Friday, April 24, 2015

You Only Live Twice (1967) | Villains

What a letdown Donald Pleasance is after all the buildup the series has been doing towards revealing Blofeld's face. The creepy, mysterious head of SPECTRE with the silky voice is now a tiny, non-blinking madman with a high-pitched screech. When he yells, "Kill Bond! Now!" it's not threatening, it's sad. He sounds hysterical. Blofeld is my least-favorite thing in a movie full of bad decisions.

Like I said yesterday, Helga Brandt is the lite version of Thunderball's Fiona Volpe. She may be pretty and have red hair, but she's an incompetent assassin. Fits right in with the rest of these goons.

Actually, there's nothing really incompetent about Hans, but that's a low bar when he has so little responsibility. All he's really in charge of is feeding Blofeld's fish and holding the destruct key. He does both of those things well though and Bond actually has to expend some energy to beat him. He's the best bad guy in the movie.

I have a hard time figuring out Osato's role in all of this. He gets to hang out with Blofeld who treats Osato like an underling, so I assume he's part of SPECTRE. But that doesn't explain why Osato's corporate logo is proudly displayed on the SPECTRE astronauts' suits as if Osato is some kind of corporate sponsor.

I'm also confused about who's making all the decisions in regards to stopping Bond's investigation. Henderson's killer seems to have been working for Osato and numerous attempts on Bond's life are made on Osato property, so it feels like Osato himself is responsible for that incompetence. In Thunderball, Fiona stops Largo from trying to kill Bond because she knows it would let Bond's allies know he was on the right trail. In You Only Live Twice, every single time Bond gets close to a bad guy, Osato tries to have him killed, even if Bond is literally in the Osato parking lot.

But before we judge Osato too harshly, we need to realize that Blofeld's just as bad. When Bond flies Little Nellie out to recon the area he thinks the bad guys might be operating from, SPECTRE totally confirms his suspicions by sending out attack helicopters. Every step of the way in this plot, all Bond has to do is accidentally get close to the next clue and the villains will let him know he's on the right track. Stupidist bad guys ever.

I'm actually sorry I still have spaces left at the bottom of my Top Ten Villains and Henchmen lists, because none of these guys deserve to be on the lists even temporarily. What I'm going to do though is separate Blofeld out by portrayals. It's not that I consider each version to be a different character, but most of them are different enough that they should be ranked separately. I don't want You Only Live Twice Blofeld dragging down From Russia With Love/Thunderball Blofeld.

Top Ten Villains

1. Auric Goldfinger (Goldfinger)
2. Ernst Stavro Blofeld (From Russia With Love and Thunderball)
3. Doctor No (Dr. No)
4. Emilio Largo (Thunderball)
5. Rosa Klebb (From Russia With Love)
6. Kronsteen (From Russia With Love)
7. Ernst Stavro Blofeld (You Only Live Twice)
8. TBD
9. TBD
10. TBD

Top Ten Henchmen

1. Fiona Volpe (Thunderball)
2. Grant (From Russia With Love)
3. Oddjob (Goldfinger)
4. Miss Taro (Dr. No)
5. Professor Dent (Dr. No)
6. Morzeny (From Russia With Love)
7. Hans (You Only Live Twice)
8. Helga Brandt (You Only Live Twice)
9. Vargas (Thunderball)
10. Count Lippe (Thunderball)

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