For Your Eyes Only

For Your Eyes OnlySynopsis: James Bond is thrust into one of his most riveting adventures in this jam-packed free-for-all of outrageous stunts, passionate encounters and exciting confrontations. Roger Moore portrays Agent 007 with lethal determination in a plot that finds him infiltrating the Greek underworld to locate a stolen device capable of controlling a fleet of nuclear submarines!

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Welcome to The Critical Eye’s ‘Mission Briefing Version’ commentaries of the James Bond movies.

Via thirteen key categories, over the course of the next few months we will rate and/or comment on each picture in brief. These MBV blurbs will also sometimes feature guest commentators, Bond fans and non-fans alike, thus offering a variety of perspectives on this iconic series.

We hope that you will enjoy TCE’s unique take on the world of 007.

For Your Eyes Only

Date of viewing: August 15, 2013

FTEOOpening credits

The Thorn: 3.0 – This one is one of the worst openings of the series for a couple of reasons: 1) it squanders a great idea, which is to tie in Moore (a.k.a. Goofy Bond) to a more serious plot point, and 2) it’s utterly moronic. I like that we see Bond mourning his wife and that Blofeld (for all intents and purposes… or is that Dr. Evil?) returns. But I hate the electrified headset, Blofeld’s uncharacteristic playfulness, and Bond’s ease at turning the tables. Bond should have been easy chimney fodder, but noooooo! Instead he propelled Blofeld out of the series for good. The credits themselves are par for the course.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – The Blofeld opening is annoying and insulting to the history of the character. The opening credits are psychedelicious, just the way I like them.

The Consultant: 2 – I felt that the reference to Blofeld was so contrived that I had to look the thesaurus up to find a synonym that’s not so harsh as “forced a scene down our throats that added no value to the movie” <- a theme that I am now realizing that will be present throughout the movie.

***

FTEOStory
The Thorn: 9.5 – I love that this story is about Bond following clues to get a decoder back – that he’s not trying to thwart an evil pseudo-genius’ plans to rule the world (after decimating it, of course). It felt more realistic, more akin to early Connery (a.k.a. Panther Bond) plots. For the first time in a long time, Bond relied on his wits, not just on witticisms. Plus there’s a gritty crossbow revenge subplot that darts through. I also adore the “winner-takes-none” ending. Détente, indeed!
The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – A strength of this movie is that it’s not too complex, believable, and Bond do actual spying work. There’s just one big problem in the story; the villains take way too much time to retrieve the communication device; the story should have been about Bond retrieving the device from the villains, not racing for it. The rest is pretty solid.
The Consultant: 7 – Search, recover and protect… not so bad as a plot. There were some twists that I didn’t bother foreseeing, kudos.

***

FTEOBanter
The Thorn: 4.0 – There’s little banter in ‘FYEO’, and what there is is truly uninspired. Even the actors seem to know this, going through the motions blandly, bereft of the slightest spark. Or… maybe it was just old age: some of them were way past their prime by this point in the series.
The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – Bond cracks some good lines here and there but much less than usual, which is great.
The Consultant: 5 – To be honest, nothing really stuck out in my mind. Actually, one thing came back, something having to do with the opposite not surviving Bibi. As well, I wonder if the hockey goal sirens count as banter. They were certainly timely.

***

FTEOVillains
The Thorn: 8.5 – What’s great about this Bond picture is that it’s unclear who the villain is. Is it General Gogol? Aristotle Kristatos? Milos Columbo? Emile Leopold Locque? Hector Gonzales? Or Margaret Thatcher? I won’t ruin the surprise, but I’d put my money on the latter if I were you. Whoever it is, though, I found all of them quite calculating, relatively intelligent and somewhat charismatic – compared to recent villains, who were merely insane and ambitious. Thatcher excepted, of course.
The Horrible Dr. B:  5 – Kristatos is the laziest villain ever. Its so obvious that he’s trying to manipulate Bond into doing his dirty work. Pistachio-addict Columbo is much more likable, and Im glad Bond allies with him.
The Consultant: 8 – I think Kristatos is the perfect type of villain. He gets others to do his dirty work and keeps his hands clean. Well, clean as relatively possible, he is hanging around Bibi after all. Columbo on the other hand, can’t really be considered a villain, now can he? Oh wait, black market pistachios, right… villain he be, evil he be not.

***

FYEOBond Girls
The Thorn: 8.5 – Melina Havelock is an interesting character because she has spunk and resolve. But it would have been pointless if not for Carole Bouquet, who is breathtakingly beautiful. Sure, she sounded/was poorly dubbed, but she’s still one of my top 3 Bond Girls. Okay, top 2! Okay, okay, top 1. She’s one of my top 1 Bond Girls. Maybe. I also like Bibi, as immature and whiny as she is, because, well… her zest is infectious. Between that and the promise of an Olympian physique (the actress must have trained a lot!), I don’t know how Bond could keep his pants on. Cassandra Harris (who was Pierce Brosnan’s spouse at the time) gave Countess Lisl class, but not much else; she started off with a solid head on her shoulders, but she just wasn’t as headstrong as she imagined she was.
The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Carole Bouquet, who plays Melina Havelock, is considered as one of the most beautiful woman; personally, beside her amazing hair, I don’t find her that physically attractive. However, in this movie, her character is strong, independent and intelligent; she’s a rare gem in the world of Bond’s girls. And I like her fetishism for crossbow. Bibi on the other hand is quite the opposite: annoying teenage brat. See Best Moment. In addition, Bond spends a night with countess Lisl von Schlaf; I don’t find her particularly attractive but their brief relationship seemed very believable.
The Consultant: 8 – Melina Havelock: I think her beauty is her personality… and her skin tone, nice, even skin tone. *drool* / Bibi: Wow, I think she needs glass and a muzzle, although, had Bond been 35 years younger, they would have found another use for the XXX reference. / Countess Lisl von Schlaf: I think she was just there for Bond to offset Bibi’s effect. Get him back in his groove, you know, because he doesn’t often refuse to stay the course, if you know what I mean.

***

FYEOGadgets
The Thorn: 9 – This is one of the least gimicky Bond films of the series – and certainly of the Moore era. Aside from Bond’s wristwatch, which has a 2-way radio on it, everything has a real-world practical use. I have to drop a point for the Identigraph, though: it’s clunky and not convincing at all. But it did give us more time with Q, which is always nice.
The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – beside the talkie watch, there are none. Yay!
The Consultant: 7 – Well, the car’s anti-theft system was neat. I’d like to get that for my doorbell, in case solicitors come by.

***

FYEOVehicles
The Thorn: 6.5 – There are TONS of vehicles in this film, but none of them are really notable aside for the Lotus. And even then, it’s only worth mentioning because of its amazing theft prevention system, which consists of a self-destruct mechanism. Maybe Q wired it badly: perhaps had Bond tried the self-destruct mechanism, the windshield wipers would have turned on, and when he tried the windshield wipers, the passenger seat ejected, …etc. Or maybe it was Q’s way of getting revenge on Bond after all these years. Or perhaps he was secretly hoping that Bond would be in the car when someone smashed the windshield.
The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – There are not one but two Lotus in the movie (the first one get blown up pretty quickly; I want the same anti-burglar system on my bike); however they don’t really have any significant role.
The Consultant: 6 – Lotuses, submarines, deep sea diving suits, yachts; helicopters, motorized wheelchairs, bobsleighs, motocross bikes, freight elevators, the indestructible yellow car, the list is never ending!

***

FYEOLocales
The Thorn: 9 – Lots of underwater footage, beautiful -but not necessarily exotic- locations, no extravagant sets – this is the most grounded of the Moore movies. My favourite location: Gonzales’ pool, which must have been modeled after Hugh Hefner’s mansion, what with all the yummy beauties lounging about. I mean, how many women does one man need? Don’t answer that…
The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – Italy, Greece, Albania. Great locations.
The Consultant: 9 – Those Mediterranean countries looked very inviting and looked great on film.

***

FYEOStunts
The Thorn: 10 It’s funny, but even though ‘FYEO’ is more realistic than most of the Bond films, it still takes a few breaks for intricate action set pieces that likely challenged its exprienced stunt crew: the criss-crossing car chase in Venezuela, the opening helicopter “rollercoaster” ride, the rock-climbing segment in Greece, and the longest ski/motorbike/bobsled chase ever filmed! It’s over-the-top and ludicrous, but it’s a marvel to watch anyway. IN-sanity!!! Who came up with THAT?
The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – Must see; best amount of stunt-work so far in the series. The sequence where Bond and Melina run away in a Citroen through olive orchards and a small town is the best car chase ever. Later, we can witness the work of the craziest stunt skiers; a definitive moment in the series, marked me as a kid, and still bewilder me now, is the scene where the stuntman skis down the bobsleigh tunnel; crazy scary!
The Consultant: 10 – The stunts were fairly spectacular. The helicopter maneuvering at the beginning, the yellow car chase, the ski chase, down a ski jump no less, the motorcycle throwing, the figure skating. Everything was top notch.

***

FYEOSoundtrack
The Thorn: 6.0 – I really like the theme song, even though it’s very pop; by this point, the series had completely changed its tone on all counts, including the title tracks. But most disppointing is John Barry’s disappearance yet again. This time Bill Conti (who was nominated for an Academy Award for ‘Rocky’) took over and turned James Bond into a disco/funk/pop confection that is slightly jarring. It’s not all bad, but it’s not all Bond either.
The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – Not perfect but much more chill and less cartoony than previous ones. I dig the chill vibe.
The Consultant: 4 – I guess I couldn’t be bothered to notice. The beginning theme was still off, in my opinion. Still too poppyish.

***

FYEOBest Bond moment
The Thorn: There are two moments: 1) the mindboggling never-ending ski/motorbike/bobsled chase, and 2) when Bond sends a baddie to his doom by pushing his car off a cliff. The first is too extraordinary to ignore: how can you not be wowed by the extravaganze and skill on hand? The second is notable because Moore’s Bond is usually too goofy to kill in cold blood (heck, even Connery’s Bond mellowed out – he removed the snorklers’ masks instead of killing them in ‘Thunderball’). I just wish that the kick was more convincing, more definite. But Moore’s heart may not have been into it; he probably would have preferred to do his “googly eye and stupid quip” shtick instead.
The Horrible Dr. B: When Bond suffers from his godly magnetism, get stuck babysitting Bibi and must fight off her advances.
The Consultant: The scene when Bond identifies the moment he would trust Columbo, there was some good chemistry there.

***

FYEOWorst Bond moment
The Thorn: There are two: 1) the opening with “Blofeld” and, 2) the finale with Margaret Thatcher. The first is an insult (the filmmakers must have thought that their audiences were insufferable morons), and the latter is so cartoony that it probably should have been in a sitcom. Don’t get me wrong: it’s somewhat funny – it’s just that it should have been in a different movie. “Give us a kiss! Give us a kiss!” Yeah, right! I’ll give ya a fist in the kisser, is what I’ll give ya!
The Horrible Dr. B: The hockey scene: Im glad to see hockey being part of a Bond movie, however it is the lamest action scene of the whole movie. Running over someone with a zamboni? not believable. That scene should have been cut out.

The Consultant: Well, there is a tie here for me. The first thing to note is that the whole chase through the winter Olympic events was horrid. Again, it felt that we were being forced fed marinated horse-flavored sundried anchovies gills, and trust me, I know my gills. The other part was the submarine battle. I mean come on, the action of the one sub pushing the other into that hole was so slow, it felt as if I was watching a suppository commercial.

***

FYEOOverall impression
The Thorn: 8.25 – ‘For Your Eyes Only’ is one of my favourite James Bond films, and by far my favourite Moore one: for the first time in a loooong time, the series eschews spectacle for a relatively more realistic plot and setting. The fact that it’s consequently grittier is great because it renders everything and everyone more credible (ex: when Bond is at risk of being knocked off the rock cliff, the danger is actually palpable). Having said this, it’s not perfect, and it still suffers from some unfortunate corniness. Still, I’d safely put ‘FYEO’ in the series top 5.
The Horrible Dr. B: 9 – The movie is not perfect, but it is quite a mature movie (especially compared to the other Moore’s) on many aspects. This is the best Moore movie in the series so far.
The Consultant: 6 – The movie did not offer as many horrendous gimmicks or scenes as previous iterations, but, at this point, I was kind of looking forward to see how far fetch it would get. I’m sad to say I’m a little disappointed.

James Bond will return inOctopussy

One response to “For Your Eyes Only

  1. Pingback: Moonraker | thecriticaleye·

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