You Only Live Twice (1967) Poster

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8/10
Bond goes East.
lost-in-limbo19 September 2009
This particular 007 entry (which was intended to be Sean Connery's last before he would agreed to return one more time for his sixth shot as 006 in 'Diamonds are Forever (1971)' and lets not the forget the unofficial 'Never Say Never Again' in 1983) was the first Bond film I encountered and from that it has always remained a total favourite. "You Live Only Twice" we see Bond travel to the land of the rising sun (Japan) in what is quite an expansive concept (dazzling set-designs with spectacular non-stop action) and very well-budgeted effort that lingers on a extremely comic-book-like tone (thanks largely to Roald Dahl's industriously well-guided screenplay that plays its cards close to the chest) with its characters, atmospherics and set-pieces that for me would make it one of the most creative and exciting inclusions to the series.

Bond heads to Japan racing to uncover the true mastermind behind the space-jacking that could see another world war, as British sources believe that the mysterious rocket ship which has seized American and Russian space shuttles originates from there, but those countries believe otherwise than each other for the acts.

Couple of things which made it more the memorable would be that it's the first chance we get to see arch villain SPECTRE Agent #1 Ernst Blofeld's face, than just the hand stroking the cat… although the first hour we get enough of that. It's a devilishly meaty Donald Pleasence who just seemed the part of Blofeld. Now who didn't love the hidden lair that was in an inactive volcano, and of course Blofeld's pool of pet piranhas. The inventive gadget novelty was really making a mark, just look the deadly mini-copter named 'Nelly' and the dangerous effects of smoking around others. Strangely enough the (witty) script seemed to spit out a few self-knowing quips involving cigarettes, which became rather odd. Director Lewis Gilbert (who would go on to control the very similar in story-structure "The Spy Who Loved Me" and then following that the plain goofy "Moonraker") does a tersely capable job with a fast moving pace that shifted from one well organized set-piece to another (like the chase on-top of a rooftop in a fishing docks that's masterfully captured by cinematographer Freddie Young) to finally finish on a barnstorming climax (with none other than ninjas) and then a familiarly fitting final frame. Sean Connery might look a little tired (a bit funny trying to make himself look like Japanese under make-up), but remains just as charismatic and fittingly lean when it came to getting down and dirty (Bond and his tussle with Blofeld's massive henchman Hans comes to mind). The bond girls shape up nicely in the form of Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama and the stunning German redhead Karin Dor. Tetsurô Tanba was good as Bond's Japanese counterpart. Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell and Desmond Llewelyn treat us to their iconic roles. John Barry's classy music score has a smoothly oriental touch, which can get actively copious when called for and theme song "You Only Live Twice" is enticingly sung by Nancy Sinatra.
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8/10
Old school Bond, but still one of the most fun Bond movies.
vip_ebriega8 June 2007
My Take: Another fun Bond entry. Great Bond, fun villains, neat gadgets, and enjoyable action.

"You Only Live Twice" is business as usual for Bond. Not much new, and Connery seemed bored playing his role (explaining his disappearance in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"). There is a lot to like in this film. Connery in "You Only Live Twice" is easily comparable to FROM Russia WITH LOVE and GOLDFINGER, but as Bond, he already has established that he is the best in the business and YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE does give him much to do.

This film does carry the original tradition of Bond. This time around, Bond is sent to Japan to investigate the disappearances of American space shuttles. While the United States suspect it's Russian interference and threaten to retaliate, the Brits faked 007's assassination, in order to clear the way for Bond to investigate what really is going on.

Some areas of YOLT are pretty campy (some of the patterns for the AUSTIN POWERS parodies are pretty evident), but the camp is part of the fun. It's a throwback to the good ol' not-to-be-taken-seriously adventure espionage fun. This is formula Bond, but loaded with great action, neat gadgetry ("Little Nellie" is one of the most beloved Q gadgets) and the glorious sets by the one-and-only Bond veteran Ken Adam make it another high-flying, if not exactly groundbreaking, Bond adventure and one of he series' more fun entries.

Rating: **** out of 5.
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8/10
Bond-san, Blofeld, Asian Delights and Production Value Supreme.
Spikeopath1 May 2012
You Only Live Twice is directed by Lewis Gilbert and written by Roald Dahl. It stars Sean Connery, Tetsuro Tamba, Teru Shimada, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama, Karin Dor and Donald Pleasence. Music is scored by John Barry and cinematography by Freddie Young.

Bond 5 and Connery once again tackles the role of 007. With American and Soviet space craft mysteriously vanishing from space, both nations are laying the blame at the other's door. Sensing a nuclear war could break out, M assigns Bond to Japan to investigate if there might be a third party stirring the hornets nest. Teaming up with the Japanese secret service, Bond uncovers evidence that SPECTRE is behind the plot to pitch the East and the West against each other.

This organisation does not tolerate failure.

Thunderball had broke box office records for Bond, gadgetry, outlandish stunts and a quip on the tongue had proved most profitable. It was planned originally that On Her Majesty's Secret Service would be number 5 in the series, but a change of tack to go for You Only Live Twice as the story gave producers Broccoli & Saltzman the scope for a giganticus enormous production. However, it may be set in Japan and feature a Bond/Blofeld conflict, but Roald Dahl's script bares little resemblance to Ian Fleming's source novel. Although a massive financial success with a Worldwide gross of over $111 million, Bond 5 took $30 million less than Thunderball. Strange since this is a better film. Can we attribute the drop to it being a space age saga? Maybe, the rebirth of sci-fi was a few years away, and of course Bond had lost some fans who had grown tired, like Connery, of 007 relying on gadgets instead of brains and brawn to complete his missions. There was also the rival Casino Royale production, as bad as it was, to contend with, while the spy boom created by Bond had been overkilled elsewhere and was on the wane.

Extortion is my business. Go away and think it over, gentlemen. I'm busy.

True enough that You Only Live Twice has flaws, though they are far from being film killers if you like the gadgets and hi-techery side of the franchise? Connery announced once production was over that he was leaving the role of Bond behind. He had been close to breaking point after Thunderball, but finally the media circus, typecasting, the fanaticism and the character merely being a cypher for outrageous sequences, led Connery to finally call it a day. His displeasure shows in performance, oh it's professional, very much so, but the swagger and machismo from the earlier films has gone. Although Dahl's script tones down the "cheese" dialogue and unfolds as a plot of considerable World peril worth, characterisations are thinly drawn, making this reliant on production value and action sequences. Thankfully both are top dollar. And the ace up its sleeve is the long awaited face to face meeting of Bond and Blofeld.

The firing power inside my crater is enough to annihilate a small army. You can watch it all on TV. It's the last program you're likely to see.

Ken Adam's set design is fit to grace any epic in film history, as is Freddie Young's photography around the Japanese locales, Barry lays a beautiful Bond/Oriental score all over proceedings and Nancy Sinatra's title song is appealingly catchy. The action is excellently constructed by Gilbert (helming the first of three Bond movies on his CV), with the final battle at Blofeld's volcano crater base full of explosions, flying stunt men, expert choreography and meaty fights. Along the way we have been treated to Ninjas, Piranhas, poison, aeroplane peril and the awesome Little Nellie versus the big boy copter smack down! Then there's that Bond/Blofeld confrontation. Well worth the wait, with Pleasence visually scary with bald head (setting the marker for bald villainy to follow in TV and cinema it seems) and scar across his eye. Pleasence is also very low key with his menace, which is perfect, we don't want pantomime and the scenes with Bond work wonderfully well.

It made less than the film before it and it has fierce critics in Bond and Fleming circles. But it's a Bond film that pays rich rewards on revisits, where the artistry on show really shines through in this HD/Upscale age. 8/10
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5/10
Fun, Exotic And Stupid
Shashana-Rosenstein30 November 2018
While the action never ceases, which is great, and the locale is exotic, and Japan is always cool, many of the sequences seem there just to showcase Japan. How much of these films is sponsored by tourist bureaus I cannot know, but as a viewer one can enjoy the action and the intrigue by ignoring the unneeded sequences or rather treating them as amusement to watch. I always thought Roger Moore is the better Bond, but the Sean Connery ones are entertaining to watch too. You Only Live Twice is fun.
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9/10
Welcome to Japan Mr Bond
Dock-Ock26 September 2001
You Only Live Twice is pure Comic Book entertaiment. James Bond is very much the superhero character he was in Goldfinger, and every scene is like a panel in a Comic Book and filled with entertaining excitement. In truth, it is though the feel and style that was vibrant throughout Goldfinger [1964] leapfrogged the dull Thunderball [1965] and found it's way to Japan. Twice is a beautiful looking and sounding addition to the Bond movies, and one is glad Sean Connery didn't really resign from the role of Bond and did indeed Live Twice.

By jettisoning most of Ian Flemmings original story You Only Live Twice, in wich an amnesiac Bond Hunts down Blofeld in Japanese castles, Broccoli and Saltzman have ridden themselves of the same problem evident in Thunderball : Slow Movement, Uninterested Audiences. Thunderball may have been a success, but this was probably due to the Bondmania wich raged through the mid sixties like a giant inferno. Luckily for the fans of the eye popping spectacles the Bond series is famous for, You Only Live Twice contains no such problems of dreary moments of boardom. In its place we have a Space Age actioneer written by childrens author Roald Dahl, and an entertaining and swift director in Lewis Gilbert, who seems more suited to Bond than any director yet.

It has been said before, but the real star of the show is Ken Adams sets. His wondefull Volcano set wich Blofeld uses is one of the most memorable in Cinema history. Add to this the Japanese sets, the Submarines [M's Offices], Tanaka's Lair, and the real sense of Japanese authenticy. Adam deserves an Oscar for this movie alone. For his total contributions to Bond and other movies, there is no Award yet created.

Donald Pleasence makes a very creepy Blofeld. He is perhaps the ultimate Blofeld. His scenes with the other cast members show the complete acting skills of a fine actor. Twice also contains one of Desmonde Lywellyn's funniest performances as Q,and one of Q's finest creations, the Little Nellie Helicopter. Little Nellie is every Bond fans dreams, personally i think it would be lovely to soar above rural England in Nellie, let alone Japan! Some guys have all the luck! Twice also has one of John Barry's most beautiful themes,and songs sung by Nancie Sinatra.

The only real let down this time is Sean Connery. He makes any Bond film look good, but this time doesn't look as though he is enjoying himself all that much. This is a petty bacause Twice itself is a very impressive and enjoyable Bond movie, with some of the best sets, Action sequences and Acting in the entire series.
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This one belongs to Ken Adam
grendelkhan20 November 2004
This one is a triumph for Ken Adam's sets. The volcano base is the most memorable feature of the film. Oh, the story is fun and the gadgets are cool, but those sets really sell the film. They would inspire countless imitations and variations throughout the years.

Finally, we get to see Bloefeld, and it's a bit of a letdown. Donald Pleasance is a fine actor, but he's not quite supervillain material; more of the serial killer variety, in the mold of Peter Lorre. Still, he is by far the superior on-screen version.

The Japanese cast are all outstanding. Special mention should be made of Peter Maivia, grandfather of Dwayne Johson, aka The Rock. He and the stuntmen create a brutal fight scene, second only to the train fight in FRWL, although this is perhaps more inventive.

As for gadgets, outside of the jetpack from Thundrball and Goldfinger's Aston Martin, Little Nellie is the coolest ride. The aerial scenes are spectacular and are one of the highpoints of the whole series.

This film really marks the end of the ultra-cool Bond films. After this, they tend to go down in quality, taken as a whole. Some have better stories and villains, some have better stunts, but they are never the complete package that the earlier films were. Still, this one (along with Goldfinger and Thunderball) would inspire every spy work that would follow; from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. to Our Man Flint, Marvel Comics' Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.e.L.D., to the X-Men. Everyone stole an idea from here.
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9/10
Bond … favorite Bond!
Coventry10 March 2016
When I was around 11 or 12 years old, my dad and I watched all the James Bond movies that were released then (which was up until "License to Kill") in a period of just a couple of days. Although I liked almost every single one of them, the one and only that instantly became my favorite one in the series! I mean, what wasn't to be loved about this awesome movie?!? The utterly cool sequences of space capsules being swallowed – literally – by bigger and monstrous rockets, the fantastic villainous headquarters hidden inside an inactive volcano, the exciting scenes at the ninja training camp, the cool aerial battle between 007 in his silly little yellow toy-airplane versus various heavily armed black helicopters, the pet piranhas, and – most of all – the portrayal of the ultimate evil mastermind Ernst Stavro Blofeld by the inimitable Donald Pleasance. Now, 25 years and yet another 8 new Bond installments later, I can still shamelessly admit that "You Only Live Twice" still stands as my personal favorite Bond movie and – even though Sir Sean Connery will probably disagree with me – it's undeniably the most entertaining one of the entire series. Through the eyes and ears of an adult viewer I can add more good reasons to love this movie, actually, like for example it features on of the top three greatest theme songs (courtesy of Nancy Sinatra) and an action-packed screenplay penned down by another one of my childhood heroes, namely Roald Dahl. The plot of "You Only Live Twice" is easily summarized… Criminal organization S.P.E.C.T.R.E, led by the scar-faced and cat-loving psychopath Blofeld, is well on track to evoke a third World War by alternately abducting a US and then a Soviet space capsule from within a secret base camp on a Japanese volcanic island, and then counting on the fact that these two stubborn world powers will blame each other. Luckily the intelligent British government suspects there's more going on, and so they send their best agent to the Far East. In order to fulfill his delicate mission, 007 first has to fake his own death and then literally must become a Japanese warrior. "You only live Twice" is another fast- paced and spectacular Bond-adventure with beautiful exotic filming locations, lots of pleasant hi-tech gadgetry (cigarette gunfire, anyone?) and plenty of action. The Bond girls in this one are all Oriental, evidently, so whether Akiko Wakabayashi and Mie Hama rank amongst the most beautiful 007 bed partners or not entirely depends on your own personal taste. My major complaint now is that I remember Pleasance's role in the film to be bigger… When I was 12- years-old Donald Pleasance must have made such an everlasting impression on me that he forever remains the embodiment of James Bond villains…
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8/10
Outrageous James Bond escapade, enormously enjoyable despite being nothing like the source novel.
barnabyrudge28 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
An entertaining and fast-paced fifth entry for Sean Connery as James Bond, You Only Live Twice audaciously (and cheekily) chooses to ignore the plot of the original novel and instead hurtles along its own merry route. Working from a screenplay by children's' author Roald Dahl, director Lewis Gilbert fashions a thoroughly enjoyable slice of escapism, brimming over with witty dialogue and outrageous action sequences.

Following the "swallowing up" of an American space shuttle in orbit by an unmarked enemy shuttle, the U.S angrily accuses Russia of stealing their spacecraft and threatens to declare war if any similar incidents take place during their forthcoming launch. The British remain unconvinced that the Russians had anything to do with the crime, as they suspect the enemy shuttle (the one which swallowed up the American craft) actually came down somewhere in Japan. James Bond (Sean Connery) is sent to Japan to figure out what is going on before it's too late. He quickly establishes that his old adversaries SPECTRE are the masterminds behind the scheme, but try as he might he cannot trace their operations base, which seems to be concealed in a remote volcanic region. Aided by the head of the Japanese Secret Service, Tiger Tanaka (Tesuro Tamba), Bond races against the clock as Armageddon beckons in an effort to find the criminal lair and put an end to SPECTRE's sinister plot.

You Only Live Twice is totally different to the first two movies in the series (Dr. No and From Russia With Love) because it is intentionally extravagant and far-fetched. This is more a continuation of the style of Bondage we came to know and love in number 3 (Goldfinger) and number 4 (Thunderball). If anything, this one reaches an apotheosis of sorts in terms of ludicrous set pieces. Connery is brilliant as Bond (he had really had his fill of the character by this point, but was professional enough to hide his boredom while the cameras were rolling). Also, Nancy Sinatra belts out one of the greatest theme tunes ever to grace the series. And Ken Adam deserves to be showered with accolades for his amazing set designs, the pinnacle of which is the volcanic base used by SPECTRE (to this day, it remains the best baddie's lair ever seen in a movie). You Only Live Twice might not be one for the purists, but for anyone wanting to be exhilarated and entertained it really hits the mark.
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8/10
One of the most entertaining Bond movies.
Boba_Fett113821 March 2006
It's not the best but it most certainly is one of the most entertaining Bond movies to watch. Because of that reason, "You Only Live Twice" is one of my favorite Bond movies.

Basically the movie is just simple silly fun. The story is very simple and at the same time also totally unbelievable but also because of this the movie is extremely entertaining to watch. As an action movie this movie is really great. The movie is truly filled with many spectacular, if a tad over-the-top action sequences. Most action sequences don't even make sense that they occur in the movie, once you really start thinking about it but that is all part of the charm of this entertaining movie. It's a very imaginative movie that has some unforgettable sequences in it, that are both thrilling as well as spectacular.

The movie is mostly set in the culturally rich Japan. It works as a perfect backdrop for the movie and the strange unusual culture helps to make the movie an imaginative filled one. Also sequences like with 'Little Nellie' and the end fight set in the hollowed-out volcano add to the adventurous and imaginative feeling of the movie.

Ken Adam is also one of the reasons why everything in the movie works so well. As a production designer he made the right backdrops for the story and made several elements of the movie work out surprising well, such as mainly all of the sequences in the hollowed-out volcano.

Also the musical score by John Barry and the cinematography by Freddie Young are worth mentioning.

Sean Connery is good and fun as always as James Bond and he still showed good form in this movie. This time Ernst Stavro Blofeld was played by legendary actor Donald Pleasence. He takes the movie to an even higher level. He plays the best Blofeld out of the long series of Bond movies, along with Telly Savalas who played the villainous character in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service".

This is a fantastic fast paced, action filled movie, that has some spectacular and unforgettable sequences in it, especially toward the ending. One of my personal favorite Bond movies, of which I never grow tired of watching it.

8/10

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7/10
BOND#5: Kill Bond! Now! says Blofeld Revealed
Bogmeister29 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
MASTER PLAN: foment World War III between the U.S. and Soviet Union by stealing some orbiting space capsules. Bond almost gets into outer space in this one, literally a step away (he'd finally make it in the much later "Moonraker"). And that's where the teaser begins, a reflection of the anxious space race between the super powers during the sixties. This film also reflected how 'hot' the Cold War was at this time, when seemingly the slightest provocation could cause a devastating escalation - precisely what SPECTRE, notably Blofeld, wants. We thought SPECTRE played its ultimate hand in the previous "Thunderball." Here, instead of just stealing nuclear warheads, the sinister organization gobbles up entire space ships, a blatant attempt to establish itself as a new super power - a 3rd one - following up on the hints in the previous Bonders. Expectedly, there are fantastic special FX for the time to convey all this ambitious power playing. This marked a shift to all-out science fiction, although traces of traditional espionage remain. The teaser is actually divided into two parts, with the 2nd half devoted to another 'false death' for Bond (see From Russia With Love's teaser). Nancy Sinatra sings over the credits and at the end, a more languorous and lyrical effort than the bombastic tempos in previous films.

Bond spends his mission in Japan in this one, since this is where it appears the criminal space craft originates from. In a slight deviation of protocol, M and Moneypenny have also set up quarters in this area, in a least likely spot. Many of the early scenes convey this sleight of hand, where nothing is as it appears to be, but then the plot starts to meander a bit. Despite some fine action bits, notably against a burly Japanese thug and a unique long shot of Bond's rooftop struggle, the middle act comes across as almost a travelogue of the Orient's better scenery. It's nice to look at, yes, perhaps the most exotic of the Bonders, but on the slow side, a conceit which would plague many of the future Bonders. Q shows up with his contribution, a miniature helicopter, which almost seems like an advertisement for the company who made this weird prop, though there is an impressive aerial battle against some standard helicopters when Bond attempts some scouting. Similar to the use of sharks in the previous film, this has a pond of piranha, always a guaranteed crowd pleaser, accentuating the outrageous aspects of Bond villains. To the film's credit, several fine Japanese actors were cast, including a couple of Bond girls (another film company might have cast white actors in all the main roles, despite the Japanese setting). I especially liked the poignant oriental-flavored musical score during Bond's wedding, though this entire subplot makes little sense. There's even a tragic tone to one of the character arcs, though Bond accepts this like a good soldier, a sign of Connery's less energetic approach by this time.

The casting of uber-villain Blofeld, however, was not very inspired. The actor Pleasence is always excellent and actually lends himself very well to eccentric villainy, but it didn't quite work here. After sensing the power emanating from this mysterious figure with the reverberating voice in "From Russia With Love" and "Thunderball," one can't help but be unimpressed by Pleasence's limited stature, both physically and vocally. He actually reminded me of a stunted version of another comic book villain, Baron Strucker, introduced a couple of years earlier in the 'Sgt.Fury' Marvel Comics. The fact he shows up so late, a la Dr. No style, was probably just as well. His bodyguard, the brute henchman, doesn't speak and functions merely as a tall combatant for the now standard mano-a-mano with Bond towards the end (tho their walking towards each other was a stylistic triumph). Connery himself appeared noticeably older than in the previous Bonders; though still physically fit, you sense he was past his prime - not desk-bound just yet, but slowing up, and his lack of jovial sarcasm during Q's lecture denoted a little too much seasoning by this point. This does have a spectacular finish, with literally a hundred attacking ninjas on the greatest Bond set so far, underneath a fake lake in a volcano. Bond would return, but Connery would not, in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service." Bond:8 Villain:7 Femme Fatales:7 Henchmen:5 Fights:8 Stunts/Chases:8 Gadgets:8 Auto:6 Locations:9 Pace:7 overall:7
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8/10
Japa Easy Chicks Fall for western man
dradenperegrine16 April 2019
Really that is it. Then accidents happen, aeroplanes don't hit the target and a whole construction is discovered yet no one knows how or when it was constructed. Anyway some chicks in bikini is a bonus so I bought it on DVD>
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8/10
One Of The Best Bond Movies
Theo Robertson23 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I notice this movie has warranted much criticism and some people have gone as far as dubbing it as the worst of the Connery Eon productions ! What you mean it's worse than DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER ? I don't think so and it's certainly better than than THUNDERBALL which spends most of its time with Connery - Or more likely a stuntman - submerged under water . At least with this movie we get to see Connery's manly handsome features

I do agree there are certain flaws to the screenplay . One is the plot which lacks logic . Spectre are manipulating the superpowers into starting a nuclear war ! Can anyone see what a ridiculous idea this is ? There is some historical context to this since Mao thought because of the large population of China if there was a third world war his country would come up trumps and if I remember correctly he stated in the mid 1960s that " Even if we lose 300 million of our citizens China would still survive " which just goes to show that he wasn't perhaps the cleverest of people . It's insinuated heavily without being spelt out that China is paying Spectre to cause the war but what is Blofeld getting out of this apart from 100 million dollars in gold bullion ? At least in THE SPY WHO LOVED ME you can understand why the villain would want to see a nuclear holocaust but Blofeld seems entirely ignorant that you wouldn't be able to trade or spend anything after world war three .

There's also a few other little irritants . Much of the movie is beautifully paced but Bond's burial at sea is again illogical and holds up the story . I mean why don't the Royal Navy just dump a weighted down dummy into the sea and come to think of it doesn't the " Bond is dead " charade just seem entirely stupid in the first place ? How if Bond was alive the Hong Kong police say he was dead ? Were they part of the conspiracy ? For an intricate plot it seems to involve a ridiculous number of people for it to work effectively . Same as the Bond pretends to be a Japanese fisherman subplot . Couldn't the Japanese secret service just land him on the island via boat instead of putting him in a ninja training camp ? There's also something else that is totally unexplained : Bond rescues two Soviet cosmonauts and an American astronaut then one of these characters disappears from the narrative when Bond and the two others knock out the Spectre spacemen then these two characters likewise disappear from the story . It might sound anal of me but I was very annoyed that I never found out what happened to the three space kidnap victims

Despite these flaws YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE is a tremendously entertaining movie . As I said from one or two unnecessary elements ( This would become a serious problem in the latter movies ) it's beautifully paced and contains some great set pieces with special mention going to the chase scene on top of a warehouse and this is the movie where we finally get to see the face of Blofeld . Again I notice that some people aren't all that impressed with Donald Pleasence's performance but I think it's an excellent portrayal of a megalomaniac , he's aloof and attached , almost Hitlerite and compare it to the campy style other actors have played him in

Perhaps not as good as DOCTOR NO or GOLDFINGER but this Bond film is much better than most other in the franchise
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7/10
Q introduces 'Little Nellie,' a flying version of the Aston Martin…
Nazi_Fighter_David16 October 2001
Warning: Spoilers
Throughout Bond's career, the SPECTRE chief had lurked behind the scenes, masterminding horrific crimes and dispensing ruthless punishments to those who disappointed him… The "You Only Live Twice" mission revealed that evil had a human face… Blofeld's love of animals extended beyond his white Persian cat: he also kept piranhas… His fishy friends, capable of stripping a person to a skeleton in minutes, were not just for show…

'You Only Live Twice' takes place entirely in Japan... The script is a return to a 'From Russia with Love' type plot in which SPECTRE, backed by Red China, enters the space race by playing off the Russians and Americans... The agent of his plans is a specially designed Intruder rocket which captures spacecraft and returns them to SPECTRE chief Blofeld's secret Japanese volcano hideout...

To trick SPECTRE into lowering his guard on British Secret Service activities in Japan, Bond manages to fake his own death... Under the eye of SPECTRE agents, he is given a proper Naval burial at sea aboard a destroyer in Hong Kong, and his body is sent to the bottom of the harbor where a team of frogmen recover it and bring it to a waiting submarine...

Bond, wearing his full Commander's uniform, is alive, thanks to a special aqualung, and he reports to M aboard the submarine...To avoid further detection, he is placed in one of the submarine's torpedo tubes and fired towards the Hong Kong shore to investigate the missing satellites...

His contact is Henderson (Charles Gray—who later played Blofeld in 'Diamond Are Forever'), who informs Bond of Tiger Tanaka (Tetsuro Tamba), the youthful head of the Japanese Secret Service... Tanaka forged a strong working relationship with Bond… The centers of his operation were an underground Tokyo HQ with its own subway train, an ancient castle, and a training school for his Ninja force…

Although the film does develop a flavor for the Far East—with its beautiful women, emerging technology, and ancient customs—the movie's story is a less than compelling one… Impressive set pieces take over center stage at the expense of a sustained dramatic structure… And "You Only Live Twice" jumps up from villain to villain, escapade to escapade, until the final assault on the volcano rocket base puts 007 up against Blofeld for the first time…

In spite of pushing aside a bowl of oysters, and drinking his favorite martini 'stirred, not shaken,' plus Russian vodka and Japanese sake, Bond—lacking his usual charm— is given little to do in the story… The women in the film are actually much more interesting than him… Aki and Kissy are the advance guard of the new Bond girl—less breathless females who have more equality on the firing line… In other words, they hold their own with Bond and help him out of more than a few scrapes with death…

Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi) is 007's guardian angel in Tokyo… She drives an exotic Toyota 2000 sports car, and wears fancy Western outfits… Kissy (Mie Hama) managed to resist Bond's advances—at least until the mission was accomplished…

Helga Brandt (Karin Dor) turns out to be totally unaffected by Bond's charm... Schooled in the Fiona Volpe-style of assassination, she decides to give Bond a taste of what she has to offer before leaving him to figure a way to escape the falling plane...

Nevertheless 'You Only Live Twice' isn't a bad film, and it does star the best Bond... It also holds off high points: John Barry's most romantic musical sequences, Freddie Young's cinematography, and Moneypenny—very smart in naval uniform—connives to have Bond say 'I love you,' a password chosen for this mission...
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4/10
One of the worst Bond movies
karimnash14 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I probably would have ranked this movie much higher if it wasn't for the 30 mins of the movie devoted to turning Bond "japanese" and training him to be a Ninja. They arrange a marriage for him as well to a local Japanese girl who is also actually an agent. It all is completely unnecessary and has no relation to the overall plot at all. I mean the guy is a highly trained British agent. Why does he need to be trained as a ninja to go investigate a suspicious volcano crater.

Aside from that ridiculous plot sequence, the whole SPECTRE organization starts to look real stupid at this point and you really see where Austin Powers gets most of it's material. At one point while number one is holding his cat, it looks like its ready to freak out and is desperately trying to jump out of his arms. The whole thing is rather comical.

I know Bond movies are supposed to be a little silly, but this one is mostly just dumb and annoying.
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7/10
Manages to Entertain Fairly Well
Uriah4321 May 2013
An American spacecraft in outer space has been swallowed up by an unidentified flying object. The Americans blame the Soviets. The Soviets deny the allegation. In the meantime, "James Bond" (Sean Connery) is set up by an attractive Chinese woman named "Ling" (Tsai Chin) and is murdered. Or at least that's what MI5 wants the world to think. From the information they have been able to gather the unidentified flying object has touched down somewhere near Japan and that is where James Bond is sent to investigate. But he only has a short time because the Americans are planning on launching another rocket and have warned the Soviets that they will declare war if anything happens to this one. At any rate, rather than go into great detail on what happens next and risk spoiling the film for those who haven't seen it, I will just say that this film probably doesn't receive as much attention as some of the others in the James Bond series. Personally, I enjoyed the location, the music and the way Mie Hama ("Kissy") looked in her white swimsuit. Be that as it may, while it may not be the best James Bond film ever produced, it manages to entertain fairly well and I have rated it accordingly.
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10/10
Spectacular!
ferbs5420 June 2018
Warning: Spoilers
We now come to the one and only film in my personal Top 10 list that is not a perfect motion picture; indeed, "You Only Live Twice"--the 5th outing in the currently still ongoing James Bond franchise, the longest-running franchise in the history of cinema--is very much a flawed film, with several moments of head-scratching stupefaction that might make the viewer wonder if he/she is witnessing a fever dream that 007 is having while lying in some tropical hellhole (and the lyrics of the film's beautiful theme song DO give us the words "this dream is for you...."). It is not the most violent and groundbreaking Bond film; that would be the first, "Dr. No." It is not the film that hews closest to its Ian Fleming source novel; that would be the second, "From Russia With Love." It is not the most perfect 007 film; that would be the third, "Goldfinger." It does not have the remarkable trio of gorgeous "Bond girls"--Lucianna Paluzzi, Claudine Auger and Martine Beswick--to be found in the fourth outing, "Thunderball," and it does not feature the most tear-jerking and heartbreaking moments in Bondom, as does the sixth,"On Her Majesty's Secret Service." But what "You Only Live Twice" DOES feature is action, and spectacle, and color; it is the biggest, most lavish film of the franchise, and despite its flaws, it has been the favorite of mine and many others (for example, Mike Myers, who blatantly used it as his template for the Austin Powers films) ever since it opened in June 1967. I have often told people that the first six Bond films are the only ones that really matter, and that all the others (18 others, at this point) are just for fun. And "You Only Live Twice," it seems to me, despite its many flaws and detractors, might be the most thrilling of that initial sextet. All five of the initial Bond films appear on my personal Top 100 Movies list, by the way, but this is the one that holds a special place for yours truly.

Near the beginning of this 5th Bond outing, M tells 007 that "this is the big one," and boy, do those words ever ring true. This is the first film in the 007 franchise that completely threw out the Ian Fleming source novel that it was based upon, only keeping the Japanese backdrop, and while Bond purists might object that this movie has nothing to do with Fleming's 1964 vision (which dealt with Bond investigating the Japanese suicide gardens of one Dr. Shatterhand, rather than S.P.E.C.T.R.E.'s hijacking of Russian and American space capsules in an effort to precipitate WW3), and that the film is more sci-fi/adventure than the sexy spy thrillers that Ian Fleming had made popular, the fact remains that this Bond masterpiece is both the most visually spectacular entry in the 56-year history of the franchise, as well as the culmination of the four Sean Connery episodes that precede it. Sure, there are some things to carp about in this story, and many inconsistencies. Bond takes a martini that is "stirred, not shaken" (!), he conveniently has a safecracking device in his pocket just when he needs it, he magically has a ninja outfit under his fisherman's shirt and so on. But the movie is presented with such panache, and there is so much local Japanese color and scenery, and the sets are so very spectacular (there's that word again!), that these little slips just pale into insignificance. The battle at the end of this film, with ninjas pouring into the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. volcano lair, is one of the most exciting sequences in the history of Bondom; perhaps in the history of the action film. The Bond girls this time are both beautiful AND interesting, and Karin Dor makes for a sexy Bond enemy/lover. (In Bond movies, female enemies make for very strange bedfellows!) We finally get to see Ernst Stavro Blofeld in this outing, and Donald Pleasence does not disappoint (although, granted, he is NOT the Blofeld that Fleming had described). I have seen this movie at least 50 times since it first opened in June '67 (I saw it three times in its opening week alone!), and still thrill to its superb drive, color and action. The movie also features perhaps the loveliest of the Bond theme songs, sung by Nancy Sinatra, and all in all is a smashing entertainment package.

Some personal background history: Back in June '67, my father dropped me and my buddy Dave off at the (sadly long extinct) Prospect Theater in Flushing, Queens on a Saturday afternoon; the first weekend after "YOLT"'s opening. Dave and I had been friends for a short time, having, uh, Bonded back in day camp after discovering our mutual love of the Ian Fleming novels. We sat through the film two times in a row that afternoon, and as I said above, I saw the film again before the week was out. Back when I was a kid, I could think of no better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than watching the first four Bond films on the big screen, at the (now sadly defunct) Queens Theater, which would often show them as double features. Though I was a preteen, for some reason, my parents felt it a safe proposition to just drop me off there for four hours while they did their thing (shopping). I must have seen those first four Bond movies in every possible double feature combination before "YOLT" premiered, and was thus well primed for this big event. The film blew Dave and I away that first weekend, and today, over four dozen viewings later, I still watch it with undiminished enthusiasm. What can I say? This movie brings out the kid in me, and makes me feel like I'm 12 again. And there is SO much to love in this film, despite the flaws mentioned above. The opening scene, in which Bond is "killed" while in bed with the gorgeous Tsai Chin (one of the few Bond actresses who would reappear, many years later, in another role; this time in "Casino Royale"); Bond's burial at sea, with its beautiful underwater photography (reminiscent of the recent "Thunderball") accompanied by a truly gorgeous piece of never-used-again background music; the vastly underrated fight that 007 has with a Japanese guard (played by Samoan wrestler Peter Maivia, who, five years later, would become the maternal grandfather of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson!) in the Osata Chemical Company building; that wonderful car chase, culminating with a helicopter-assisted "drop in the ocean"; the fight at Kobe dock, accompanied by the rousing "YOLT" theme song; the battle that Bond has over the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. volcano hideout in his "Little Nellie" gyrocopter (an action sequence that resulted in the real-life partial loss of a leg for the actual gyrocopter cameraman); the death of Helga Brandt (played by German actress Karin Dor, with whom I have been enamored to this day, and whose recent passing saddened me greatly) in Blofeld's piranha pool; the death of Aki, Bond's beautiful Japanese ally, by poison; and finally, that monumental final battle between the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. forces on one side and 007 and the ninja forces of the Japanese Secret Service on the other. This final segment, as I mentioned, very well might be the most visually spectacular (I keep coming back to that word!) sequence in the history of the action film, to this very day, and continues to amaze this viewer over half a century later. And while I'm on the subject, that colossal volcano set, designed by Ken Adam, is just absolutely remarkable, with its functioning monorails, spaceship landing pad, built-in observation windows, sliding crater-lake top and so on; a set that cost $1 million on its own to construct (ridiculous money to spend on a film set 50 years ago), and put together the old-fashioned way...with no green-screen special FX or computer enhancements.

I have perhaps been remiss in neglecting to mention the contributions of Akiko Wakabayashi (Aki) and Mie Hama (Kissy, although her name is never mentioned in the film itself), both of whom are lovely and appealing; along with Ms. Dor, still another Bondian trio of female pulchritude. And the film's script, by children's author Roald Dahl, of all people, is a clever one, with any number of witty lines, despite its inherent flaws. Although many have complained of Sean Connery's apparent lack of enthusiasm in the film, and his visible boredom with the James Bond role at this point, I must confess that I have never been able to discern it on screen. Nor can I understand the "Maltin Movie Guide"'s assertion that the film lacks "clever and convincing crisis situations"; are they kidding?!?! The film is filled with nothing but! Anyway, I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. This film might be the only one on my Top 10 list that could be called a "guilty pleasure," but my love and enthusiasm for it remain undiminished after half a century. The last time I watched this film was on its 50th anniversary, in June of last year, and I do believe that I'm about ready for another look. Arigato!
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7/10
YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (Lewis Gilbert, 1967) ***
Bunuel197624 November 2008
Solid entry in the James Bond saga – Sean Connery's fifth appearance as the secret agent in a row (his last, in fact, until DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER [1971] and, eventually, the non-series entry NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN [1983]) – featuring a lovely title tune by John Barry and Leslie Bricusse sung by Nancy Sinatra.

The relocation to Japan for the main action (resulting in impeccable photography courtesy of the renowned Freddie Young, who also contributes an inspired aerial shot of our hero at the center of a rooftop chase/struggle) adds much-needed novelty in the exotic department – though characters tend to be less well developed as a consequence. Tetsuro Tamba is imposing enough as his 'sidekick', but the all-important Bond girls have no distinguishing features – save for Karin Dor, a typical femme-fatale-ish villainess who manages to trap Bond in an unpiloted plane. Similar expansiveness was shown in Ken Adam's elaborate design of Ernst Stavro Blofeld's headquarters, hidden within the crater of a Japanese volcano; other attention-grabbing devices include Bond being 'killed' in the prologue (thus explaining the title), while he's later given an Oriental 'countenance' and even made to 'marry' a Japanese girl (an irrelevant undercover attempt, as it happens – since there is very little interaction between Bond, his local allies and the enemy before the final confrontation in the volcano interior)!

Its plot involving the abduction of space shuttles belonging to the U.S. and Russia, in the hope of provoking a war between the major powers, again plays on the fears of nuclear annihilation palpable during the Cold War era. Incidentally, this is the first time Blofeld himself steps in as chief villain (played with appropriate menace by Donald Pleasence – with a handy piranha-filled stream underneath a sliding bridge to replace the pool-sharks from the previous installment, THUNDERBALL [1965]). By the way, Charles Gray (Blofeld in DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER) appears in a bit here as Bond's ill-fated contact in Japan! The most prominent gadget invented by Q (the ubiquitous Desmond Llewellyn) in this case is an artillery-equipped mini-chopper – employed in a sequence whose filming unfortunately cost an aerial photographer his leg!; there's also a memorably violent brawl which has Bond and his opponent lashing at each other with heavy living-room couches!

The show, then, is climaxed by one of the most spectacular action bouts in the entire saga – for which Bond recruits Tamba's ninjas to fight the minions of SPECTRE; Blofeld, of course, is allowed to go free this time around…since he'd be involved in at least three subsequent direct matches with 007. Given that director Gilbert lived up to the challenge of ably following in the footsteps of Terence Young and Guy Hamilton, it was only natural he'd be asked to helm further Bond adventures – though, by the time THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977) and MOONRAKER (1979) came along, Roger Moore had firmly established himself in the role.
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7/10
Nothing that will blow you away, but it's certainly an entertaining Bond outing
callanvass6 October 2013
(Credit IMDb) Agent 007 and the Japanese secret service ninja force must find and stop the true culprit of a series of spacejackings before nuclear war is provoked.

This is the first of the movies that involve Blofeld as the main villain, and probably my favorite. It's nothing that is overly memorable, but I managed to enjoy myself for almost two hours or so. The action is consistently exciting. Adding a Japense flavor to it was also a unique choice. Sean Connery is excellent as per usual as Bond, but special mention must go to Donald Pleasence as Blofeld. He is by far the greatest actor to play Blofeld in my opinion, and I don't know why he relinquished the role, or at least I never heard about why he didn't come back. Mie Hamma provides a different change of pace for a Bond girl, and I rather liked her to be honest. She had some good scenes with Connery.

Final Thoughts: Nothing overly special, but it's definitely entertaining for the most part. Recommend for Bond fans who have yet to see it, or action fans in general

7/10
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Bond #5: Made in Japan
unbrokenmetal29 June 2008
Easy to say which two things I remember best about "You Only Live Twice": the volcano base Ken Adam designed and the little helicopter Bond uses for his exploration of the volcano area. Roald Dahl's script brought better story development and less cheesy dialogs than in "Thunderball". Donald Pleasance played Blofeld extremely eccentric, almost sickening. Between Claudine Auger in the previous Bond and Diana Rigg in the next, "You Only Live Twice" does not really have just one leading lady, there are a few sweet Japanese girls around including Mie Hama and Akiko Wakabayashi, and among the baddies, Karin Dor appears as a redhead threatening to torture Bond when he is captured. The location of Japan had a lot to offer, from the modern skyscrapers to the traditional island villages, and let's not forget those sumo wrestlers ;-). With the 5th Bond, the hype had meanwhile become so huge that Connery was annoyed and said "never again" - for the first time...
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Another must see Bond
amesmonde10 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
007 and the Japanese secret service must find and stop the true mastermind of a series of spacejackings before nuclear war is forced.

Of course this is the one where Bond makes some ethnic cringe educing remarks in the opening before he is killed on a retracting bed and as my son said 'it's the one where he dresses up as Mr. Spock,' when he literally turns Japanese.

While it's known for its expensive awe inspiring volcano sets and the 'Little Nellie' gyrocopter dogfight, for me the better stand out moments are the fight in one of Ken Adams lavish set that packs a punch. And there's a genius segment by director Lewis Gilbert where Bond fights on a roof top all captured from a bird's eye view.

Sean Connery is on his usual cool form as James Bond, at one point he sports his Royal Navy uniform when he's buried at sea and later seemingly jumps off a building thanks to an old school stunt double switch. Roald Dahl's (yes the children's writer) screenplay has Bond shooting and killing without remorse which Connery pulls off effortlessly. It features one of the better Bond themes "You Only Live Twice" by Nancy Sinatra and John Barry's music is delightfully fitting.

Charles Gray in his pre own turn as Blofeld is memorable as Henderson. Donald Pleasence is excellent as unblinking S.P.E.C.T.R.E head Blofeld, his incarnation defined the character and a place in pop culture. Bond girls Aki and Kissy do their best but lack screen presence of their predecessors. Actor Tetsurô Tanba (Tanaka) is notable. Burt Kwouk also famous for Kato shows up as Spectre 3. Regulars Bernard Lee's 'M', Lois Maxwell's Miss Moneypenny and Desmond Llewelyn as 'Q' are on usual great form.

You Only Live Twice is plenty of fun, while not as dark as From Russia with Love and arguably more exotic that Goldfinger, with safe-cracking gadgets and explosive lipstick to name a few it's another must see Bond adventure.
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7/10
Understated Bond Film
DKosty1236 October 2006
When I first saw this in a drive-in in 1967, the opening sequence of this with Bond being shot did not make a big impression as this is the first Bond film I had ever seen. After the credits, the snatching of a space craft made an impression as it looked very much like the simulations CBS used to broadcast of the real flights. While this plot & some of the special effects seem a little dated & far fetched now with the passage of time, Sean Connery is great as his usual Bond self in this one. Donald Pleasance is very effective as the heavy Blofeldt, one of several actors who took a turn at it.

The scenery of 1960's Toyko, Japan are nostalgic now. The thing which makes this Bond a little special is the understated way the humor is handled. Using "I Love You" as a password for one thing. Of course, the irony of the line "This can save your live - this cigarette," is still pretty effective. All the regulars in the series are here with Q much in evidence. This one is still a very pleasant diversion for a rainy afternoon.
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10/10
Best Connery Bond film. By far!
morganstokes19 August 2018
Dr No: 9/10

From Russia With Love: 7/10

Goldfinger: 8/10

Thunderball: 1/10

Diamonds Are Forever: 7.5/10

You Only Live Twice: 10/10
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8/10
Bond San,Mister Tiger and Bond girls!!
elo-equipamentos14 November 2017
A lot of action,adventure in land and sea,gorgeous Bond girls,Rocket's crisis between great powers,a disguised and evil villain,everything has in the quite good Bond movie,nothing serious really,but delightful and enjoyable adventure in Japan, showing a very rare and amazing spots around,the marvelous breathtaking landscape along the movie,and the great and unforgettable Japanese actor Tetsuro Tamba of so many magnificent Samurai's pictures!!

Resume:

First watch: 1985 / How many: 3 / Source: TV-DVD-Blu-Ray / Rating: 8
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8/10
You shouldn't always assume that the Russians are the bad guys.
mark.waltz16 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Who is kidnapping the great astronauts of earth? That's what the powerful countries of our planet are determined to find out, and it's up to Sean Connery's James Bond to find out. I wonder if he can find the stranded American astronaut whose oxygen line was cut, presumably dying and floating around in outer space. Of course, the Americans blame the Russians, the Russians blame the Japanese, and the British try to keep peace between these two bitter enemies. Of course, there's more to the story than this, and that's the fun of this Bond entry that has the theme of an old serial with mod 60's twists including a fantastic theme song sung by Nancy Sinatra. Connery is elegant, macho and funny, and I am glad that after a break in the next film, he came back for a few more until Roger Moore was cast.

Along the way, Connery beds some gorgeous women, exchanges quips with Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) and finds him up against a power starving madman (Donald Pleasance), a villain all in white (with matching cat). This evil man has no qualms about feeding somebody who has screwed up to the piranhas, an insinuated moment where the realization of what you are seeing makes it scarier than if you actually saw blood. Filled with nonstop action and subtle comedy, this is my absolute favorite of Connery's Bond films, the first of the series I recall seeing. Only a segment where Connery is altered to look Japanese is bizarre, simply because he doesn't. The pacing is terrific, however, and that makes the one bad twist simply vanish. It also has a wonderful surreal set which has to be seen to be appreciated.
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1/10
Flemings Dead So Who Needs Plots
thestarkfist3 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
It was probably inevitable that this movie would turn out to be such a dog. By the time they got around to producing this one the Bond film franchise had turned into a cultural phenomena that absolutely nobody could have seen coming. The merchandising alone must have made several large fortunes all by itself. Each successive film adaptation of Fleming's original stories had been a bigger success than its predecessor, and with each success a formula came more and more together. After Thunderball the producers wanted to film the next story in the Blofeld Trilogy; On Her Majesty's Secret Service, in which Bond actually falls in love and attempts to marry. Supposedly Connery was very keen to film this one as it would give him a chance to expand the character and make him a little more human. Unfortunately mounting the production ran into unexpected difficulties and it was the decision of the producers; Broccolli and Saltzman, that they should just proceed with filming the third story; You Only Live Twice.

On the face of it this decision presents its own production problem, since Fleming's original story was the finale of the trilogy where Bond finally avenges the murder of his bride by killing Blofeld. But, by this time, a very important thing had happened to the Bond franchise. Its creator, Ian Fleming, had died. Apparently when Fleming died any intention of the producers to stay true to his stories went with him. The solution to the continuity problem was to simply drop Fleming's original story altogether and film their own Bond story in its place. Certainly Ian could not object.

And thus did the perfect storm of crap start to congeal. Big mistake number 1 was the hiring of Ronald Dahl to write the original screenplay. Although it was their intention to ignore the actual story they did intend to keep some of its elements intact. Ronald was told to set the story in Japan and there had to be a garden of death and a trap door, etc. What he came up with is so trite and silly that it wouldn't have made the cut as a story for The Man From Uncle. Ronald has no idea what espionage looks like or how wars might be fought in secret and so, when Mr. Osato tells Ms. Brandt to "Kill him" just as soon as Bond leaves his office he is met by a carload of gun-toting thugs in the parking lot of Osato's office building! Apparently they think they can just pop Bond off on Osato's doorstep and no-one will ask any questions, certainly not the police. Superagent Aki shows up out of nowhere to rescue Bond and they speed off in her sports car with the thugs in hot pursuit, machine guns blasting tons of lead into the streets of Tokyo. Now, if you're right in the middle of a secret plot to initiate World War 3 and using Osato Chemicals as a front for your dastardly plot, it seems to me that a carload trigger happy goons flying out of your parking lot might not be in your best interests. Such thoughts do not occur to Mr. Dahl. Ever. The story is full of such nonsensical falderol. If Dahl sucks as a writer of spy fiction he's certainly not a comedy writer either. Most of the humor in the movie falls to the floor with a leaden thud. The outstanding example of this is Henderson's offering Bond a martini that's stirred and not shaken. Most of the people who mention this in their reviews fail to understand that this is supposed to be a joke. This is Ronald trying to be witty. Were all supposed to laugh at how stupid Henderson is as Bond graciously accepts the offering with a slight frown.

There really is no plot to speak of, merely story devices to get Bond from one overblown set piece to the next. Characterization is nonexistent. All of the participants in Mr. Dahl's pulp fiction have the depth of cardboard cutouts and it is this fact that completely ruins any chance this movie had at being a decent Bond offering. The best of Fleming's stories always have a tragic human element to them; the horrible consequences that Dr.No's murder of her father has on Honey Ryder, the awful deaths of the Masterson sisters at the hands of Goldfinger, the corruption of Domino and the brutal murder of her brother in Thunderball. By including these details in his stories Fleming is able to pull his fiction out of the realm of superhero fantasy and add the human dimension that is an absolute necessity if you're going to build any suspense.

The awful script is culprit number one but our perfect storm would not be complete without the producer's smug assurance that it was the big budget effects and sets that made the movies huge successes. This movie is so very like so many of the modern CGI effects blockbusters where the cardboard heroes merely travel from one eye-popping effect to the next with little time or thought being given to either plot or character development. 2012 leaps readily to mind. This movie delivers spectacle but little else. More than one person has commented that it's really Ken Adam's volcano rocket pad that is the true star of the movie. They couldn't be more right.

You Only Live Twice is actually the first of many reboots for this classic film series. From here on out most of Fleming's novels would be replaced by clichéd pseudo-spy drivel, big action sequences and ever more amazing stunts. Fortunately for the producers they would eventually find the perfect ham sandwich for their crap confections in the person of Roger Moore, an actor who had perfected merely walking thru a role to an art form.
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