Thunderball (1965) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Thriller
MGM || PG - 130 minutes - $34.98 || October 21, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-11-14


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Terence Young
Writer(s): Kevin McClory and Jack Whittingham and Ian Fleming (story), Richard Maibaum and John Hopkins (screenplay)
Cast: Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi, Luciana Paluzzi, Rik Van Nutter, Bernard Lee, Desmond Llewelyn


Theatrical Release Date: December 29, 1965


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 2 Feature Commentaries
  • The Incredible World of James Bond
  • A Guide to Blowing Up a Motor Car
  • On Location with Ken Adam
  • Bill Suitor: The Rocket Man Movies
  • Thunderball Boat Show Reel
  • Selling Bonds


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Mono), Spanish (Mono)
  • Subtitles:

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.::THE FILM::.

The fourth entry into the Bond series winds up being the third released on Blu-ray (skipping the excellent Goldfinger for some odd reason). From what others have told me Thunderball is known as the "underwater Bond" and they were right. A good chunk of the film takes place underwater. But that does not mean the film is a dud - far from it!

After taking down one of the SPECTRE ("Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion") members, Bond is ushered off to a place where he is supposed to be relaxing. While there he manages to stumble into a scheme where SPECTRE plans to take control of a plane carrying two atomic bombs and make the World (really, the World?) pay an extreme amount of money or they plan on using them. When Bonds tells his bosses he knows what going on and has some secret intel they usher him off to stop the evil plans of SPECTRE. That's when Bond finds himself with several ladies who madly want him and more underwater scenes then a SeaWorld video!

I enjoyed Thunderball for so many reasons. For one, I think it was one of Connery's best Bond films. He seemed to be "at his best" here and much more believable than in Dr. No or From Russia with Love. Second, it has Domino in it who seems to be by far the best of the Bond girls I have seen and I really enjoyed her part (and swimsuit) in the plot of the film. Third, the gadgets. Bond, once again, manages to have a single gadget that without it - he would be done for. From the Aston Martin that squirts water, to the jetpacks, to the underwater breathing device Bond has it all!

The only downfall is the fact that so much of the film takes place underwater. While I did enjoy some of the scenes - the climactic battle underwater dragged on a bit too long (10 minutes?!?) and it became almost a pain to watch. When we finally got to see Bond again on board the yacht, we were treated to some silly effects like the boat losing control and the final scene where they are on the raft is a little to cheesy even for my tastes.

Regardless, Thunderball is still an excellent entry into the Bond series and remains one of my favorites from the six that MGM has released on Blu-ray this far.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

All Special Features are presented in SD unless otherwise noted.

Worth noting is that Thunderball comes with a very attractive slip cover as well as a code to get a free ticket to see Quantum of Solace in theaters.

Commentary with Director Terence Young and Others
Commentary with Editor Peter Hunt, Screenwriter John Hopkins and Others

The Incredible World of James Bond (1965) (49 Minutes), A Guide to Blowing up a Motor Car (1965) (18 Minutes), On Location with Ken Adam (13 Minutes), Bill Suitor: The Rocket Man Movies (5 Minutes), Thunderball Boat Show Reel (3 Minutes), Selling Bonds (1965 TV Commercials) - Most of this is your standard "fluff" material but I still found it pretty enjoyable. The Incredible World of James Bond is worth a way as is the Guide to Blowing up a Motor Car (the father oddly looks like the Janitor from "Scrubs"). The TV commercials were by far my favorite features from the Declassified set that is advertisements for some James Bond materials (like a pen, pants etc.)

007 Mission Control (007, Women, Allies, Villains, Mission Control Manual, Q Branch, Exotic Locations)

- - Each selection above takes you into sub-categories where you pick scenes from the film. Yeah, this acts as a "favorite scene" type feature. Yawn.

The Making of Thunderball (30 Minutes; HD), The Thunderball Phenomenon (30 Minutes; HD), The Secret History of Thunderball (5 Minutes; HD) - The meat of the feature comes in the forum of two documentaries which just us a great look at how the film was made as well as numerous changes that took effect for different markets. These have all been remastered in HD as well!

Ministry of Propaganda (Theatrical Archive, TV Broadcast, Radio Communications)

Also included a very comprehensive Image Database.

This is one of the worst menu designs I have ever seen. I had trouble navigating through it and not even sure if I managed to find all the special features. What a pain. Giving the certain areas "cute" names is, well, cute, but it does not help when you want to watch a specific feature and have no idea where to look for it. Several times it caused my player to freeze or go simply garble the picture.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Thunderball is presented in its Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 (AVC/MPEG4) on a 50GB Disc. Considering the movie over 40 years old... you will be amazed at the picture quality. Sure, some scenes look a bit worse than others (the jet pack scene at the start and some towards the end) but you will be glad to know that Bond has never looked this good. I did notice a few lines that would randomly appear every once in a while, but it looks like a print issue and not transfer.

MGM has provided an excellent English DTS MA 5.1 Track as well as a French 5.1 Dolby Digital Track and for those movie enthusiasts, the original English and Spanish Mono tracks. Once again another fine sounding track that keeps dialog nice and clear most of the time with a great sense of realism. I did have to change the volume every once and a while because the soundtrack became a bit too loud or dialog too low.



.::OVERALL::.

Out of the six classic Bonds MGM releases so far, Thunderball remains my favorite. With a great plot, solid acting, and some need Bond gadgets itís sure to belong in any ones collection. The Blu-ray boasts some impressive picture quality and a huge assortment of special features.