|June 13, 1967|
|Harold Jack Bloom|
|Based On A Novel By
|Action, Foreign, Thriller
|007: You Only Live Twice
James Bond is dead. The first glimpse we get of Bond (Sean Connery) in You Only Live Twice is a familiar sight; Bond in bed getting ready for a massage from a beautiful woman. Instead, he is tricked and shot to death. It sounds like a short film.
Sean Connery returns for the role of James Bond, this time sent to Tokyo to investigate the disappearance of a spaceship. Considered the “Japanese Bond film”, 007 slides into his customary rigamarole; running from men with guns, getting involved with dangerous women, and using the gadgets provided to him by M. However, You Only Live Twice barely succeeds in entertaining on any different level than the first four films and in fact, becomes repetitious without developing any revolutionary factors to set this film apart. Disappearing spaceships, Bond learning the art of samurai, and a plethora of Japanese women do however set this film somewhat apart and caused for minimal unique enjoyment.
The character of James Bond is a iconic figure; the definition of a man’s man. So any measures taken to emasculate Bond is a poor decision by the writers and director. Therefore, placing a silly helmet on Bond and positioning him in the tiny autogyro, Little Nellie, was definitely a poor choice, even if he was still shooting down helicopters.
The Bond girls take a step down in this film as well. Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi) is by far the closest to love that Bond has gotten in the five film run thus far, but is nothing compared to Pussy Galore or Honey Ryder. Kissy Suzuki (Mie Harna), Bond’s fake wife for the mission, has potential but is given very little time to prove herself and ultimately becomes overshadowed by the climatic volcano fortress battle scene.
Alongside poor gadgets like the exploding cigarette and the mediocre Bond girls, by revealing the face of super villain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Donald Pleasance) this fifth installment not only hurts the film has a single entity but hurts the franchise by ruining one of the great mysteries (not to mention a giant misuse of piranhas with all build-up and no real use). Attempting to capitalize far too soon on the reveal of the cat-petting villain costs this film major points. Though all the same elements are there, the fact that they are just that, reproductions of the original concepts, makes this film somewhat watered-down. However, still a decent film in its own right, You Only Live Twice carries on the Bond saga as best it can considering.