Bond is back, but you knew that, or is he. Right at the beginning of You Only Live Twice our hero is gunned down in Hong Kong. Well this is going to make for a short movie. Ah that tricky cool Bond. It was a fake death to throw off SPECTRE who are after James Bond after foiling their plans in earlier movies. Here we see a Bond that fights, is smart, has a Martini, shaken not stirred, and has a taste for the women of the East. Bond has a lot more skill here in hand to hand combat, to figuring out complex situations to allow him to survive. He is almost the perfect spy here, pretty good for a dead man.
2 Japanese Secret Service agents, and 1 bad girl fill the line up of lovely Bond Girls in You Only Live Twice. The first is named Aki, She is a capable agent, and is Bond's original contact in Japan. She falls to Bond's charms easily, even with the language barrier. She is a pretty girl, but I felt her place was correctly placed as a minor character. The second girl is Kissy Suzuki another agent of the Japanese Secret Service, who marries Bond in a fake ceremony. She is a fighter and helpful throughout the movie in fighting SPECTRE. She has spirit and is pretty, the perfect casting of what I would consider a fun Japanese girl to play across Bond to be. The bad girl is Helga Brandt, who I am having a hard time remembering at all. She seduces Bond and attempts to kill him in an airplane, but I can't remember much about her otherwise. Not one of my favorites obviously.
Ernst Blofeld is not going to let his lacky's and #2's mess up this one and takes the task on himself. Bringing his evil cat along with him, this is the first time we see Blofelds face. His idea is to steal space ships from outer space as they orbit the Earth, that will cause tensions between the US and the USSR. Unless someone pays him 100 million in gold bullion he will cause the thefts to escalate till Nuclear war happens. He has a space ship that steals other space ships in a volcano lair that has a retractable roof. This is some super spy stuff. He has piranha's in a pool that he kills people with and has a scar over his eye. This movie seems like the basis of the stereotypes that we know today about Villains in popular culture. However while the threat is real and I am sure touched on the fears of many people of the time, a world nuclear war will not allow Blofeld to spend his millions and I think isn't the best choice of threats for his end.
There are not too many gadgets, besides the super space ship and volcano lair. James Bond has a tiny helicopter he uses to search the island for the base, it has missiles and smoke mines. He also uses a tiny rocket gun disguised as a cigarette to dispatch some bag guys. He also uses suction cups to climb walls. Here we see less of the gadgets for Bond and he uses his Ninja Training more as a purist, we see the gadgets going to the villians and they are grand. This is the balance between James Bond using his skill or using gadgets. I like gadgets personally so a bit let down by the lack of them in You Only Live Twice.
This is a nice addition to the Bond catalog, we see Blofeld for the first time and Volcano Lair is just awesome. The threat seems a bit misplaced and the women are not in top form in this movie. However there is nothing specifically bad about it. It is a middle of the road Bond for me, with a lot going on. They might have tried to fit too much into this one movie and it got a little lost. Still a nice addition with some very memorable specific moments.