Bond is dead. Noooooo! Bond is, oh wait a minute. Connery's fifth adventure goes all Oriental and we have a lovely theme tune ripe for ruining by an egotist from Take That. Connery has been enjoying the good life recently and is substantially chubbier than previous outings. At least Blofeld is back and this time we get to put a face to the voice. This time he has a dastardly plan to start a war between the USA and USSR and get paid for the pleasure.
The late 60s are upon us and JFK promised a man on the Moon by the end of the decade so the Space Race is in full flow. It's only natural that Bond gets in on the action. But what's this? Roald Dahl has done the screenplay? Does this mean crazy witches and giant fruit? Thankfully not. Although the film does have it's moments of silliness, kicking off with a Lazarus like Bond asking for permission to come aboard and his snobbish reminder of his First in Oriental Language from Cambridge.
Now don't forget the key ingredients from Goldfinger and Thunderball. Firstly, gadgets are now important and secondly, ginger girls are evil. Once again the ginger bird gets it. Although this time she's eaten by piranhas after failing to bump off Bond.
Bond goes to see the Narrator for some insider information on why spaceships are going missing and pursues his assassin by disguising himself as a six foot Japanese man. Cunning but obvious. Is Bond getting lazy? The producers definitely seem to be as we are subjected to several strange chase scenes that practically come out of nowhere. First on foot down by the docks and later in the air as Little Nelly fights off some S.P.E.C.T.R.E. bullies. Bond buddies up with Japanese Intelligence in the form of Tiger and his school of ninjas. A ninja school, how cool is that? Having said that, these ninjas seem to have a lot to learn. They're very noisy. In the meantime, S.P.E.C.T.R.E. continue gobbling up spaceships.
Munch, munch, munch American space craft
Where is Gruber?
Bond has only one lead. A flimsy one at that. He follows the Ning Po and gets a Japanese makeover. A cross between Herman Munster and Mr Spock. Now, apparently, Bond is ready to blend into the Japanese countryside and make his way to the best location for an evil megalomaniacs base in history. You'd need more than Phil and Kirsty to find you somewhere better than a hollowed out volcano for your underground lair, especially one with an indoor monorail. It's time for Bond to bin the kimono and put a pair of pyjamas on to infiltrate Blofeld's lair.
Japanese Bond/Munster/Spock. Before the pyjamas
Predictably, Bond gets snared and so Blofeld is forced to reveal himself and insert some interesting syllables into the word 'annihilation'. Bond is face to face with his nemesis and says nothing. NOTHING. A wasted opportunity.
Yes Mr Bond, I do have a face
Bond is effectively rescued by Tiger's ninjas distracting invasion. So 'eloquently' described by Alan Partridge's friend Michael. All sorts of mayhem ensues, not a ninja death star in sight yet, as Tiger's boys get the better of Blofeld's mini army who are all conveniently colour coded like walking Skittles. Blofeld bails on his monorail and leaves Bert Kwok in charge. What do you mean he's in Goldfinger too? Presumably Blofeld is off to give a small boy some psychiatric help for John Carpenter.
Blofeld has also, kindly, left his giant henchman, Hans, behind. Hans isn't too bothered about the volcano falling apart around him or his employer's bolt job and ultimately pays the price and becomes fish food after a needless fist fight with Bond. There's just one thing left to do and with five seconds left, Bond destroys S.P.E.C.T.R.E.'s space chomper and prevents World War III like a true gent.
Now to brace yourself as Connery quits and a new man is installed for On Her Majesty's Secret Service. It's the end of an era now as we say goodbye to Connery and the role he has nurtured over the past five films. On the whole they've been good and that's why I certainly regard him as the best Bond.