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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bond runs riot in Japan
You Only Live Twice has all the classic Bond ingredients that you would come to expect from a 007 movie: exotic locations, a deranged madman with a monorail (and a big cat here), gadgets, great music and a plot that involves averting World War 3.

The action is fast-paced and the bodycount is high. Interesting aspects include Bond turning Japanese, getting...
Published on 7 Aug 2008 by LXIX

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Japan, Mr Bond...
Ah, it is a tough call, trying to rate a movie as fun as this. Holding such an iconic status as it does, how do you keep your bias in check and look at the movie without those nostalgic rose coloured specs?
As witness for the defence, I would like to call Ken Adams - creator of the 1 million dollar volcano set, this action sequence at the end of the movie set a...
Published on 22 Aug 2007 by Mr. Stephen Kennedy


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bond runs riot in Japan, 7 Aug 2008
By 
LXIX (scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
You Only Live Twice has all the classic Bond ingredients that you would come to expect from a 007 movie: exotic locations, a deranged madman with a monorail (and a big cat here), gadgets, great music and a plot that involves averting World War 3.

The action is fast-paced and the bodycount is high. Interesting aspects include Bond turning Japanese, getting married (or at least pretending to), Little Nellie (the famous, lethal flying machine that Q packed into two suitcases) and help from the SIS (the Japanese equivalent of the CIA).

On the downside, the spaceship scenes now look so primitive that they're almost akin to Thunderbirds material, but hey, this was 1967 and I'm sure the producers did their best with the technology that was available at the time.

You Only Live Twice is classic Bond and the extra features make this a great package for the price. The feature on Maurice Binder, who created the famous gun barrel sequence and the credit sequences to a large number of Bond pics was particularly interesting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The biggest and best of the special effects show Bonds, 3 Nov 2008
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Faced with box-office rivalry from the spoof Casino Royale the same year, EON put aside their plans to follow Thunderball with OHMSS and pulled out all the stops to promise the biggest and best-paced Bond to date. While they failed to match the phenomenal success of Thunderball - still the biggest ticket seller in the series' history by a huge margin - this certainly is the best of the special effects show Bonds, and for many it's scarred, bald, Persian-cat stroking super-villain ensconced in his hollowed-out volcano lair plotting to start a world war is the quintessential Bond movie villain. Departing from Ian Fleming's novel in all but name and boasting a plot the producers were so taken with that they've used it at least twice since The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, both also directed by Lewis Gilbert), but by 1967 the series was already beginning to feed off itself - the pre-title sequence where Bond is killed is more or less borrowed from From Russia With Love.

After years as an offscreen presence voiced by Eric Pohlman and Joseph Wiseman, S.P.E.C.T.R.E.'s Ernst Stavro Blofeld finally makes his first on-screen appearance in the form of Donald Pleasance (causing that awkward continuity problem in the subsequent OHMSS where he fails to recognise Bond), with Charles Gray preceding his turn in the role on the side of the angels as our man in Japan, getting his vodka from the doorman at the Russian embassy ("among OTHER things"). This time the villains work for a large Japanese industrial company to cash-in on the Connery films' popularity in the Japanese market while offering some colorful locations, but action, not scenery, is the order of the day here. The action scenes themselves are terrific and often imaginatively shot (as with the long overhead helicopter shot in the fight at Kobe Docks) and the production values are still the best of the entire series. Visually it is certainly the best looking of the series thanks to Freddie Young's incredible photography, while Ken Adams production design is superb and the lush score marked a real turning point for John Barry.

Roald Dahl's screenplay strangely discards Blofeld's garden of death (too downbeat said the producers) and omits Bond's Japanese counterpart Tanaka's background as an ex-Kamikaze pilot (too sensitive) but has just the right internal logic to justify its outrageous elements, as well as some neat humorous touches (such as Bond being constantly castigated for his smoking). Although many fans were critical of his approach - Dahl made little secret of his opinion that Bond was a 'resourceful but rather insensitive fellow' - he is more astute about the character than many writers in the series, bringing Bond's smug superiority to the fore in lines like "You forget I took a First in Oriental languages at Cambridge."

It's particularly disappointing that the 2-disc set only includes five minutes of the very entertaining and surprisingly comprehensive hour-long Whicker's World special on the making of the film, which revealed Connery's fondness for Custard Creams. We do get the glossier and less interesting 48-minute Welcome to Japan, Mr Bond (which makes an injoke of the fact that OHMSS had originally been scheduled to be made that year by having an unseen actress complain that she was supposed to be Mrs Bond) and Ken Adams' home movie footage, but there's not enough new from the original single-disc edition to justify the `Ultimate Edition' tag here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The biggest and best of the special effects show Bonds, 12 Dec 2007
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Faced with box-office rivalry from the spoof Casino Royale the same year, EON put aside their plans to follow Thunderball with OHMSS and pulled out all the stops to promise the biggest and best-paced Bond to date. While they failed to match the phenomenal success of Thunderball - still the biggest ticket seller in the series' history by a huge margin - this certainly is the best of the special effects show Bonds, and for many it's scarred, bald, Persian-cat stroking super-villain ensconced in his hollowed-out volcano lair plotting to start a world war is the quintessential Bond movie villain. Departing from Ian Fleming's novel in all but name and boasting a plot the producers were so taken with that they've used it at least twice since The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, both also directed by Lewis Gilbert), but by 1967 the series was already beginning to feed off itself - the pre-title sequence where Bond is killed is more or less borrowed from From Russia With Love.

After years as an offscreen presence voiced by Eric Pohlman and Joseph Wiseman, S.P.E.C.T.R.E.'s Ernst Stavro Blofeld finally makes his first on-screen appearance in the form of Donald Pleasance (causing that awkward continuity problem in the subsequent OHMSS where he fails to recognise Bond), with Charles Gray preceding his turn in the role on the side of the angels as our man in Japan, getting his vodka from the doorman at the Russian embassy ("among OTHER things"). This time the villains work for a large Japanese industrial company to cash-in on the Connery films' popularity in the Japanese market while offering some colorful locations, but action, not scenery, is the order of the day here. The action scenes themselves are terrific and often imaginatively shot (as with the long overhead helicopter shot in the fight at Kobe Docks) and the production values are still the best of the entire series. Visually it is certainly the best looking of the series thanks to Freddie Young's incredible photography, while Ken Adams production design is superb and the lush score marked a real turning point for John Barry.

Roald Dahl's screenplay strangely discards Blofeld's garden of death (too downbeat said the producers) and omits Bond's Japanese counterpart Tanaka's background as an ex-Kamikaze pilot (too sensitive) but has just the right internal logic to justify its outrageous elements, as well as some neat humorous touches (such as Bond being constantly castigated for his smoking). Although many fans were critical of his approach - Dahl made little secret of his opinion that Bond was a 'resourceful but rather insensitive fellow' - he is more astute about the character than many writers in the series, bringing Bond's smug superiority to the fore in lines like "You forget I took a First in Oriental languages at Cambridge."

It's particularly disappointing that the 2-disc set only includes five minutes of the very entertaining and surprisingly comprehensive hour-long Whicker's World special on the making of the film, which revealed Connery's fondness for Custard Creams. We do get the glossier and less interesting 48-minute Welcome to Japan, Mr Bond (which makes an injoke of the fact that OHMSS had originally been scheduled to be made that year by having an unseen actress complain that she was supposed to be Mrs Bond) and Ken Adams' home movie footage, but there's not enough new to justify the `Ultimate Edition' tag here.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You Only Live Twice, 2006 double disc Ultimate Edition - Bond uses up all his lives in Oriental adventure, 23 Aug 2010
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
For his fifth cinema outing superspy James Bond is sent off to Japan in another fight against SPECTRE. This time the criminal organisation is trying to start world war three using captured Russian and American space vehicles.

There are big thrills aplenty as Sean Connery's Bond stumbles around in Japan, trying to uncover the threads of the scheme. Bond gets into scrape after scrape leading to ever more impressive escapes and stunts, all of which builds up to the thrilling final showdown which is suitably action packed and full of big bangs.

Introducing Bond's nemesis Blofeld for the first time, here played by a very creepy and evil looking Donald Pleasance, and the idea of a supervillain hiding out in a disused volcano lair, this is a thrilling ride from start to finish. Characterisation takes a bit of a back seat to the stunts, but it is an exciting ride none the less.

This ultimate edition really is the best version of the film I have owned. The picture has been lovingly restored and cleaned up, and looks amazing. Really, I am not just saying that. It looks superb. The sound has been similarly treated and there is an option to listen to it in 5.1 DTS surround, which is truly exceptional.

As well as the superb presentation of the film, there is also a host of extras, original trailers, informative audio commentaries and the such. These are exhaustive and some of them quite interesting. But these really a garnish for the main course, which is the film itself.

This is an excellent release, and does this classic film justice. This series of `Ultimate editions' really sets the standard for film releases. It really does not get any better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bond-san, Blofeld, Asian Delights and Production Value Supreme., 1 May 2012
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
You Only Live Twice is directed by Lewis Gilbert and written by Roald Dahl. It stars Sean Connery, Tetsuro Tamba, Teru Shimada, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama, Karin Dor and Donald Pleasence. Music is scored by John Barry and cinematography by Freddie Young.

Bond 5 and Connery once again tackles the role of 007. With American and Soviet space craft mysteriously vanishing from space, both nations are laying the blame at the other's door. Sensing a nuclear war could break out, M assigns Bond to Japan to investigate if there might be a third party stirring the hornets nest. Teaming up with the Japanese secret service, Bond uncovers evidence that SPECTRE is behind the plot to pitch the East and the West against each other.

This organisation does not tolerate failure.

Thunderball had broke box office records for Bond, gadgetry, outlandish stunts and a quip on the tongue had proved most profitable. It was planned originally that On Her Majesty's Secret Service would be number 5 in the series, but a change of tack to go for You Only Live Twice as the story gave producers Broccoli & Saltzman the scope for a giganticus enormous production. However, it may be set in Japan and feature a Bond/Blofeld conflict, but Roald Dahl's script bares little resemblance to Ian Fleming's source novel. Although a massive financial success with a Worldwide gross of over $111 million, Bond 5 took $30 million less than Thunderball. Strange since this is a better film. Can we attribute the drop to it being a space age saga? Maybe, the rebirth of sci-fi was a few years away, and of course Bond had lost some fans who had grown tired, like Connery, of 007 relying on gadgets instead of brains and brawn to complete his missions. There was also the rival Casino Royale production, as bad as it was, to contend with, while the spy boom created by Bond had been overkilled elsewhere and was on the wane.

Extortion is my business. Go away and think it over, gentlemen. I'm busy.

True enough that You Only Live Twice has flaws, though they are far from being film killers if you like the gadgets and hi-techery side of the franchise? Connery announced once production was over that he was leaving the role of Bond behind. He had been close to breaking point after Thunderball, but finally the media circus, typecasting, the fanaticism and the character merely being a cypher for outrageous sequences, led Connery to finally call it a day. His displeasure shows in performance, oh it's professional, very much so, but the swagger and machismo from the earlier films has gone. Although Dahl's script tones down the "cheese" dialogue and unfolds as a plot of considerable World peril worth, characterisations are thinly drawn, making this reliant on production value and action sequences. Thankfully both are top dollar. And the ace up its sleeve is the long awaited face to face meeting of Bond and Blofeld.

The firing power inside my crater is enough to annihilate a small army. You can watch it all on TV. It's the last program you're likely to see.

Ken Adam's set design is fit to grace any epic in film history, as is Freddie Young's photography around the Japanese locales, Barry lays a beautiful Bond/Oriental score all over proceedings and Nancy Sinatra's title song is appealingly catchy. The action is excellently constructed by Gilbert (helming the first of three Bond movies on his CV), with the final battle at Blofeld's volcano crater base full of explosions, flying stunt men, expert choreography and meaty fights. Along the way we have been treated to Ninjas, Piranhas, poison, aeroplane peril and the awesome Little Nellie versus the big boy copter smack down! Then there's that Bond/Blofeld confrontation. Well worth the wait, with Pleasence visually scary with bald head (setting the marker for bald villainy to follow in TV and cinema it seems) and scar across his eye. Pleasence is also very low key with his menace, which is perfect, we don't want pantomime and the scenes with Bond work wonderfully well.

It made less than the film before it and it has fierce critics in Bond and Fleming circles. But it's a Bond film that pays rich rewards on revisits, where the artistry on show really shines through in this HD/Upscale age. 8/10
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Japan, Mr Bond..., 22 Aug 2007
By 
Mr. Stephen Kennedy "skenn1701a" (Doha, Qatar) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Ah, it is a tough call, trying to rate a movie as fun as this. Holding such an iconic status as it does, how do you keep your bias in check and look at the movie without those nostalgic rose coloured specs?
As witness for the defence, I would like to call Ken Adams - creator of the 1 million dollar volcano set, this action sequence at the end of the movie set a standard for Bond movies for a very long time... so much so that it is recreated in different guises in `The Spy who loved me', and `Moonraker'. It is certainly the most spectacular set and largest scale action sequence in a Bond movie yet.
Next witness - Sean Connery - yes, he seems a little more weary in the role than he did in Thunderball, but while not at his peak, he is still fit and charming enough to be the definitive James Bond (at least when not wearing insanely unconvincing Japanese prosthetics).
John Barry - who produces another great and imaginative score here, one of the last to sound truly original.
And then I call Little Nellie - the signature gadget for the film, a weapon loaded gyrocopter, is a great success, not just for the aerial action sequence, but also for getting `Q' out of the office and into the field for a change!

But then comes the witnesses for the prosecution... If I call Blofeld to the stand, then you will find what at first appears to be brilliant casting, turns out to be too little too late in the movie. Donald Pleasance as just the right creepiness for the role, but never truly brings the character to life, and demasking Blofeld only seems to tarnish some of the mythos that had been built up around him.
The same holds true if I call Bond's ladies to the stand. Helga Brandt may have a healthy chest, but is a pale pale imitation of the evil Fiona Volpe from Thunderball. And the Japanese ladies have a novelty value, but never appear to truly have an impact on Bond.
Then there is the screenplay. Roald Dahl is a genius, but somewhere between the story, the screenplay of the story and the screen, some magic has been left out. When I watched this with an audience, a third of them were sleeping through the middle sagging part of the movie.
Part of the joy, and also part of the problem is that some of the international flair has been left out of this movie to concentrate on one location - Japan. The location is therefore well explored in both culture and geography, but a certain variety and roving nature to Bond's exploits is missing.
I call the effects to the stand... Bond always worked best when the stories were timeless. By using a space age plot, the plot device, effects, and concept are all immediately dated. Bear in mind this movie was conceived long before man walked on the moon.
And then I'd like to call Little Nellie. Yes, the same Little Nellie called by the defence. Is it used craftily integrated into the plot? No, we see a scene where he is attacked predictably by helicopters, and goes through the gadgets one by one until they are all used and he goes home. It's just not as clever as say, the tear gas in the case from `From Russia with Love'.
Critically, there is the myth of Bond himself. Where in previous Bond movies he was a spy who through tradecraft and hard work (and occasionally seducing beautiful women) would find his way to the evil masterminds lair, here it is as if the character stumbles from one situation to the next, rather than driving events. This was to hold true for Bond for many years to come, with the exception of `On Her Majesty's Secret Service'.

The verdict? A hung jury... It is a movie that perhaps tries too hard to go bigger and better in many respects. And so we have a movie with two hats - It introduces some fun ideas, such as M and Moneypenny having a mobile office in a submarine - the first of many mobile offices for M, and seeing Bond in naval uniform for the first time. But it also fails to achieve the characterisation that had gone before and relies on the goodwill from previous movies a little too hard. Thus, we all love You Only Live Twice, but have to be honest, it is harmless fun, but not a classic. Majority verdict in favour of the defence.

What does the Ultimate Edition have to offer to persuade you to part with your cash? Truth be told, this is where it gets interesting. The picture is flawless, yes, but it is the sound that really becomes 3 dimensional in the dts mix, giving the rockets shooting into space much more realism and depth than the on screen effects do. Even background noises are clearer and dialogue sparkling, thanks to some nifty digital remastering.
All the extras from the Special Edition are present and correct, and everyone should watch the superb (as usual) half hour documentary `Inside You Only Live Twice'. Also included for the first time though are three items. Firstly, some of Ken Adams home video footage of location scouting and then shooting of the movie, which is great fun to watch to see both the construction of the set and Sean Connery clowning around at every opportunity. Then there is a short segment from Whickers World, which is an entertaining period fluff piece promoting the movie - while still acknowledging its campness and humour make it an antidote for the times. Finally an oddity, a one hour special `Welcome to Japan, Mr Bond' which uses MoneyPenny and Q in specially shot scenes to frame a selection of clips from the movies to this point. Interesting for fans of Q especially, this purports to be Moneypenny musing over who it can be that James Bond will marry.
All in all, I can only recommend this DVD as a worthwhile watch, while acknowledging it is just not as finely crafted as its predecessors. This Ultimate Edition series once again proves to be the best and most comprehensive way to see the movie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning bond thriller set in Japan, 28 Dec 2014
By 
This review is from: You Only Live Twice [DVD] [1967] (DVD)
After James Bond (Sean Connery) has participated in faking his own murder in Hong Kong, to give him "more elbow room" in the words of his superior, M (Bernard Lee), he is dispatched to Japan to investigate the mysterious disappearance of both American and Soviet space crafts which threatens to spark World War III.

Working together with Japanese secret service leader Tiger Tanaka (Tetsuro Tamba), he meets beautiful Japanese agent Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi), who helps Bond through several close shaves.
Working with a Japanese Secret Service Ninja force, he locates the sabotage to the shadowy organization SPECTRE, led by the sinister Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Donald Pleasence).
After Aki is murdered by SPECTRE agents (She dies after ingesting poison dropped into the bed she shares with Bond), Bond teams up, in a faked marriage with the attractive Kissy Suzuki Mie Hama).
Together with the Ninja force they penetrate Blofeld's massive headquarters, hidden in a volcano, where the final battle ensues.
Before Blofeld tries to kill Bond, he reminds him "You Only Live Twice", referring to his earlier faked death.
The chemistry between Bond and the exquisite Aki is perfect, and in the scene where a marriage is proposed and Bond thinks it is Aki, Aki's face lights up.
No less stunning is Mie Hama as Kissy Suzuki, an expert swimmer and fighter, and one of the sexiest
Bond girl ever.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Transition to blu-ray, in THIS instance., 8 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Ok - this is purely my own experience and I'm sure shared by others with a discerning eye - not needed to be deeply so I might add! This film has not been treated fully with the high definition process - in parts it looks extremely ropey, VHS quality. They are cheap for GOOD REASON I think.

Unlike others, who usually get it wrong - I'll NOT review the film - but WILL review the blu-ray.

Close -ups on faces are fine....that's the upscalers` showpiece, isn't it....but most everything apart from that is no better than DVD quality. I have a flagship Panasonic blu-ray player, and top LED screen by them also....I am a ' detail ' freak, and this is terrible. Another, which is arguably WORSE on account of it being a more modern film is ' The Spy Who Loved me ' - awful transition to blu ray. On BOTH these films, sky is grainy throughout, and many patches of low res action - even some stills are poor. However, it's not ALL bad news....On Her Majesty`s Secret Service is just fine! A proper job seemingly done.

To conclude, I'll just say what I've been telling friends all along - James Bond on blu-ray is VERY hit and miss....the modern stuff, great - but the older stuff....one has to make allowances sure, but they've still cut corners. ( With OHMSS being the exception in my opinion - and reviewers of THAT on Amazon ) Anyway, worth a tenner? Yeah, just about.
A more fair ' getting what you pay for ' price in my truthful, humble opinion would be 7 or 8 pounds.

Having said that, I have to collect them all! ( Didn't like the box set - and had already started with half the singles upon it's release )

ps - I do love the film, the whole package is classic Bond to me, the film will always get 5/5
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Goodbye, Mister Bond!", 3 Aug 2006
By 
Mr. C. Gelderd "aka GelNerd" (Basingstoke, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
The first film in which we get to meet 007 nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofled in the flesh, eerily played by Donald Pleasence, give this Eastern 007 movie a touch of class as Sean Connery returns in fine form to avert World War III!

Set in and around Japan, the film uses the stunning location to full use from dominating Ninja training schools, volcanic underground lairs and the nightlife of Tokyo to guide Bond from one thrilling chase to the next femme fatale betrayal as he races to discover the location of Blofled and his organisation SPECTRE before the US and USSR space programme is sabotaged once again and all hell breaks loose.

Ninja killers, sweet and simple Oriental ladies and exciting action give 007 a touch of Eastern promise in a stunning visual spy story.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oh the things i do for England, 2 Jan 2010
By 
A. Willard (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
From the opening bars of the title song (surely the best Bond song ever) I'm back queuing outside the Carlton in Essex Road at a very tender age waiting to see the latest big thing. There's no other film that quite manages it (well maybe Zulu).

Connery is, and always will be, James Bond - I know a couple of the others have been quite good, Daniel Craig amongst them, but Connery is the best, even if he was too common for Ian Fleming. Let's face it if it wasn't for the films the books would have been long forgotten.

Anyway Bond's in Japan; someone's trying to start World War III by kidnapping spaceships; there's lot's of sinister Orientals (and some good ones); the baddies have lots of opportunities to just kill him but never quite get around to it; Donald Pleasence strokes his cat and there's a damn good punch up in a hollowed-out volcano. The music's fabulous (good old John Barry), the script is witty (good old Roald Dahl) and well, it's just splendid.

One star deducted for whoever's idea it was to disguise Connery as a Japanese fisherman - I mean, I know it's James Bond, but come on!
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You Only Live Twice [DVD] [1967]
You Only Live Twice [DVD] [1967] by Lewis Gilbert (DVD - 2012)
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