|Category||Bond||Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette - Inside Thunderball
Featurette - The Thunderball Phenomenon
Featurette - The Making Of Thunderball
Audio Commentary - Terence Young (Director), et al
Audio Commentary - Peter Hunt, John Hopkins, et al
Trailers (3, in single featurette)
TV Spots (5)
Radio Spots (10)
|Running Time||124:56 Minutes|
Fox Home Video
Rik Van Nutter
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary 1 (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary #2 (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The plot is extremely simple in design, as has been the case with eighteen of the last nineteen Bond episodes. After an amusing introduction in which James Bond (Sean Connery) disposes of Jacques Boitier (Bob Simmons), who was responsible for the deaths of two colleagues, we are introduced to the main nemesis for this instalment. Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi) and his men hijack a plane carrying two nuclear warheads, which they uses to hold England to a hundred million pound ransom. Obviously, the British government would rather dispose of Largo than pay him a dime, or so they tell M (Bernard Lee). To this end, MI6 sends its most famous agent after Largo, with his usual instructions: destroy the bad guy, get as many women in the sack as is possible, and avoid wrinkling that tailor-made suit. Along the way, he is ably assisted in these tasks by Felix Leiter (Rik Van Nutter), Domino Derval (Claudine Auger), and Fiona Volpe (Luciana Paluzzi). As I have mentioned, these are hardly the most memorable characters the Bond franchise has ever seen.
Since this is the fifth Bond film that I've sat through from beginning to end, I have come to the conclusion that the best kind of Bond film is the one with a certain reputation or novelty value. Still, many consider Thunderball to be the quintessential Bond film, which makes it worth checking out for curiosity's sake.
The transfer is presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and it is 16x9 Enhanced. The transfer is very sharp throughout, with only the occasional lapse in clarity that seems to be more the fault of the original photography. The shadow detail is average, although it is certainly good enough for the film's purposes, and there is no low-level noise. Grain is a small problem in a few sequences, but not to the same extent that I was expecting.
The colour saturation can be described as being muted in most sequences, with that usual look which signifies the age of the film present and accounted for. The underwater photography is also somewhat dull, but neither of these problems are specifically a fault of the transfer. The photography and special effects techniques available when this film was made simply didn't allow smooth sailing or refreshing clarity.
MPEG artefacts were not a specific problem in this transfer, although the condition of the source material must have been pushing the encoding to its very limits. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some minor aliasing in various metallic objects, but this was a well-controlled artefact in the grand scheme of things. The same cannot be said for film artefacts, with nicks, scratches, lines, and the usual black and white flecks on the source material all combining to thoroughly date the film. A little effort to properly clean up the source material would have done wonders here, because there were times when the film truly looked its age.
This disc is presented in the RSDL format, with the layer change taking place at 88:14. This is during a scene transition with a wipe effect, and thus presents no interruption to the flow of the film.
The soundtrack is in much better shape than the visuals, with the dialogue being clear and easy to understand at all times. There were no clicks and pops in the soundtrack, and I failed to detect any dropouts. The audio sync is generally very good, although there was some marginal ADR at times.
The score music on this film is credited to John Barry, who is considered to be the one and only Bond score composer. I personally found very little that makes one Bond score different from another, and this is certainly the case with Thunderball. Sure, it has all of the dramatic progressions for the action sequences and all of the slow, reflective progressions for the moments when Bond is about to hop into bed with yet another stupidly-named woman, but this is a description that could apply to many, many other scores as well. This is another point that Bond fans ramble endlessly about while I scratch my head and wonder what makes the executor of the given facet so supreme.
The surround channels are used lightly to support the score music and the directional sound effects, but I got the distinct impression that a Dolby Pro-Logic mix could have done the job just as well. The sound effects and music coming out of the surrounds were often thin and weak, and there were a number of sequences when the surround field collapsed altogether. Given the age of the film, this is hardly a surprise, but it is still a little disappointing considering that someone obviously thought that the film was worthy of a 5.1 remix (the film was originally mono like all other Bond episodes of this vintage). The subwoofer was used frequently to support the action sequences and some of the music, and it did so without calling any special attention to itself.
The video quality is good, but looks very aged, even in comparison to some films of similar vintage.
The audio quality is good, but spoiled by a lack of surround channel usage.
The extras are comprehensive.
|DVD||Grundig GDV 100 D, using composite output; Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output|
|Display||Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built In (Amplifier)|
|Amplification||Sony STR-DE835, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Philips PH931SSS Rear Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer|