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PHOTOGRAPHY

THUNDERBALL Ultimate Edition

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 128 minutes, two audio commentaries, featurettes, interactive Thunderball guide, featurettes, trailers, and more

STUDIO: MGM. EON/ SPHE/ TCFHE

RELEASE DATE: 11-7-2006

THUNDERBALL has a long and strange history. First, a screenplay was written by producer Kevin McClory, screenwriter Kevin Whittingham and Bond author Ian Fleming. Then Ian took that material and turned it into a novel which McClory decided to sue Ian over which granted McClory rights to remake THUNDERBALL. The novel was turned into a movie (THUNDERBALL) and two decades later a remake based on the original material came out as NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN. A court blocked McClory from making a second remake called WARHEAD 2001 (with Sony Pictures which would years later distribute CASINO ROYALE) years later and awarded sole rights to distribute James Bond to MGM.

It's debateable whether which film is better since THUNDERBALL and NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN each have their own weaknesses and strengths. THUNDERBALL is still one of the strong films in Connery's time as Bond (he would later play Bond again for the remake). THUNDERBALL improves on some of the scenes in the novel while the remake uses some elements that were changed for the original film. James Bond (Sean Connery) goes to Nassau (after accidentally coming across parts of a a plot) to stop Emilio Largo and SPECTRE hold the USA and UK for ransom with two stolen nuclear bombs. THUNDERBALL may have gadgets, but there is no super-hideout and Largo is scum. The story and the actors carry this film. It's interesting to see how the novel, the original film, and the remake compare to each other. The John Barry score helps elevates many scenes to greater heights whether it is the theft of the bomber or the climatic fight scenes.

VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Surround, English Mono, French 5.1 DS, English 5.1 DTS

Subtitles: English, French, Thai, Mandrian Chinese, Korean

The restoration is beautiful. They even took the time to correct the color of the water in one scene that was wrong for the Region 2 UE. The dialogue, music, and sound are very clear and you can chose to listen to it in a couple of 5.1 tracks or the original mono audio.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Disc one has a couple of audio commentaries put together from interviews with various members of cast and crew (including director Terrence Young) to form a very interesting listen. these tracks were previously available on the Special Edition of THUNDERBALL.

The second disc features many new extras and extras from the previous SE. For new extras, the Ken Adam location films and the Bill Suitor Rocket Man moves are the best of the lot. You can also watch The Incredible World Of James Bond (a 1965 NBC TV special), a 1965 For Promotional film, a Thunderball Boat Show Reel, original 1965 TV ads, and more.

But it looks like the old extras from the SE have the most interesting material. THE MAKING OF THUNDERBALL is a detailed making of the film from it's earliest screen attempts to the film's making finally after GOLDFINGER.

THE THUNDERBALL PHENOMENON focuses on the marketing and merchandising for THUNDERBALL including the ABC Sunday Night movie promos for the early Bond films.

THE SECRET HISTORY OF THUNDERBALL deals with the dialogue changes and versions of various scenes in the film including the lost deleted scene where Largo gives Bond a tour of the Disco Volante. Too bad they couldn't have done a featurette on the whole history of THUNDERBALL to include the remake (NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN) and teh second remake which was blocked. Also various theatrical trailers, TV and raido spots, and an image gallery are included.

FINAL ANALYSIS: THUNDERBALL is one of the better connery Bond films with loads of interesting new extras for the Ultimate Edition. Now only if someone could do a special edition of NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN to include the rumored deleted scenes from that film.

RELATED DVD REVIEWS:

http://enterline2.tripod.com/james_bond_vol4.html

http://enterline2.tripod.com/twine.html

RELATED MOVIE REVIEW:

http://enterline2.tripod.com/casino_royale.html

RELATED NON-BOND DVD REVIEW:

http://enterline2.tripod.com/quiller_memorandum.html

this review is (c)12-27-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com  and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com