We open up on….James Bond’s funeral?!?! No, just another person’s funeral with his initials, since James is hanging out in an alcove with some Frenchy. He observes some people leaving, who end up at a goddamn palatial estate. The value of one room in this place would set me up for life. Bond is already there, somehow, and he walks up to the grieving, veiled widow offering his condolences before punching her in the face. I thought he would have gotten some counseling between the last movie and now about his many, many evident issues with women. Undeterred, the widow picks up a chair and smashes him but good with it. So he topples a cabinet on her. Upon unveiling her, it turns out to be a him, and they throw furniture at each other that’s probably worth as much as a college tuition.
Bond and this guy just beat the living hell out of each other, until Bond breaks his neck with a poker. Before splitting, he throws roses on the dead guy, then runs off. But whaaaaaaat? James Bond has a goddamn jetpack?!? He flies away–
Nothing to do here
To his escape car and the French lady. While some henchmen run over to his car, he puts up a shield from the back (that’s not a woman) and sprays them with water(?) to knock them over. AND NOW IT’S THE OPENING CREDITS! To a woman swimming around underwater, and (unfortunately) a male singer whose voice sounds like Velveeta. Nothing against male singers, but Bond movies are already hyper-masculine, and a female singing the theme song softens it just a bit. Anyway, I’m not too crazy about this opening sequence, or the song. First one I don’t like in the series! But that jetpack was pretty cool.
Still in Paris, a man with a pretty sweet eyepatch parks wherever he wants to and enters an office for displaced persons. He opens a secret entrance to a gigantic room, and lo and behold, this is a SPECTRE meeting, led by an obscured Blofeld (you can tell it’s him because he’s petting a white cat). The various numbered associates go over their financial gains, and Blofeld doesn’t like one of the guys’ figures, so he pushes a button and electrocutes him. Then a trap door opens to dispose of the corpse. I’m getting that “I hate Mike Myers” feeling again but tamp it down for the sake of this recap.
We get it, Mike Myers. You watched a few movies once.
And also because that scene’s over with and James Bond is back on-screen! He’s getting a massage and glimpses a weird mark on another man’s arm, so he calls Moneypenny and describes the mark for investigation. They also flirt a little because I think it’s in their contract with the OSS. Bond goes snooping in this posh resort he’s staying at, presumably still in Paris (although I can’t tell because nobody’s spoken in an outrageous accent around him yet), and hides from someone wrapped up like the Invisible Man.
Bond steals a grape before exiting this suite, which is kinda funny, and then looks at an x-ray while sexually harassing the nurse that’s inspecting him. He just…forces a kiss on her (oh God, Bond, what the fuck?) but she pulls away because what the fuck, Bond? I’m really looking forward to the later movies to get past this grabby assault bullshit that Connery’s Bond is constantly doing.
She has Bond get on a spine stretcher(?) and he starts grilling her about who the Invisible Man is, but she doesn’t know. The stretcher starts, and in no way could this be healthy or helpful in anybody ever. It’s like those old-timey “weight loss” machines that were basically belt sanders that you wrapped around your waist. The man with the strange symbol on his wrist that he met earlier slips into the room and turns the machine all the way up, which, why would this setting even be on something like this? It’s just vigorously jostling the muscles and bones in a body up and down.
How would this machine help anybody, again?
He shouts for help before passing out, and the nurse he harassed earlier comes in. She’s apologetic for this crazy bullshit that wasn’t her fault at all, so he blackmails her for sex so she won’t lose her job. And she goes through with it! And I feel like I need a shower or something. How unpleasant. What a sexual predator.
So Bond sees that guy that tried to turn his spine into jelly earlier in one of those old-timey steam boxes. Does this resort exist in 1915? He turns it all the way up, jams a broom in the handles, and leaves him to die. Back in somebody’s room we haven’t seen yet, some guy is making out with a woman and he gets a call that says he needs to leave right now. What is going on? Did the film switch reels on me to something else? You need the audience to know what’s going on. Anyway, this guy is a pilot, but someone who looks exactly like him is outside the door waiting for him and kills him with a gas gun. The woman and the body double get down to spy business: she gives him some gadgets and money, while another guy steals his watch. For drug money? It’s not explained.
Anyway, this dude says, I went through a lot of shit to look like this guy (hey! It’s the Invisible Man!), and he demands more money for the job. The woman says whatever, we’re going to kill you after this anyway, and he goes off to do awful things for money. Like we all do in lifey! They wrap the dead guy in Invisible Man bands while the imposter heads to an RAF briefing. He’s going to be part of a crew that’s flying a new aircraft that’s equipped with two atomic bombs.
The Invisible Man/sleeping in your bed/who you gonna call?
But enough of that: here’s Bond smoothing down his assault victim with a mink glove(?). Bond glimpses some weird shit going down outside (as opposed to the weird shit going on in his room), with a body being snuck in. He gets dressed and leaves this poor woman that he blackmailed into sex. She says, “You most be joking,” with such disgust and contempt that my opinion of Bond sinks to previously unknown levels.
He sneaks around, spying (of course), and comes across the freshly delivered corpse. A man behind the wall with a pistol keeps quiet as James goes to the phone to presumably make a call, but nope, he just smashes a guy’s hand and head in that was trying to come through the window. How would he know that was going to happen, though? This entry’s James Bond is really loose with making sense. Or being a halfway decent person.
He pulls the fire alarm, which rouses everyone, and the poor blackmailed assault victim comes up to him as pissed off as possible because she knows he’s a major-league scumbag. So he insinuates they should have more sex.
Back in the sky, far away from Creep Bond, our imposter shifts around and takes a seat at the cockpit of this plane and is totally not looking suspicious at all. He puts nerve gas into the oxygen supply, killing the rest of the crew, and then hauls ass to Lollapalooza with the plane and its nuclear bombs.
“Dum dee doo, not an imposter, everything’s fine…what’s this dial do, again?”
Back at RAF Headquarters, the…admirals? Captains? I don’t know how RAF rankings work. Anyway, these two wildly British men react to the news that one of their planes carrying two nuclear bombs has gone missing the same as if they heard that their local pub has run out of crisps.
Imposter lands the plane on the ocean and near a SPECTRE ship. It starts sinking and the imposter looks pretty freaked out. Finally coming to rest on the ocean floor (the pressure must be unbelievable, but then again he’s in a plane that’s built for high altitudes, so I guess it would shield him from it), he opens the hatch but can’t get himself free from his belt. An operative that’s scuba dived down there ostensibly to rescue him cuts his airline instead. See? THAT’S why you don’t blackmail people! (Ya hear me, Bond? Freak.)
So an adorable little submarine zips over to the plane and SPECTRE agents retrieve the two nuclear bombs. The little sub goes brrrrriiiip And it’s just the cutest instrument of evil I’ve seen in a while. I’m going to call it Brippy.
I heart Brippy!
This underwater stuff is not nearly as interesting as I think the filmmakers thought it would be. The SPECTRE agents take their time nailing the plane down under a camouflage net, and then Brippy gets back into its docking station while Eyepatch jib-jabs and sets a course…TO DANGER!!! Or another secret SPECTRE location, as usual.
Bond splits from his vacation in Paris and says goodbye to his assault victim, zooming off in his Aston Martin. He bluescreen zooms down the road, getting fired at by yet another assassin, but with his tricked-out hot wheels he simply pops open his consul and thinks about which button to push. Before he can, however, a masked motorcyclist does the job for him, blowing up the assassin’s car. We follow the cyclist to a lake, and hey, it’s that lady that which killed that guy and put the imposter in place! I have no idea what her name is! She ditches her wheels and…I guess the whole point of that scene is so we know she’s that lady from before.
Bond arrives at M’s offices, looks to toss his hat across the room, but is bummed out when he sees that the hat rack is just there, right by the entrance. He looks disappointed as he just places his hat on the rack like
Moneypenny lets him know that there’s a bunch of 00 agents having a meeting in the grand room next door, and again: this room is more expensive than my entire life, past, present, and future. They listen to a tape from Blofeld, who is holding the world hostage with the two nukes and demands $100 million dollars (well, pounds sterling, but still). So either they get those bombs back before the deadline or it’s explosion time somewhere. Yes, $100 million is a rather ridiculously low amount of money to ask for, but this is in 1965 dollars, Mike Myers! (Now I just argue with an imaginary Mike Myers when anything reminds me of Austin Powers in this movie).
Bond leafs through his assignment, and the operation code name is Thunderball (Hey! The title of this movie!). Bond assigns M to Canada, but he says fuck that, send me to Nassau because it’s nice there. He explains that the pilot in one of the dossier’s photos is dead and the woman in the photo, his sister, is in Nassau. It’s this kind of sleuthing that gets him paid the big bucks. I assume. Moneypenny and Bond have more flirting as usual, but M walks in just when Moneypenny calls him an old man, so Bond beats feet toot sweet outta there…
To beautiful, tropical Nassau! Where the coral reefs are teeming with healthy life because it’s 1965 and we hadn’t strangled this planet’s natural world to death yet. There’s Bond, swimming around the coral reef and spying on a woman who caught a ride on the back of a giant sea turtle. This is the past I ache for, when the natural world was still in good shape. He saves the woman from her foot being stuck in the reef and starts in with the smooth talk. But she’s like buzz off, creep. Meanwhile, he already has a woman in his boat, who turns out to be another agent. Bond grabs a ride from this woman (dammit, why won’t they say characters’ names more than once?) and they zoom off to shore. The water is a beautiful blue-green and it looks like paradise. Bond keeps throwing lines at this woman while they’re stalked by two other dudes.
“Are you going to have sex with me now?” “No.” “Are you going to have sex with me now?” “No.” “Are you going to have sex with me…now? “No.”
Lunching by the pool, Bond and Domino (they didn’t say her name again; I cheated and looked it up online because it was driving me crazy) engage in flirty banter until she’s distracted by the creep that had been following them since the beach. Turns out this dude is her guardian’s goon (Guardian? How old is she supposed to be?) that keeps tabs on her. Bond tries to get on her guardian’s boat (who I’m guessing is Eyepatch) but d’oh! While nobody in the movie hasn’t said her name in a while, Bond lets slip that he already knows her name. He covers by saying that he read it on her ankle bracelet, and she says as she leaves, “What sharp little eyes you have,” to which he replies out loud to nobody, “Wait ‘til you see my teeth.” Yikes. What a creep.
We’re back in Bond’s wheelhouse as he’s dressed in a black tux in a casino. Of course, he’s playing baccarat, and Eyepatch is there with Domino. He starts gambling against Eyepatch and lets him know that Bond knows who he is. But Eyepatch knows who he is, as well, and Bond keeps needling him. This is some classy shit happening, with high-stakes cards and everyone’s in evening wear and smoking. Oh, so Eyepatch’s name is Emilio, but he’s Eyepatch to me.
“Are you going to have se…Sorry: reflex. My name is Bond…”
Bond picks up Domino for dinner right then and there, and it turns out Domino is his mistress/kept woman. How Continental. Anyway, she falls for Bond almost immediately, and Eyepatch storms in to shake her off. Eyepatch invites Bond for lunch that Sunday, and Bond is left without a dame in his arms for the moment.
Bond is staying in a hell of a nice room and does his little spy dance, along with looking for fellow spy Paula, which is not a good spy name. What’s her last name, Blatt? At least it’s not a gross sexual pun like usual.
He turns on the audio recorder he set up to listen in on any possible snoopers, hears shuffling, and then his voice at the end. It’s like when George Costanza put that tape recorder in his briefcase to hear what people were saying about him when he wasn’t around, except not. Bond hears a knock at the door and opens it. It’s Felix Leiter(!), everybody’s favorite CIA agent who changes actor nearly every movie. He says, “Hello, double..” and gets socked in the gut by James immediately. This is how I often answer the door, so nothing strange here.
Well, Bond’s still trying to find out who has broken into his room, narrows it down to someone hiding in the shower, and puts it on full-blast hot, which causes the dude to jump out. Bond whangs him in the fucking face with the door and Felix is like, WTF, dude? He grabs this guy and tells him to get the fuck outta here, jabroni. Bond knows it’s one of Eyepatch’s goon and pours them both a drink because they’re still in the tropics, after all. Elsewhere and meanwhile, Eyepatch gets his summary from this jabroni, who has failed him so he literally gets thrown to the sharks. Pretty standard henchman disposal, if you ask me.
“Yeah, we’re gonna need a cleanup on aisle shark.”
Bond and Felix meet up with Paula Blatt and their contact, Pinder(?). These outdoor scenes have very poor sound mixing. They get into a new secret tropical office, and Q is there to give him some sweet gadgets. As usual, Bond doesn’t give a shit about all this technical crap and fucks around while Q gets more and more frustrated. It’s the usual assortment of homing devices, infrared underwater cameras, and a rebreather, which is just downright magic. Come on, Q/screenwriters!
Meanwhile, back in London, all the suits are listening to Blofeld’s demands and nobody wants to pony up the cash if they don’t have to. Bond puts Michael Jackson’s jacket from Thriller on and dives into the water for some nightswimming. Sneaking up to Eyepatch’s yacht, he’s spotted by underwater security (boy, that job must suck) and they grapple over his spear gun. The people in the boat have underwater cameras, as well, and they watch this fight. Bond fucks the security guard up but good and he starts snapping pictures. But back on the boat, they drop depth charges that fuck with Bond badly. They send out some goons in a speedboat to give chase while Bond plays hide-and-seek with them. He throws off his oxygen and mask, which they assume means he’s dead, and he swims to shore.
Well, that wasn’t a very good spy mission, James. He flags a car down and asks for a ride. The woman driving speeds off (it’s the lady that’s popped up several times already but I still haven’t caught her name), and she’s wearing an octopus ring. They chit-chat mysteriously and she’s going about 110. James is trying to play it cool but kind of doesn’t know where all of this is headed. But hey! She brought him back to his hotel! I guess that’s where this was headed.
“Are you going to…” “NO!”
The photos are developed and they find an underwater hatch in the boat pictures, and Paula says something but the scene cuts her off mid-sentence to show Bond flying in a helicopter. They’re trying to figure out where those darn nuclear bombs are but are having a hard time. Meanwhile, Eyepatch skeet shoots and the motorcycle lady from before is there, and they see Eyepatch’s sweet abode where he keeps sharks, which is kind of neat.
So Bond shows up at Eyepatch’s palatial estate for lunch, and yo ho ho, there’s Domino in a one-piece. Eyepatch greets him with a rifle in his hand and introduces him to some local creeps that Bond might get along with.
Bond eyes Domino to piss Eyepatch off, which works, and Eyepatch shows him around the joint. They skeet shoot and Bond makes him look like a chump, then check out his sweet shark tank and yacht. Back at the hotel, it seems like Bond double-booked dates between Paula and…motorcycle girl (sorry, still haven’t caught her name), but this is just an excuse for Eyepatch’s goons to kidnap Paula Blatt.
Felix shows up at a street parade Bond’s enjoying with Domino to let him know that Paula’s gone, so he swings into action to rescue her. He gets the power cut to the island, then sneaks onto Eyepatch’s property under cover of….night. Another goddamn night scene. Why not just tell the audience to rub their eyes really hard before every scene, too?
Fortunately, Eyepatch has a generator so we can see what’s going on, and it turns out they killed Paula with their extremely rough handling of her. Bond comes across her and looks super-pissed, so he’s probably going to murder a lot of goons pretty soon. And sure enough, the gunfire starts ringing out and he plugs a few right off the bat. But whoops! Call him James Butterfingers, because he drops his gun like an oaf. He punches a dude but falls into the pool, so Eyepatch has a steel cage that slides over it(?) I guess for just this kind of eventuality. Oh, and Eyepatch releases the sharks into it, too. Bond puts on his magical rebreather and swims out the shark end, and goes back to his hotel room.
Who’s the real shark in this scene? (Commentary!)
James could really use a drink about now, since his mission seems to not be going so well so far, and again he hears somebody in his bathroom. Is it someone looking for another round of punches? No, it’s Motorcycle Girl, who’s naked in his bath. He sits back and enjoys the show for a few minutes and eyes her damn octopus ring again.
CUT TO the two of them in bed because Bond is an uncontrollable sex addict. Some pillow talk happens and they get down for more sexing. Then they’re dressed in evening wear and are about to go to dinner, but some of Eyepatch’s goons are outside the door and Motorcycle Girl (MG for short) also has a gun on him. He throws some shade at her, saying that he only fucked her “for king and country,” and she tosses back that what, just because he fucked her, she’s going to immediately abandon her side to join up with him? And it’s a pretty cogent point.
Bond is taking his absolute failure as a spy pretty well and is escorted out of the hotel. Outside, some crazy shit’s going on and they get jammed up in parade traffic. Fortunately, some deus ex machina drunk shows up to harass the guys in the front with a bottle of booze so potent that when Bond kicks it all over the inside of the car and puts a flame to it, it creates a firestorm. In his escape, James is shot in the ankle, and he hides among the parade participants because the lives of the innocent mean nothing to him.
He’s hides in a parade float and there’s a funny shot of Bond looking through a little window. Between that and him looking through Goldfinger’s Fort Knox model, I’m thinking the director found goofy little visual bits like this funny. And they are. He gets off the float and sneaks away, jogging rather well for a man who was just shot in the ankle. He goes into a club, where some T&A occurs because it’s been like 10 minutes without any of that. Bond sees Eyepatch’s goons are covering the exits and dashes a convenient woman onto the dance floor. But nope, here’s MP to cut in.
You know, this Bond movie is really dragging. There’s still 40 minutes left and nothing interesting has happened in a pretty long time. A gun appears from behind the stage curtain during a bongo solo, and holy shit Bond uses another woman as a human shield. What the actual fuck, Bond? Is this what they taught you in spy school? So MP’s dead, which is good, since I was getting annoyed at having not caught her name the only time it was mentioned an hour ago.
“Thank you, you’ve been a wonderful human shield. Sooo, are you going to…”
Back in London, everyone’s getting pissed off that James Bond has gotten nowhere with his piece of the investigation, and they have 14 hours left before they have to pay up or the big kaboom occurs. Bond is in a helicopter scanning the waters for any sign of the bombs, which seems kind of pointless. But he figures that the plane is probably where all the sharks are hanging out, and sure enough, there it is.
Felix shoots a shark to draw the other sharks to it while James scuba dives down into the water to investigate. And yep, there’s the goddamn plane. One thing to note here: these are actual, real-life sharks swimming around Connery/Connery’s stunt double in this movie, which is pretty ballsy. Too bad these underwater scenes are boring as shit to watch. But whatever, Bond finds the imposter that stole Domino’s brother’s identity (ugh, the plotting in this movie…) and swims back up to the surface.
Well, the bombs aren’t on board, but with the evidence he has of Domino’s brother’s death, he figures that he’s going to get her on his side. Bond really puts a lot of his plans in the faith that women will just fall for him and capitulate to his side. Well, it works here, as he meets Domino on the coral reef and they….have sex underwater? I don’t know. Back on shore, she steps on an urchin’s spine and he sucks it out of her foot. This is where he drops the bombshell that her brother’s dead. But what James Bond lacks in tact, he makes up for in…sexual harassment? Womanizing? I’ll get back to you.
Pictured: The least creepy thing Bond does to a woman in this movie.
Anyway, he’s like, Eyepatch is behind your brother’s death, and one of his goons sees them on the beach. She’s like, you’re using me for your own ends, and he’s like, look are you going to help or not? Tact. Domino says oh fuck it, why not? She has to find the bombs on board and James fucking ices one of the goons with a spear gun, with his quip for this being, “I think he got the point,” which, meh.
Bond swims up to Eyepatch’s compound and sneaky-sneaks around. This better be going somewhere, Bond: I’ve been watching you fucking around and fucking up for over an hour and a half now, with little to show for it but my growing contempt for your behavior towards women and my hatred of underwater scenes. I almost hate them as much as scenes shot at night—and I hate scenes shot at night! For safety, he swallows the homing device Q gave him and then oh fuck, another goddamn scene shot at night! Bond kills a guard and puts on a scuba suit to infiltrate Eyepatch’s gang. Then they dive into the water. At night. So now I’m watching underwater scenes shot at night. Fuck you, movie. I haven’t said that about a Bond movie yet, but I’m saying it now: Fuck you, Thunderball.
But hey! At least Brippy’s back! I wish the movie had more of this little guy in it. Aww, it’s going brrrrrrrr adorably in the water. I think I need a CAT scan. I don’t know what to say at this point: underwater scenes shot at night may as well be a documentary on silt. But look, they’re retrieving the nuclear bombs, and James Bond is there, and Brippy’s there, so it’s not all bad, right? Right?
Brippy & The Bombs: Only on NBC!
But they realize that Bond has infiltrated their little diving party and underwater hand-to-hand combat occurs. Although the soundtrack conveys that this is interesting and exciting, it is not. Bond fucks up again and the bombs are out of sight, along with Brippy. Now he’s swimming around alone in the dark. Holy God, whose idea was this?
Back on Eyepatch’s yacht, Domino sets about finding the bombs with the Geiger counter that James gave her for this task. But Eyepatch figures it all out immediately and now I have to watch Domino get tossed around. James is still swimming around, presumably in the center of the earth; his homing device works and his allies find him. Meanwhile, Eyepatch’s torture of Domino is interrupted because he has to activate the nuclear bombs. Thank you, Jesus, for sparing me more of that awfulness.
Bond’s rescued by Felix and is like, we gotta get moving, man! Meanwhile, Brippy’s back! Hooray for Brippy! But the little sub that could is also carrying a nuclear bomb, but that’s not Brippy’s fault.
Oh shit, here come the cavalry! A squadron of paratroopers start descending on Eyepatch’s boat and this is the kind of thing I want to watch a Bond movie for. It’s interesting, looks beautiful, and promises a lot of action. Also, IT’S NOT BEING SHOT AT NIGHT!
This platoon is armed with spear guns and they’re descending on Eyepatch. But he fires high-power spear guns at them, and unfortunately Brippy is shooting along with them. No, Brippy! Bad Brippy!
Gosh, they even produced a model Brippy! Japan has the coolest stuff.
This underwater stuff is tepid, mostly because everyone’s moving in slow-motion due to water resistance, but I have to admire how dangerous all of this must have been to film. It looks like the Good Guys are losing, but oh crap, here comes Bond! He zooms onto the scene and starts fucking all sorts of shit up. Brippy, meanwhile, is just chilling.
Cutting air hose after air hose and equipped with a super-spear gun, Bond is winning single-handed. I guess. It’s hard to tell what’s going on in these underwater scenes, honestly. Bond switches out his heavy tank for his magical rebreather, then fucking dynamites some dudes. More underwater hand-to-hand combat ensues, and within the span of 1 minute Bond takes out 5 henchmen.
What is this? What the hell is going on in this scene?
This shit’s bonkers. These underwater scenes are chaotic to watch, and the slow-motion fighting is anticlimactic. It’s just bodies writhing in different directions and tons of air bubbles. Hey! A trumpetnose fish! That’s how uninteresting this”action” sequence is: I’m identifying various fish swimming by.
Bond finally starts fighting Eyepatch, and everyone takes a break to shoot at a shark, which is awful to watch because I’m pretty sure that was a real shark. Then everyone kind of…gives up…except for Eyepatch and two henchmen. Bond picks up a spear gun, kills one of the goons, and Eyepatch tries to zoom off. Bond gives chase and the Good Guys take Brippy into custody.
So back on Eyepatch’s ship, Bond hitches a ride and a bunch of boats start chasing after it. Eyepatch puts up a smokescreen, but the ships just start firing at it. You know, because he has a nuclear bomb on-board. He jettisons the back half of the ship, which is pretty cool, and his yacht has a hell of a lot of firepower. For some reason, his goons that he just abandoned are still fighting for him, but since these are destroyers they’re firing on, they’re taken out almost immediately.
Of course, Bond gets on-board, and one of his henchmen turns on him, letting Domino loose and letting her (and the audience) know that he threw the bomb’s trigger off the side of the boat. They don’t give this deus ex machina henchman a name, and after two scenes he disappears forever. Lazy.
Bond starts fighting Eyepatch and steering the ship and fighting off two other goons in the cockpit, and this boat is going ridiculously fast. Eyepatch is a good fighter for a 70-year-old man, but this is James Bond we’re talking about. Just when we think Eyepatch has the drop on him with a gun, twack! Domino shoots him in the back with a spear gun.
Looks like she spearheaded this climax. (Not a lot of quips in this movie, so there’s one.)
They jump off the boat and the boat explodes on the rocks. A low-flying bomber drops an emergency inflatable raft for them, and Bond and Domino are alone. Watch out, Domino!
He sends up an inflatable beacon and lays back with Domino in his arms. A jazzy “James Bond Theme” starts up and they are airlifted to safety. The credits begin to roll, but there’s no “James Bond will be back in…” this time. Maybe after they saw how this movie turned out, they figured, eeennnhh, let’s go back to the drawing board before we make another one.
- This was the longest Bond movie so far, clocking in at 2 hours 10 minutes—20 minutes longer than the previous movies’ average runtime. It feels like an hour longer than even that.
- The woman who played Domino is Claudine Auger, and a little internet search turned up that she was Miss France 1958. So.
- Did you know Johnny Cash submitted a theme song for this movie? It’s a really cool song, but it just doesn’t fit in with the regular Bond score style.
- It’s Election Day in the US, and it has been a horrible election cycle that was comprised of two awful candidates. I’m apolitical, and this turmoil in my country for the past year has made me despise everything about politics. So instead, I propose that we recast our ballots for two solid candidates (although not as they were in this movie):
Hoo boy, this one was rough. It’s the fourth James Bond film in as many years, and it looks like everyone involved was a little worn out at this point. While the first three Bond films are relatively excellent escapist action films, this one was…often unpleasant. The major problem I had with the characterization of Bond in Goldfinger came roaring back like some kind of thunderball in this film. Simply put: James Bond is a goddamn creep. He blackmails a woman for sex, uses another woman as a human shield, and in general desperately tries to get every woman around him to sleep with him. But why? Is he insecure? Lonely? No; that wouldn’t be James Bond. He does it because he’s a fucking lech, and I think Connery had a lot more say in James Bond characterization in this, his fourth film in the franchise.
Besides that, a lot of this movie was BORING. The underwater scenes are goddamn interminable, and there are a LOT of underwater scenes. Similarly, a lot of night scenes that you can barely see anything in are in this movie. Combined with underwater scenes at night, and James Bond’s rapey vibe, and nearly half the film is unbearable to watch.
Unlike Goldfinger, the pacing of this film is veery slow and what’s shown on-screen is not particularly interesting. Although the stakes are high (I guess; again, $100 million isn’t a lot of money these days on a global scale), it doesn’t feel like the stakes are high. James Bond acts as if most of what he has to do in this movie is an inconvenience at best and a bore at worst. This is more of that characterization problem: If your protagonist doesn’t find what’s going on interesting, than how can you expect the audience to? He’s supposed to be a man of intrigue, not a man of distracted annoyance.
Eyepatch isn’t a very compelling villain, and he’s just another proxy for SPECTRE and Blofeld anyway, so who cares? Similarly, Domino is a thinly drawn character without a lot of agency or motivation of her own. MG was interesting, but they didn’t really do anything with her character. At least she got a few sharp digs at Bond for thinking he’s just God’s Gift to Women. What else? The gadgets were pretty cool. I liked Brippy a lot, but it’s really saying something that one of my favorite parts of a 2 hour 10 minute long James Bond movie is an inanimate submarine.
By far the worst Bond film in the series so far; it’s sluggish, lazy, and (worst of all) mostly boring. Similarly, I like it when my James Bond is a smart, witty gentleman, not a grabby, sex-crazed monster. I will never watch this movie again. Steer clear! One out of four Bonds, and only that much because of Brippy.
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