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Non-Review Review: You Only Live Twice

This post is part of James Bond January, being organised by the wonderful Paragraph Films. I will have reviews of all twenty-two official Bond films going on-line over the next month, and a treat or two every once in a while.

You Only Live Twice was my favourite when I was younger. It was energetic, witty, bright, colourful and adventurous. The stakes were ridiculously high – no less than the Third World War. Bond’s trip to Japan painted the country as an exotic wonderland to a mind as young as my own. The script was smart and the action was fast-paced – the movie still breezes along even today. The cost of the speed is that the movie is ultimately fairly light – it doesn’t carry anything particularly heavy or thought-provoking. This means that it ends up feeling relatively light-weight when measured against some of Sean Connery’s earlier outings like From Russia With Love or Goldfinger, which worked at least as much with suspense as with action.

Is Bond turning Japanese?

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Michael Sheen to clean up as Blofeld?

I have to admit, the news that Paul Haggis would be replaced by Peter Morgan on writing duties at Bond 23 (because we don’t have a cool/confusing/pretentious title yet) was a little bit of a surprise, but not too much. The producers reportedly also attempted to coax Danny Boyle into directing the film, so I guess they’re trying one rung down on this year’s Oscar-nominees list. I’m not sure if that’s a good sign though. Don’t get me wrong, Morgan is amazing and I eagerly anticipate The Special Relationship (though I think he picked the wrong President), but I’m worried that the movies are creeping toward pretention. I like Casino Royale, it cleared away nearly forty years of rubble the franchise had accumulated – but it seems the producers picker up on the wrong message from its success. The Quantum of Solice didn’t give us back-to-basics Bond as much as it gave us a British Jason Bourne. Still, regardless of my feelings about behind the scenes, I am somewhat excited by the Michael Sheen as Blofeld rumours that are cropping up.

Isn't he just Darling... oh wait, wrong member of government...

Isn't he just Darling... oh wait, wrong member of government...

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