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Bond 5: You Only Live Twice

I'm (re)watching the James Bond movies as research for BC:2007 and, mostly for my own benefit, am writing some notes about each one.

Bond movie no. 5: You Only Live Twice, released 1967. The screenplay was written by Roald Dahl.


!!Spoiler Warning!!



I'm not going to try to claim this isn't a plot summary any more, as that's clearly what these write-ups have become. Apologies to those of you who are getting this via the Planet aggregator: if you were reading it through Livejournal itself all this text would be hidden behind a cut link, but the RSS feed seems to include the whole post regardless.

An American Gemini capsule in orbit is swallowed by a big silver rocket while one of the astronauts is performing an EVA. Representatives of British, American, and Soviet governments argue about who was responsible. The British representative says the rocket came down in the Sea of Japan, and "our man in Hong Kong is working on it right now." Cut to Bond in Hong Kong, in bed with a pretty girl. The girl gets out and presses a button on the wall, which causes the bed to fold up into the wall with Bond still on it. Two men break into the room and fire machine guns into the bed. The police arrive and find Bond dead. One of them says, "Well, at least he died on the job. He'd have wanted it this way."

The news of Bond's death is shown printed on the front page of a newspaper. Bond is buried at sea from a navy ship. Divers pick up his wrapped body from the sea-bed and take it on board a submarine. Inside the sub, they cut it open to reveal Bond is still alive. Moneypenny and M are already on-board the sub. M tell Bond his mission is to go to Japan and figure out who launched the rocket that took the Gemini capsule. Moneypenny gives Bond a small book called Instant Japanese, but he tells her he got a first in oriental languages at Cambridge. Bond puts on a wetsuit, mask, and flippers, and they fire him out of a torpedo tube.

In Tokyo, Bond goes to a Sumo wrestling match. A pretty Japanese woman (whose name is later revealed to be Aki) comes and sits next to him. She says she has come to take him to Bond's contact. They leave, and she drives him to a big house, where Bond talks to his contact, who says he is going to take him to meet a man called Tiger Tanaka, who is the Japanese equivalent of M. Just as he's about to tell Bond who he thinks made the rocket, somebody stabs him in the back through the paper wall of the room. Bond leaps through the wall, chases the attacker, and kills him in a scuffle. He then dresses in the attacker's clothes and mask and gets into the back of the attacker's getaway car, pretending to be injured. His accomplice carries Bond to a big lavishly decorated office, then Bond fights him and eventually kills him by smashing him over the head with an expensive-looking stone statue. Bond finds a hidden safe, takes a fancy gadget out of his pocket, and uses it to crack the combination. The moment he opens the safe, an alarm goes off and two security guards appear and start shooting at him.

Bond runs outside (the sign on the building says it is the offices of Osatu Chemical), and Aki drives up in her white sports car and tells him to get in. She takes him to a building where he falls through a trapdoor in the floor and slides down into an underground room. Tiger Tanaka is waiting there for him. Bond shows Tiger the paper he took from the safe in Osaku's office. It says they have sold a large quantity of Lox to somebody, and it is going to be taken aboard a ship called the Ning Po. Tiger shows Bond a photo of the Ning Po. Apparently a tourist was murdered for taking the picture. Tiger takes Bond to his mansion, and several pretty girls appear and wash/massage them.

Bond goes back to the Osatu Industrial offices, pretending to be the MD of a British chemical company. Osatu arrives in a helicopter with his beautiful red-headed confidential secretary, Miss Grant. They talk about doing some kind of business deal, while Osatu uses a hidden X-ray machine to take a picture of Bond's hidden gun (his "Walter PPK"). When Bond has left the room, Osaku tells Grant to have him killed. As Bond is walking away from the building, Aki pulls up in her car again and picks him up just as Osaku's henchmen fire a machine gun at him. They get into a car chase through the streets of Tokyo. Aki uses a videophone built into the car's dashboard to tell Tiger what is happening. A twin-rotor heavy-lifter helicopter with an electromagnet on the bottom comes and picks up the car that was chasing them, carries it out over the sea, and drops it.

Bond and Aki go to some docks to find the Ning Po, and are attacked by a gang of dockyard workers. Bond sends the girl away, while he fights dozens of workers single-handed. He escapes from them by jumping off the roof onto something soft, but then Osatu appears and a worker knocks him out. He wakes up in Grant's cabin on the Ning Po. She threatens to torture him if he won't tell her who he is, then she kisses him. He tells her he is a spy, then strings her a line about doing industrial espionage for a chemical company, and she seems to buy it. The two somehow wind up in bed together. Grant takes Bond up in a light plane, then traps him in his seat and jumps out with a parachute on. The plane goes into a steep dive. Bond breaks out of his restraints and manages to crash-land the plane and leap out just before it blows up.

Bond goes back to Tiger's house, where Q is waiting for him. He's brought "Little Nellie," a tiny one-man Gyrocopter that fits into four suitcases when disassembled. After assembling it, Q shows him that it has machine guns, rocket launchers, heat seeking air-to-air missiles, flame throwers, smoke screens, and aerial mines. He also gives Bond a helmet with a miniature cine-camera mounted on it. Bond takes off and flies out to a small island with an extinct volcano crater on it. Four black helicopters armed with machine guns appear from nowhere and attack him. There is an impressive dogfight where Bond uses all the fancy weapons on his Gyrocopter to destroy the helicopters.

The Russians launch a manned orbiter. The big silver rocket appears again and swallows it. The craft de-orbits and lands on its tail in a big futuristic industrial base hidden inside the extinct crater. Grant and Osatu are in the control room, and "number one" is also there, giving orders from his big black chair, stroking a white cat on his lap (we still don't see his face). They take the cosmonauts from the Russian capsule away on a monorail. Number one goes to his lavish apartment and talks to a couple of Chinese men who were apparently responsible for building the rocket. Number one gets his henchman to throw a large piece of meat into a pond, and says, "You will see that my Piranha fish get very hungry. They can strip a man to the bone in thirty seconds." Apparently the Chinese men are representatives of their government, which has employed SPECTRE to start a nuclear war between the Americans and the Soviets. Number one demands a hundred million dollars payment in gold, and the Chinese man refuses, saying that wasn't the agreement. After they've gone, number one calls Grant and Osatu in and tells them the man they met and failed to kill was Bond. He says to them, "This organisation does not tolerate failure," and uses a trapdoor to dump Grant in the Piranha pool, then orders Osatu to kill Bond.

Bond meets Tiger again and asks to borrow some commandos for an assault on the base he is sure is on the small island, even though he didn't find it with the Gyrocopter. Tiger gives him a team of a hundred Ninjas and rocket guns. He also gives him a cigarette with a rocket hidden inside it: light it and it kills whoever it's pointing at. They disguise Bond as a Japanese man (not very well, TBH), and give him a few days of Ninja training. He ends up sleeping with Aki. An assassin sneaks into the attic space above their bed after they go to sleep and dribbles poison down a thread hanging above Bond's mouth. They move in their sleep and it drops it into Aki's mouth instead of Bond's. Bond wakes up and shoots the assassin, but Aki dies. Later on another assassin disguised as one of the student Ninjas tries to kill Bond, but fails. Bond "marries" a beautiful Japanese agent called Kissy from the island with the base on it, then travels with her and Tiger to the island. The Ninjas are already on the island disguised as fishermen and farm workers.

Kissy hears that a woman died mysteriously in a sea-cave the day before, so they go to investigate and are nearly killed by poison gas. Bond says it's the exit of a volcanic tunnel leading up to the crater, so they set off hiking up to the top of the crater above-ground. They stop part way up and start kissing, then a helicopter flies overhead and disappears into the crater. They climb down into the crater and see the lid (painted to look from the air like a lake) open up. Bond sends Kissy back down to find Tiger and ask him to send the Ninjas, while Bond sneaks into the crater, using suckers on his knees and hands to crawl along the roof. The Americans have sent another Gemini up, so the minions in the crater are busy preparing the silver rocket for another launch. Bond hides in a monorail car, then frees the astronauts and cosmonauts. Meanwhile, Kissy is shot at by a helicopter while she's swimming back to the mainland, but she escapes by diving under the surface until it goes away again.

Bond and the freed astronauts go to the astronaut preparation room and Bond puts a space suit on, then travels to the launch pad on the monorail. As Bond is about to get on board the rocket, number one guesses who he is and has Bond brought to him. Number one finally shows his face (which has a huge scar down one side of it) and introduces himself as Ernst Stavro Blofeld. The rocket (called Bird One) launches, then the hundred ninjas arrive and rush down into the crater, only to be fired upon by dozens of automatic machine guns hidden in the crater walls. Blofeld tells Bond, "The firing power inside my crater is enough to annihilate a small army." Bond asks to be allowed to smoke, then uses his rocket cigarette to kill one of the technicians in the control room, and throws the switch to open the crater lid.

The Ninjas, Tiger, and Kissy get inside and do battle with Blofeld's minions. Blofeld points a gun at Bond and says, "This is the price for failure, Mr Bond," then moves the gun and shoots Osatu instead. Blofeld escapes on the monorail. Bond fights hand-to-hand with Blofeld's henchman, and kills him by throwing him in the Piranha pool. Bond gets into the control room and blows up Bird One by remote control just as it is about to swallow the Gemini capsule (slight flaw here: why didn't the shrapnel wreck the Gemini?). Blofeld activates a self-destruct system that causes the volcano to erupt, but Bond and friends manage to escape through the lava-tunnel to the sea. Planes fly overhead and drop life-rafts. Bond and Kissy get into one. They start kissing, then the British submarine from the beginning of the film surfaces right underneath the raft. M sends Moneypenny up to tell Bond to come inside.

Comments

I have to say that from where I'm sitting, it all sounds staggeringly silly...
You've noticed that too? Very silly indeed, but in a good way. Who needs the Austin Powers spoofs when the originals were as fun as this?