Sunday, October 7, 2012

You Only Live Twice (Lewis Gilbert, 1967) Review

This is definitely a turning point in the franchise. If the image wasn't enough indication, this was in fact the first time we ever saw Blofeld's face. Trust me, back then this way a big deal. Blofeld had been plaguing Bond's missions from behind the scenes for years and it was finally time for their first confrontation. How did it go down? Let's find out.

When a US space ship is taken by what is thought to be a Russian ship, World War 3 could happen any second. Bond (Sean Connery) must travel to Japan in order to investigative the spaceship...which landed in Japan. He has to infiltrate a secret base hidden inside a hollowed out volcano while disguised as a Japanese man (which...looks...nothing like a Japanese man). Inside the volacno, Bond comes face to face with his arch enemy, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Donald Pleasence) for the first time. Now Bond has to stop World War 3 from starting.

Donald Pleasence is fantastic as Blofeld. He is the definitive one. The look, his attitude and his base are all iconic. He works well opposite Connery's suave last appearance as Bond (er...sort of) and is how I envision Blofeld (and they had to go ruin it in two films'll see). After Goldfinger, this is the most iconic. Characters that parody Blofeld (such as Dr. Evil from Austin Powers) are taking their inspiration from this interpretation of the character. Even his base is iconic enough to be parodied (who wouldn't want a base in a hollow volcano?).

This film features on of Q's (Desmond Llewelyn) greatest gadgets: 'Little Nellie'. We now get to see Bond fly his very own gyrocopter! The scene itself is great! I still think that the best may be ether the jetpack (from Thunderball) or any of the ones from Goldeneye. There are still problems though, the biggest one being how far fetched it is. I cannot except that they expect (what did I just say) us to accept that Bond is supposed to disguise himself as Japanese man. It's just plain stupid. This was also the first one that really showed off Bond's incompetence (he gets knocked out al the time!).

You Only Live Twice is a pretty good Bond film and is clearly the turning point of the franchise. The next era of Bond took after this one and it manages to mix tones well (there's dark moments and light moments). This is one of the better Bond films in the franchise and I would recommend it to anyone that considers themselves action fans...or...whatever genre this is (crime?).

A good blend of dark and light moments and is the turning point of the franchise.

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