Wednesday 22 December 2021

Rob's Movie Night Roundup - Y (You Only Live Twice)

At the beginning of the year, my wife and I decided that we'd like to watch more movies. There are 52 weeks in a year, 2 of us, and 26 letters in the alphabet. What better way to choose some movies than to go alphabetically? The only rule: Where possible, it should be a movie that one or more of us had never seen before. Oh, and ideally it should be part of one of the copious online streaming services we're already subscribed to, because why bother paying for a rental when we're not short of options?

Incidentally, if anyone from the big online streaming service providers is reading this (your Notfluxes or your Prims, for example), please make it easier to search for/sort movies alphabetically. Thanks.

Also, fair warning: There may well be movies that appear on this list that you'll find hard to believe I haven't seen before. It happens.

Previous letters are here: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X


Director: Lewis Gilbert
Stars: Sean Connery, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama

Synopsis via IMDB: James Bond and the Japanese Secret Service must find and stop the true culprit of a series of space hijackings, before war is provoked between Russia and the United States.

I've been sitting here, not knowing what to do for Y for a while, when it turns out I have the 50th anniversary James Bond Blu-Ray set on my shelf with You Only Live Twice having previously sat unwatched. I sort of feel sometimes like my mental energy has become surface-level at best in terms of being able to look and stuff and understand what it might unlock. If that makes sense. Which I'm fairly confident it doesn't. But I leave the psychoanalysis to the qualified experts, and the movie writeup in this case to the enthusiastic amateur.

I've always liked Sean Connery in the Bond role, although my favourite sits somewhere in the more recent portrayals (I can't quite decide between Dalton, Brosnan and Craig as my favourite). Connery is, of course, iconic as the super-spy and in no way do I seek to minimise that. You Only Live Twice sees him working to discover who is trying to pit the USSR against the USA in a plot that I actually found myself likening to Tomorrow Never Dies, although there is plenty to distinguish them if you dig deeply enough. Besides, I bloody love Tomorrow Never Dies so it's by no means a knock.

I found myself predominantly, while watching the film, flicking mentally between a hearty chuckle at some of the sillier set pieces (and there are a few) and marvelling at just how groundbreaking the Bond movies must have been in the 1960s. This movie introduces some of the quintessential Bond standouts, like a helicopter full of one-shot gadgets (I found myself quoting the Eddie Izzard gag "Q, I had a bunch of stuff I didn't fucking use"), a villain base that's clearly the inspiration for the aesthetic of Austin Powers as well as the classic Blofeld villainy. Whatever your feelings on Bond, this film has plenty of the classic tropes in the franchise and if you're a fan of the movies generally this is a fun one.

This alphabet challenge is getting done. I'm actually really pleased, as well, that I had the brainwave on Y as the movie was a fun one. Sure, it's 50+ years old and thus some of the special effects look pretty ropey, but I've seen far worse.

Did you enjoy the roundup? Let me know! If you have thoughts on the movies chosen and their respective writeups above, you know where to find me. Maybe you don't, but there are buttons everywhere to make that happen. Comments, Twitter, you name it. Moreover, if you want to make use of this movie night format, bearing in mind you're a few weeks in and might have to double up to get up to speed, feel free to do the same - I'd love to know what you chose too!

Rob Wade

Rob Wade blogs about stuff he likes. Whether it's video games or geek media for Emotionally14 or writing about speculative theories for future films on Talk Star Wars, the focus has always been on the stuff that brings the most pleasure to his life within media.

Rob is the editor of Emotionally14, and showrunner of the E14 podcasts "The Crazy Train", "The E14 Gamecast" and "Talk Star Wars", as well as the host and guest of a number of pieces on E14's Youtube channel over the years.

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