By Marc S. Sanders
James Bond is murdered in a murphy bed!!!!
Thereafter, he ventures off to Japan to uncover who is capturing American & Russian spacecraft in an effort to pit the two countries in a global war. 007 already has his suspicions. Could it be SPECTRE?
In Sean Connery’s 5th outing as the super spy, Roald Dahl (yes, the same guy who wrote James & The Giant Peach and Charlie & The Chocolate Factory) pens the script for You Only Live Twice, a story that finally reveals the architect in charge of the terrorist organization. His name is Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Donald Pleasence appears as the man with the white cat, long before he chased after slasher Michael Myers every October 31st. “Austin Powers” films have taken all of the shock & awe away from this Blofeld. You can’t help but see Dr. Evil when Pleasence appears.
Still, there is so much to be impressed with. Producers Harry Salzman & Albert Brocolli throw all the money into this film with a hidden fortress beneath a giant volcano, plus gorgeous footage of the Orient, as well as in simulated outer space and underwater, for the secret agent’s funeral.
The first two thirds are fast paced storytelling as Bond encounters one informant or enemy after another. He even gets into a great brawl with the grandfather of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. A large sofa makes a great battering weapon.
Regrettably, the movie languishes very unnecessarily into a silly subplot where Bond has to disguise himself as a Japanese man (Mickey Rooney may have looked better in Breakfast At Tiffany’s), learn how to be a ninja in four days (ummmmm…why????), and get married to a Japanese woman (again…..why?????). This apparently is all necessary to raid the hidden volcano fortress. Yeah. It’s ridiculous and you can almost see how ridiculous Connery thinks this is. One of Dahl’s everlasting gobstoppers might have been more useful.
Fortunately, the film redeems itself very well in its ending with an explosive battle between ninjas and henchmen. Bond serves the biggest henchman to some quick eating piranhas. That’s pretty fun.
You Only Live Twice is a gigantic production of grand indulgence largely thanks to the success of 007’s four prior large screen adventures. It’s got big moments, cool gadgets like “Little Nellie” and some unexpected surprises too.
It’s good entertainment.