James Bond Movie Challenge: Thunderball

As you know, I’ve committed to watching all of the James Bond movies. So, when I came home from the retreat, while the boys napped, I watched Thunderball.


Spoilers ahead, but this is a movie from the 1960s so I think that’s fair game.

So, this movie starts out with a funeral of a guy – my thoughts, am I supposed to know who this guy is? Cause I don’t ha. And then almost immediately Bond realizes that the woman is really the guy, who apparently faked his own death and kills him like right away. The technology in this is very cheesy and I kind of love it. Jet packs, a car that sprays water and has like a bulletproof shield that goes up. I kind of love that cheesy old technology. Like the villains’ headquarters that has a front as charity and the guy is embezzling from the villains and they kill him in his chair and then lower it away. And I love the fake seaweed to hide a giant plane underwater. It’s great. The tape recorder hidden in the book.

As usual, women are really sexualized in this movie. For example, the nurse is examining him for injuries to his rib cage/spine and he just starts kissing her. Not cool, Bond, not cool. And getting close to the women to get information, using his charms and wiles. There are many more examples. The women do have delightful outfits though – so classy.

There’s also a scene with a spine stretching machine and the villain turns it all the way up to torture Bond. That was weird. Was that a real thing? I don’t know. And then he makes the nurse sleep with him so that Bond doesn’t tell. Ick. And then he gets back at the villain by turning up his heat treatment. It’s very weird.

I also always feel like I never know quite, 100 percent, what’s really going on in these movies. Like who are these people? What are they doing? Why are they fighting Bond? Am I just not paying good enough attention that these things aren’t always immediately obvious or is that on purpose?

Also when they made this movie shaky camera was apparently very much a thing and I haaaaate shaky camera.

Best parts: when Bond describes himself as a “licensed troubleshooter.” Well, that’s one way to put it haha. Like he does have some very witty and punny lines and I really love that.

In some ways I think James Bond is just like Inspector Gadget but for grownups. Silly technology. SPECTRE vs. MAD. Etc.

I still struggle to find the appeal in these movies. They are so cheesy and cliche in some ways. The villain in this one, Mr. Largo, actually has a swimming pool with sharks in it that he uses to kill henchmen. And the blood sometimes looks so fake. And underwater fight scenes are so slow and quiet haha.

Overall Thunderball was an okay movie. I didn’t love it, I feel kind of meh on it, but not terrible either.

Have you seen Thunderball? What did you think of it? 

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