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For Your Eyes Only(1981)
In this outing, the renowned British double agent must locate a weapons system known as ATAC, which controls Great Britain's submarines, after it is sunk on a ship in the Ionian Sea. While he must contend with a formidable foe in the villain known as Kristatos, he does have the lovely and talented Melina, the daughter of a scientist killed by Kristatos, on his side. For fans craving their old favorites, Blofeld, Moneypenny and Q all put in appearances. The stunts come fast and furious, most notably a breathtaking race down a ski slope at the film's opening.
For more about For Your Eyes Only and the For Your Eyes Only Blu-ray release, see For Your Eyes Only Blu-ray Review published by Ben Williams on March 16, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Topol, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Julian Glover, Michael Gothard
Director: John Glen
» See full cast & crew
For Your Eyes Only Blu-ray Review
Roger Moore gets tough.
Reviewed by Ben Williams, March 16, 2009
I have a love/ hate relationship with Sir Roger Moore's James Bond films. Although I grew up during the time of his prominence in the role, I've always found his outings as 007 to be uninspired and more of a reinterpretation of the Bond character, rather than a genuine continuation of the man made popular by Sean Connery. It doesn't help that Sir Roger's film's have been upstaged in recent years by the likes of Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig; two men who redefined the character by trying to make him more true to his literary roots. Apparently, my sentiments are shared by many, including the producers of the Bond franchise. When For Your Eyes Only was released, it was one of the first attempts from the Broccoli family at returning Bond to a more rugged and authentic interpretation. The film eschewed the 70s influenced "Leisure-Bond" of previous Moore films, in favor of a more rough and tumble version. After the near-franchise-ending disaster that was Moonraker, the fabled series needed a shot in the arm. While many might argue with the success of the endeavor, For Your Eyes Only was a drastic change for the series that managed to set Bond back on course. For the time being...
For Your Eyes Only begins by quickly cutting ties with past Bond adventures and moving the character into a new direction. Notorious SPECTRE mastermind, Blofeld (John Hollis), makes an ill-fated attempt on Bond's (Roger Moore) life, only to find himself at the bottom of a smokestack. This short prologue sets into motion a very different Bond tale; one of international espionage and revenge, that focuses more on personal vendettas against the backdrop of nuclear calamity. Bond is tasked with locating a missing piece of British naval hardware called the Automatic Targeting Attack Communicator, known as ATAC. It's been pilfered by a rival nation and can be used to launch the Royal Navy's submarine-based nuclear missiles. Bond encounters a young woman called Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet) on his quest to recover the missing system; her father having been killed while helping retrieve the ATAC, she has vowed to hunt down and kill those responsible for his death. Together, Melina and Bond will scour the globe, landing in Greece, Italy and the Bahamas, before coming face to face with the men responsible for stealing ATAC and killing Melina's father.
There's no doubt that For Your Eyes Only has a much different tone than Roger Moore's previous Bond films. He's less campy and much more serious in this go-round; there are fewer one-liners, the film remains serious and decidedly dark. Unfortunately, Mr. Moore's less physical presence in the role keeps him from maintaining a convincingly menacing presence; he doesn't seem capable of being a foreboding, scary Bond. Melina's story is compelling; her quest to find revenge is a rewarding counterpoint to Bond's more dutiful role. She breathes a much-needed sympathetic element into the plot. Just about everything in the film works, with the exception of Moore. One can't fault the guy for trying, though.
For Your Eyes Only is one of those films that is easy to enjoy, while managing to disappoint. There are quite a few impressive scenes, to be sure. Many of the underwater sequences are expertly filmed and effective, there are several exciting car chases, a nifty snowmobile chase is always entertaining and Bond drives a kick-ass Lotus. Most of the performances are passable and the film moves in the right direction by showing a more brutal Bond who is unafraid to get his hands dirty. If the film's producers had continued this course, the Bond franchise might have avoided some of the later, unfortunate Moore films, the dark and boring Timothy Dalton years and, perhaps, might have made a faster recovery. As it stands, For Your Eyes Only serves as an example as a move in the right direction that wasn't quite executed as well as it could have been.
So, can I recommend For Your Eyes Only? Sure, why not; it's easily one of the best of Roger Moore's films in the series. Is is a great Bond movie in the tradition of Goldfinger and Casino Royale? Not a chance. Either way, For Your Eyes Only serves as an interesting diversion in an otherwise sad time for the franchise.
For Your Eyes Only Blu-ray, Video Quality
Generally speaking, films of the early 1980s aren't revered for their fantastic image quality. Perhaps a series of uninspiring film stocks are to blame; perhaps it's just the aesthetic of the time that seems uninspired in retrospect. Whatever the reason, For Your Eyes Only suffers from that same boring and bland early 80s filming stye that manages to neither inspire nor impress. One certainly can't blame the folks at MGM; they've delivered the film in an uncompromising manner using the AVC Mpeg-4 compression codec at full 1080p, while retaining the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1.
For Your Eyes Only looks pretty darn boring; colors are flat and washed out, black levels and contrast are weak and detail isn't particularly impressive. There's a certain pastel quality to the entire film that comes across as amateurish and stylistically dated. However, it's safe to say that the film looks exactly like it should; artifacts are not an issue and the film's grain remains intact and appropriate. What's left, is an image that while accurate, fails to impress. Chalk this one up to style, folks.
For Your Eyes Only Blu-ray, Audio Quality
By the time For Your Eyes Only was released in 1981, film soundtracks had changed a great deal from the predominantly mono affairs of the 1970s. Surround sound had found wider use through the popularity of Star Wars, but someone apparently forgot to notify the powers that be at EON productions. Having seen For Your Eyes Only on DVD, Laserdisc and VHS, it was clear to me that the film needed some serious work to sound even remotely up-to-date for this Blu-ray release. Thankfully, MGM has breathed new life into the film by completely remixing the film's archaic soundtrack and presenting it in glorious 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The results are nothing less than astounding.
The most immediately noticeable change comes in the form of increased surround activity and directional effects. There's a palpable sense of atmosphere in For Your Eyes Only that hasn't been present on any previous home video release. Dialogue also benefits from this remixing job; voices, while rooted in the center channel, manage to sound more cohesive and free from distortion. The film's score is also presented in a manner that balances the music more effectively with the film's many action sequences. Now, I don't think anyone is going to mistake what is presented on this Blu-ray with a contemporary action soundtrack, but the results are so massively improved, that I doubt anyone will complain. Highly recommended!
For Your Eyes Only Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Here's what's included:
- Audio Commentary with Director John Glen
- Audio commentary with Screenwriter Michael G. Wilson
- Audio commentary with Sir Roger Moore
- Deleted Scenes
- "Bond in Greece"
- "Bond in Cortina"
- "Neptune's Journey"
- 007 Mission Control
- Mission Combat Manual
- Q Branch
- Exotic locations
- Inside For Your Eyes Only
- Animated Storyboard Sequences
- Music Video: Sheena Easton's "For Your Eyes Only"
- Theatrical archive
- TV Broadcasts
- Radio Communication
- Image Database
Despite any reservations I might have about the film itself, For Your Eyes Only features a nice array of extras that do a great job of filling in the details of the film's production. I enjoyed the commentaries and featurettes, but have now grown a little tired of the focus these special editions place on gadgets. Regardless, The animated storyboard presentations are well-done and vintage television and radio announcements prove to be an interesting aside to the style of the early 1980s. Beyond that, much of what's contained here will appeal to fans of the film, while not being of any particular interest to more casual viewers.
For Your Eyes Only Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
While not being particularly fond of many of Sir Roger Moore's adventures as James Bond, I must admit that For Your Eyes Only is amongst his best films as the legendary spy. Moore's take on the character tends to rub me the wrong way, with his silly attempts at action and his focus on style over substance, but he does butch things up a bit with this outing. The film is easily the most realistic of Moore's contributions; the producers made a point of trying to bring the Bond character closer to that of the books. MGM brings For Your Eyes Only to Blu-ray with a understated but attractive video encode, and audio that does its best to sound up to date. Supplements are extensive, as is normally the case with the Bond releases; fans will be more than pleased. Ultimately, while this film doesn't hold up to the scrutiny of time as well as Sean Connery's contributions to the Bond Legacy, For Your Eyes Only is, perhaps, Roger Moore's best. Set your expectations to a reasonable level, and the film might just surprise you. Recommended.
For Your Eyes Only: Other Editions
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For Your Eyes Only Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Today on Blu-ray - October 21st - October 21, 2008
James Bond represents a lifestyle that many people want to live and few can afford. As the world's top secret agent, 007 gets to travel the world to exotic locations, making use of his fast cars and cool gadgets to save the world over and over again (with just ...
• James Bond Blu-ray Releases Get Detailed - July 29, 2008
MGM Home Entertainment has announced the technical specs and special features for the upcoming Blu-ray releases of the James Bond films 'Dr. No', 'Die Another Day', 'Live and Let Die', 'For Your Eyes Only', 'From Russia With Love', and 'Thunderball', due to hit ...
• Bond is Officially Blu - June 18, 2008
Fox Home Entertainment in conjunction with MGM Home Entertainment have announced that they will bring six classic James Bond films to Blu-ray this fall. All six title - 'Dr. No', 'Die Another Day', 'Live and Let Die', 'For Your Eyes Only', 'From Russia with Love', ...
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