Not often do you get to see the original Thunderball edited, usually it's the nefarious remake that gets the attention, but the original source has it's own share of problems and rangerkris is out to correct them, it's mainly in the pacing that the edit excels, though I do think the initial fight scene in the pre-credits is slightly too quick, I found myself taken out of the zone a few instances with a second-long look at some shots before cutting back to the action. Aside from that, everything felt faster and more to-the-point. Narrative wise it is a film that takes a while to get going, and maybe the edit could have tried bolder cuts instead of fixating itself on the pacing issues...but that's just the experimental perfectionist in me. As it stands it is a fine edit and if you had problems with the original, you will want to give this a go.
RIP Paula, James Bond's assistant. You didn't know James Bond had an assistant? Not to worry--she wasn't terribly helpful nor around long enough to care about.
First, I feel like I need to quickly discuss the original movie, before this fanedit: Sean Connery probably looks better in this movie than any other Bond film. The Bond women are really beautiful and all the elements are present for a classic 007 movie. Yet it is mind-numbingly boring (at least to me). So this is what was being worked with. For a James Bond movie, there are nearly no cool "Bond moments". There's the jetpack for a few fleeting moments at the start, ...there's the very last scene with the plane and the lifeboat and....uh....lots of swimming. Is there even a decent car chase in this movie? No, not really--though Bond has a car with some gadgetry, and Q eventually shows up on location with a few toys. The plot does hinge on coincidence, even in this edit there is no getting around the coincidence of 007 being at the spa when the dead pilot is brought there. (BTW--why did they bring that dead guy to the spa anyway?? Did he need a massage?)
I feel this edit is the best version of this movie there is. I wish that was saying more though. All the issues I have are really with the original movie. It just lacks action. It made this 99 minutes feel a lot longer--though it was so much better than the original 130 minute running time.
I wanted to love this, because (a)--I love James Bond movies and have owned them all in VHS and then DVD for as long as I can remember. (b)--Sean Connery is the best Bond and the 60s were the best time for Bond. I don't hate Roger Moore or Lazenby, Dalton, Brosnon or Craig, but Sean Connery and the 1960s were THE primo Bond era to me.
The music choices throughout this edit were excellent, and the video quality (which I NEVER bother to comment on in my previous reviews) was very very good. I usually don't notice such things unless it is very bad or very good. In this case it was very good. The clarity of the underwater scenes surprised me. But this movie just lacks the thrills associated with the best Bond movies, even stripped down. It is frustrating because, as I said, Connery has never looked better and so many of the elements for a classic Bond are in place.
In closing, I am very glad I got to see this edit, it is an improvement over the original cut, but overall it can't quite bring it up to par with From Russia With Love or Goldfinger. But that is the fault of the source. If I were to have a go-to version of Thunderball, this would be it.
I recommend all 007 fans check this edit out.
I own the entire Bond Collection, some I have watched more than others, but Thunderball I have never taken the time to pop the dvd into the old player. Why? I dunno. Maybe because I have heard too many poor reviews or watched Never Say Never too many times and assumed (wrongly, it turns out) that it would the same movie. So my review is basically on the fan edit itself, and not as a comparison to the original.
Firstly, is a beautiful looking movie. The video quality was excellent and the audio was crisp and clear. The only scene that looked odd to me was when Bond was sneaking in to the beach house at night. According to RangerKiss's cutlist, this was originally a daytime scene he converted to night! Very cool idea. But to me, it looked a bit too nighttime dark blue? The scene is brief, but when compared to the brilliant video quality of the rest of the movie, it stood out to me.
This may be the fastest paced Bond movie I have watched and for the most part it works really well and my understanding of the original, one of the biggest complaints is its plodding pace. So there is definitely no plodding in this version, though occasionally the pacing felt a bit too modern to me. One of charming aspects of the original Bond movies was the travelogue elements... in this cut, I never really got a true feel of where I was... the movie never really takes a moment to breath... it is pure rollercoaster from start to finish. And this is not entirely a negative thing, as I riveted throughout, but at the same time it did not quite feel like a classic Bond film to me and some of the characters felts either underdeveloped or not introduced properly.
The narrative works, though there are many plot holes, but based upon what I read I am assuming these are issues of the original that can not be corrected. As Anarchemist pointed out, why bring the dead guy back to the spa? And hey, what happened to Domino's rescuer after jumping off the boat? Did he drown? LOL! But the most noticeable thing to me (and I don't know if this a continuity error from the original or if the editor rearranged the scenes) is the intro of Felix. You see him twice before in the background, once directly beside Bond, but they don't actually meet til Bond's hotel room but it does not sound like a first time meeting. Also Bond is wearing the same outfit from the previous day scene. I dunno, it just did not play right for me.
All in all, a fun, fast paced, action filled fan edit. Very entertaining and well worth watching. I think it could have been slightly slower paced and wish some of the narrative had been a bit more polished but it is a solid piece of editing.
If ever there's a Connery Bond film ripe for fanediting, it's Thunderball. One could argue Diamonds are Forever, but Thunderball would seem to be the more worthwhile cause, as underneath the sluggish pacing there's a good film in there, not to mention this is Connery's last performance as Bond where he looks like he gives a damn. Diamonds, well... I'm not sure anyone could save that one.
I even looked at performing an edit of this with a fellow faneditor, but hey, now Ranger has taken a stab at this, when I settled down to watch his Warhead edition, I was hoping he'd done everything to save us the trouble!
Reading the cutlist, the only thing which bothered me somewhat was the attempts to change Peter Hunt's editing style. Being a huge fan of Hunt's jump-cut approach to editing, I was dubious about this, but the way in which Ranger has executed this is both stylish and considerate.
Other than that, I really couldn't fault this edit. It now feels like a spy story with purpose and a sense of urgency; in particular the trimming of the underwater scenes is a godsend. I only wish there had been some way around the incredibly speeded-up footage which plagues the finale... as much as I’m a fan of Hunt’s editing style, those scenes are just too sped up for my liking and take one out of the film a little. I suppose you could try and slow them down, but it would involve significant sound replacement work ;)
The streamlining of the health farm scenes works a treat too, even if I would have personally trimmed a little more of Connery’s one-liners, but that’s just personal taste.
Picture quality and audio are excellent, and the fanediting itself is pretty seamless.
Overall Ranger deserves huge credit here. A really solid Bond edit which is significantly better than the theatrical cut and needless to say will be my “go to” version from now on... indeed, I am especially grateful as you've saved me the trouble of embarking on another Bond edit. Highly recommended.
i love all the Sean Connery bonds as well as Daniel Craig's bonds both are so bad ass shoot first type bonds but thunder ball is the weakest bond by Sean Connery.
i was hoping this edit only cut out some of the bloat that plaged this film and that is exactly did.
i love the choices made for this edit as i was afraid it would be overly hacked(its not)
the pace it fast and works perfectly.
Video Editing: 10/10
Audio Editing: 9/10