Monday, March 09, 2009

Saturday Is Bond Day #4: Thunderball

"This is the best underwater fight ever!" yelled out one of my sons near the end of Thunderball -- and from that I take the lesson that they're still quite happy to watch early James Bond movies.

(Though we're taking a break next week, to get to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and then I'll be away for two weekends -- so the Bond streak will be broken until at least early April.)

Thunderball is the underwater one, set mostly in and around Nassau in the Bahamas -- making this the second time in four movies that the series is poking around the Caribbean. (I didn't notice that when I was a kid, and I suspect one of the reasons for the so-quick return trip may have been to have more excuses to have Connery walking around without a shirt.)

This movie also continues the overall SPECTRE plot, after the sidebar story of Goldfinger, and is filled with things that immediately became cliches, particularly the scene where a half-seen Blofeld (only called Number One in this movie; a hat tip to Thing 1 who remembered his name) strokes his white Persian cat, browbeats his numbered minions, and kills one of them via push-button.

The plot is fairly simple: SPECTRE stole two nuclear weapons by taking over a NATO fighter, and is threatening to blow up a US or UK city if not given a hundred million pounds. Bond and his fellow agents fan out quickly to search for clues, and our man James, of course, is the one who finds them -- with SPECTRE's Number Two, a middle-aged guy with an eyepatch named Emilio Largo. Bond is sure Largo has the weapons, but he has to both find them and prove it before he can call in the cavalry.

He does, of course, leading to the aforementioned big fight, where a whole lot of paratrooping SCUBA soldiers battle the marauding hordes of SPECTRE, who are trying to get one of the bombs to Miami.

This was the longest of the movies -- two hours and a few minutes -- which led Thing 2 to start asking how much more movie there was at about the one-hour mark. He stayed in the room, though -- and the big battle at the end, I think, made it all worth it. (And there wasn't as much "kissing" in this one as the last couple, which kept them quieter.)

I definitely expect the boys will like the Roger Moore movies better -- they're flashier, and move faster, as I recall -- but I'm still glad we started with Connery, as God and Ian Fleming decreed.

(Yes, I know Fleming didn't really want Connery. But it's still a good line.)


Unknown said...

Oh, my wife and I just watched this over the weekend...and I think it might be the first time I've actually seen it...

I had just read the book last month.

Paul Weimer said...

I wonder how different the Bond canon would have turned out if, say, Patrick McGoohan had been picked as the first Bond rather than Connery.

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