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Special Edition DVD
Special Features:

Audio Commentary Featuring Terence Young

Second Audio Commentary By The Cast And Crew

The Making of Thunderball Documentary

The Thunderball Phenomenon Documentary

Behind-The-Scenes Still Gallery Featuring Over 150 Images

"Inside Thunderball" Featurette

Collectable "Making-Of" Booklet

Original Theatrical Trailers

Television And Radio Spots

Ultimate Edition DVD
Never before released on DVD:

The Incredible World of James Bond - Original 1965 NBC Television Special

A Child's Guide to Blowing Up a Motor Car

On Location With Ken Adam

Bill Suitor - The Rocket Man Movies

Thunderball Boat Show Reel

Selling Bonds - Original 1965 Television Advertisments

Interactive Guide Into the World of Thunderball

OTHER SPECIAL FEATURES:

Audio Commentary Featuring Terence Young and Others

Audio Commentary Featuring Peter Hunt, John Hopkins and Others

The Making of Thunderball

The Thunderball Phenomenon

The Secret History of Thunderball

Original Trailers

TV Spots

Photo Gallery

Radio Communications

Ultimate Edition - Picture

The Lowry Restoration team have done a fantastic job of restoring the print for this new Ultimate Edition. At the bottom of page there's a comparison of certain shots from the Special Edition with the Ultimate Edition (Ultimate captures on right).

The improvement to the picture is best exemplified within the gun barrel sequence. First of all, the quality of the picture is amazing - all the dirt and scratches (showing on the Special Edition print) have now been completely removed. The reds and blues have also been toned down - everybody is not as tanned as before. If you look at the gun barrel you can see that the final dot is now white, not pale brown, and blends in with the white background of Connery in studio. Also the gun barrel itself doesn't have the blue tinge that was there previously.

The film is now much lighter, not as gloomy in certain shots. This is best seen when the Vulcan takes off and shots of it in-flight. You can also see the Special Edition print was cropped.

Of note when Quist is thrown into Largo's shark pool, the final shot from within the water had always been filtered red. Oddly on this new print however this has been removed?! That aside, the new Ultimate Edition print stands head and shoulders over previous incarnations.

Ultimate Edition - Sound

The newly enhanced soundtrack does make it sound as though it's almost a different film entirely. There are a lot of 'new additions', alongside enhancements to existing elements.

Footsteps, background noise, even Bond picking the grape in Lippe's Shrublands room. When viewing, I'd started to think there were extra lines, certainly not heard before:

- Fiona's exclamations when Bond escapes the car at the Junkanoo

- Largos's men shouting after Bond has infiltrated Palmyra, "Ricardo, someone's shot him"

They are there in the Special Edition but can barely be heard - now these and other background sounds are very much evident. In addition, virtually every single car / plane / boat engine has been 'revved up' to give them more power.

Noticeable enhancements include:

The car engine as Bouvoir enters the chateau, the Aston Martin back screen going up, the car driving up Shrublands drive (straight after the wipe from Largo, this was virtually non-existent on the Special Edition), Lippe's car leaving Shrublands (just before Bond snoops around his room), picking the grape in Lippe's room, Bond singing to himself on exiting the heat treatment room after trapping Lippe (non-existent on the Special Edition), the Vulcans taking off, Bernard Lee much clearer on the telephone "County Police here", outside 'traffic' in M's office, the chips on the table at Cafe Martinique, the hotel keys, ice cubes and drinks poured by Bond with Leiter, the underwater torch that Bond holds and finally the winch from the helicopter that rescues Bond.

Also the silent 'trap door' at Palmyra is now heard opening and closing. Several underwater sounds from the final battle have been enhanced including the divers hitting the water after parachuting, the sleds manoevering, the door falling on the divers from behind and finally the explosion set off by Bond.

However there are two completely unnecessary embelishments that almost start to make a mockery of things:

The hidden door activated by Largo to the SPECTRE conference room. Whereas before it was a smooth hum - now it is so noisy, why bother concealing it?!

Secondly, it sounds like someone has found some coconuts to enhance the horse and cart seen in the background when Bond introduces Leiter to Pinder in Nassau.

Additionally what's missing, right at the end of the film, is the sound effect of the sky-hook wire (attached to Bond) being caught by the plane that whisks Bond and Domino into the air.

Blu Ray

Now that I've finally got the Bond Blu-rays I thought it time to add in here my views on them over the previous Lowry restoration and soundtrack.

I have to say on Blu-ray all films look exceptional in high definition with minimal issues across the entire series. There has been the odd correction over the last release including restoring the red filter to the water when Quist suffers his fate in the shark pool.

That said, through a lot of both Thunderball and You Only Live Twice, as well as from the very end of the pre-titles of On Her Majesty's Secret Service through to the end of the Hotel Palacio Estoril sequence of that film (and while I'm talking about it, also a brief shot of the Air France Concorde arriving in Rio in Moonraker), the picture does suffer from faint white vertical lines across it. Once you start seeing them it's quite hard to ignore, a pity given the rest of the series is virtually line free.

Also with Thunderball there are numerous gate hairs around the edges plus several shots that suffer from blemishes: Bond and Domino coming ashore on Paradise Island, Volpe talking to Largo about killing Bond at Palmyra and three night shots of the Disco Volante at distance when recovering the bombs from the Vulcan.

And just to top it off there are minute white specks at top right, bottom left and bottom right corners of the picture that blink at you for a considerable portion of the film too!

No doubt these issues with the picture were captured on 4K by Lowry from the original cameria negatives but probably weren't visible as part of the standard definition Ultimate Edition release. It does seem strange however why work wasn't done to mask them for the Blu-ray release.

Given this ironically it's Thunderball that does win the prize in my opinion for worst quality picture out of the entire Blu-ray series.

As for the sountrack, as I'd noted above the new 5.1 DTS remix for the Ultimate Edition almost changed how the film sounded, for the worse. All films up to and including The Man With The Golden Gun had been released in mono, with The Spy Who Loved Me to Licence To Kill being released in Stereo Surround. Mi Casa Multimedia remixed all of these, creating 5.1 soundtracks for the Ultimate Edition releases, with a varied level of success. Thunderball again suffered, so much so that for the Blu-ray releases to date Fox has used a previoius 5.1 Laserdisc version of the soundtrack instead.