Sunday, 31 July 2011

You Only Live Twice (1967)


After neglect of almost 2 years we return triumphantly to the bond fold with You Only Live Twice. So, is entry 5 in the Bond stable any good?

Credits

The precridit sequence revolves around the (quite honestly jaw dropping) theft of an American space capsule… mid mission. I do apologise but I am pretty sure the word iconic will be heavily abused in this review as, obviously, this scene is wholly iconic. When you consider that this is pre moon landing the level of realism shown in these sequences is truly stunning and, as a top of the head comparison, actually outshine the later Moonraker. (which share many plot points.) We then head into the staged death of bond that helps to give the story its title. Twinkly music launches Nancy Sinatras “You Only Live Twice” ably accompanied by some great volcano scenes and silhouettes. To be honest though this intro and theme seems functional rather than impressive. vlcsnap-2011-07-31-14h35m29s207

Girls

Another weak line-up here with several girls vying for the role of “Bond Girl” none truly standout however. The voluptuous “No 11” and several oriental women get Bonds attention but none can really hold mine. The film truly lacks a strong female character.vlcsnap-2011-07-31-14h36m40s153

Gadgets

Jesus where do I start? We have a safecracking gadget, Ninja climbing suckers, cars, rocket cigarettes and to top it all a freaking helicopter (little Nelly) shipped over disassembled in packing crates. Add to this the trap doors and secret panels and we have a wonderfully gadget filled flick that has yet to reach the heights of gizmo related silliness that would plague the later films.vlcsnap-2011-07-31-14h37m40s249

Chases

With several short car chases, a unique helicopter car abduction and a truly stunning air battle this outing does not disappoint. Packed to the gills with action this film is Bond to the max.vlcsnap-2011-07-31-14h38m15s79

Total Bondage

You Only Live Twice truly is the epitome of a Bond movie. It is slick, fast and witty. Gadgets are coming from every pore and the volcano lair is simply amazing in its scope. Donald Pleasance is truly the best Blofeld and will never be matched, its such a shame he actually has very little screen time. Set design is also magnificent with a great mixture of sci-fi and bronze alongside the more standard chromes and whites that high tech seems to demand.vlcsnap-2011-07-31-14h39m02s42
There are gripes as with all movies. Plot wise the film is extremely led with everything seeming to implacably flow towards the final conclusion. In hindsight the later recasting of Charles Grey as Blofeld in Diamonds are Forever also caused some confusion (he plays Bonds contact here) however this can be blamed on the casting of the later film of course. The film does drag somewhat once Bond goes undercover in a rather odd (and slightly racist) oriental makeup but this is somewhat assuaged by the perfect storm that follows.
In conclusion You Only Live Twice is an outstanding Bond film that can easily go toe to toe with the best that the series has had to offer.
Paul Out…. Mr BOND

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