Director Terrence Young, actor Sean Connery and screenwriter Richard Maibaum return with their fourth James Bond ‘Thunderball’. ‘Thunderball’ would be a huge success at the box office with a world wide gross of $141 million dollars based off of a $9 million dollar budget. Tom Jones sings the theme song ‘Thunderball’ and the soundtrack is composed by John Barry.

‘Thunderball’ ranks rather high on many James Bond lists and even in fans hearts. I also have enjoyed this film quite a bit over the years even though there are times where it is a bit on the slower side. At 125 minutes long, it feels like the film was a tad longer than one would have expected. There are a few spots in the film that could have used some editing, but ‘Thunderball’ is vintage Bond and has many of the elements that made the first few Bond’s so great.

The story of ‘Thunderball’ revolves around the evil SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) which has been a thorn in James Bond’s (Sean Connery) side. SPECTRE’s leader Emilo Largo (Adolfo Celi) and his men steal a bunch of nuclear devices that they will use unless the hefty ransom is met. Enter “M” (Bernard Lee) as he and his agents are at work to stop SPECTRE from blowing up a city that they have threatened they would use the nuclear explosives on. “M” calls upon James Bond for this daunting task.

James Bond heads to Nassau with the help of Felix Leiter (Rik Van Nutter) will try to stop the SPECTRE organization from blowing up the city with their nuclear explosives. We can’t have a Bond film without a Bond-girl; we get Domino (Claudine Auger) who has more to tell to the tale than we can imagine. Out of all the bond girls, she ranks up there as one of the nastiest villainous that James Bond has met to date.

‘Thunderball’ has a distinct look and feel of it’s own than any other Bond film to date. What makes ‘Thunderball’ a much more special film is that there are a lot of underwater scenes that look utterly beautiful in high definition. Not only do we have evil humans as the protagonist for James Bond, we also have sharks and devil rays that will also pose a threat.

Print/Audio Quality
The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The last Bond sets on DVD used the Lowry Digital restoration which really did a nice job at bringing those films to full restoration on the DVD format in terms of video and audio. Now in 2008, Lowry Digital does the unthinkable on a BD-50. Out of all the Bond films on Blu-ray, ‘Thunderball’ has some print damage at various points throughout the film. There is a faint blue line in the middle of the print and at times on the right side of the print, but not there at all times. Some may have a hard time noticing the issue. For the most part, the film looks rather beautiful. Colors are vibrant and the film retains some rather strong blacks during the darker scenes. The water scenes are a sight to behold and I was rather amazed as to how colorful the water looked. Like with ‘Dr. No’, details are superb.

The audio is presented in DTS-HD MA lossless mix. The sound effects and soundtrack is still rather front heavy like with my review of ‘Dr. No’, but you do still get sound effects from the rears. Dialogue is well balanced and is very clear, this has never been an issue with the previous DVD’s either. Not once did I have to increase the volume, I hope that some engineers take note.

Special Features
Special features are offered in both high and standard definition. MGM did a great job of bringing over all features from the previous releases on to the Blu-ray version of ‘Thunderball’. Longtime fans will not be disappointed.

  • Audio commentary with Director Terence Young and others
  • Image Database
  • Audio Commentary with Editor Peter Hunt, Co-Screenwriter John Hopkins
  • Selling Bonds Original 1965 TV Commercials
  • On Location With Production Designer Ken Adam
  • A Child’s Guide to Blowing Up A Motor Car 1965 Ford Promotional Film
  • Bill Suitor: The Rocket Man Movies Featurette
  • The Secret History of Thunderball Featurette
  • Thunderball Boat Show Reel
  • The Making of Thunderball Featurette
  • Theatrical Trailers, TV, and Radio Spots
  • The Thunderball Phenomenon
  • 007 Mission Control Interactive Guide
  • The Incredible World of James Bond Original 1965 NBC-TV Special

‘Thunderball’ is a great Bond film that I highly recommend upgrading to Blu-ray if you are a previous DVD owner. This is yet again another Bond film that has never looked and sounded this good.

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