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Once more unto the breach! And Sean Connery’s second-to-last turn as Bond (third-to-last, if you count the offshoot, non-canonical Never Say Never Again, which nearly nobody does). The James Bond theme music starts, but it sounds a little tinny; I’ve noticed that each movie does a slightly different arrangement of this classic piece of music. We open up on a capsule orbiting in space (Hey! It’s the Jupiter program!), and America’s kicking ass and taking names in space in 1967. One of the astronauts goes for a space walk, and man do I love the aesthetics of old analog machinery from this time period. Just look at mission control:

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“What’s this button do, again?” “What?” “Nothing.”

Neat. Anyway, my Austin Powers sense is tingling at this opening, and dammit, Mike Myers, why did you have to ruin so many neat things about this series for me? As I’ve stated before, I haven’t seen a lot of these Bond movies before now, and this is one of them. I’ve noted my ire for Myers’ incredibly lazy “parody” of these films (read: just do exactly what was done in these movies, but wink at the camera so much that you think the cinematographer got lemon juice in his eye), and here’s yet another example of this. The Hawaiian relay for Cape Canaveral spots something closing in on the capsule on radar, and the astronaut floating in space is surprised to see another spacecraft.

The craft opens up and swallows the capsule, untethering the astronaut left outside. He floats away like Major Tom, and we FADE CUT TO some isolated locale where a bunch of big wigs from the US and Soviet Commie Russia are meeting. The US thinks the USSR did the ol’ capsule grab and warns that if there’s any further interference with their space program they will consider it an act of war. Meanwhile, the British calmly asks why Russia would do this, and the guy representing the US seems like he’s about to pop. The British are like, calm down old boy, spot of tea? Also, we think the culprits may be an Asian country. Rest assured, chap, our best man is on the job right now.

CUT TO James Bond making out with a lady of the Asian persuasion. At least this time it looks like she wasn’t coerced (I’m glaring at you, Thunderball). Then he says, and I quote directly: “Why do Chinese girls taste different from all other girls?” Oh, no. Did we just switch out an out-of-control sexist James Bond for a wildly racist James Bond? As if she read my mind, the woman pushes a button, which flips up the bed Bond’s in into the wall, and a group of armed men rush the room and fire a thousand bullets into it. So that’s nice.

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Off to HR and sensitivity training with you!

An ambulance screeches to Bond’s aid, but it seems like he’s dead. Well, this was a rather short Bond adventure, but it was nice to see him get his comeuppance for all of the horrible shit he’s been up to in the past few films. But I guess they’re going through with the opening credits because people paid good money to see this movie (not me, but other people). The theme song has a Far East tinge to it (aural racism?) and it’s pleasant enough. They went back to a female singer, so this is already a step up from the last entry’s theme. The visuals are abstract and I can’t really suss out what’s happening, but it’s not half-bad. And hey! It’s sung by Nancy Sinatra! So that’s something.

Back to the movie: It opens in the port of Hong Kong, which looks magical in 1967. James Bond is dead, according to the paper, and apparently he’s a naval commander. His funeral is taking place with a burial at sea and he gets a 21-gun salute. We watch as his wrapped mummy body floats to the bottom of the ocean (that can’t be ecological) and the water is clear blue, unlike the pitch-black that Hong Kong’s bay is now. Two divers retrieve Bond’s body and bring it into a submarine, and I’m having unpleasant flashbacks to Thunderball’s endless underwater scenes.

Some navy dudes unwrap the body and take off a gas mask that’s over Bond’s mouth and hey! Bond wakes right up! B-b-but I just saw him die with my own eyes! Is he a g-g-g-ghost? No, this was all just more of that double-spy intrigue stuff that gets me mixed up in these movies.

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“Get me out of this wet bag and into a dry martini.”

So bond pops up, jaunts across the sub, opens a hatch, and boom! Throws his naval cap across the room onto a hat rack. And hey! Moneypenny’s here, too! Maybe Bond died and went to Spy Heaven. This film already has a hell of a lot more verve than the last entry. Anyway, M needs to see Bond ASAP and for once, and Bond and Moneypenny don’t flirt! Hunh. M provides exposition as to why they had Bond fake his death (so his enemies think he’s dead, duh) and says they think the stolen capsule is in Japan.

Connery looks a lot better in this movie than the last; in general, this movie is better than the last. Taking a year off of making these movies did everybody involved a lot of good. Anyway, M says you have 3 weeks, and the Russians are planning a launch even before that, so do something and don’t fuck it all up like you did in the last movie.

Bond chats with Moneypenny, but the flirting is cut short between these two knuckleheads. Also, we find out that Bond went to Cambridge. La-dee-dah, Mister Went to One of the Oldest Universities in the World!

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“This flirting gimmick is wearing a little thin, eh, Moneypenny? I’ll go now.”

They shoot Bond out of a goddamn torpedo tube and he swims up to the shores of Japan. We get a light show of Tokyo circa 1966, and it still looks hella impressive, even though modern-day Tokyo looks like Blade Runner. Were they always 15 years ahead of us technologically? He has a lady spy on his trail already upon arrival and meets his contact. He also speaks fluent Japanese! Although not knowing the language, he could be speaking it terribly and probably is. Still: Cambridge.

Bond takes in a sumo competition, and maybe it’s just because I enjoy Japanese culture (as much as I can as an American outsider), but I’m finding this travelogue section of the movie really enjoyable. What a treat it must have been to visit Japan in 1966 as a Westerner.

A lady sits next to James and they take in the sumo match, a sport that I also do not understand but think is very cool. These two say the right code phrase to each other (he in English and she in Japanese, which is a nice touch), and this might(?) be his contact, but again, I get lost in this double-spy stuff. They go back to his hotel and the soundtrack is really, really good in this one. Not as good as authentic, traditional Japanese music would be, but a nice Western pastiche of it nonetheless.

Bond interrogates this lady spy, but she’s not having it. He gets to the hotel and it’s very Japanese, and Bond is going to meet Mr. Henderson, which doesn’t sound like a Japanese name. And it isn’t! It’s just a white English dude in a kimono. Bond immediately pulls a gun on this guy and they go into his room, which looks like a place I’d love to spend a few weeks in.

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Is it cultural appropriation if you’re actually in the culture you’re appropriating? Write to: PO Box I don’t really know or care.

Bond thwacks Henderson in the right leg hard with a cane and he doesn’t budge. This must be verification because they get more friendly after this (Henderson lost his leg in the war in ’42), and he makes Bond a drink because they’re pals now. Henderson’s lived in Japan for 28 years and says James’s contact is Tiger (Hitaka for his non-friends), and Henderson even gets his drink right! This movie’s classy with a capitol CLA.

They jaw about what’s going on, and Henderson doesn’t think it’s either Russia or Japan, but an industrial concern. But before he can get any further, he’s stabbed in the back through the….(hold on, looking up the right word) shōji.

Bond jumps right through that room divider consisting of translucent paper over a frame of wood (See? Told you I looked it up!) and goes after the assassin. He knocks this fellow around until he’s dead (Jesus, Bond, are your hands made of iron?) and even though it’s a night scene that I can barely see anything in, I’ll excuse it because I’m enjoying this movie quite a bit.

Bond fakes that he’s the assassin and gets in the getaway car by putting a mask on his face(?) and pretending that he’s also been stabbed. They drive to a gigantic office building, and Bond  is carried up fireman-style into the inner offices. Once the guy takes off the mask, however, Bond snaps into fighting action, and they punch and smash their way through a beautiful office. And man, these are some crazy moves. Eventually, the Japanese fellow he’s fighting whips out a sword, so Bond breaks a statue in half on the guy. Then he does the old “let’s shove you into a closet, dead person,” and then—I am not joking—pours himself a drink. This is a pretty goddamn James Bond-y James Bond we’re seeing. But after a gulp, he gets to work (he’s a spy, you see), and breaks into a safe with a thingermajigger that I didn’t realize he had on him.

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“Can’t. Stop. Drinking!”

You know, a half hour into this movie, and I’m really enjoying it. After the dated Goldfinger and the wretched Thunderball, I was dreading watching this movie for fear that it would just dive even further into the sexist nightmare that started creeping into the Connery films. But this movie’s well-paced, fun to watch, and—most importantly—actually respectful of the culture it’s occurring in. Well, so far: I’ve heard that some shit goes down later that’s waaaaaaaaaaay racist, but let’s just enjoy this good Bond film for the time being, OK?

Bond breaks into the safe but wuh-oh! It sets off crazy siren alarms. He fucking splits outta there with security guards firing at him, and he shoots one in the gut. His contact from earlier vrooms up and is like, ‘sup? Bond asks what the score is and that car she’s driving is a hum-dinger. She runs off and James gives chase, and they run through a…subway, I guess.

She stops and he walks towards her, but then a trapdoor opens beneath him to a Super Fun Happy Slide, and he plops into a comfy chair. He is welcomed by some dude that laughs way too much during a greeting, but again, his lair is pretty sweet.

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He mocks Bond for his obsessive need to chase women and they meet eye-to-eye. This is Tiger: He knows the code phrase, so he’s cool. Even the code phrase is kind of funny: “I love you.” They get down to serious business and Tiger has a private subway train! That’s so cool. And of course, this train is also super-cool. They have saki and look at some spy pictures.

Then they stroll through a Japanese garden. Man, do I like Japanese architecture and aesthetics. I wish it would catch on in America; it just looks so futuristic and minimalist. So Tiger gives Bond a hell of a good time and enjoys the patriarchal culture afforded to him. Tiger knows a lot about Bond, even name-checking Moneypenny (I guess he saw the first few films).

They hang out in Tiger’s swanky pad while several women wait on them. Bond suggests that it’s SPECTRE behind all this, while Tiger’s like, yeah yeah yeah, select a woman for massage now. But his masseuse is interrupted by Aki, the lady contact he had earlier. Then she immediately goes for it with him because I think Bond actually did die at the beginning of the movie and went to heaven–Japanese heaven.

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Japanese heaven: Like regular heaven, but far more efficient and stylish.

More shit happens, I guess, but Bond’s then invited to another office whose layout makes me gasp at its sheer beauty. Seriously, it’s amazing the art director didn’t get an Oscar (quick internet search update: this movie was nominated for a BAFTA for art direction, but lost to a movie I’m not currently watching). He shows up fifteen minutes early, as is the model for business success, and is greeted cordially until he’s sent into a steel cage-locked room.

In a total Trump move, James is forced to wait for the arrival of the dominant party, who lands via bubble helicopter. The most Japanese man alive arrives, along with his red-haired Anglo female assistant. He’s offered Dom Perignon, which he cannot refuse at a genetic level, and lies his way into an interview (another Trump move). But the dude interviewing him says you are a fool, my man, and you should also stop smoking. The businessman is busy and bored and Bond lays out his bullshit about looking for a license for manufacturing. The film roars forward at an uncontrollable rate! When the meeting’s over, the Japanese business dude says kill him, because business is rough.

Aki shows back up to save his skin and they zoom off in that sweet ride of hers. A car chase occurs through the quaint section of Tokyo and Aki uses a cell-phone like device to call Tiger to arrange for interception of their pursuant. So a helicopter shows up with a giant magnet and picks the bad guys’ car up! Whaaat?

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You know, when I asked for a helicopter car, this isn’t what I had in mind.

I think this is physically impossible to do–lift a fully loaded car with four people inside by a giant magnet attached to a helicopter–but it’s pretty damn cool nonetheless. The helicopter carries the car over the water and just fucking drops it into the drink. Watching a vintage car fall a few hundred feet into the water is also pretty cool. Bond quips here, but I’ll give him a pass because this is all pretty neat and I’d be quipping so much at this point if I were him they’d call me The Quipping Kid.

Aki and Bond go spy on some boats and they have to dance with The Dockside Gang. Bond starts a-shootin’ and tells Aki to split before he really has to start murdering. After she’s clear, Bond starts his one-man war against this gang, littering a rooftop with dead bodies. An impressive, long tracking helicopter shot occurs to follow this action, but Bond is eventually captured. The evil Japanese businessman (Mr. Osato) stands over his knocked-out body in a total Trump move. (Forgive me: It’s a few days after elections in the US, so I have Trump on the mind.)

Bond awakes tied to a chair on a boat so it must be Tuesday, while Mr. Osato’s assistant Helga stands over him. What is it with villains standing over their captured enemy? Anyway, she smacks him across the chops and asks who he’s working for. He smirks his way through the interrogation, but she takes out some instruments of torture to ramp up this little back-and-forth. Then she…kisses and nuzzles him? I guess they got a lot of flack of Bond’s forcefulness towards women in the last movie, because the women start all of the action in this film. He tells her he’s an industrial spy and tries to get her on his side, and hey, it works! They get to getting while the getting’s good.

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“James Bond, you did it again.” “What?” “Nothing.”

CUT TO them on a plane together with Helga at the controls, but nope, she jumps out of the plane with a parachute and locks him into a death spiral. Damn double-cross! Anyway, he gets out of his bonds (hah) and jumps behind the controls, where he makes a crash landing. Like every vehicle in these movies, it explodes almost immediately after impact, but he swims away unscathed.

Bond and Aki enjoy saki in Tiger’s awesome Japanese garden and wonder what the hell to do next. Tiger shows some pictures of a boat that suggest the capsule has been transported. M shows up  with Q, who has constructed a really neat mini-helicopter for James. It’s so cool! Tiger mocks the craft, but I don’t know, it’s pretty darn neat to me. Also, there’s a lot of helicopters in this movie. I guess they were all the rage in the spy game that year.

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Pictured: A mixture of both awesome and ridiculous.

Bond (who Tiger and Aki call Bond-son, which is also a nice touch) takes off and this mini-copter is fast and crazy-looking as it flies. While Bond handles it like a pro, I would be terrified out of my mind in that thing. He flies to an island, which also looks beautiful, and spots a lake in a crater and reports back that “there’s nothing here but volcanoes,” a line I really like for some reason. But darn it! A brigade of helicopters start firing on him! The “James Bond Theme” starts playing as he gets into an airfight with these copters, and this action sequence is done really well and looks like it was very dangerous to film. He drops a shitload of bombs and fires missiles and in general just decimates these enemy copters.

So after killing a dozen of these dudes, he lets home base know he’s coming home for a drink, but they say nope, you’re still in play because the Russians are launching a rocket and they have to figure out what the hell’s going on. So there’s a couple of cosmonauts orbiting in a capsule in space, but d’oh! There’s that darn grabby capsule coming for them. It goes chomp chomp chomp–

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“Nom nom nom nom nom.”

–and swallows the capsule whole. Russian mission control goes crazy (in Russian) while the chompy capsule (which I’ll call Chompy from here on out) re-enters Earth’s atmosphere and a secret opening in one of those “volcanoes” opens for it to land. And darn it, more shades of Austin Powers as I look at the massive hanger with a world map and a bunch of henchmen in colored jumpsuits running around.

Meanwhile, at the Pentagon, Russia thinks it was the US, and now all the American commanders are afraid that Russia’s going to shoot down the Jupiter missile. (Say, did you know the Jupiter program was created to develop the USA’s ICBM technology? I like space stuff.) The English are like, rough ticket that, and spill their tea. Mr. Osako and crew are hands-on with their secret volcano base operation, and this is proper James Bond villainy right here. Blofeld’s on-site to make sure this isn’t another goddamn Thunderball fiasco and he has a swank apartment there, as well.

Oh man, they have little monorail cars and everything! I want to have my next birthday party here. Blofeld gives exposition as to why all of this is happening, kind of, and he’s like, check out the piranhas I have. Blofeld wants $100 million up-front (what’s with this number and him?) for his services, and then calls in Osako and Helga for a report. Blofeld correctly identifies Bond from his Walter PPK, and he says you idiots, Bond is alive! Osako throws Helga under the bus, and Blofeld puts his foot on a pedal of doom, which drops Helga into the piranha lake. So goodbye, character I didn’t learn the name of until just a few scenes ago!

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Hey, piranha lake or no, I’d totally live here.

More beautiful Japanese travelogue footage continues as Bond is brought back to Tiger and Aki for a little R&R. Bond says he needs a band of heroes for this mission, and Tiger’s like, no problem: I have like a hundred ninja on-hand right here. And indeed he does! Man, this guy Tiger has a hell of a life. I wish they’d make a stand-alone movie about him.

They observe the ninjas doing ninja stuff, including practicing with actual swords (one dude kills like 5 guys! Talk about a hard practice). Tiger’s throwing 100 ninjas into this project and also shows Bond his crazy firearms, including exploding missile cigarettes. This guy could put Q out of a job.

Then….hoo boy. Then Bond starts his own ninja training, which includes taking a wife. Tiger says that Bond must “become” Japanese, which includes actual plastic surgery! Annnnnnd holy shit! It’s Bond in Asianface.

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You know…squinting and getting a bad haircut doesn’t make you Asian.

This isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but it’s still pretty bad. Like, Cloud Atlas Asianface bad with white actors putting on prosthetics. But really, Bond doesn’t look Asian; he looks like James Bond with a funny haircut. Anyway, an assassin is trying to kill Bond by dripping poison down a string into Bond’s sleeping open mouth. Not a bad attempt, really, but it misses Bond and goes into Aki’s mouth instead. Oh, poor Aki! Bond shoots that fucker dead, but it’s too late: Aki’s gone.

Bond goes fucking ape in his ninja training from this point on, and a bunch of other crazy shit happens during this sequence that’s the standard kung fu training in a film kind of thing. Bond fucking kills a guy during training, but it turns out to be another assassin. This is why he has a license to kill, after all.

So Bond takes a Japanese wife, and Tiger’s been warning him that she has, and I quote, “a face like a pig,” but this is just some of that famous Japanese humor, as she’s actually a beautiful woman. Oh, those Japanese! It’s just a laugh a minute with these guys. Again: I just really enjoy Japanese culture, and they show a traditional Japanese wedding ceremony.

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“This wedding’s only legal in Japan, right?””What?” “Nothing.”

On a junk towards the island they’re about to kick the shit out of, Bond and Tiger talk about how they have four days left (thanks for letting us know, movie!), and Bond stoops over so he doesn’t look a foot taller than everybody. They get back to her house, which is small but completely awesome like every location in this movie has been, and she’s not going to have sex with Bond because this is just business you weirdo, so she’s pretty awesome, too.

Tiger shows up in the middle of the night and tells Bond that America has moved up their launch and has warned Russia that nothing better happen, while the British reps said tut tut, poor show old sport. So they start out to find Chompy and the capsules in the morning, and I really wish I had a time machine just so I could enjoy the unspoiled beauty of rural Japan in 1967. Of course, Bond is making headway with seducing his cover wife, and she and him use their boat to go into a cave and maybe to do it.

But he detects gas, so they dive into the water and swim the heck outta that grotto. Swimming to shore, Bond shows off his geological knowledge and this also impresses her. They cross the terrain and sit on a mountaintop and he goes in for a kiss, and yep, it took him a whole day but he finally got her. But oh crap! It’s a helicopter! Quick, Bond, use her as a human shield!

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“Must…resist…instinct…to use woman…as shield!”

But nah, they just see that the copter goes into the mouth of a volcano, and they run over to investigate. Meanwhile, the US launches its rocket ship. Bond checks out the lake in the volcano’s crater and he throws a rock, but it just skitters across a metal surface. So Bond finally figured it out; the stupid bastard finally gets it.

While he walks across the surface, the crater façade starts opening. He tells Cover Bride to get Tiger and his men while he goes in to save the world single-handed, like usual. He puts on suction cup hands and kneepads(?) and begins climbing down into the facility.

Bond conceals himself and takes a ride on the little monorail they have in this crazy place. Once they arrive at its destination, he jumps out and finds the kidnapped American astronauts. He blasts the door open, and Bond and the American astronauts kick the asses of some chump guards. Meanwhile, Cover Bride is swimming her face off to get to Tiger, but a helicopter spots her and opens fire. She dives under the water and shakes them.

MEANWHILE, back at Blofeld’s volcano lair (::thinks about Mike Myers again, gets a little angry inside::) they’re getting ready to launch Chompy. Bond and the American astronauts are now dressed as security guards, give some of the crew wood shampoos courtesy of Uncle Sam, and Bond dresses as one of the astronauts.

Bond gets loaded into the shuttle, but Blofeld spots Bond and makes him visit his apartment. We get a good look at Blofeld, and his face is all sorts of fucked up. He drops the title line (“You only live twice, Mr. Bond”), and lets Bond in on what he’s trying to do here (mainly, start a war so he can rise as a major power). They prepare to fire the rocket while Bond gets searched. Just seeing Blofeld reminds me of Dr. Evil, and by now I wish I didn’t have that association in my mind anymore between the two characters.

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Wait, Dr. Evil is based on this character? I don’t see it.

The rocket blasts off into orbit and they close the crater. Gee, Blofeld’s plan went off without a hitch! But Tiger and Cover Bride (wish I caught her name; didn’t know she was going to be so integral to the plot, since she was the 4th woman Bond paired up with in this movie), and his personal ninja army comes to storm Blofeld’s base.

The bad guys open fire on the ninjas, so I guess all the ninja training in the world can’t save you from bullets. Blofeld stupidly gives Bond back his cigarettes, but it’s those special bullet cigarettes he has and Bond ices a dude, then throws a punching party with extra knuckle. But he opened the crater entrance before being caught, and Tiger’s ninja army rappels down. One of them blows a hole in the closed crater and here come the rest of the ninjas! They’re throwing grenades and shooting automatic weapons, like ninjas are famous for. And hey, there’s Tiger and Cover Bride!

Lots of shooting and explosions and people falling off of railings (standard Bond climax battle), while Bond is trapped in Blofeld’s apartment. Finally, the ninjas get to ninja-ing, but also are still rather liberally using grenades. Meanwhile, Blofeld is still keeping Bond hostage and alive instead of just blowing his brains out with a single bullet.

The US is trying to intercept Chompy, and Blofeld looks like he’s about to shoot Bond but shoots Mr. Osako instead. Then he gets on that monorail and is about to shoot Bond, but Tiger gets his wrist with a throwing star and stops that shit quick. Blofeld scoots away on the little monorail, and the control room techs abandon their post, showing Bond another route into the control room.

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It really is a hell of a set.

I did not anticipate so many grenades being used by ninjas in this movie, but since it’s pretty rad I’m not complaining. Now Bond has to fight Blofeld’s tall, violent, blonde goon, and they do hand-to-hand combat that goes on for an exhausting amount of time around Blofeld’s neat apartment. Hey! I bet that bad guy’s going to be tossed into the piranha lake! And he is! Bond quips, “Bon appétit,” and races to stop this madness.

But because Blofeld installed a kill switch to blow up Chompy, Bond pushes the button and ker-blammo! It explodes in space much like it wouldn’t, and the day is saved. Meanwhile, Blofeld has a secret self-destruct lever for the volcano lair that he pulls, and the place starts blowing up, much like in the ending of that comedy spy spoof that came out in the late 90’s. This triggers the volcano(?), and all of the remaining Good Guys swim to safety. Airplanes arrive to drop emergency boats for these ninja heroes, and Bond and Cover Bride get one all to themselves because they’re the important people here, after all.

CUT TO a beautiful sunset in the Pacific, and Bond gets cozy with Cover Bride in the raft. The theme music swells and they get cozy on the inflatable raft . But a submarine surfaces underneath them with M and Moneypenny on board. It ends with an areal shot of the life raft sitting on top of the submarine, and the first end credit lets us know that James Bond will be back for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. (But not Sean Connery—but they didn’t know that yet.)

Stray Note

Roald Dahl (author of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, The BFG, James & The Giant Peach, and a number of disturbing short stories) wrote the screenplay to this movie. Also, he was pretty much James Bond in real life. No kidding!

Conclusions

I really, really, really enjoyed this movie. From the gorgeous travelogue of Japan circa 1966 to the well-paced story to Bond actually treating the people around him respectfully, this was one of the most enjoyable James Bond films I’ve ever seen. While there was a weird choice to surgically alter Bond’s appearance to make him look Asian, it really wasn’t as crazily racist as I thought it was going to be—it just looks like James Bond got a funny haircut and is suffering from liver failure (which is understandable, given how much he drinks). Then again, I’m not Asian, so I’m sure this is wildly offensive and it just bounces off of me because I’m a white dude in America and the world still works heavily in my favor in every way possible.

Having Blofeld as an active participant in the SPECTRE scheme this time helped, as well. Unlike watching Bond fight a proxy, with Blofeld actually present and engaged in the villainy stepped up the dynamics of Good Vs. Evil (since Blofeld is one evil [and evil-looking] mofo). While the ridiculous elements of the film series start getting ramped up in this entry (including crazy gadgets like Bond’s heavily armed mini-copter, Blofeld’s volcano lair, and the space stuff), they’re toned down just enough to enjoy without it becoming cartoonish.

While this movie was produced in 1966 and released in 1967, there are no signs that any sort of counterculture movement is occurring in the same universe as this one. James Bond films exist in a buttoned-up, right-wing world where men smoked, gambled, wore suits, and objectified women, and everyone else on the planet was there to serve them. I’d imagine that these movies were of great comfort to The Greatest Generation, my parents’ parents, during a decade that saw wild social upheaval and their sons and daughters turning their backs on traditional values. Wherever these movies were located in the space-time continuum, it was the same world where the Good Guys won The Big One, the dirty Commies were destined to fail, and everything was in its right place. It’s part of the fantasy of James Bond films, and this fantasy held the illusion throughout.

Rating

It’s really difficult to be snarky towards something you’re genuinely enjoying, as I did this movie. Maybe it was because I was enchanted by the gorgeous Japanese scenery and culture on display throughout, or maybe I was just relieved that Bond wasn’t a monstrous lech to every single woman he met, but this was the most enjoyable Bond film I’ve watched in this little project of mine since Dr. No. So, with all due respect, I give Bond-son and You Only Live Twice four out of four Bonds. Arigatou gozaimasu!

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