Thunderball, Blu-ray (1965)

by | Nov 7, 2008 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Thunderball, Blu-ray (1965)

Starring: Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi, Desmond Llewelyn
Director: Terence Young
Studio: MGM Home Entertainment 883904116776
Video: 2.35:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 color, 1080p HD
Audio: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, French DD 5.1, Spanish Mono, English Mono
Extras: Audio Commentaries, Documentaries, Featurettes, Photo Gallery
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Length: 125 minutes
Rating: ****1/2

Ian Fleming’s Thunderball was the fourth installment in the Bond franchise, and Sean Connery definitely shows his mastery of the James Bond character in this excellent film, proving to all that he is the only true James Bond! And if anyone has any doubt where Mike Myers got a lot of his source material for the Austin Powers series of spoofs, this is a really good starting point, especially in an early scene where one of the SPECTRE bad guys gets electrocutionally fried in his chair – Myers lifted this one almost verbatim! Of course, the plot is typical for the genre; the bad guys steal a couple of nukes, and then threaten to launch them and create worldwide chaos, unless world governments pay up big time – unless, of course, James Bond is able to thwart the plan, and save the day. And, as always, Bond engages in a preponderance of politically incorrect interaction with a bevy of sinister beauties! This time around gorgeous French actress Claudine Auger plays the lead femme fatale; her turn as the sultry Domino is definitely one of the more memorable Bond girls.

For the transfer to Blu-ray for this excellent series of releases, MGM used the 4k scans that were incorporated in the most recent DVD reissue – which, by the way, was an incredibly good transfer – and the resulting image looks nothing short of remarkable with Blu-ray’s additional resolution. Apart from a few minor flaws in the source material, the transfers are exceptionally pristine, with crisp and clear images and excellent contrast, detail and color representation. I’ve never seen this movie look so good! From an audio standpoint, the new DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 transfer is also really good, although the source material does occasionally show its age, and some of the pans and surround effects are a bit clunky. Of course, purists could always just switch to the original mono, though I felt the new audio encode was a definite improvement. MGM gets a total thumbs-up for the restoration efforts lavished on this series, which definitely forms a generous portion of the cornerstone of their motion picture catalog.

The disc’s selection of bonus materials is quite extensive; it pretty much appears that MGM included everything from the last DVD release – there’s nothing here in the way of HD exclusives. However, there’s a ton of available viewing, and fans of the Bond franchise won’t be left wanting for much. Thunderball is an excellent movie, and an exceptionally well-done Blu-ray experience. Very highly recommended!

— Tom Gibbs

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