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You only live twice movie poster

1967 James Bond Movie starring Sean Connery

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You Only need to watch this once to know something has gone south.

  • May 14, 2010
The first four Bond movies absolutely rocked the world.  Great globetrotting missions with danger, cool cars, sci fi, beautiful women, evil villians and the cinema world was never the same with movie tie in products in stores in TV shows like I Spy and Get Smart hopping on the spy band wagon.  By 1967 the spy craze was fizzling.  You Only Live Twice, the 5th James Bond movie based on Ian Flemings penultimate novel was where things were starting to go south.  Sure the movie was cool and it was still a big hit in the fading fad but other things were going wrong behind the scenes.

First, Sean Connery was tired with the series.  Too many gimmicks and not enough character chased him out and you can tell he isn't all that interested in playing Bond anymore.  Real compelling movie to watch at times when the lead is uninterested and bored.  Next is a new director, Lewis Gilbert isn't bad but Guy Hamilton kept things fun and lively in Goldfinger and Terrance Howard let the class and mystery ooze out in his movies.  Third is Roald Dahl as the screenwriter.  The guy who wrote The BFG, Matilda and others was writing a Bond movie and his fantasy trappings for kids books is a weird mesh for Bond.  There were alot of other problems here and there but this Bond was definetly style over substance.

Bond is undercover in Japan to investigate missing space capsules....well of COURSE!  The theory is, is that USA (depicted as warmongering idiots) and Russia (depicted in a "who, US?" fashion) are bucking for space superiority and the US is especially mad when one of their capsules goes missing in space.  Russia is planning a launch soon and warns the US to stay out of it or risk war.  England (the only logical head at the table) suggests another country is at work and in steps Bond.

Going to Japan and getting the lay of the land, so to speak-Bond makes his way to finding out S.P.E.C.T.R.E. is up to no good again and is working with Red China to start a World War.

Lets put this aside right now:  The Volcano set is infamous for it's size, scale, coolness and the fact that a lot of that stuff WORKED inside.  The tram cars, lights and platforms.  The scale of making this thing is gargantuan and awesome and real.  I was starting to see a lot of these older Bond movies in the era os Star Wars prequels and all I wondered is how real and good everything is here and fake everything is in Episode II.  The gyrohelicopter is cool but was used soley for a helicopter battle.  It also looks impractical when you realize the machine guns are stuck right in the nose above where Bond puts his feet.  Where are the bullets stored?  I know, don't point out the plot holes on cool things.  It is a change of pace from the cars though.

Secondly, Tiger Tanaka is one of the coolest Bond sidekick characters.  The head of Japan Secret Service he's got a great attitude and has great chemistry with Bond.  As far as characters go, he's the best in the movie.

The Bond girls, are a couple of lovely Japanese ladies.  Aki and Kissy Suzuki, (Kissy's name isn't even said in the movie BTW)  Theres nothing great about either of them.  They're just kinda there, on the same token, they're not annoying like some Bond girls.

Now the big one.  Blofeld was revealed and it's a mixed bag with Donald Pleasance.  Not a big man, but a funny looking guy with a silly scar.  YES, the scar became iconic but it's there to add to his menace.  The haunting voice of Blofeld when you didn't see him in the earlier movies made the guy scary and eerie.  Now that he's finally revealed, it's a let down to me anyway to see a little guy struting around as him.

Theres cool things in this movie but the plot is ludicrous, Bond is bored to the point it could have been anyone playing him, the girls are nothing special and the set pieces take over.  The good, the set pieces-are ultra cool and the story isn't that good anyway.  Sounds like a generous rating to give a movie that has little going for it besides it's flashy action and awesome set design on top of the stupid story, well that didn't stop Lucas and he got away with it three times, not twice.
You Only need to watch this once to know something has gone south. You Only need to watch this once to know something has gone south. You Only need to watch this once to know something has gone south. You Only need to watch this once to know something has gone south.

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More You Only Live Twice (film) reviews
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2012
Beautiful scenery of Japan with Bond doing things one would never expect like getting married. Loved the action and Blofeld's base in the volcano. However, I wanted to see more of Q. Nellie was cool, but I missed the lab and all he devices he would show Bond there.
review by . October 11, 2010
posted in Bond, James Bond
Wallis WA-116 Series 1 Gyroplane (Little Nellie) Don't we all want one of these in a traffic jam!!!
I am a retired Army helicopter pilot, now you know why Little Nellie is my top pick for a Bond gadget! Little Nellie, Bond tells Tiger Tanaka in You Only Live Twice, is "a wonderful girl, very small, quite fast, can do anything-just your type." Tiger is not impressed. After seeing it constructed, he asks, "a toy helicopter? This can only be used for children." But Q explains the features: two fixed machine guns, two rocket launchers, two heat-seeking missiles and, in the back, …
Quick Tip by . May 16, 2010
posted in Bond, James Bond
Bond goes to Japan to find missing Space Capsules and finds S.P.E.C.T.R.E. up to it's old tricks. Great production + a bored lead = decent.
Quick Tip by . May 14, 2010
Bond heads to Japan to investigate missing space capsules. Super production and locations but the story is goofy even by Bond standards.
About the reviewer
John Nelson ()
Ranked #8
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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You Only Live Twice (1967) is the fifth spy film in the James Bond series, and the fifth to star Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film's screenplay was written by Roald Dahl, and based on Ian Fleming's 1964 novel of the same name. It is the first James Bond film to discard most of Fleming's plot, using only a few characters and locations from the book as the background for an entirely new story.

In the film, Bond is dispatched to Japan after American and Russian spacecraft disappear mysteriously in orbit. With each nation blaming the other amidst the Cold War, Bond travels secretly to a remote Japanese island in order to find the perpetrators and comes face to face with Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the head of SPECTRE. The film reveals the appearance of Blofeld who was previously a partially unseen character. SPECTRE is working on behalf of a third-party.

During the Japanese location filming Sean Connery announced that he was resigning from the role of Bond; however, Connery did later return in Diamonds Are Forever and the non EON Bond film "Never Say Never Again". You Only Live Twice is the first Bond film to be directed by Lewis Gilbert, who later directed 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me and 1979's Moonraker, both starring Roger Moore. These three Bond films are notable for being epic in scale.

The first Bond film to be released in the summertime, the film was a great success, with positive reviews and over $111M in worldwide box office, and ...
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