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Thunderball (1965)



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Thunderball was originally supposed to be the first Bond film, but legal disputes made the producers shy away from it. Despite Thunderball grossing more money (adjusted for inflation) than any other Bond film, it leaves a lot to be desired. Thunderball restores competence to the character, questionable in the prior entry Goldfinger, but is in other respects an inferior imitation of its style and mood. The Bond gadgets and girls, fantastic plots and imagery are back, but it's all a little less well done. It wouldn't be so bad except that the climactic finale, a prolonged underwater battle which was supposed to be the film's highlight, is painfully slow and borders on dull...and the sped-up film of the final struggle with the villain is laughable. Luciana Paluzzi makes a deliciously wicked Bond girl, and trivia buffs should note the appearance of Martine Beswick as Paula Caplan (she had previously appeared in Dr. No and From Russia With Love). A superior remake of Thunderball was made in 1983 by a different production company entitled Never Say Never Again, although that film's ending was even less satisfying.

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