You Only Live Twice (1967)
June 25, 2015 3:53 AM - Subscribe

Agent 007 and the Japanese secret service ninja force must find and stop the true culprit of a series of spacejackings before nuclear war is provoked.

This is the 5th James Bond film adventure.

The Wikipedia entry. reviews You Only Live Twice.
The James Bonding podcast (Matt Mira, Matt Gourley and guest Vanessa Ramos) covers You Only Live Twice.

Some Top Critic reviews from Rotten Tomatoes:

TIME Magazine: "There have been so many flamboyant imitations that the original looks like a copy."

Variety: "Sean Connery plays 007 with his usual finesse."

Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader: "Tired, poorly paced Bond from 1967, with Sean Connery displaying his discontent."

Time Out: "Roald Dahl's implausible script is padded out with the usual exotic locations, stunts, and trickery."

Bosley Crowther, New York Times: "This noisy and wildly violent picture... is evidently pegged to the notion that nothing succeeds like excess. And because it is shamelessly excessive, it is about a half-hour too long."

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: "This one is top-heavy with gadgets but weak on plotting and getting everything to work at the same time."
posted by doctornecessiter (11 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My overall opinion of this one is that it's just okay. Japan is cool, ninjas with machine guns are cool, and I do like the dated but charming* space effects. That enormous -- ENORMOUS -- and awesome volcano-lair set is my favorite part...But when a set is your most positive takeaway then it's hard to cut the movie much slack in other areas, particularly the ho-hum storytelling. Which, I'll admit, is a still a problem in later Bond movies that I like much more than this, but those I saw as a dumb little kid and can't detach the nostalgia enough not to give them a pass, at least for my personal enjoyment of them. I saw this one in high school, and it can feel like trudging through mud for parts of it. Connery doesn't help much...He's present, but in just about every scene he seems like they just dragged him out of his trailer and gave him his lines on the spot.

They spend how much time establishing Bond's cover story (Japanese makeup and marriage) in the village prior to the climax? And to what end...So he can sneak a boat into that little cave?

posted by doctornecessiter at 5:41 AM on June 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

GYROJETS! Those rocket pistols and rifles are awesome.


Sean Connery's syrup supplied by GYROS of Fife, Purveyors of Fine Highland Wool Gentleman's Hairpieces (probably).
posted by longbaugh at 7:21 AM on June 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

All the things I remember from this movie I thought were from other movies, except for the song and the death of Aki.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:05 AM on June 25, 2015

My favorite part is when the cat decided it had had enough.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 8:08 AM on June 25, 2015 [4 favorites]

The volcano lair is a definite highlight and justifiably became something that every future Bond parody would include. I'll also give the movie some credit for not being racist as I was expecting it to be (which is to say it was only somewhat instead of extremely).

One thing I did find interesting pacing-wise was that it didn't really have a single 20 minute long semi-pointless sequence like the last couple have (Jesus, that golfing bit in Goldfinger was excruciating). Instead, it had 3 or 4 semi-pointless 5 minute long sections spaced out a little more (the helicopter [er, autogyro], training to become Japanese, any/all of the faked death sequence, probably maybe some of the more repetitive bits of the final lair assault). For me, breaking them up kept it from dragging quite as much, but that's still a lot of time spent in anticipation and getting relatively little payoff.
posted by Copronymus at 2:08 PM on June 25, 2015

The hot tub scene is up there with the Pussy Galore rape in the list of worst examples of sexist Bond moments. Everything about it makes my skin crawl.

Love a lot of things in this movie though. One of my favorite opening sequences.
posted by kittensofthenight at 11:54 PM on June 25, 2015

One of the best theme songs in all Bond movie history, nay, in all movie history. Lay it on, Nancy, lay it on. And the orchestration is great, too.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:11 AM on June 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

It always drove me nuts that the shots of the US and Soviet rockets launching were transposed. I mean, even if you couldn't recognize the Titan rocket used by Gemini, wouldn't you notice the freaking palm trees in the foreground and think "this doesn't look like Russia"?
posted by pmurray63 at 5:02 PM on June 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's on TV now, and I'm sad to discover that much of it - the misogyny of course, the casual orientalism and the complete nonsensicality (the henchman's attempt to kill Bond is a waste of a perfectly good plane) - I find faintly repellent, because it was one of my favourites as a child. But the sets are still amazing, the Japan is still beautiful, the music still fantastic, and I suppose that's what I fell for.

Thoughts from now, though:
  • It's Thunderbirds, basically.
  • I wonder how much direct influence the film had on The Prisoner - there does seem to be a family resemblance between Blofeld's lair and the underground shenanigans of Fall Out.

posted by Grangousier at 6:01 PM on January 22, 2016

The orchestral version of the song is always got me. The end of the movie when Bond and Kissy are in the raft and the main series of notes play a few times and there is some more talk and then the sub rises up under the raft as the main theme rises up with urgency, repeats itself a few times with different variations, and then segues to Nancy singing.
posted by Fukiyama at 7:26 PM on August 18, 2020

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