Goldfinger vs Thunderball

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Comments

  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    edited May 2023 Posts: 14,920
    Yes, that’s probably true, I guess because the confidence the film treats the part where Bond decides to go there. I’d still like something a bit more concrete though.
    The Tong stuff does up the tension, but I’ve also never liked the Shrublands part because it’s the only time I can think of where Bond isn’t on a case but just happens to bump into some international super baddies, who he’ll then coincidentally be briefed to go after by M. That’s just a touch too much implausibility for me.
  • edited May 2023 Posts: 2,894
    007HallY wrote: »
    I think there's a sense that without Bond finding Deval's body this section of the movie would feel a bit rushed and even pointless.

    I can understand that, but I think the film handles this well enough by transitioning directly from the Spectre meeting to Shrublands and quickly putting Bond and Lippe at odds. So the viewers rapidly see Bond taking on Spectre from the start, which justifies the Shrublands sequence.
    Again, these things are subjective, but I think much of the pacing issues come later in the film.

    There are definitely plenty of pacing issues later on, but having one even before the film moves to its main locale isn't ideal. If I was script editing TB I'd trim plenty of stuff in both halves.
    I do think it's more evocative seeing Bond get more entangled in SPECTRE's scheme, and it makes the hunch Bond vocalises more believable. For what it's worth as well, I've heard more complaints about how Bond is led to the Bahamas in the novel than in the film

    I haven't encountered those complaints but find them odd. I don't think there's enough payoff in seeing Bond further entangled with Spectre since what results is just a plot point that could have been more economically dispatched and didn't need further elaboration (we're used to seeing M tell Bond where to go anyway). And the film doesn't deliver it well either, since it throws in Bond wanting to go where the Petacchi's sister is. Complications upon complications, in a plot that doesn't need them.
  • slide_99slide_99 USA
    Posts: 650
    Goldfinger is a better film but I'd rather watch Thunderball for how it so definitively captures the atmosphere of the golden age of Bond.
  • edited May 2023 Posts: 2,861
    mtm wrote: »
    Yes, that’s probably true, I guess because the confidence the film treats the part where Bond decides to go there. I’d still like something a bit more concrete though.

    Yeah, I agree. I'm sure there's something they could have done to link the Bahamas more concretely with SPECTRE's plan or at least how Deval came on SPECTRE's radar. But again, this is all details in comparison to how a viewer reacts when watching it.

    mtm wrote: »
    The Tong stuff does up the tension, but I’ve also never liked the Shrublands part because it’s the only time I can think of where Bond isn’t on a case but just happens to bump into some international super baddies, who he’ll then coincidentally be briefed to go after by M. That’s just a touch too much implausibility for me.

    I suppose it's there in the GF novel when Bond kinda just runs into DuPont and meets Goldfinger, only to be put on a case involving him afterwards. Or in MR with M asking Bond to catch out Drax cheating at cards before everything involving the Moonraker occurs.

    I suppose one can argue these two examples are contrived as well, but much like Bond's hunch in the TB film I think the storytelling allows us to go along with it.
    Revelator wrote: »
    007HallY wrote: »
    I think there's a sense that without Bond finding Deval's body this section of the movie would feel a bit rushed and even pointless.

    I can understand that, but I think the film handles this well enough by transitioning directly from the Spectre meeting to Shrublands and quickly putting Bond and Lippe at odds. So the viewers rapidly see Bond taking on Spectre from the start, which justifies the Shrublands sequence.

    I think it makes sense to have Shrublands contain much of the driving events of the story, even if it means compacting a lot of what happens in the novel into that location. It's a bit tricky making it fully worthwhile without that or the element of Bond's health from the novel.

    Revelator wrote: »
    Again, these things are subjective, but I think much of the pacing issues come later in the film.

    There are definitely plenty of pacing issues later on, but having one even before the film moves to its main locale isn't ideal. If I was script editing TB I'd trim plenty of stuff in both halves.

    To be entirely fair I don't think it's an ideal film for many reasons, not just due to the script.
    Revelator wrote: »
    I do think it's more evocative seeing Bond get more entangled in SPECTRE's scheme, and it makes the hunch Bond vocalises more believable. For what it's worth as well, I've heard more complaints about how Bond is led to the Bahamas in the novel than in the film

    I haven't encountered those complaints but find them odd. I don't think there's enough payoff in seeing Bond further entangled with Spectre since what results is just a plot point that could have been more economically dispatched and didn't need further elaboration (we're used to seeing M tell Bond where to go anyway). And the film doesn't deliver it well either, since it throws in Bond wanting to go where the Petacchi's sister is. Complications upon complications, in a plot that doesn't need them.

    To each their own. I find when discussing the TB novel with friends they always tend to have a laugh about it (ie. 'Oh, M happened to figure all that out and sends Bond? Convenient'). It's not something I've ever found with this point in the film. It's completely anecdotal though.
  • Junglist_1985Junglist_1985 Los Angeles
    Posts: 1,006
    slide_99 wrote: »
    Goldfinger is a better film but I'd rather watch Thunderball for how it so definitively captures the atmosphere of the golden age of Bond.

    Agreed!
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython “Baja?!”
    Posts: 8,020
    I do wish the film had stuck closer to the novel in regards to character. There’s so much good stuff from the Shrublands section with Bond thinking M had gone off his rocker, to then coming back supposedly “a new man” that everyone at MI6 doesn’t like. The first three films were successful enough that I think audiences would have gone into it with goodwill and come out surprised by what else a Bond film could be capable of doing. It certainly would have given new variety to Connery playing Bond in a slightly different light what might have kept him engaged.

    There’s a moment where after Bond kicks out the goon from his hotel room that he starts mixing drinks with Leiter. Instead of sticking around to give us some fun character interaction, THE MOVIE CUTS AWAY! Granted, I don’t think Rik Van Nutter was capable of acting beyond the scant lines he was given, but that also highlights how Felix was so unfortunately downplayed by TB.
  • edited May 2023 Posts: 2,894
    I do wish the film had stuck closer to the novel in regards to character. There’s so much good stuff from the Shrublands section with Bond thinking M had gone off his rocker, to then coming back supposedly “a new man” that everyone at MI6 doesn’t like.

    Yes, I think there's some wonderful character comedy in those passages, and they would have provided much-needed great character moments for Lee's M, who was underused in the later Connery films. Domino and Largo are also much richer characters in the book. Onscreen they're almost lifeless. This is another area where GF has the edge over TB--no one complains that the characters from GF are less vivid than in the book, or that the plot hasn't been improved.
    Granted, I don’t think Rik Van Nutter was capable of acting beyond the scant lines he was given, but that also highlights how Felix was so unfortunately downplayed by TB.

    This was especially sad because TB is probably Leiter's funniest and most lovable appearance in the books. He's the sort of guy you'd love to have a beer with, while Bond, even when played by Connery, isn't. And his genuine friendship with Bond humanizes 007. But the films seem to have deliberately kept Felix bland, as if they were afraid giving him a personality would distract from Bond (how stupid--who could upstage Connery?). Something similar can be seen in how M was reduced to someone who was there for Bond to one-up. But as many have remarked, TB marks the point where machinery and spectacle overtake character.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    edited May 2023 Posts: 14,920
    007HallY wrote: »
    mtm wrote: »
    The Tong stuff does up the tension, but I’ve also never liked the Shrublands part because it’s the only time I can think of where Bond isn’t on a case but just happens to bump into some international super baddies, who he’ll then coincidentally be briefed to go after by M. That’s just a touch too much implausibility for me.

    I suppose it's there in the GF novel when Bond kinda just runs into DuPont and meets Goldfinger, only to be put on a case involving him afterwards. Or in MR with M asking Bond to catch out Drax cheating at cards before everything involving the Moonraker occurs.

    Fleming does work a lot on coincidence and have Bond win thanks to dumb luck, and I can’t deny I find it more satisfying when the films work those elements out of the stories.
    I must admit I didn’t mind the MR meeting quite as much as M is involved.
    Revelator wrote: »
    I do wish the film had stuck closer to the novel in regards to character. There’s so much good stuff from the Shrublands section with Bond thinking M had gone off his rocker, to then coming back supposedly “a new man” that everyone at MI6 doesn’t like.

    Yes, I think there's some wonderful character comedy in those passages, and they would have provided much-needed great character moments for Lee's M, who was underused in the later Connery films. Domino and Largo are also much richer characters in the book. Onscreen they're almost lifeless. This is another area where GF has the edge over TB--no one complains that the characters from GF are less vivid than in the book, or that the plot hasn't been improved.

    Yes, as I said in my first post, if you’re comparing Goldfinger, Pussy and Oddjob in terms of colour and charisma to Largo, Domino and Vargas… well it’s no comparison at all really is it. Goldfinger is one of the best villains.. and Largo has an eyepatch.

    Fiona is wonderful, and has actual chemistry and spark with Connery. Way more than he has with Largo. If she had been the main villain the film would have been way more entertaining.
  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Per ora e per il momento che verrà
    Posts: 6,777
    Sure TB has some plotting issues, though as long as you don't pretend to be the next Citizen Kane, I can live with that. Besides, GF has them too.

    TB just gives me more of what I look for in a 60's Bond film: the exotic locations bringing vibrant colours and a travelogue feel to the film, the prototype of the sexy femme fatale in Luciana Paluzzi, a SPECTRE meeting with an unseen Blofeld executing an ill-fated minion, the DB5 and the jetpack in one film (!), a mysterious first half and a spectacular second one.

    It's the overall package that is just more appealing to me. Despite it's shortcomings this is the archetypical 60's Bond film for me.

    I see that NSNA is also being mentioned, and I like it more than most. Personally I find the cast really impressive. Klaus Maria Brandauer and Max von Sydow are probably two of the most talented actors to ever appear in a Bond film. Yet Barbara Carrera steals the show and a big shout-out to Bernie Casey too, my favourite Felix.
  • Posts: 2,861
    mtm wrote: »
    007HallY wrote: »
    mtm wrote: »
    The Tong stuff does up the tension, but I’ve also never liked the Shrublands part because it’s the only time I can think of where Bond isn’t on a case but just happens to bump into some international super baddies, who he’ll then coincidentally be briefed to go after by M. That’s just a touch too much implausibility for me.

    I suppose it's there in the GF novel when Bond kinda just runs into DuPont and meets Goldfinger, only to be put on a case involving him afterwards. Or in MR with M asking Bond to catch out Drax cheating at cards before everything involving the Moonraker occurs.

    Fleming does work a lot on coincidence and have Bond win thanks to dumb luck, and I can’t deny I find it more satisfying when the films work those elements out of the stories.
    I must admit I didn’t mind the MR meeting quite as much as M is involved.

    It's definitely something that's seen more in the novels. I think the fact that that element is ironed out in the films tells you a lot about the differences between the Fleming and cinematic James Bond. Fleming's Bond, while a man with an unusual job and very particular interests, is a just a man at the end of the day. There's a sense that he almost stumbles into these extraordinary situations from what should be a routine job and has to navigate the situation. The cinematic Bond is depicted as being much more extraordinary in essence, so it's almost as if him getting entangled in these events is much more routine for him.

    I mean, I'm sure they could play about with that element of coincidence for a future film.
  • Historically I’ve always preferred Goldfinger, but since my last couple of rewatches I find myself enjoying Thunderball more these days. I prefer Terence Young’s more low-key espionage-adventure directorial style to Guy Hamilton’s more gag-driven approach to Bond, and the Bahama’s location is just perfect for the series.

    Thunderball is a great half-way point between From Russia With Love and Doctor No’s small scale spy thrills with a healthy dash of the wide-screen gadget-filled blockbuster that the series would increasingly lean on, and atmospherically it’s probably the best of Connery’s run. Just peak “60’s Bond” vibes that even some shaggier elements can’t bring down.
    GoldenGun wrote: »
    Sure TB has some plotting issues, though as long as you don't pretend to be the next Citizen Kane, I can live with that. Besides, GF has them too.

    TB just gives me more of what I look for in a 60's Bond film: the exotic locations bringing vibrant colours and a travelogue feel to the film, the prototype of the sexy femme fatale in Luciana Paluzzi, a SPECTRE meeting with an unseen Blofeld executing an ill-fated minion, the DB5 and the jetpack in one film (!), a mysterious first half and a spectacular second one.

    It's the overall package that is just more appealing to me. Despite it's shortcomings this is the archetypical 60's Bond film for me.

    I see that NSNA is also being mentioned, and I like it more than most. Personally I find the cast really impressive. Klaus Maria Brandauer and Max von Sydow are probably two of the most talented actors to ever appear in a Bond film. Yet Barbara Carrera steals the show and a big shout-out to Bernie Casey too, my favourite Felix.

    Not to mention Goldfinger has its share of plotting issues as well, namely the digression with Goldfinger coercing the gang leaders into his plan only to wipe them all out anyway, and then the lengthy car destruction scene in the scrapyard is more of a drag to watch for me than any of the underwater scenes in TB which have the benefit of otherworldly beauty.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython “Baja?!”
    Posts: 8,020
    Revelator wrote: »
    I do wish the film had stuck closer to the novel in regards to character. There’s so much good stuff from the Shrublands section with Bond thinking M had gone off his rocker, to then coming back supposedly “a new man” that everyone at MI6 doesn’t like.

    Yes, I think there's some wonderful character comedy in those passages, and they would have provided much-needed great character moments for Lee's M, who was underused in the later Connery films. Domino and Largo are also much richer characters in the book. Onscreen they're almost lifeless. This is another area where GF has the edge over TB--no one complains that the characters from GF are less vivid than in the book, or that the plot hasn't been improved.
    Granted, I don’t think Rik Van Nutter was capable of acting beyond the scant lines he was given, but that also highlights how Felix was so unfortunately downplayed by TB.

    This was especially sad because TB is probably Leiter's funniest and most lovable appearance in the books. He's the sort of guy you'd love to have a beer with, while Bond, even when played by Connery, isn't. And his genuine friendship with Bond humanizes 007. But the films seem to have deliberately kept Felix bland, as if they were afraid giving him a personality would distract from Bond (how stupid--who could upstage Connery?). Something similar can be seen in how M was reduced to someone who was there for Bond to one-up. But as many have remarked, TB marks the point where machinery and spectacle overtake character.

    It’s kind of infuriating because in TB it’s almost there for the characters, but they never pop out in the way that the characters from the first three films did. By the time we get to YOLT they’re practically cardboard cut. Only Fiona Volpe really stands out.

    It’s a pretty disappointing turn by Terence Young considering his previous two films. I dunno if he was just phoning it in, but it’s telling he didn’t bother to stick around for post-production.
  • edited May 2023 Posts: 2,041
    Revelator wrote: »
    I do wish the film had stuck closer to the novel in regards to character. There’s so much good stuff from the Shrublands section with Bond thinking M had gone off his rocker, to then coming back supposedly “a new man” that everyone at MI6 doesn’t like.

    Yes, I think there's some wonderful character comedy in those passages, and they would have provided much-needed great character moments for Lee's M, who was underused in the later Connery films. Domino and Largo are also much richer characters in the book. Onscreen they're almost lifeless. This is another area where GF has the edge over TB--no one complains that the characters from GF are less vivid than in the book, or that the plot hasn't been improved.
    Granted, I don’t think Rik Van Nutter was capable of acting beyond the scant lines he was given, but that also highlights how Felix was so unfortunately downplayed by TB.

    This was especially sad because TB is probably Leiter's funniest and most lovable appearance in the books. He's the sort of guy you'd love to have a beer with, while Bond, even when played by Connery, isn't. And his genuine friendship with Bond humanizes 007. But the films seem to have deliberately kept Felix bland, as if they were afraid giving him a personality would distract from Bond (how stupid--who could upstage Connery?). Something similar can be seen in how M was reduced to someone who was there for Bond to one-up. But as many have remarked, TB marks the point where machinery and spectacle overtake character.

    It’s kind of infuriating because in TB it’s almost there for the characters, but they never pop out in the way that the characters from the first three films did. By the time we get to YOLT they’re practically cardboard cut. Only Fiona Volpe really stands out.

    It’s a pretty disappointing turn by Terence Young considering his previous two films. I dunno if he was just phoning it in, but it’s telling he didn’t bother to stick around for post-production.

    I guess the big story behind Young was that both Cubby and Harry confronted him on the enormous amount of money spent partying behind the scenes on TB, which apparently insulted Young causing him to walk off. I’d suspect that explains why he chose not to direct any more Bond films despite being offered.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython “Baja?!”
    Posts: 8,020
    I can sort of get that from Harry and Cubby’s view. It did look like Young was partying A LOT with McClory in the documentaries.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 14,920
    Not to mention Goldfinger has its share of plotting issues as well, namely the digression with Goldfinger coercing the gang leaders into his plan only to wipe them all out anyway

    It's certainly mad, but I don't think it's a fault which stops the plot from functioning. If he had let them all live the same events would happen: it doesn't really change the direction of the film.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython “Baja?!”
    Posts: 8,020
    Also it functions two ways: 1) it allows Goldfinger to boast about his plan 2) it allows Bond to start putting the pieces together before realizing later what’s going on.
  • j_w_pepperj_w_pepper Born on the bayou. I can still hear my old hound dog barkin'.
    Posts: 8,673
    Also it functions two ways: 1) it allows Goldfinger to boast about his plan 2) it allows Bond to start putting the pieces together before realizing later what’s going on.
    Yes, but as much as I like GF, the concept is totally stupid and questionable as a tool to inform the viewers what is going on. Why set up an elaborate scale model of Fort Knox and tell the whole story to the mobsters if you're gonna kill them anyway? Same goes for AVTAK (and others) of course, at least for the equivalent of poor Mr. Solo.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    edited May 2023 Posts: 14,920
    They all live in AVTAK, except for the Taiwanese Tycoon. There's nothing illogical about the plotting there.

    Although it is slightly clumsy, it can be handwaved away by Goldfinger being insane and just amusing himself. I would say that it would be better if he hadn't killed the gangsters (as in AVTAK), but importantly it gives us a look at the effects of the nerve gas before we see it (not) working in the climax. It's good show-not-tell scripting and is actually kind of clever: we are shown Goldfinger's plan and the evil means by which he plans to do it, and it's an exciting scene to watch in addition.
    It gives the film real stakes because we now know how horrible it will be if Goldfinger gasses everyone- and we see the people he was going to kill: there is a connection made with the audience and so we care more. Unlike in Thunderball, where we never see what the bomb can do (yes, arguably we all know what an atom bomb does anyway; but it makes it more visceral if it's something we see in the film), we barely ever see the bombs themselves anyway, and we never see or are given any connection to the people they threaten. The stakes of the threat of the bombs are minimised as much as possible in the film, as opposed to in Goldfinger where we see what the gas does and who it will kill. And Bond is actually handcuffed to a ticking atom bomb: the stakes couldn't be higher.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,687
    mtm wrote: »
    They all live in AVTAK, except for the Taiwanese Tycoon. There's nothing illogical about the plotting there.

    Although it is slightly clumsy, it can be handwaved away by Goldfinger being insane and just amusing himself. I would say that it would be better if he hadn't killed the gangsters (as in AVTAK), but importantly it gives us a look at the effects of the nerve gas before we see it (not) working in the climax. It's good show-not-tell scripting.

    Agreed.
  • slide_99slide_99 USA
    edited May 2023 Posts: 650
    The best in-movie explanation for that scene is that Goldfinger needed to test the lethality of the gas on a group of people. The filmmakers could've justified that with a single line of dialogue ("Mr. Goldfinger, the delta-9 is now working at optimal efficiency" or something). As for the model, he used it to plan the heist. The presentation to the mobsters? Sheer hubris.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,687
    slide_99 wrote: »
    The best in-movie explanation for that scene is that Goldfinger needed to test the lethality of the gas on a group of people. The filmmakers could've justified that with a single line of dialogue ("Mr. Goldfinger, the delta-9 is now working at optimal efficiency" or something). As for the model, he used it to plan the heist. The presentation to the mobsters? Sheer hubris.

    Also agreed.
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