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Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Superficial Bond Reviews --- #05: You Only Live Twice

This fifth Bond installment is so poorly written that I've almost completely forgotten what my own notes mean, even though I just saw the damn thing. Lucky I'm not aiming for an in-depth analysis.

* YOLT (that's You Only Live Twice, dummy) starts with a space shuttle being eaten by a big space rocket. Spectacular and very Bond-like... even though the space effects are pathetic throughout.

* Then Bond gets killed, and I'm thinking "didn't I just see this?" Oh, it was just three movies ago. I'm not fooled this time.
Also, there's a completely idiotic sequence where Bond is buried at sea. He is picked up by divers at the bottom, and it's revealed that he's been using an air tank to survive the burial.
Hey, morons! Why didn't you just switch the body at a more convenient place? Like, say, the morgue? Oh, I guess you needed to have that meaningless underwater sequence in there. Well, then.

* There are several instances of utter stupidity and lacks of common sense, and I'm starting to get annoyed. Thankfully, the fights in YOLT are often good enough to keep me smiling. There's a good fight which involves flinging couches around the room, and a cool roof chase sequence at the docks. Thank heaven for Sean Connery.

* Speaking of heaven: there are a few aerial sequences in this movie - and, as can be expected from a Bond movie, they're all over the place. There's a ridiculous and completely unnecessary scene with a plane and a flare that I won't bother to explain; there's a really cool and funny scene where the bad guys' car gets picked up, mid-chase, by a chopper; and there's Little Nellie.


Hey, get your sweaty hand off the car, lady. And stop blocking the chopper.


Little Nellie is a neat, little portable chopper thingie that is completely awesome, and promises a great action sequence from the first nano-second you lay eyes on it. Impossible to screw up, really.
But did I mention the shitty writing?
There's offered no explanation as to why 007 can't use a normal chopper (how about dodging a radar system or having to pass through some narrow canyon or something?), and when the bad guy choppers arrive... oh, man. No sense of danger or excitement, no "oh, dear, I'm going to crash!" moment. Nothing. Just Little Nellie joylessly firing off every weapon we've been told she has. Ooh. Aah. Yawn.

* At least Bond is able to take care of himself in the Nellie sequence. I've noticed that the great James Bond is ever so frequently being rescued by someone else in this movie, particularly Aki (one of the movie chicks), or by sheer luck.
I should've thought of it earlier. I would have counted the times some top assassin had Bond in his sights and missed for no obvious reason.

* And then there's the disguise... Jesus, the disguise.
Bond, a 6'2½" dude with more fur than a Gibbon, goes undercover, so he glues some pieces of rubber to his eyelids and cuts his hair... and LOOKS TOTALLY ONE HUNDRED PER CENT JAPANESE! ZOMG!


"Yesch, but of coursche I'm Japanesche!"


If you're unable to realize how stupid and offensive this is, try putting James Bond in the same scenario in Harlem and let him "disguise" himself by putting on a huge afro and covering his face with black shoe polish. That's how... just... wrong this is.

* There are ninjas in YOLT too, and they're incredibly lame, even by ninja movie standards. I guess they wanted to use commandos, but thought: "hey, this is Japan. Let's go with ninjas". Great - why not samurais while you're at it?

* Thankfully, there are lots of things to be happy about, too:
There's Blofeld, and he's played by the best guy for the job - my man Donald Pleasence.
There's Blofeld's Volcano Lair, with the all-important monorail system.
Also, this is not Thunderball, and thus not brain-numbingly boring.

* So who's the completely useless screenwriter who's generated all this cinematic misery? Why, none other than Roald Dahl himself.
You should've stuck to the Oompa-Loompas, douchebag.

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