Mission Dossier: For Your Eyes Only
The Year: 1981
The Director: John Glen
The Bond: Roger Moore
The Girl: Carole Bouquet as Melina Havelock
The Baddie: The devious Aristotle Kristatos
For Your Eyes Only is based (somewhat) on one of my favourite Ian Fleming Bond books, a collection of short stories with the same title. Coming on the back of the exhilarating Moonraker though, the film is far from a favourite of mine.
The film does open on a very interesting note, with Bond seen leaving flowers at the graveside of his late wife. This is not really revisited though, despite a suggestion of it later on when Bond is unable to save a woman that he cares for. The film sees a British surveillance ship sunk, a ship with a very important piece of equipment onboard. It is the ATAC device which coordinates British submarines. The Russians, who else, are pretty keen to get their hands on the device. And so begins Bond’s race to get to it before them. He gets involved with Melina Havelock, the daughter of a man murdered whilst assisting the British on the case, who is understandably keen to avenge the death of her parents. It all comes to a head during the final showdown at an incredible mountain rocky outcrop. But despite the awe-inspiring setting, this is one of the most tedious of Bond conclusions, seeming to really drag on.
Much of the film drags on really. The only sequence that really engages is a snowbound chase sequence, which are becoming increasingly familiar features as the series wears on This one is a cracker, managing to incorporate one of those huge ski jumps, a bobsleigh run and a couple of motorbikes. Less engaging though is the sheer lack of fire in the relationship between Bond and Havelock. Their interactions are exceptionally wooden, something which plagues much of the film actually. There are a couple of more things that really plague the film too. The music is woefully dated 80s style, some of the worst 80s synth you would ever have the displeasure of hearing. It is even more jarring because music is usually such a strong suit of the series, with John Barry’s brilliant use and invocation of the theme song throughout many of the films matching Bond action so perfectly, whilst this is quite the opposite. The frustrations really add up in the film. This one also sees a return to the horrid special effects that marred films such as You Only Live Twice. Effects that had happily not been present for a number of films. The script is poor too, the criticism of Roger Moore efforts being too jokey is really borne out by this film. The constant, terrible one-liners make this one very difficult to watch without hoping, even just a little bit, that Bond cops a bullet at some stage.
This is definitely one of the weaker Bond films. Somewhat similar to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service there is little to recommend it when you compare it to the other films in the series. Very little excitement and a not very little good villain leave this as one of the more anaemic efforts. A silly entry to the series that is not worth bothering about.
Verdict: Schooner of Tooheys New
- Thunderball (1965)
- Goldfinger (1964)
- Moonraker (1979)
- Dr No (1962)
- From Russia with Love (1963)
- The Spy who Loved Me (1977)
- The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
- Live and Let Die (1973)
- Diamonds are Forever (1971)
- You Only Live Twice (1967)
- For Your Eyes Only (1981)
- On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
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