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  1. 'You Only Live Twice' Celebrates 40 Years

    'You Only Love Twice' litho by Jeff Marshall

    ‘You Only Love Twice’ litho by Jeff Marshall

    40 years ago today Sean Connery’s fifth James Bond film, You Only Live Twice, held its world premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square in London. Emphasizing the fact that Connery ‘IS’ James Bond as a result of competiton from the unofficial Casino Royale spoof, the film went on to ultimately gross over $111 million worldwide. It was the first step down in the box office history of 007 (Thunderball had previouslly taken in $141.2 million), but the film was still a massive success.

    CBn takes a look back at what some of the critics have had to say about You Only Live Twice throughout its 40 year history…

    The plot itself is protracting and quite confusing for a Bond film, ultimately just a distraction from one of Bond’s most memorable adventures…

    Christopher Null, FilmCritic.com

    Even more surprising than his being chosen to adapt a Bond novel is that none of Dahl’s gifts for dark humor or sparkling writing is evident. Although the script is good, it is a direct descendent of all of the preceding Bond scripts and breaks no new ground…

    Steve Rhodes, Internet Reviews

    A great deal of money was spent on the fifth Bond epic in an attempt to duplicate this mystique, but in You Only Live Twice the formula fails to work its magic. Like its predecessor Thunderball, another below-par entry, this one is top-heavy with gadgets but weak on plotting and getting everything to work at the same time…

    Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

    It also has the rare aspect of a Bond film having a real feel for the exotic locations. Whereas most Bond films are content simply to go somewhere beautiful for nice backgrounds, Gilbert really dips the film into the beauty of the Japan. This respect shows in one extended sequence where Bond is initiated into Japanese life from Ninja school to a fishermans life (it goes without saying however that Connery couldn’t look less Japanese if he tried)…

    MP Bartley, eFilmCritic.com

    You Only Live Twice is classic 007 from top to bottom. Although some may think it’s a little too light, the action and soundtrack place this one near the top in the entire Bond series…

    Ryan Cracknell, Apollo Guide

    Nevertheless, any Bond movie with Sean Connery can’t be all bad, and there are the usual chases, fights, and amazing stunts–all sprinkled with a dash of Japanese flavoring. Bond learns what it means to be a ninja, and gets an opportunity to put that knowledge to use as he zigs and zags, avoiding assassination attempts. Then there’s the usual assortment of women, both European and Asian, for Britain’s most dashing secret service agent to romance. In short, while You Only Live Twice falls somewhere in the middle of the 007 film heap, it still offers that unique brand of wit, style, and adventure that only comes with Bond.

    James Berardinelli, ReelViews

    But the plot seems more directionless than most Bond efforts, the emphasis on scenic beauty and stunning set pieces rather than on intrigue or suspense. There are death-defying escapades, naturally, but they appear more contrived than ever…

    John J. Puccio, DVDTOWN

    This movie stands trial for being lifeless, over-the-top, and just plain odd. You Only Live Twice is unfairly maligned; people accuse Connery of boredom and they find the action fantastical. Those claims can be supported, but You Only Live Twice is a landmark in the series. It is the first Bond film with a mostly original script, and it is the film that establishes the template for later films in the series…

    Rob Lineberger, DVD Verdict

    If interested in further reviews of You Only Live Twice, be sure to check out this article in the ‘CBn Reviews…’ series or add your own thoughts on the CBn Forums.

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