The big set pieces and gadgetry that began to filter through in the previous two Bond outings peak here in Sean Connery's last mission before hanging up the holster - or so he thought! A mission that sees Bond die, return from the grave, relocate to Japan and get married, All in order to stop Donald Pleasance's (Dr) evil villain Blofeld from starting World War Three!
In a script penned by Roald Dahl, You Only Live Twice certainly ups the elements of the franchise and sets the tone that more modern fans are familiar with, especially that of the gadgets, of which there is a very impressive scene in this with Bond taking on several baddy helicopters in a mini gyrocopter. In addition there are some other impressive sequences in the film as well. The scene where the ninjas enter the volcano is certainly one of them. In terms of the cast, Sean Connery is certainly well settled into the role of Bond, despite the lack of interest he appears to show at times, and this film also gives him a very good swansong, which is marred by the dismal Diamonds Are Forever in which he returned. As well as Sean, Bernard Lee is back as M and Desmond Llewellyn as Q as well as Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny with a few further great additions to the cast, namely Donald Pleasance's scared Ernst Stavro Blofeld - a villain that would be parodied for years to come!
The only downer that Twice presents is that it is without a doubt where the tone of the films changed dramatically, losing its serious and grittiness slightly. That aside, it is a very good Bond yarn, with some brilliant and stunning locations and stunts, it also rounded off Connery's tenure with the series nicely - shame he returned for Diamonds - and gave the series one of its recurring villains. As equally impressive as the script and the film itself is the opening credits which is visually pleasing while the theme song is one of the best of the series. Despite the big scale of the film and the great performances and theme song etc, the film is not the best of the series, yet it is certainly one of Connery's best and paved the way for what was to come.