Sunday, 09 February 2014 10:12
Thunderball - A Timeless Fireball of Espionage Entertainment Written by Churchill Guevarra
James Bond’s popularity reached fever pitch with the release of ‘Thunderball’—a colossal action extravaganza encapsulated in a tiny piece of paradise here on earth. It’s the best of both worlds; larger than life characters and flamboyant visual expositions against picture perfect sceneries.
The result: An unsurpassed piece of filmmaking that visually and substantively gets better with time—like fine wine. There’s no rhyme or reason. It just is. And whether or not the acting was at par with the gargantuan set pieces or the weight of the franchise’s almost unrealistic expectations is immaterial, as the entire picture looked and felt like a huge fireball of entertainment that never let up from start to finish. It’s just fun to watch, even many decades later.
In the middle of a seemingly boundless reservoir of eye candies was the perennial ‘Bond’ favorite Sean Connery who, along with his cool gadgets (at that time) took this fireball of entertainment to the skies. Yes it soared while surprisingly keeping a good chunk of the action sequences underwater. The iconic sub-aquatic skirmishes were cinematic feats that still stand up to this day.
‘Thunderball’ is the highest grossing (inflation adjusted) film of the franchise and arguably the most influential. Director Terence Young left no stone unturned and took grandiose filmmaking to a whole new level as he populated the scenes with lavish set pieces, posh cinematography, ravishing femme fatales, exceptional stunts and Connery’s sophisticated short shorts among other things. It looks and feels antiquated in some scenes just like any classic film should be but its appeal remained unblemished with time. It was and still is the epitome of timeless espionage action adventure.
‘Thunderball’s’ shortcomings were also its strengths. It didn’t hold back when it had to and didn’t take itself too seriously when situations called for gravitas. It is after all, the god father of modern day sanitized popcorn actioners. It’s flashy and at times whimsical but an overall fun ride to embark on—a timeless 4 out of 5 stars.