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Topic: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

I've been making a lot of these, and might take a bit of a break after this one.  But today's discussion is You Only Live Twice, Sean Connery's 5th outing.  The feedback was polarizing.  Many loved it, some disliked it and a lot of opinions in between.

PROS:

  • Plot of Britain mediating US/USSR conflict

  • Great scenery: urban/rural Japan, volcano, evil lair, etc.

  • The war between ninjas and Spectre was pretty cool

  • Looks great in HD, especially for an old film

  • Influenced lots of films that came after it

  • Blofeld is a great villain ; frightening but smooth and subtle

  • Balances seriousness with silliness perfectly.

CONS:

  • Connery is a bit tired in his performance

  • Gun copter fights are fun but feel tacked on.

  • Portrays Asian girls as submissive

Overall Thoughts

  • Connery does feel a bit tired and disinterested, but still pulls his performance together really well.

  • Connery did say that the increase of technology did result in the decline of the early Bond films.  YOLT still is a very good film but I can also see what he was talking about.

  • Being born again is a good concept, but it's not highly relevant to the story as Bond is supposed to remain hidden anyway.

  • Nancy Sinatra's understated smooth theme song is great when I'm in the mood for it..

  • Austin Powers!

Last edited by Absolutely_Cart (19th Jun 2015 02:04)

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

When I've seen YOLT for the first time, I was not really impressed because much of the space stuff and the landing of the shuttle in the volcano have been done pretty badly by today's standards.

On repetitive viewings, I discovered step by step how much eyecandy the movie contains (just have a look at Aki's beautiful dress when they arrive at Henderson's home).

The extensive and expensive captures of a Japan that has been basically closed to the west are so good - not to forget the amazing volcano set.

I understand that it's hard when someone has seen Austin Powers prior to the movie - but to me YOLT is a visual masterpiece - even better than GF and TB and will always be that!

BTW, Austin Powers in my opinion shows still a lot of respect to the original - just look at the beautiful "The look of love" version and Burt Bacharachs cameo. I love all of them!

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.
-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------
FIRST TO DISCOVER substantial evidence that Chew Mee is in fact not totally nude in the TMWTGG pool scenes!

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

Absolutely_Cart wrote:

*Austin Powers!

*Yes, I saw AP before YOLT.  I'm a younger guy.

If that really bothers you, I wonder how you feel about TLD and the role of the Taliban fighters then.....

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.
-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------
FIRST TO DISCOVER substantial evidence that Chew Mee is in fact not totally nude in the TMWTGG pool scenes!

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

People tend to only parody things they love, like Phil Juptius and
His show on Star Wars.  ajb007/lol  So I'd say Mike Myeres loves the early
Bonds.
  And the way Higgins comes up with his hilarious,  theories and
" Bits of stick" about not liking Dalton. All very funny but all said
With a deep love and respect, for the man.  ajb007/wink   ajb007/lol

“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realised I never had one.”

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

well, for once I was serious  ajb007/biggrin

The op complains that when seeing YOLT, he has Austin powers in mind and can't enjoy it.
As he probably is aware of the history of the taliban, it must be equally bothering for him to see Bond teaming up with them.

I totally agree with you on parodies. We had a huge debate here about very popular Winnetou movies from the 60s which have been parodied in the 2000s (the hero Winnetou in the parody is gay).

http://murmelclausen.de/wp-content/images/Der-Schuh-des-Manitu-Szenenbild-1.jpg

The main actor of the original Winnetou movies came up and ranted about the parody and it was interesting how the producer and main actor of the parody tried to explain how much they respect these childhood movies and tried to make the best out of it.

The "original" actor Pierre Brice
http://www.abendzeitung-muenchen.de/media.facebook.40185b69-9260-479c-8bdb-84f162607149.normalized.jpg

is still upset in a Sean Connery - Bond related way.

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.
-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------
FIRST TO DISCOVER substantial evidence that Chew Mee is in fact not totally nude in the TMWTGG pool scenes!

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

There is a brilliant UK parody, A Touch of Cloth, which takes the piss
Out of all the heavy police dramas, but you can tell there's a lot of
Affection for the source material, as every cliché from Police dramas
Are used.
  I've seen both YOLT ( not surprisingly ) and all the Austin Powers,
And feel it's all the spy movies and TV shows of the 60s that he's
Having fun with.
In fact the only time I smiled at Skyfall ( for the wrong reason) was when
Bond was holding on to Patrice hanging off the building asking " Who do you
Work for ?". As all I could think of was the bit in the toilet in Austin Powers
When he's questioning and fighting the spy asking " Who does Number 2
Work for "  ajb007/lol with the guy in the other stall thinking he was having a poo.

“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realised I never had one.”

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

I also saw this film after seeing Austin Powers. It did taint it a bit for me. That being said I have a hard time watching Swamsea because #9 Jonjo Shelvey looks like Dr. Evil.

Over all I thought the film was pretty good. I was glad to see a non-white Bond girl (Mie Hama) - though this is  counteracted  with Bond in "Asian Face."

Also the anti-smoking campaign in the movie was ridiculous. I have read that Roald Dahl hated smoking, but this was not the platform to push that agenda. 

Absolutely_Cart wrote:

Austin Powers!

I've always wanted to have Christmas in Turkey

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

Anti-smoking campaign ? I never noticed.   ajb007/biggrin

“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realised I never had one.”

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

YOLT is quite a good looking movie, especially when viewed in 1080p full-HD.

My points about Austin Powers were mostly in jest, as all of the early Bond films influenced cinema in some way. 

You Only Live Twice has a lot of interesting setting, good action bits and all around quality moments.  And Blofeld is great!  It was probably better than a number of Moore films all-around, even though I had a bit more fun with Moore's antics.

But there are genuine reasons why YOLT isn't as good as the first four outings. Connery is flustered and seems like he's going through the motions here.  The lack of a quality female character to mirror Bond or a character that develops in general.  As misogynistic as I thought FRWL was, at least Tatiana showed some growth and development.  And the technology is a double-edged sword. 

Over time, the use of technology in Bond films was growing.  Moore embraced it while Connery had a certain resistance to it.

YOLT is a good movie, but it's also the breaking point of the Connery formula.

I can see myself watching YOLT again.

Last edited by Absolutely_Cart (16th Dec 2014 18:01)

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

My last AP comment. Seeing Austin Powers before you see YOLT is like accidentally seeing your neighbor naked. You can bury it deep down, but sometimes when you see them walking to their car it haunts you.

Absolutely_Cart wrote:

My points about Austin Powers were mostly in jest.

I've always wanted to have Christmas in Turkey

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

Higgins wrote:
Absolutely_Cart wrote:

*Austin Powers!

*Yes, I saw AP before YOLT.  I'm a younger guy.

If that really bothers you, I wonder how you feel about TLD and the role of the Taliban fighters then.....

Sounds rhetorical.  What are you getting at.  Btw, im both okay with the portrayal of the taliban in the movie and the west's policy toward them in the 80's

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

YOLT is the Bond movie that I find to be the most entertaining. Not the best, but the most entertaining. I disgree with the notion that Connery was merely "phoning in" his peformance. True, the script doesn't really give him much to work with as far as clever dialogue or interesting interactions with the other characters, but Connery appears to be comfortable and confident in the role, and to me he does just fine. But as much as I enjoy YOLT, it does have its flaws. I think Donald Pleasance is unintentionally laughable as Blofeld (man, do I miss Telly Savalas!), and to say that the "Japanese Bond" bit doesn't work is a severe understatement. However those flaws are far outweighed by the beautiful, lush look of the film and its Japanese setting, the beautiful theme song and soundtrack, the ninjas and the volcano lair, Little Nellie, and so many other thrills that make YOLT the Bond movie that gets the most repeat viewing in my house. I just love it!

"Felix Leiter, a brother from Langley."

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

There are lots of moments in it I enjoy.  I guess it's better to be a good movie with flaws like YOLT than a mediocre movie with merits like AVTAK.  YOLT has replay value for me.

I wouldn't say Connery is phoning in.  He seemed like he was trying.  He was just spent.  And of all the Bond actors, I'd say Connery is the most linear.  You can kind of predict how he would react to every situation and Connery's Bond never develops, deviates or changes, from Dr. No to YOLT.

In recent interviews, Daniel Craig spoke that he was going to change the atmosphere of the next Bond film a little bit and make a clean break from 3 serious gritty films in a row.  I kind of wished Connery did something like that.

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

For me, there is a lot of pleasure to be had from You Only Live Twice. This despite a sub par performance from Sean Connery, Bond's silly Japanese disguise, and a weak Blofeld. I particularly enjoy the Japanese characters and locations, scenes such as Bond's burial at sea and his meeting with Henderson. Also, the sets, the title song, and especially the score. I have never visited Japan, but John Barry's magnificent score perfectly captures the flavour/essence of what I imagine Japan to be like. Without the score, I would probably only appreciate the film half as much as I do now.

Moore Not Less 4371 posts (2002 - 2007)       Moore Than (2012 - 2016)

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

Of course, OHMSS Blofeld is the more definitive role but I like YOLT's Blofeld too.

He kind of has a demonic-baby vibe.  The fact that he's so gentle-looking with a massive scar on his face, makes him even more creepier.

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

Blackleiter wrote:

YOLT is the Bond movie that I find to be the most entertaining. Not the best, but the most entertaining. I disgree with the notion that Connery was merely "phoning in" his peformance. True, the script doesn't really give him much to work with as far as clever dialogue or interesting interactions with the other characters, but Connery appears to be comfortable and confident in the role, and to me he does just fine. But as much as I enjoy YOLT, it does have its flaws. I think Donald Pleasance is unintentionally laughable as Blofeld (man, do I miss Telly Savalas!), and to say that the "Japanese Bond" bit doesn't work is a severe understatement. However those flaws are far outweighed by the beautiful, lush look of the film and its Japanese setting, the beautiful theme song and soundtrack, the ninjas and the volcano lair, Little Nellie, and so many other thrills that make YOLT the Bond movie that gets the most repeat viewing in my house. I just love it!

Very much in agreement.  This is easily the most sweeping of the Bond films, and it all but defines the breezy 1960s.  The fashions and sets are stunning, the scope bigger than anything before and pretty much since, the music beautiful, and the third act absolutely worth the build up.  Quite a few recent Bonds, in particular, could take a page from this film's book in that regard.  That's the reason that mooning twit Mike Meyers chose it to lampoon.

One of the reasons Pleasance is such a disappointment is that he just seems so underwhelming in a film that is pretty much big in every way.  Had Savalas played Blofeld here and Pleasance played him in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the scale would be closer to how it should have been. While I'm not crazy about Connery in yellowface, his performance as Bond for the most part is solid.  He is especially good in the scenes with Aki and Kissy.  He seems less interested with the gadgetry, and I get that, as his complaint was that Bond as a character was being reduced to a guy who pushed buttons. Connery wanted to act, and basically all he was doing was reacting.  I could understand how he might let himself go physically, too. What was the point of being in top shape if he was going to spend so much time flying a little helicopter or being driven around in a car? He tried with dialogue, though.

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

Absolutely_Cart wrote:

There are lots of moments in it I enjoy.  I guess it's better to be a good movie with flaws like YOLT than a mediocre movie with merits like AVTAK.  YOLT has replay value for me.

I wouldn't say Connery is phoning in.  He seemed like he was trying.  He was just spent.  And of all the Bond actors, I'd say Connery is the most linear.  You can kind of predict how he would react to every situation and Connery's Bond never develops, deviates or changes, from Dr. No to YOLT.

In recent interviews, Daniel Craig spoke that he was going to change the atmosphere of the next Bond film a little bit and make a clean break from 3 serious gritty films in a row.  I kind of wished Connery did something like that.

Seriously?  You see him as the same guy in every movie?  Watch him in Dr. No or From Russia with Love and see if the performance is identical to the one in Diamonds are Forever.

Another point, though.  Realistically, people don't change that much as they age.  I'm now entering my late 40s, and while I"m more seasoned than I once was, my habits and personality are hardly changed from when I was in my 20s.  What has changed are my pace and methodologies.  That goes for most of my friends, as well. 

When I watch Connery over the course of his playing Bond, I see very much the same thing.   It's mostly movies and comic books that suggest a person changes so drastically over the course of their lifetime. 

In terms of not changing, Moore seems more linear than Connery.

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

Blackleiter wrote:

YOLT is the Bond movie that I find to be the most entertaining. Not the best, but the most entertaining. I disgree with the notion that Connery was merely "phoning in" his peformance. True, the script doesn't really give him much to work with as far as clever dialogue or interesting interactions with the other characters, but Connery appears to be comfortable and confident in the role, and to me he does just fine. But as much as I enjoy YOLT, it does have its flaws. I think Donald Pleasance is unintentionally laughable as Blofeld (man, do I miss Telly Savalas!), and to say that the "Japanese Bond" bit doesn't work is a severe understatement. However those flaws are far outweighed by the beautiful, lush look of the film and its Japanese setting, the beautiful theme song and soundtrack, the ninjas and the volcano lair, Little Nellie, and so many other thrills that make YOLT the Bond movie that gets the most repeat viewing in my house. I just love it!

What he said. ajb007/wink

Dalton & Connery rule. Brozz was cool. Craig is too.
#1.TLD/LTK 2.TND 3.QOS 4.DN 5.GF/GE 6.SP 7.FRWL 8.TB/TMWTGG 9.TWINE 10.YOLT

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

It is a beautiful film but over all kind of dull. I have a hard time getting into this Bond- he does in fact feel phoned in. Watching the move I feel like Connery is board and thus I am. And maybe it is not boredom but an extreme self restraint that highly mimics being board. He was pretty good but not awesome.

I've always wanted to have Christmas in Turkey

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

PROS

  • Stunning cinematography -- perhaps the most beautifully shot of all the Bond films.

  • The Ken Adam set to end all Ken Adam sets.  What a shame it was demolished.

  • Fantastic music by John Barry -- again, arguably the best of the entire series.

  • Old-school Bond theme playing during the Little Nelly chase.

  • Aki's death is one of the most poignant in the series.

  • Excellent fight with the sumo guy in Osato's office -- he was Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's grandfather, no less!

  • Henderson -- wonderfully played by Charles Gray, his "stirred not shaken" mistake notwithstanding.

  • "Extortion is my business" is a great line.

CONS

  • Connery sleepwalking through the role.  Yes, many people I respect at AJB feel this is a very tired argument, but to me the drop-off from Thunderball to this is quite dramatic.

  • Karin Dor as Helga Brandt is not good at all.

  • Donald Pleasance is even worse as Blofeld.  The villain of the Bond series should not be played as a spoiled child.

  • Stupid camera shots from places where cameras could not possibly be (above the helicopter, in outer space).  Ridiculous.

  • Bond disguising himself as a Japanese.  Ouch.

VERDICT

  • Beautiful to look at, but a miss for me.

Hilly...you old devil!

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

PROS

* Soundtrack, pure Barry 60s, withgreat oriental flavour.
* Theme Song. Just beautiful.
* The Helicopter dropping the car in the ocean.
* The setup is great. Bond is killed.
* Great panavision photography.
* Finally Blofeld is the villain.
* Japan is a great location.

CONS

Many, I'm afraid.

* Sean Connery, bored, out of shape, stressed by fans while filming, feeling underpaid by producers. As the good professional he is, he still gave a correct performance. But nothing more. No spark whatsoever. His 1962-1965 Bond came across the screen. His 1967 Bond stays there.
* The first time that they totally deviated from Fleming in order to give the biggest spectacle possible. Unfortunatelly by doing this they didn't use a very good Fleming story.
* Donald Pleasence as Blofeld.- good actor, but I don't think he gave a good performance. The scar make up is an attempt to toughen up the character, but it's quite silly.
* The volcano set. Although spectacular, is too far fetched. Even MR is more realistic than YOLT. It would have been great to use Fleming's castle and garden of death.
* The fact that it was made before OHMSS, totally spoiling the Blofeld vs Bond story possibilities.
* Bond girls. None were specially memorable.
* As I pointed out in other threads, the Japan background, although great, comes to the foreground too often, slowing down the movie, and making it look more like a documentary.
* Special effects.- although they might have been spectacular in 1967, they look positively dated now. The space scenes are also slow.

I've seen it many times, but it has never been a favourite of mine (obvious,right?).

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

For sheer entertainment value and spectacle the movie was just an amazement when it first came out.  There wasn't just anything to touch it at that time.

However, even thought the effects were considered state of the art, the whole concept of anyone having the tech at that time where they could successfully capture a spacecraft (of any configuration) AND with that extra added weight return through the atmosphere in the same configuration it left AND have enough fuel to land back at the ORIGINAL launchpad was just too much.  By that time the entire world had seen many real launches from Florida and knew how explosive and dangerous they were.
Watching Blofeld's rocket slide out of the volcano on a small puff of white smoke just reinforced the visual that we were watching a toy model and what seemed like a scene out of the Firebirds.

Outside of that and trying to make Bond Japanese (well, there's also the stock footage with palm trees of the US rocket launch supposedly being a Russian launch), the movie whips along and we're for the most part on another EON thrill ride with Connery's 007.

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

CmdrAtticus wrote:

a scene out of the Firebirds.

Thunderbirds?

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

Virgil37 wrote:

Sean Connery, bored, out of shape, stressed by fans while filming, feeling underpaid by producers.

Can't deny most of that, and yet still with total command of the screen without even trying as well as effortless charisma . Some stars are born, some are made, some are stars no matter what they do: the camera loves them. No-one can sustain a 40 or 50 year career without that (or in Clint Eastwood's case longer!) and Sean Connery is a good example. His performance in this film is only a con in comparison to his other Bond performances, where he's (even) better.

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Re: Pros and Cons: You Only Live Twice

Barbel wrote:
CmdrAtticus wrote:

a scene out of the Firebirds.

Thunderbirds?

And he says it like it's a bad thing... ajb007/lol

Dalton & Connery rule. Brozz was cool. Craig is too.
#1.TLD/LTK 2.TND 3.QOS 4.DN 5.GF/GE 6.SP 7.FRWL 8.TB/TMWTGG 9.TWINE 10.YOLT