5.30.2011

Go Where No Bond Has Gone Before.

YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (1967)

So we've done the casino games. We've done the underwater shark fights. What's next? Well, it's 1967, we've just started poking at space, but we're still so afraid of our next door neighbors that we have to come up with a motherfucking space treaty in order to make sure no one blows up the earth. Really, it was a Bond plot waiting to happen. It only makes sense then that our first scene takes place in outer space, in what I consider to be the most thrilling Bond opening so far. First, we have our space men attacked by some weird giant outer space squid (thank you, Watchmen). Next, there's a tense political debate between the USA and the USSR, in which America is full of bulldog faces and the Soviets are "peace loving people". The UK acts as the man in the corner with a monocle who tells you all to politely go get your IQ checked and sends the Americans after the Japanese instead. Slam cut to our friend 007, who's found a whole other way to use his chopsticks. Naturally, the sly little minx double crosses him, and Bond is...wait...dead? What the hell? This is more depressing than Trail of the Pink Panther (1982). Never fear...a montage of Asian chicks against an exploding volcano with the ultimately forgettable Leslie Bricusse is here. Though I'll admit that I did a double take when I saw this: Screenplay By Roald Dahl. Well. I'll be a monkey's fucking uncle.

The plot goes something like this. Bond (elaborately) fakes his death in order to shake off some old enemies and devote himself completely to his current mission. M. sends him to Japan to find out where all these space crafts are going. It's a good thing James Bond isn't conspicuously a foot taller than everyone around him.

What I learned about Japan:

1. Sumo wrestling is a serious business.

2. All Japanese business men live in giant meditation gardens.

3. If you're a guest in a Japanese household, not only is their house yours, but so are all their possessions. Naturally.

4. In Japan, men always come first. Women come second. (I may be a lesbian, but I'm pretty sure that's not only in Japan).

5. NINJAS!
Image of batshit Ninja from thehollywoodprojects.com.
Characters: James Bond, as always, kills first and asks questions later. Which is slightly inconvenient when you finally chase down the man who killed your contact, and instead of interrogation him to find out who sent him, you kill him on the spot. Hindsight 20/20? One of the best things about this Bond movie, however, is that it seems to have weeded out the expendable characters. Instead of having a large number of bad guys who can't fight or shoot and apparently have lost all their survival instincts, we have a smaller number of bad guys, each with well choreographed fight scenes, which keeps the movie flowing at a nice, tense pace. But maybe it's just the awesome that is martial arts.

The only other character worth mention is Mr. Henderson, who...looks...surprisingly...like...Bloefield. I wonder if that's ever going to come back? WINK.

What's Up, Tiger Lily?
Bond Girls: Aki, played conveniently by Akiko Wakabayawshi, is one of the better characters in this movie. She's badass in her own right--she saves Bond's ass more than once and Bond doesn't seem to feel like he has to babysit her like he does with all of his other female companions. And, sure, she moons over Bond, but she does it in a quiet way, with small hopeful glances that somehow look adorable on her rather than irritating. Apparently it's just her timid Japaneseness. Because this movie isn't politically correct at all, of course. Unfortunately, she finally has sex with Bond, which is a mistake on her part, since she gets killed almost instantly after. Bummer.

The first emotionally-timid Asian is replaced by an even more quiet and shy Asian--Kissy Suzuki, who's name unfortunately wasn't even mentioned in the film. A real pity, because it's such a good Bond girl name to waste. She's Bond's undercover wife, and keeps her head obediently in a constant downward tilt. That is, until she opens her mouth and reveals herself to be a real cockblocking tiger mom. Damn. At least Bond can stare at her longingly while she sleeps and fan himself in an Edward Cullen fashion.

Villains: If there's one thing this movie really lacks, it's good villains. Overall, they're pussies, except of course for our friend Blofeld, but he doesn't even make an appearance until halfway through the movie anyway. And my appearance I mean "hand petting cat while evil voice speaks". That is, until the end, when...AH! We see his evil little face for the first time! And he's a terrifying little man, with a long scar running along the side of his face, one eyelid drooping down.

Mr. Osato is really one of the most boring henchmen of all time. The only thing semi-interesting about him is his gadgets--which really just involve a high-tech x-ray. So, yeah. He's about as interesting as oatmeal.

SPECTRE is full of pussies.
Helga Brandt is attractive in that she's-the-only-non-Asian-in-this-movie,-of-course-he's-gonna-fuck-her way. Plus, she stares at Bond with fuck me eyes in an extraordinarily obvious way. Right in front of her "man". But it's totally okay, because she has sex with Bond and then tries to kill him again. So the killing definitely cancels out the sex, even Bond is hesitant to bring it up after. And she gets chewed up by piranha, which is always a good way for an evil Bond girl to go in my book.

Most badass moment: Ninjas vs. SPECTRE. Does it get much better?

Most ridiculous moment: James Bond thinks he's turning Japanese. What. The. Fuck.

Image from pictoralpress.com
Best gadget: James Bond's "toy helicopter". The end.

One more thing:
Cinematically, this is when Bond really starts to get interesting. They tried out a couple new things with this Bond, and they all worked out very nice. For example, instead of the tight, up close and personal fighting scenes in which one man right after the other charges after James Bond, at the dock we have a pan-out where we get to see the fight from a bird's eye view, watching Bond knock them all down like bowling pins. And then we have the helicopter chase, where Bond doesn't realize he's being followed until he sees the shadows of the other helicopters in the mountain top. Besides the camera angle, there's a couple other nice little touches, like an entire scene in unsubtitled Russian. But when a giant space craft eating monster is opening its jaws and swallowing your spaceship, you don't really need subtitles to understand what they're saying. 

Quotes: "Why do Chinese girls taste different from all other girls?"

Moneypenny: "We tried to think of something you wouldn't forget. I love you. Repeat it once so you don't forget."

Bond: "Well, I think it's about hotel time."

Bond: "If you're Tanaka, how do you feel about me?"
Tanaka: "I...love you?"
Bond: "Well, I'm glad we got that out of the way."

Tanaka: "My friend, now you take your first civilized bath."
Bond [surrounded by "bathing girls"]: "Really? I like the plumbing."

Tanaka: "Good choice. She's very sexiful."

Bond [As he's taking off Brandt's clothes]: "The things I do for England."

Bond: "We're supposed to be married."
Kissy: "Think again, please."

3 comments:

  1. "All Japanese businessmen live in giant meditation gardens." That is so effing true. I think they started a trend because every movie with Japanese businessmen and gangsters, too, has them living in some kind of meditation garden, even when they are living here in the States. Yeah Bond totally blended in didn't he? And I love Donald Pleasence as Blofeld. When I saw Halloween for like the 80th time, I'd finally watched You Only Live Twice again and I was like Blofeld's hunting Michael Myers.

    The fact that Roald Dahl wrote the screenplay is totally fucking epic. He also wrote the screenplay for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I read in his biography that he was a fighter pilot during WWII. What a guy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It really is true! I wouldn't be surprised if they started a trend. I think the Japanese are one group of people we'll just never get tired of stereotyping. But in the context of things, meditation garden could be worse.

    HAHA! Blofeld is always hunting Michael Myers. Actually, between the two of them...eh. It's a toss up.

    And Roald Dahl really is a closet badass! He's got his fingers in everyone's pie.

    ReplyDelete
  3. If you want your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend to come crawling back to you on their knees (no matter why you broke up) you got to watch this video
    right away...

    (VIDEO) Have your ex CRAWLING back to you...?

    ReplyDelete

Every time you leave a comment, Chuck Norris sneezes and creates a new solar system.