Hey, remember when James Bond was about as PC as Speedy Gonzales?
Sean Connery being the John Wayne of the franchise, you can imagine how a little trip to Japan in the 1960's turned out...
You Only Live Twice sees 007 fake his own death before travelling to Japan where he's hoping to find out who has been sending a mysterious Pacman-style space bullet to gobble up the US and Soviet Union's satellites, almost kick-starting a nuclear war between both countries. Kind of like the plot to Tomorrow Never Dies in a way but instead of China it's Russia, instead of a media mogul it's a cat-strokin' menace and instead of boats... it's SPACE.
On location, Bond meets the usual mix of bad guys, sultry gals and sumo wrestlers. It's all a bit hit-and-miss plot wise with Bond not actually doing much besides letting himself be bathed by half-naked ladies, flying an ever so slightly absurd-looking foldable helicopter and... getting an "Oriental make-over", so to speak...
Yes, 007 is encouraged to make himself look as Japanese as possible (and get hitched)... this involves Bond sporting a decidedly Vulcan haircut and wearing rubber eyelids.
What follows makes that little clumsy trip down un-PC lane even more irrelevant: ninjas, secret volcano lairs, killer piranhas and plenty of Dr Evil-style hi-jinx. Donald Pleasence reprises his role as Ernst Stavro Blofeld and is as cat-strokingly, adorably great as ever. Definitely a plus to have a decent villain in a plot thusfar quite devoid of any real weight.
Did I mention the NINJAS? Good.
For all its faults, You Only Live Twice is a hell of a lot of fun. Mostly worth checking out for the lols and Pleasance's Blofeld, the film remains pretty irresistible throughout. Sean Connery really is the only one here who doesn't seem to be enjoying himself that much at all. There's a cartoony, comic-book-style feel to the whole thing which makes it impossible to take seriously and therefore a perfect 007 flick to just sit back and enjoy for what it is: ridiculous, silly-ass fun.
It's no Goldfinger but definitely a far more entertaining effort than *yawn* Thunderball.