Review Detail

9.6 9 10
FanFix December 24, 2018 3851
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Ah, Thunderball. The first partial misstep in the Bond series. Don't get me wrong, it's still pretty good and it contains some classic 007 moments that are among the best ever, but after having hit the jackpot three times in a row, this felt... bloated, unfocused, draggy, interminable. It takes forever to get moving, and then there is enough underwater footage to fill three Jacques Cousteau documentaries and then some. With the biggest budget in the series up to the day, I guess they went for excess instead of for the self control that had worked until then. Who cares, we have money, let's go big, huh? This needed some judicious editing from day one.

And now it has it, and is indeed a huge improvement for the most part. Okay, before going on I must address something that came across as a valiant effort yet I didn't think worked as it should: the way Lapis Molari got rid of the r*pey aspect of the steam bath scene. That definitely had to go, it was Bond at his creepiest and most despicable, but I found that the way it was edited here created sort of a character behavior inconsistence, similar to one issue I had with Lapis' own Live and Let Die cut. Now it happens after Bond and Pat the nurse have slept together, so far so good, it becomes consensual, yet suddenly the characters behave like they arent't yet close, keeping their distance, her addressing him as "Mr. Bond", and such. It's true that shortly before in this version, we left Pat sort of angry at Bond, "haven't you had enough exercise for one evening" and whatnot, but still the progression didn't really work for me. If I were doing this, I'd keep the theatrical order of scenes and completely lose the steam bath thing. It's the only workaround that would feel natural.

But other than that and maybe some other minor things (Lapis has stated their reasons, but introducing a gadget that won't be used still feels weird to me in a Bond movie), the rest was a gigantic improvement. For maybe the first time ever, I never found myself yawning while watching this film, and since the best looking underwater footage was kept while the murkiest was removed, it even looked relaxing and pleasant. Also, very clever use of repurposed lines from deleted parts in order to fill narrative gaps. And as expected, the technical aspects are completely flawless.

I may have some issues with parts of this, but it's still miles better than the original and I can see myself rewatching it several times in the future, something I very rarely do with the original. Good job, 007!
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