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Reviewed January 28th, 2001 by Brian White


Ah, the movie that made Connery quit the series. You Only Live Twice, despite the cheezy theme that Robbie Williams so successfully sampled, is the worst of the Connery Bonds. In keeping with the fantastic series of special edition Bond DVDs, MGM has still made this is an excellent package. There is a cool 60’s vibe here, and there are some informative supplements for fans.

If you’ve seen Austin Powers, you’ve pretty much seen this film. Bloefeld, as portrayed in this film, is Mike Myer’s inspiration for Dr. Evil. There’s even a hollowed out volcano! In the movie, MI-6 fakes Bond’s death to throw some of his “old friends” off his trail so that he can investigate some disappearing rockets and avoid WWIII. Dr. Evil is stealing rockets from the Americans and Russians to stir things up. Bond must go undercover as a Japanese man. He looks more like Captain Kirk dressed as a Romulan. Anyway, the template Bond adventure ensues.

Connery is great, as usual. They didn’t deserve him for this less than Bond-average film, and he knew it. Before filming began, Connery announced his retirement from the series (although he’d be lured back for Diamonds are Forever). On a more positive note, the film contains some interesting photography. Also, the large budget for a sixties film is apparent. Ken Adam’s design is also exceptional.

How does it look? The 2.35:1, anamorphic transfer is in keeping with the rest of the special edition releases. There is the expected dirt, scratches and film grain. However, the results should still be applauded, given the source material. A digital mono track is also included. Apparently the cost of creating the 5.1 mix for Thunderball wasn’t warranted here. This is a pity, because these action films are worth such attention.

The extras are what make this DVD series, and You Only Live Twice: Special Edition is no exception. There is a very interesting documentary called “Silhouettes” about the man who created the famous credit sequences for most of the series. Also, the “making of” featurette goes into great detail about Ken Adam’s incredible volcano set, which cost more than the entire production of Dr No. Promotional materials, and a commentary track stitched together from interviews with director Lewis Gilbert and the crew round out the package.


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