Capsule Review – You Only Live Twice (1967)
by HELEN GEIB
I’m pretty sure I watched You Only Live Twice years ago, but I can’t be positive since nothing seemed familiar as I watched it for (what I think was) the second time. It isn’t terrible exactly, at least, not compared to what I remember of some later franchise entries- but then again it kind of is. There’s certainly not much good to say. The spirit and energy of the preceding movies is gone and that takes the fun out of it. I do like that SPECTRE was a continuing plotline over four movies and Blofeld is a stalwart villain. On the other hand, the Numbers in this installment were just pathetic. The bigger problem of course is Connery himself, who suddenly looks tired and heavy-limbed. Without the vigor and insouciant manner of old the man of action is less convincing and the great lover stuff is just plain ridiculous. The yellowface disguise is an obvious low point but the movie’s failings are encapsulated by the dreary Q scene, where the bitterness of the Bond/Q dialogue misses banter by a country mile. Probably the film’s strongest aspects are the on-location filming in Japan and the production design, which provides highlights like local liaison Tanaka’s mobile office/private subway car and SPECTRE’s headquarters, a big-budget re-do of Dr. No’s place. The fight early on with the unnamed minion in the corporate suite is pretty good as it ties into the exotic locale through the decor, judo, and katana action. I sincerely, wholeheartedly enjoyed the intro in the submarine. M’s wood-paneled and finely furnished office, complete with Moneypenny in the anteroom, was classic.