You Only Live Twice (1967)

Bond5

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Focus, man, focus!

What can I say? I’m still waiting for James Bond to get back to the formula introduced to in Goldfinger. While You Only Live Twice definitely upped the entertainment factor from Thunderball, it still was missing that…oomph. It needs more heart. Now, I’m definitely aware that my opinion differs from yours, and I also understand why. There’s a lot of classic that seeps out of the pores of this film. However, classic is not what I’m looking for. What I’m looking for is whatever it was that had me on the edge of my seat with Goldfinger. Well, I didn’t find it here, but I can say that the movie itself is a decent one, and one of the classic film’s better flicks. Take that as you will.

Alright so, imagine that claw machine that kids always want to waste quarters on to pick up a stuffed animal that’s probably cheaper than how much money is put into the machine to get it. Now think…outer space. Basically that’s how the film opens – a few astronauts in space are captured by a bigger spaceship or UFO that opens up, gobbles up the astronauts and their nuclear vessel, and then closes again, hiding somewhere underneath a volcano, where Dr. Evil…er I mean, Dr. Claw, er I mean Blofeld is running his super-secret SPECTRE base. James Bond, aka 007 must investigate who’s been snatching spaceships before World War III is forced between the UK and Russia.

Here’s what I understand. While Goldfinger is the main template of a good James Bond film, You Only Live Twice is an example of very classic and memorable Bond material. The thing about it is, I’m pretty much spoiled. I’ve never seen this film, but I’ve seen Austin Powers. It is so clear to me that most of Austin Powers’ inspiration derived directly from this film. I thought that was funny, but the fact of the matter is…it didn’t affect me as it originally would have, because I kept thinking back to Austin Powers. Blofeld looks exactly like Dr. Evil, the sumo wrestlers reminded me of Fat Bastard. The ship that swallows the other ship reminded me of…well…ya know. I got it completely backwards, but that’s because I’m a part of the modern audience.

The modern audience can’t be affected the same way an original audience was. Especially when we have a very popular comedic series called Austin Powers. Most modern audiences prefer newer movies respectfully, and when you’re playing tug-of-war between these two flicks, which one do you think more modern audience members have seen? Austin Powers, probably. I have a feeling that if I never saw Mike Myer’s film that I would have appreciated this film a lot more, but that’s just the way it goes.

This was written by Roald Dahl…that surprised me. That’s the same guy, by the way that wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the BFG, Matilda, you know…kids’ stuff. Maybe that’s why the plot is so cartoony and campy. I mean, it is 1967, and that’s just how things were done back then, but call me crazy…I sensed Dahl’s craft. It’s been a while since I’ve seen anything of his, but his stuff is just so weird and bold that it’s hard not to catch his unique voice. I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s a bad thing, perchance, just interesting.

All I can really say is that I really wanted to like this movie as the credits started to roll, but my focus continually drifted way too easily. I felt like I’ve already seen the movie, because in a way you could say I have. It really is incredibly memorable, and apparently Mike Myers thought so too. I can say that Myers definitely picked the right film to copy, because for a modern audience, there really is a lot of different things you can make fun of in these types of films. They are campy, after all.

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