This ones an odd fellow of the bunch to talk about. It has a history to it being made and when it finally debuted in 83 against the "official" Bond movie at the time Octopussy it did leave some people confused. Suffice to say a rival production had the rights to make the film and even though the films weren't released at the same time, Octopussy walked home the winner, but that doesn't mean this Bond doesn't have a few tricks up it's sleeve.
Long story short. When the original Thunderball book was written, a man named Kevin McClory helped cowrite the story and Ian Fleming never gave credit to McClory for the story and this was around the time that the books' rights were being sold to MGM to be made into movies. McClory won a court battle that said that he could make a Bond movie as long as it was based on his Thunderball story. It took some time, but after almost being called Warhead, it was finally a done deal in 83 and McClory even got Sean Connery to return to the role he said goodbye to 12 years ago with the promise of more creative control and a big paycheck. While some things like the gunbarrel opening and characters names were copywritten and unable to be used, the story is largely the same with some twists.
The movie opens with an older James Bond going through wargame exercises under the stiff eye of the new "M" who finds little need for the Double O dept and thinks that if Bond is going to be of any use, he'd better cut the fat on his diet and lose some weight at the Shrublands Health Clinic. While there he witnesses some strange occupants and a threat against his life is even made when Bond starts snooping around and find's evidence that S.P.E.C.T.R.E. is up to no good and is preparing to steal two atomic bombs from a NATO base. M is left with little choice but to send Bond on assignment where he runs into Maxamillion Largo who has spearheaded the operation and Largo's girlfriend Domino, who's brother was involved with the bomb theft.
That is mainly the plot of Thunderball, the original 1965 film and there are some changes for better or worse. 1 is Bond (Connery's version of him) is REALLY going for some laughs here with lines made to many of the characters. Humor wasn't Connery's best strength but I'd be lying if he didn't make me laugh especially with M and the femme fatale Fatima Blush. 2. Is the tone which is lighter and airier then the other film. You don't have that guilatine hanging over your head in that the free world could be at stake if Bond doesn't complete his job. Where NSNA really suffers is where the sign of the times kicks in with really dated computer effects and characters playing arcade game consoles. Bond and Largo even duel in a large banquet table sized 3D shooter. Timely as today's headlines. 3. is Largo. Klaus Maria Brandeur is far more a gentleman and suave then Adolfo Celli's brute thug in the original. Maxamillion Largo (NSNA) can still show his teeth when in danger and still leads his men into battle then Emilio Largo (TB). 4. Is Q Branch. In this movie, Q Branch is far more grounded in what they are supposed to do in the books. They supply forged documents, firearms, your travel information and some other equipment and that lab looks the way I always thought it should, like a real workshop with tools lying around and equipment scattered about ready to be used. 5. and finally is the music. John Barry composed Thunderballs score and Tom Jones belted out it's theme song, and while "Thunderball" isn't the most popular of opening Bond songs, it fairs better then the wave era soundtract with a forgettable and mumbled opening title track sung by....someone.
For me it goes without saying that Never Say Never Again may be a more entertaining movie but Thunderball is a more quality product. Thunderball just needed an edit or too to cut out a lot of dead wood underwater scenes but NSNA's problems stem from reeking of the 80's in it's music and video games and set pieces. Both movie have nice action, sexy women and the same overall plot but Thunderball definitely had the better mood where NSNA just is an easier watch. Director Irvin Krishner (you know, the Emprie Strikes Back director) still crafted a nice movie here but it should be said that Thunderball should Never be remade again.
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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