bond.
Pre-title opening sequence - 2 tusks Another mini-adventure sequence in the same style as the opening from Goldfinger. I love it when we get a James Bond short before the movie opens.
Story: This has long been one of my favorite Bond films. It pushes the limit of action without going too much into absurdity. It's a very simple story. It's the classic "villain steals weapons, holds world ransom" plot. By this point in the series, the formula is setting in and it begins to seem somewhat derivative of what we've already seen, but it's "bigness" makes it seem like we haven't seen this. It's a hard movie to top and I don't think it really ever is.
That's not to say the series completely goes downhill after this. There's still Moonraker to look forward to.
[By the way, special bonus tusk for the awesome movie poster artwork by Robert McGinnis and Frank McCarthy. I love McGinnis' poster and book cover artwork from that era.]