The James Bond series was a monumental series for me growing up and, as I planned on featuring one of the 20+ films in the series as a Key Movie, I just couldn’t choose. Since I can’t choose a single one, I am reviewing each and every Bond film continuing with today’s entry, You Only Live Twice
Welcome to Key Movies Of My Life James Bond Edition.
Today’s Key Movie:
After faking his death in order to go undercover, Bond is sent to Tokyo to investigate the hijacking of a NASA spacecraft by an unidentified ship in space. Facing Sumo Wrestlers, SPECTRE agents, Helicopter chases and even battling along side of Ninjas, Bond must discover what happened to the NASA spacecraft before several countries are provoked into a nuclear war.
Why this movie?
This was one of my favorite books in the Ian Fleming novel series and the film does a decent job at interpreting the story even with the necessary changes needed to fit in with the film’s timeline. You see, in the book Bond is actually believed to be dead after he goes rogue in an attempt to get revenge for the death of his wife at the hands of Blofeld (something we see later in the franchise). He even loses his memory at one point, becoming a fisherman in Japan. In this one, he merely fakes his death and hides among the Japanese fisherman in a manner than could be considered a little inappropriate these days.
Okay, you like this film, but is it really a ‘good film’?
In what was meant to be Sean Connery’s final Bond Film, this is a James Bond adventure at it’s finest. Touching just a little on the campiness to come, this one has everything, from the clever Bond gadgets to the Strong and Beautiful Bond Girls. It is one of those films that is memorable in its own right as a solid story but also as a definitive James Bond experience.
While the story does get a little dialogue heavy at times, Bond gets a little more physical in this one even with Sean Connery beginning to ‘age out’ of the role at nearly fifty years old at the time. We also get more of the classic gadgets this time around including a special kit helicopter and some pretty rad ‘rocket bullets’. Even though Connery had planned to retire from the secret agent role after this, it appears that he wanted to go out on top before he left the franchise.
This is the first and only Bond film where we meet Tiger Tanaka, a Japanese agent and ally of James Bond during his time in Asia. Tiger introduces Bond to Kissy Suzuki, the Ninja Bond Girl and eventually gets ‘married’ to Bond so that Bond can go undercover as a Japanese fisherman. (like I said, a little inappropriate but, given that he is undercover we can forgive this one). Kissy is one of the Bond Girls who can hold her own in a fight, even joining in with Bond during the final raid on Blofeld’s compound.
We also get a chance to see Bond play more of the spy this time around with him going undercover as Mr Fisher in order to get information from SPECTRE about the space hijacking. It is through this that we meet the villainous Helga Brandt, a bond girl and agent of SPECTRE who ends up, in a turn of events, practically raping Bond before she tries to kill him by setting fire to his plane. Like most villainous women in Bond films, you get the sense that she falls for Bond, but this time her villainy overrides her love for the suave secret agent.
And finally, we get to see Blofeld himself in the flesh for the first time. Played by none other than Halloween’s Dr. Loomis himself, Donald Pleasence, sadly this is where the film takes a left turn with Pleasence seeming to be a little exhausted every time we see him in action. This is certainly not the Blofeld we were setup to see for the past four films and he comes across as bit of a disappointment. With this being the only real weak spot in the film, it’s a minor mar in an otherwise well produced and written film. You can also see how Mike Myers got his inspiration for Doctor Evil…
With a script written by Roald Dahl of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fame and a great opening theme by Nancy Sinatra, All in all, this is one of the more enjoyable adventures for James Bond, setting the stage for everything else to come post Sean Connery. While it is not the final time we see Connery as Bond, it is his last best effort in the role.
OK, where do I get this movie?
You can normally get a copy for around $13-$15 on bluray and it is totally worth you money. Of course it is available digitally as well so no matter how you get a copy, it’s worth owning.
of course, the classic trailer;
James Bond will Return in: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Late To The Game 1/31/2019
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