This one is probably my favourite of them all. At least it always was when I was a kid. People always say Goldfinger, but I don’t know, for me this one sticks out more. After all, it’s sort of the climax that we’ve been building to since the first movie. But we’ll get to that in a sec. The movie starts out with Bond’s apparent death, which is then revealed to be a plot by MI6 to make his enemies think he’s out of the picture. There’s a really cool sequence where they bury his body at see, and then divers show up and take him to a secret submarine to cut open the coffin and reveal the still-living Bond. It’s also interesting to see him go undercover, because that seems like the kind of thing a spy would do a lot, but usually he just tells everyone he meets his real name. Anyway, so Bond goes to Japan, and after an amazing sequence with a tiny little helicopter that he flies around and shoots missiles from, the movie starts to drag a little. Most of the second act is just him kind of hanging out at this diplomatic building/monastery in rural Japan, learning the ninja skill of blending in. They also decide they have to make him look Japanese, and so there’s a few scenes where we have to see Sean Connery in yellow face. It’s as funny as it is offensive. But what really makes this movie great is the last half hour, when we finally get what we’ve been waiting for for five movies; Bond finally squares down with SPECTRE. And this time not just nameless goons who report back to someone else, oh no, this time he bust in on their lair and takes on the man himself, the white cat stroking, face-scarred, Dr. Evil-looking number one guy, Blofeld, Bond’s greatest nemesis. This character continues to be the main antagonist of the next two movies, and there’s pretty heavy rumours of his return in the new movie Spectre. I mean the movie is named after his organization. But in this movie, and this movie alone, he’s played by the late, great Donald Pleasance. I feel like I’ve been talking about him a lot lately. Anyway, he’s awesome, the quintessential Bond villain. He’s basically everything Dr. Evil is directly parodying. What’s funny though is that he’s holding the white cat the whole time, right, but you can clearly tell that the cat is like super pissed and not having it at all. Like it keeps trying to claw it’s way out of his arms and Donald Pleasance is doing his best to hold on to it while he delivers his lines. It’s great. But possibly even cooler than the character is his layer. It’s hidden out in the wilderness, underneath what looks like a lake. But when Bond throws a rock at the surface, HOLY SHIT IT’S NOT A LAKE IT’S A BIG METAL DOOR! CLASSIC!!! Inside it’s like this half cave half missile silo. There’s a big rocket being prepped to go off, a bunch of guys running around in silver jumpsuits, and a weird ball thing on a track that transports people around the hanger. The climax of the movie is a whole bunch of Japanese soldiers storming the base, and Bond chasing after Blofeld and trying to remotely destroy a spacecraft while this huge battle rages in the background. It’s pretty epic, and really does feel like the biggest action set piece we’ve seen so far in these movies. Overall, it kind of drags in the middle, and there’s a few things that don’t hold up so well, but it has the best villain and a really satisfying final battle. Kind of like Return of the Jedi. If you could only watch one of these I would probably recommend this one.
Overall Rating: Donald Pleasance/10