Tuesday, December 19, 2006

You Only Live Twice

After watching a few James Bond title sequences (here, via BoingBoing) I got the urge to watch You Only Live Twice because of its Japanese setting (and because my wife is Japanese). At the time of the movie's release in 1967, Sean Connery had suggested that this fifth Bond movie could be his last, although he ended up returning for two more (the last being unofficial) in 1971 and 1983.

I enjoyed the movie as an historical curiosity, but otherwise it was not great. It got mixed reviews when it came out (one critic expressed hope that it would be the last Bond film ever) and it appeared in the same year as the 007 spoof Casino Royale which starred Peter Sellers and many others as James Bond (scenes of which you can probably find on YouTube.)

I was very surprised to learn that Roald Dahl, author of some of my favourite childhood stories (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach, among others), wrote the screenplay for You Only Live Twice.

The writing seemed fine, but the special effects were none too special. Probably the best effect in the movie was Donald Pleasance's makeup as Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Blofeld is the forerunner to the Dr. Evil character.) Source material for the Austin Powers movies is plentiful and it was fun to watch Blofeld prance around in a somewhat effeminate manner. Bond-san's makeup was laughable when he was transformed into a Japanese farmer, and his chest hair grew back remarkably fast for the last scene in the lifeboat.

Can't wait to watch the other early Connery Bond films.

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