Sean Connery was back as James for the fifth time in 1967. Spy-mania had gripped the world and you could even argue that the popularity of the genre had already reached saturation point. But things were only going to get more intense, because not only did producers have to worry about making a good movie, they had direction competition, from another film featuring James Bond! It was the first time Bond vs. Bond happened in the theaters, and it wasn’t the last.
Super British secret agent James Bond (Sean Connery) is given his most impossible mission yet. After a space capsule form the United States disappears in orbit, the Americans start shouting at the Russians convinced it is foul play. But British intelligence believes that the source of the trouble is in Japan. So Bond is dispatched to do some digging and find out what is going on.
Turns out the diabolical leader of SPECTRE, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Donald Pleasence) has created a monstrous space capsule of his own that can capture smaller capsules and bring them to earth. His goal is to start World War III and then take over the planet in the aftermath. Bond finds himself in constant peril as Blofeld’s minions attack in cars, helicopters and even as mobs of dock workers. Luckily Bond has the entire Japanese secret service on their side. That means ninjas… lots and lots of ninjas. Will Bond save the day, or will he find out what the proverb You Only Live Twice really means?
- Some gorgeous location shooting in Japan
- One of the most amazing sets ever used in a Bond film
- A beautiful song and score composed by John Barry
- Is all spectacle and not much substance
- Sean Connery is a bit flat in his portrayal of Bond
- For being an iconic villain Blofeld doesn’t do too much
Every time I watch this film, I always hope I’ll like it more than I do. But in the end, I’m entertained, but also a little bored by it. As visually impressive as the film can be, it just lacks urgency. It reaches for some impressive set pieces, but all the connective tissue just never really clicks. When is all is said and done this is probably the weakest of the Connery Bonds of the 60s, but it is still a good time.
Scores (out of 5)
In Depth Review
|Just when you thought it was safe to go back into orbit.|
|Banzai! It is raining ninjas!|
|Secret lair on a rare ninja-free day.|
|7... thousand samurai at Himeji castle.|
|"Can you explain why there is no color in this room?"|
|Yeah I don't think Connery feels like he is flying.|
The sound effects work is solid for its time. You get the typical gunshots and squealing tires during car chases. But this film features a full-blown helicopter battle, a full-blown ninja attack and rockets taking off. The sound supports the action pretty well and certainly keeps up with the more spectacular moments.
|Wedding March for Bond? John Barry is there.|
|Relaxed, or just kind of bored?|
|"No seriously" [snicker] "It looks really good on you|
|And now a big hand for our supporting villains!|
|"Oh I assure you, I'm evil."|
The rest of the London crew are back. M (Bernard Lee) has a couple short scenes to set up the plot. Moneypenny (Louis Maxwell) flirts a bit with Bond. But it is Q (Desmond Llewelyn) that gets a bit more to do here. His whole scene with Little Nellie is very amusing. He’s just as exasperated with Bond as usual, and once again he is forced to into the field to do his job. I say!
|Yeah, this scene isn't in the book.|
|Turning Japanese? I really don't think so.|
|"They are not grey pajamas, Bond-san. Ninjas. We|
are ninjas! Don't ruin this for me!"
|Look at the girl, not the sumo butts.|
This was a massive production with a lot riding on it. Gilbert keeps the whole thing together and coherent. Gilbert would do such a good job he would be invited back to helm The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. So they obviously liked what he brought to the table.
|Even a mediocre film won't kill Bond, James Bond.|
|"James, you're not doing the Moonwalk right."|
|"I can't teach you how to Moonwalk, but have you tried to|
do the Timewarp... again?"
|"007, your dancing is abysmal. We are going to work on|
your Lambada skills."
|Little Nellie is ready to dance with some big helicopters.|
|I always wondered. Is the cat evil too?|
|"Yes you've come to the right man. I can teach you some|
excellent disco movies. I am Pleasance and I am funky."
|White bikini is standard volcano climbing gear. Get|
with it Bond!
|Disco inferno? It was bound to happen I suppose.|
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