HULK VS. THE BONDS: YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (1967)

June 2, 2011

LIKE MANY, HULK HAD GREAT LOVE OF JAMES BOND FILMS WHEN HULK WAS A LITTLE HULK.  HULK RECENTLY FIND OUT THAT BETTY SEEN, LIKE, TWO OF THE ACTUAL BOND MOVIES. SO HULK MADE IT HULK’S MISSION TO WATCH ALL THE BOND FILMS, IN ORDER, WITH BETTY. IN SOME CASES IT BEEN OVER 20 YEARS SINCE HULK SEEN SAID BOND MOVIE.

THE RESULTS WERE SURPRISING.

THIS WOULD BE THE YOUTH-AIMED POSTER

ENTRY #5: YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (1967)

SO IN LAST COLUMN ON THUNDERBALL, HULK TALK ABOUT SURPRISINGLY DELICATE TONE NEEDED FOR GOOD BOND MOVIES. THEY NEED BE UP-FRONT YET NOT RIDICULOUS. OBVIOUS, BUT NOT IN YOUR FACE. HULK THINK DR. NO, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, AND THUNDERBALL EXECUTE THIS TONE RATHER WELL.

 YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE DOES NOT.

THIS THE FIFTH FILM IN SERIES AND WHAT HULK CONSIDER THE “PROPER END” OF SEAN CONNERY RUN. TAKEN IN THAT CONTEXT, THE FILM ACTUALLY DELIVER IN NUMBER WAYS. I.E., BOND FINALLY MEET THE HEAD OF SPECTER, THE STROKER OF WHITE KITTENS, ERNST STARVO BLOFIELD!

DUHN DUHN DUHHHHHH

THE CHARACTER GO ONE BE USED MANY TIMES, BUT THIS THE ABSOLUTE BEST VERSION. NO QUESTION. THE ETERNALLY-AWESOME DONALD PLEASANCE PLAY HIM WITH THIS GREAT DETACHED, MALEVOLENT, YET STILL REALLY FAY QUALITY. HE ETHEREAL AND DOWNRIGHT STRANGE. HULK FIND IT BE ONE OF THE SILLIEST-BUT-PLAYED-STRAIGHT PERFORMANCES EVER. WHY HULK ACTUALLY BELIEVE THIS PSYCHOTIC WEIRDO MESSED UP ENOUGH TO HAVE WELL-PAID CRONIES RUNNING AROUND JUMP SUITS CARRYING OUT EVIL PLANS. AND YES FOLKS, HE THE OBVIOUS INFLUENCE FOR DR. EVIL (THAT AND LORNE MICHAELS OF COURSE).

THE PLOT KIND OF HILARIOUS. THE FILM START WITH JAMES BOND’S DEATH BEING FAKED SO HE CAN OPERATE IN SECRET.  OR SOMETHING. THIS VERY IDEA HILARIOUS AS HE SUPPOSED BE SECRET AGENT. BUT SINCE ALWAYS USE REAL NAME AND SEEMINGLY KNOWN ALL OVER WORLD HULK GUESS IT MAKE “MOVIE SENSE.”  MEANWHILE BLOFIELD SECRETLY ABDUCTING RUSSIAN AND AMERICAN ASTRONAUTS (IN SPACE-JACKINGS!) TO TRY START WORLD WAR THREE. HE OPERATING OUT OF JAPAN FOR SOME REASON. MOSTLY SO BOND CAN START TAPPING ASIA HULK GUESS.

SO BOND ARRIVE IN JAPAN AND ATTEND A SUMO WRESTLING MATCH BECAUSE, UNLESS TV AND MOVIE LIE TO HULK, THAT AUTOMATICALLY WHAT HAPPEN WHEN FIRST GO TO JAPAN. THERE THIS WEIRD BIT OF FLIRTY CAT AND MOUSE GAME WITH MYSTERIOUS JAPANESE WOMAN. IT SEEM LIKE SHE ABDUCT JAMES BOND AFTER TRICKING HIM INTO THIS SLIDE THING, BUT TURN OUT SHE WITH JAPANESE SECRET SERVICE AND TOTALLY ON BONDS SIDE. IT MAKE NO SENSE BUT WHATEVER. HER NAME AKI AND SHE TAKE HIM TO BOSS TIGER TANAKA WHO TAKE HIM SOMEONE ELSE BLAH BLAH BLAH. EVEN THOUGH LOTS STUFF OCCURRING, THIS FIRST ACT HAVE ZERO NARRATIVE STEAM.

UNLESS YOU DEFINE THIS NARRATIVE STEAM... SOME OF YOU MIGHT ACTUALLY

AND THEN IN SECOND ACT EVEN MORE OF WHOLE BUNCH STUFF HAPPEN. SERIOUSLY. THE MOVIE JAM PACKED WITH SUDDEN BITS INFORMATION AND NARRATIVE TURNS AND HULK NO MAKE SENSE OF ANY OF IT (AND HULK PRETTY SURE HULK HAVE DECENT LOCK ON PLOT OF PRIMER SO THAT TELL YOU THIS BOND PLOT LIKELY NOT VALID). HULK GUESS THE MOVIE REALLY TRYING ACT LIKE ACTUAL SPY/INTRIGUE MOVIEM BUT THEY MAKE HUGE MISTAKE OF ASSUMING NEW PLOT DEVELOPMENTS = MYSTERY. IF THERE NO THROUGH-LINE OR MOTIVE, REALLY IT JUST BS MACGUFFIN-HOPPING.

EVENTUALLY BOND REALIZE SOMETHING FUNKY GOING ON THIS REMOTE ISLAND. SO HE GO TO TANAKA’S NEARBY NINJA ISLAND… YES. ACTUAL NINJA ISLAND. THERE TIMES IT USED EFFECTIVELY AND TIMES IT CRINGE WORTHY, BUT OVERALL HULK OKAY WITH THE NINJA ISLAND DEVELOPMENT. SO THEN Q SHOW UP AND BOND RIDE IN DORKY HELICOPTER TO SCOUT THE STRANGE ISLAND. THERE HELICOPTER FIGHT SCENE THAT KIND OF NEAT. LATER THE BAD GUYS RETALIATE AND AKI (WHO BOND CURRENTLY DOING IF HULK NO MENTION) GET KILLED IN ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT. BOND SAD.

BUT THAT LITERALLY FOR, LIKE, TWO SECOND CAUSE BOND THEN HAVE GET MARRIED TO NEW HOT JAPANESE WOMAN AS PART OF SUBLIMATION INTO JAPANESE CULTURE.. THIS ACTUALLY HAPPEN… PERHAPS HULK SHOULD EXPLAIN WHAT LEAD UP TO IT.

IN ORDER FOR BOND BE ON THIS NINJA ISLAND, BOND TOLD HE HAVE “BECOME JAPANESE” TO BLEND IN AND BE ACCEPTED. SO THEY DO OBVIOUS THING AND PUT HIM IN BLACK MOE WIG, CHANGE ANGLE OF EYEBROWS, AND GIVE HIM MASCARA. IN CASE IT NO OBVIOUS, HE LOOK NOTHING LIKE JAPANESE PERSON…

HE LOOK LIKE THIS

THE JAW-DROPPING THING THAT THIS MAYBE ONLY LIKE THE 17TH MOST ABSURD THING EVER HAPPEN IN BOND MOVIE AND MAYBE ONLY THE 28TH MOST RACIST THING. STILL, EVERYONE NOW TREAT BOND AS JAPANESE-NINJA-IN-TRAINING EVEN THOUGH CONNERY CONTINUE USE THICK SCOTTISH ACCENT. TO CONNERY’S “CREDIT” HE DO MANAGE ADD THIS WEIRD TIC OF PROPRIETY, LIKE AT LEAST ATTEMPT MAKE SOME KIND OF VERBAL CHANGE, BUT IT ONLY MAKE THING ALL THE MORE SAD.

LOOK, HULK ARGUE THERE SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF IN SPIRIT OF MOVIE AND SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF AGAINST SPIRIT OF MOVIE. THIS CLEARLY AGAINST. JUST ONE OF THOSE AMAZINGLY TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE CHOICES THAT NO CAN BELIEVE EVERYONE KEEP SAYING “YEAH SURE.” IT PRETTY MUCH HAUNTED THE MOVIE FOREVER. IT CAN NEVER BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY IN ANY WAY AFTER DOING THIS. YET IT SO DELIGHTFULLY INSANE AND DATED THAT HULK LOVE EVERY SECOND OF IT. BUT IT ONLY IRONIC ENJOYMENT, NOT GENUINE DELIGHT. MODERN AUDIENCES TEND CONFUSE THE TWO A BIT SO HULK JUST MAKING CLEAR THE DIFFERENCE.

SO BACK TO BOND MARRYING NEW RANDOM HOT JAPANESE GIRL. AGAIN, AKI DIED MINUTES AGO. HE NOW BEING TOLD HE HAVE MARRY NEW GIRL. BOND, EVER DEVOTED TO THE MISSION, WORRIED HE GOING BE WED TO FAT COW. BUT OF COURSE HIS NEW WIFE HE MEET AT CEREMONY ANOTHER HOT JAPANESE GIRL NAMED KISSY SUZUKI (BOND GIRL NAMING NEVER CEASE AMAZE HULK). SO NEEDLESS SAY BOND EXCITED. HE PROMPTLY TRY ENJOY HIS NEW MARRIAGE BENEFITS BUT KISSY NOT HAVIN IT… WHOA… MORALS! SELF-ESTEEM! THIS REALLY A BOND MOVIE?

OK... PERHAPS THERE A SLIDING SCALE...

SO IMMEDIATELY THEY GO INTO 3RD ACT MODE AND IT TAKE BOND WAY TO LONG TO FIGURE OUT THE VOLCANO FAKE. THEY GO INTO BLOFELD’S LAYER.  PIRANHAS HAPPEN. THERE SOME ARYAN STRONGMAN TYPE. NINJA ISLAND SHOWS UP TO FIGHT. AND FINALLY THEY HAVE EPIC LAME CONFRONTATION WHERE BLOFELD SOMEHOW ESCAPE ON TINY MONORAIL. BOND SAVE DAY. ESCAPE WITH KISSY AND THEY GET IN ON IN SURVIVAL RAFT (THIS HAPPEN A LOT TO BOND).

SO AGAIN, IT NOT EXACTLY THE WHAT BUT THE HOW. THE FILM HAVE ALL THIS WEIRD HALF-ASSEDNESS WHERE IT NOT COASTING IN GOOD WAY. IT NO LIKE DIRECTOR LEWIS GILBERT ABJECTLY HORRIBLE. HE JUST NOT AS GOOD AT BALANCE LIKE TERENCE YOUNG. THE TONE JUST READ FAR SILLIER SOME PLACE THEN INTENDED. SURE DEAR READER, IT STILL FAR FROM ROGER MOORE DEPTHS OF CORNINESS. BUT SERIES PROBLEMS STARTING CREEP IN SERIES: THE JUMPSUIT-CLAD MINIONS STARTING DESCEND INTO PARODY.  FUTURE MOVIES WILL MISTAKE BLOFELD’S STRANGENESS FOR THE REASON HE GOOD (REALLY IT BECAUSE PLEASENCE MADE THAT SHIT WORK). THE AFOREMENTIONED RACIST STUFF. THE NONSENSICAL PLOT. THE MACGUFFIN HOPPING. THERE LOTS OF STUFF HERE THAT SPELL DOOM FOR THE FIRST “END OF THE SERIES.”

BUT STILL HULK HAPPY ACCEPT IT FOR WAYS IT GOOD AS “CONCLUSION” TO CONNERY’S RUN.

WEIRD NOTE: THE MOVIE WRITTEN BY ROALD DAHL. YES THAT RHOALD DAHL. HIS ONLY SCREENPLAY CREDITS THIS AND CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. BOTH NOVELS ACTUALLY BY IAN FLEMING! HULK SURE THERE SOME REASON FOR IT, BUT ON SURFACE IT SEEM FUCKING BIZARRE.

BEST MOMENT: BOND BREAK INTO OSATA CHEMICALS AND END UP FACING THIS BIG STRONG JAPANESE GUY. THERE FISTICUFFS AND COUCH FLIPPING BUT IT ABSOLUTELY BEST FILMED FIGHT SCENE TO DATE. GRANTED, MOST OF FIGHTING BEFORE THIS IN THAT LAZY “CLASSIC” STYLE WHERE TO GUYS JUST EXCHANGE PUNCHES AND BLOCK AWKWARDLY, BUT FOR EVEN TODAY IT PRETTY GOOD.

YEAH, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE BOND GIRLS?

GOOD NEWS FOR ASIAN FETISHISTS!*

*NOTE: BECAUSE THIS THE INTERNET AND HARD TELL IF SERIOUS OR NOT, HULK NOT ACTUALLY IMPLYING DATING ASIAN PEOPLE = FETISHISM. COME ON. HULK POINTING OUT THE DISTINCTLY FETISHISTIC NATURE TO PRETTY MUCH ALL MINORITY BOND GIRLS THAT COME INTO FOLD PRE-HALLE BERRY… HULK ALSO ACCEPT ARGUMENTS FOR GRACE JONES AS SHE SORT OF “POST-RACIAL” TOO. BUT SERIOUSLY. IT ALWAYS FETISHISTIC. THINK HULK JOKING? OBSERVE:

HULK MEAN, REALLY

THIS STUFF ON THE ACTUAL POSTERS.

IT INTERESTING THING BRING UP ACTUALLY. TO AUDIENCE TODAY, IT LAUGHABLY INSULTING TO THINK STUFF LIKE THIS “PROGRESSIVE” BUT IT CAPTURE THAT WEIRD MOMENT IN TIME WHERE IT NOT COMPLETELY MERIT-LESS ARGUMENT.  THE BOND PEOPLE TALK AT LENGTH ABOUT THEIR FORWARD THINKING HERE AND HOW THEY CAST INTERRACIAL LOVE INTERESTS. HULK MEAN IT JUST SO OBVIOUS THAT IDEA OF MEN BEDDING WOMEN OF EXOTIC RACES NOT FORWARD THINKING IN SLIGHTEST. HECK, IT BEEN FASCINATION OF MALE CULTURE FOREVER (HULK COULD EVEN ARGUE IT GO BACK TO GENETIC PREDISPOSITION BUT THAT PRETTY B.S. TOO). BUT POINT IS, AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME IT NOT SOMETHING ALL THAT WELL-REPRESENTED IN POPULAR NARRATIVE. SO EVEN THOUGH IT FETISHISTIC, AT LEAST IT NOT CAPITAL R-RACIST DEMAGOGUEY WHITE PURITY BACKWARDNESS … HULK JUST REALIZE THIS TERRIBLE ARGUMENT FOR WHY IT OKAY.

MOVING ON…

AKIKO WAKABAYASHI AS AKI – AKI ACTUALLY DECENT. THIS POINT IN SERIES WERE SOME OF BOND GIRLS START BEING ALLOWED BE CAPABLE OF, LIKE, ACTUALLY DOING SPY STUFF. SO THAT NEAT. SHE ACTUALLY SEEM LIKE WOMAN FULL OF CONFIDENCE TOO. HER PARTNERSHIP WITH BOND NOT SEEM LIKE OUT SOME OBLIGATION, BUT MORE “IM’MA DO WHAT I WANT DO.” WHICH WHAT SHOULD BE, RIGHT? BUT HULK HAVE NO IDEA WHY SHE HAVE DIE HALFWAY THROUGH. THERE NO ACTUAL DRAMA TO IT. AND IT WOULD BEEN MUCH MORE INTERESTING IF SHE GO ALL WAY THROUGH ACTION FIGHTING AT BOND’S SIDE.

KARIN DOR AS HELGA BRANDT – SO THIS LADY IN MOVIE TOO. SHE ONE OF BAD GUYS ASSISTANTS AND SHE SORT OF LOOK LIKE CROSS BETWEEN LUCIANA FROM LAST FILM AND THE DIANA RIGG FROM FILM AFTER THIS ONE… THAT KIND OF WEIRD. HER BOND GIRL ARCHETYPE = THE MARGINALIZED AND USED ASSISTANT. THIS ONE COME UP LOT IN BOND FILMS. SHE COMMANDED BY BOSS TO KILL JAMES BOND. SO SHE PRETEND DEFECT TO HIS SIDE FOR SOME REASON, SLEEP WITH HIM, THEN TRY KILL HIM BY JUMPING OUT HIS FAILING PLANE. SURPRISE THOUGH, BOND ESCAPE! THE WHOLE SEQUENCE PRETTY BIZARRE. AND MORE THAN THAT, THESE CHARACTERS ALWAYS STRIKE HULK AS SADDEST IN SERIES. THEY PAWNS IN BIG SEXUAL MAN’S GAME. THEY ESSENTIALLY ABUSED BY THEIR BOSSES, THEN ABUSED BY BOND. AUDIENCE SUPPOSED BE OKAY WITH IT CAUSE SHE “BAD GUY” CHARACTER, BUT THAT RARELY WAY IT FEEL. ANYWAY, FOR HER FAILURE KILL BOND SHE TREATED TO ONE OF BEST DEATHS IN THE ENTIRE SERIES:

PIRANHA’D!

MIE HAMA AS KISS SUZUKI – AHHH, THE INTERCHANGEABLE REPLACEMENT… HULK ALREADY DISCUSS AT LENGTH SO… WHATEVER.

OK, OK. HULK GUESS IT WORTH SAYING SHE NICE ENOUGH OR SOMETHING. SHE ALTERNATED BETWEEN DOE-EYED AND FEIGNED COMPETENCE. BUT IT JUST ALL SO UNDESERVED COMING SO SOON AFTER AKI.

KNOWING BOND, HE PROBABLY JUST COULD NO TELL THEM APART AND FIGURED AKI LIVE OR SOMETHING

MOMENT OF MISOGYNY: THERE METRIC-SHIT-TON IN THIS MOVIE, BUT HULK HAVE SAY IT HOW HILARIOUSLY FAST BOND MOVE ON FROM AKI TO AFOREMENTIONED NEXT GENERIC ASIAN GIRL.

SUPPORTING CAST: HULK ALREADY TALK ABOUT HOW AWESOME PLEASANCE = AS BLOFELD. BUT REALLY THERE NO OTHER NEW INTERESTING CHARACTERS ASIDE ONES HULK ALREADY MENTION. MR. OSATO PRETTY MUCH A BORE. THE ARYAN STRONGMAN HAVE NOTHING GOING ON. REALLY. THAT IT.

AT LEAST DESMOND LLEWELYN SORT OF COMING INTO OWN AS Q IN THIS MOVIE. HE GETTING COMFORTABLE WITH HIS GRUMPY, PATERNAL NATURE WITH BOND AND SEEM FULLY DEVELOPED THE Q SCHTICK. STILL, IT FINALLY NICE SEE HIM DELIGHT IN BOND’S ABILITY TO USE THE EQUIPMENT HANDILY.

NOW PAY ATTENTION...

DUMB OBLIGATORY RATING SYSTEM: THREE HULK SMASHES OUT OF FIVE! (THIS MAY SEEM HIGH GIVE REVIEW, BUT HULK ASSURE YOU. IT GONNA GET WORSE SOON)

BETTY’S TAKE: [upon seeing James Bond appear in ridiculous "japanese" disguise]: “Oh rordy!”**

**SIGH. IN CASE HULK HAVE EXPLAIN JOKE AGAIN, BETTY NOT ACTUALLY BEING RACIST BUT MIMICKING THE RACIST ATTITUDE OF FILMMAKERS FOR HAVING CREATED SUCH MONSTROSITY… THAT CLEAR, RIGHT? HULK FEEL LIKE THE INTERNET MAKING HULK CRAZY.

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6 Responses to “HULK VS. THE BONDS: YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (1967)”

  1. Phil said

    I remember watching this one as part of TBS’ ‘Summer of 007′ marathons (or whatever they called it). Even at about 9 years old, I knew there was something off about it; I thought I was confused by the forced commercial breaks, so I actually made my dad go out and rent it (I know, I was a weird kid), but nope, it’s just that it makes almost no sense at all. And not in a good Abrams-Trek-kind-of-way.

    I think I really grasp what you mean about Goldfinger being the first steps down a slippery slope of Bond movies here, Hulk, and while they took an impressive tumble here, I’m waiting with baited breath for the Diamonds are Forever piece. If You Only Live Twice taught me movies didn’t always make sense, DAF taught me they could be straight-up bad.

    That all being said, I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for this one because of the Simpsons episode of the similar name.

  2. FILMCRITHULK said

    YEAH. THE TBS MARATHONS REALLY INSTITUTIONALIZE THESE MOVIES. HULK KINDA LOVE THAT. HULK AGREE, THERE DEFINITELY SOMETHING OFF ABOUT THIS ONE AND SOMETIMES THE “OFF” SORT OF ENTERTAINING BUT MOST OF THE TIME IT JUST GRATING. TONE = TRICKY THING.

    YEAH, PEOPLE HAVE THIS LOVE FOR GOLDFINGER CAUSE IT REALLY HAVE LOT NEAT DEVICES, BOTH ACTUAL DEVICES AND IN TERMS SET-PIECES AND PLOT. BUT THERE ALL THESE PROBLEMS UNDER SURFANCE. WHEN HULK GET TO DIAMONDS AND THE REST YOU’LL TOTALLY SEE EXACTLY WHAT MEAN ABOUT GOLDFINGER (WHICH SAME DIRECTOR AS DIAMONDS, L.A.L.D. AND T.M.W.T.G.G.)

    GAMMA-RAY BLESS THE SIMPSONS.

  3. [...] VS. THE BOND MOVIES: DR. NO, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, GOLDFINGER, THUNDERBALL, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE… THE SERIES WASN’T FINISHED : [...]

  4. Pattom said

    I know I’m super-late to the party, but I wanted to comment on your surprise at Roald Dahl writing the screenplay. It actually makes sense if you know that the first few Bond books were (in the loosest possible terms) autobiographical: Ian Fleming and Roald Dahl were both British spies during WWII, and the two became close friends during their service. After the war both became authors, but where Dahl ventured into children’s literature, Fleming chose to revisit and fictionalize some of his exploits. I’m sorry to say I can’t remember anything more specific, only that Ian Fleming had a reference point for the Bond stories and personally knew Roald Dahl.

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