Friday, 26 October 2012

You Only Live Twice (1967)

An American space capsule is stolen in Earth’s orbit, the Russians are the number one suspects – however SPECTRE are the real villains with a masterplan. Bond must prove this, stop them and all in time to stop USA and USSR going into World War III.

The opening sequence is just huge in scale, space capsule swallowing space capsule, Earth in the background and an astronaut murdered – followed by 007 being assassinated. From just these short scenes, you can tell you are back in the producing hands of Saltzman and Broccoli after Kevin McClory had the reins over Thunderball.

Let’s not mess about here – this is a new breed of Bond film. It’s when the series becomes out and out action adventure, rather than an espionage thriller. There’s so many action sequences in this film – not just at the end with a mighty finale, like Goldfinger and Thunderball. Here it’s all the way through, from a car chase across the streets of Tokyo, ending with a car picked up by a giant magnet and dumped in the see, a roof top fight with 007 versus twenty goons – which is shot from a aerial camera that gives it a stunning scope and lets not even try and forget Little Nellie. A mini helicopter air battle – there is just no time to catch your breath. This is what a Bond film is and it’s by far the one I’m enjoying the most so far – come on James!

Ok! Not everything works, there are some bad stereotypes when it comes to the Japanese characters, not sure if it’s a testament to the time the film was made or just an unfortunate side effect of a Western film made with a large content of East? Mind one thing is for sure – Sean Connery ‘transformed’ into a Japanese man with make up, well he looks more like a Vulcan from Star Trek!

All is forgiven for a giant base, hidden inside a volcano! Oh just heaven with a double o!  Moving quickly passed any reference to Austin Powers – this is the Bond film that was obviously the influence for that film. The set piece is just stunning – the set is just, well just huge. Ken Adam is a magician, bringing scale, style and outlandish scope to the look of the film.

Within this volcano, we finally have the reveal of Blofeld and here he is played by Donald Pleasence and quite frankly no one plays the role better –he plays it as a sinister, insane, sociopath with a speech pattern that sends shivers down your spine. Sean Connery is as ever fantastic here, he is Bond, weird thing mind! When you watch these films back to back like we are – you actually see an actor age in front of you!

To me, there are two great Sean Connery Bond movies, they are Goldfinger and this film – this film is fun, action packed and with a very strong villain. This is Bond at his best.

Rating: 5 out of 5


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