Jan 19 2013

Review: You Only Live Twice

Welcome to my review of You Only Live Twice, the fifth part of my challenge to review all of the James Bond films. I’m watching each film in turn and trying to figure out which one is my favourite. For more information, see my introduction here. You can read my review of the previous film, Thunderball, hereSpoilers follow.

You Only Live Twice
(dir. Lewis Gilbert, 1967)

You Only Live Twice trailerWhen I reviewed Thunderball, I felt a bit guilty for putting it at the bottom of the league table. Thunderball is, as far as I know, one of the more popular of the ‘old-school’ Bond films, and even though I had only reviewed the first four films it still felt bad to condemn it to last place. I reconciled this with the thought that as soon as I reviewed You Only Live Twice, Thunderball would be moved up a position. After all, You Only Live Twice is the film where they disguise 007 as a Japanese man by gluing his eyes back and painting him orange.

Alas, aside from that scene, You Only Live Twice is a better film than Thunderball. I didn’t fall asleep halfway through, for a start.

It is also a very silly film in many ways, and is part of the reason I’m not trying to find the best Bond film (I’m trying to find my favourite in the series, which is quite different). After all, how could you compare this as a piece of work to, say, Casino Royale—or even to Dr No? This film has dastardly plots and space rockets and a mini-helicopter and a villain with a cat and a volcano lair and how the hell did it take so long for anyone to produce a decent parody of this?

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