Countdown to Spectre: You Only Live Twice (1967)

This is the next installment in my look back to the James Bond 007 series in anticipation for the new installment, Spectre coming out on November 6th. If you are interested in any of my earlier installments, click here.

Suddenly American and Russian spacecrafts go missing during the Cold War, leaving each superpower blaming each other. With the world on the brink of nuclear war, British intelligence learns that one of the crafts responsible has landed in the Sea of Japan. After faking his own death, agent 007, James Bond (Sean Connery) is sent to investigate. In Japan, he is aided by Tiger Tanaka (Tetsuro Tamba) and the beautiful Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi), who help him to uncover a sinister global conspiracy.

So this is the fifth film in the series and the last of Sean Connery’s first run as James Bond. The majority of this film takes place in Tokyo and the surrounding area but thankfully the location has nothing to do with the film’s plot. It could have taken place anywhere it still would have worked. This isn’t the first time they’ve dealt with space as the plot of Dr. No (I assume you’ve read that review already) revolved around an evil genius trying to disrupt the launch of an American space shuttle. This is not the last time the series will deal with space, however, with Moonraker looming in the near future. When compared to Dr. No, I found that this one did space a little better. Although this isn’t Dr. No’s fault. Dr. No did the best it could with the limited budget it had seeing that it was the first film of the series. In terms of the plot of this one, I thought it was good. It was interesting how they depicted Tokyo, down to the kimonos, paper walls, and ninjas. Yes, I said ninjas. I found them to be pretty cool-looking and supposedly bullet-proof? I just wish I could have seen more of them other than an introductory scene and an action scene involving all of them. There was not as much action as I would have liked but what I saw was very good. There were only two real action scenes in this one, the one I mentioned before, and one in the sky (no spoilers). I just wish it didn’t take so long to get there. Just like all of the other films in the series I’ve seen so far, there have been moments of various length and excitement that I found slowed the film’s plot down. This one is no different as it chose to spend perhaps too much time giving us a Japanese culture lesson. Sean Connery as Bond was good as always as Bond and I also liked Donald Pleasence as the first appearance of Blofeld. He’s been in a few of the previous films but you never got to see his face. So it was nice to put a face to the character this time. I am familiar with the character from later films who was played by different actors but I think his performance in this one was the best. I just wish we could have seen more of him. Overall, this installment provides a decent amount of excitement but I found there was still something missing.

Score: 7.5/10

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Next: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service!


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