For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Review by HTQ4

Written by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson, based on the stories "For Your Eyes Only" and "Risico" by Ian Fleming
Directed by John Glen
Starring Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Topol, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Julian Glover, Cassandra Harris, John Wyman, Lois Maxwell, and Desmond Llewelyn


Released by: MGM
Rating: PG
Region: 1
Anamorphic: Yes

My Advice: Own it

Melina Havelock's (Bouquet) parents have been killed because her father was asked to conduct a covert salvage operation to recover a very important piece of equipment for the British government. It turns out that this device, should it fall into the wrong hands, could not only launch all of Britain's nuclear weapons, but could change their targets so that they could be used on the Commonwealth itself. Enter Britain's greatest secret agent. Bond (Moore) is sent to find the missing ATAC machine and crosses paths with Ms. Havelock who assists him in his recovery effort. His investigation also brings him in contact with two smugglers named Kristatos (Glover) and Columbo (Topol) who have him running in circles and left not sure who to really trust with their assistance.

For years, this had always been my favorite of the Bond films. I know I'm dating myself, but I grew up knowing Moore as Bond. This movie really holds its resilience even after all this time. This is the first film that really returned to the original ideal of what Fleming had intended Bond to be. Yes, he had all of his spy gadgets provided by Q (Llewelyn) at MI-6, but he could also rely on his wits when he was stripped of his gadgets. He was also shown to be more of an athlete than he had been in the previous movies. For example, in the film's climax, Bond has to scale an immense stone wall to get to his goal. This is much more of an athletic situation than Bond had been placed in over the previous films. This, along with Moore's wonderful onscreen charisma, really made Bond more of a real man who also just happened to be an amazing secret agent and...good with the ladies.

This special edition DVD for this movie is decent. First of all, there are two commentary tracks on the disc. That having been said, these are not really what you would expect from commentary tracks. They are narrated by David Mailer with little clips of interviews with certain members of the cast and crew. The tracks are divided between the two commentary tracks so that the cast is on one track and the crew is on the other. The information presented is done well, but the interviews didn't have the participants actually watching the film at the time. So while the clips are edited together in such a way so that the topic of conversation coincides with the action on screen, but it is not the same as a true running audio commentary track. Not only that, but in the spaces between the interview clips, Mailer's narration is very dry and...well, um...British. He sounds as though he is reading from his dissertation on the James Bond films telling us little bits of similarities between them. For example, at one point, he tells us what color the hair of the villain is in For Your Eyes Only as compared to those of the other films. Unless you are an absolutely hardcore Bond fan, this information and the way it is presented will bore you to tears.

The Still Gallery is organized quite well. Normally, these galleries just feel like a bunch of pictures thrown together, but since they are boasting so many still shots on this DVD (150 or so), I guess they figured a little sanity was in order. There are several different topics to choose from and the photographs are grouped accordingly.

Next up is the documentary. Its main focus is how they brought the Bond franchise "back to earth" after the outlandish sci-fi Bond outing, Moonraker. They really wanted to focus on more of what Fleming had in mind for his most famous character. It moves quickly on to the ideas of casting the film--including the casting of the former Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof as one of the film's villains and Cassandra Harris (Pierce Brosnan's wife) as one of the Bond girls. There are two of the Animated Storyboard Sequences on the disc: "the snowmobile chase" and "retrieving the ATAC". These are pretty much what you have come to expect on a DVD. These are simply shots of the original storyboards that are filmed with lots of zooming in and out to make them "animated" and take you through each particular part of the story. Other than that, there's really not that much to them.

There are, of course, some other features on the disc like Sheena Easton's music video for her title song. This video looks an awful lot like the opening credit sequence, but with more shots of Easton instead of the Bond-esque silhouettes of naked women carrying weapons. The rest of the bonus features are trailers and radio spots for the film.

If you are a Bond fan, you probably already have all of the collector's editions boxed sets that MGM has put together. However, if you are more particular about your Bond film experiences, you will probably want to pick this one up. I think it is one of the better of the genre and should be on your shelf.

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