Previously On The 007 Projet: I was going through an existential crisis while reviewing Thunderball, but I’m feeling much better now. (As of this writing still waiting on those fine fine Nevadans, but the good people of Georgia and Pennsylvania have decided to chip in too!) Also Thunderball has SCUBA fighting.
Who’s Our Bond?
Still Connery despite my foggy thoughts about it last time. He does take On His Majesty’s Secret Service off. He’s really phoning it in this time around, although since this movie is 90% puns, (it was written by Roald Dhal! INSANITY!) that’s mostly fine. I’ve been less impressed with Connery the last two outings than I was in those first three movies. I do think this started a fantastic tradition though.
What’s The Plot
007 gets involved in the space race! (KINDA)
A NASA probe is shot down and naturally, the US thinks it’s the Russians. (A reasonable supposition in 1968) The Russians deny it and the Brits do think all this space business is a bit silly, but note the evidence does point to Russia’s innocence. They insist that they are sending their top man to look into it.
After faking his death and then heading to Japan, James Bond, with the help of the beautiful Aki and the head of Japanese Secret Service Tiger Tanaka, learns that it is in fact SPECTRE behind the downed space crafts. At his Volcano lair, Blofeld is furious with his underlings who didn’t actually kill Bond and feeds them to pirhanas. Bond foils the plan just in time, thought Aki winds up poisoned and Bond winds up fake married to the lovely Kissy Suzuki, a circumstance WE WILL GET TO BELOW.
The Blofeld reveal totally rules and I generally really like Aki.
I’m Addressing The Problematic
I was floating along happily surprised by how NOT totally orientalist the movie was, secret ninja schools are a little bit silly, but hardly offensive, and then Tenaka declared that Bond must “Become a Japanes!” I thought, “Oh lord I hope he means figuratively.”
Sean Connery spends a good 20 minutes of the film in yellowface for no particular reason. Is no good, very bad, don’t do it.
Tell Me About The Girl
Aki rules. I was so bummed when she died. She’s played by Akiko Wakabayashi. I like her a lot. She ahs great hair and a cool car and she’s all into bantering with Bond.
Kissy rules a little less but she’s still pretty great and wears a fun bikini. She’ splayed by Mei Hama.
Joe’s Bond Car Corner
Bond doesn’t drive in this one! But Aki does!
The Song Is the Thing
“You Only Live Twice” is one of my favorite Bond themes and is performed by Nancy Sinatra (COOL). Taken on it’s own the song is a warning to live while you can. Nancy sells it well.
No outside opinions this time, so I will just point out that this movie and Goldfinger are really the two most straightly parodied by the Austin Powers series. The piranha made me giggle because all I could think of were the “friggin sharks, with friggin laser beams, on their friggin heads.”
Also because they are just very silly!
While fun and campy I don’t know that I will ever go back to this, despite Blofeld being the best and Aki being great. Connery’s apathy is too hard to overcome.
Next week, we really actually do the Lazenby things. Woo!