Bonding with Bond, Day 13: For Your Eyes Only

Community Manager Ryan Fujitani is watching all of the James Bond films in order.

After several Bond films establishing the Roger Moore brand of 007, he takes a turn for the (more) serious with For Your Eyes Only. It was both good and bad for me, in different ways.


For Your Eyes Only

For Your Eyes Only was the first Bond film in a while that didn't offer me a whole lot to poke fun at, which is sort of a double-edged sword for me. On the one hand, it can be said that For Your Eyes Only was a more solid film, with a tighter story and relatively brisk pacing, which makes for an enjoyable overall experience. On the other hand, it's been great fun to spot the quirky elements of these movies and point them out, and when one of them has fewer of these moments, it's almost been less entertaining for me to write about.

So let me start by saying that I thought I was in for more of the same kind of silliness I saw in Moonraker when the opening scene for For Your Eyes Only played out. As Bond takes what he believes to be a company chopper to meet M, we discover that it's actually a setup masterminded by none other than Ernst Stavro Blofeld, whose whereabouts I rightfully had been curious of after his mysterious off-screen "death" in Diamonds Are Forever. We don't get to see Blofeld's face here, nor do we hear his name explicitly uttered, but we know it's him, as he's got his cat, his distinct attire, and his bald head (he must have decided the full head of hair didn't suit him after all).

When Bond drops Blofeld off the helicopter and down a massive smokestack, I had two thoughts: 1) Is he really dead, or is this simply a reintroduction of his character?; and 2) If he's really dead, that was the lamest way to end an unfinished storyline that I've ever seen. Of course Blofeld and SPECTRE don't make another appearance in the movie, so I'm led to believe I was supposed to take that scene to be the end of the Blofeld era. Just Bond tying up loose ends, as it were. That, I must admit, was a rather disappointing end for a nemesis that previously had played such a huge part in the Bond universe.

We are then, of course, introduced to the central intrigue of For Your Eyes Only: the recovery of crucial missile control device aboard a sunken British spy vessel that fell victim to an unfortunate accident at sea. The usual cast of characters is introduced, including the potential villain, his henchmen, and the women Bond will inevitably seduce and discard. Except, the latter doesn't really happen en masse, as has been the trend. While Bond does bed one of his adversary's mistresses (thereby turning her to his side and eventually leading to her death, of course), there are two prominent female characters who Bond, surprisingly, treats with a modicum of respect.

The first is Bibi Dahl, played by Lynn-Holly Johnson, who is an aspiring figure skater. She, like many other Bond women, throws herself at 007, breaking into his hotel room and lying naked in his bed, but for whatever reason, he decides that she's not bone-worthy. What is it about her, precisely, that keeps him from wrapping her up in his libido? She does act somewhat childish, but it's not entirely clear how old she's really supposed to be, and she's certainly not less attractive than many of Bond's other women. I thought it was interesting that the good people behind the Bond films would choose to include a girl who Bond was unwilling to take advantage of. Lecherous man-whore that he is, even Bond has his limits, it seems.

The main Bond girl of the movie, however, is Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet), who has an agenda of her own against the main villain. While Bond works alongside her for much of the movie, he is surprisingly light on the sweet nothings and seductive advances. I thought this worked to move the plot along more efficiently, and in some ways it also made their eventual coupling more believable. Oh yes, that's right, they do end up together, but only at the very end... at sea... again.

The one other thing I'll say about For Your Eyes Only is that I was pleasantly surprised by the twist (Kristatos is the real villain). In any other film, I would have seen it coming a mile away, but because I had become so accustomed to the straightforward story lines in these Bond films, I wasn't expecting anything even remotely out of the ordinary. This, and a few very exciting action pieces, helped me to enjoy the movie, though it was certainly different in tone than Moore's previous outings. I thought it was a great addition to the canon, and some of you were right; I could have easily seen Sean Connery in the role.

My favorite line: "Everyone knows it builds muscle tone." -- spoken by Bibi Dahl as she lies naked in Bond's bed, trying to convince him to join her. I've tried that line, and it doesn't work.

My favorite moment: For once, it's not a silly one - I really enjoyed the ski chase. At first, I thought, "Great, not another one of these." But the scene got progressively better, ending in a thrilling pursuit down a bobsled run. Really impressive stunt work.

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Comments

BatsInTheBelfry

Derek Meadors

Actually, because of a lawsuit with a guy that had "created" the character of Blofeld, they weren't allowed to say his name, or use him in a movie as a major character. The opening scene was just to give him a better send off than Diamonds are Forever, but they were certainly limited in what they could do. Octopussy, as you probably guessed from it's name, is a cheese-fest, so be prepared.

Nov 2 - 07:16 PM

asilentmovie

Matt Heckler

Hope you saw something you enjoyed out of the Roger Moore era, because thats pretty much it. Octopussy is a campy crapshoot, and A View to A Kill is kind of like "James Bond escapes from a nursing home." Walken aside, its not very good. But you're only a couple days from Timothy Dalton, the best Bond there is.

Nov 2 - 07:18 PM

AmishSamurai

Chris Purdy

Ryan, unfortunately, that is how Blofeld meets his demise. It's the most anticlimactic thing I've ever seen, but we just have to accept it and let the films continue. As much as I hate Diamonds Are Forever, they should have left the Blofeld story behind rather than trying to bring it back for 5 minutes.

And asilentmovie is right. Moore is my least favorite era of Bond because of the lack of great films. Live and Let Die and The Spy Who Loved Me I love and always will, and For Your Eyes Only is decent. But Golden Gun is just silly, Moonraker is garbage, Octopussy is near unwatchable in my opinion, and A View to a Kill is only slightly better, but Moore is way too old.

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised when Dalton rolls around. To me, both his films are great, and his interpretation of Bond is one of the best. He's the closest to Craig in many ways.

Nov 2 - 07:31 PM

Boyo

Raymond Hopkin

Hmmm, Bibi was really annoying! I can't belive you didn't mention the Citroen 2CV car chase! The sales of the little French car skyrocketed after the movie, as now us mere mortals could afford a Bond car!! I'd still like to own one! (okay, maybe not as good as the DB5)

I really liked the scene where Bond kicks the killer (whose trapped inside a car dangling of a clff) off with such venom - it really annoys me when people say that Moore wasn't nasty enough - he had his moments, and this was one of his best, I think Connery in his DAF mode wouldn't have done something as cold blooded.

The next three films are the weakest, along with Die Another Day, but again, there are a lot of moments to enjoy - Octopussy, the women! The next two, the villains!

Nov 2 - 07:34 PM

RT-Ryan

RT-Ryan .

Bats, that's really interesting. It puts that scene into a whole new perspective, but I agree with AmishSamurai that they probably should have left that story behind with Diamonds Are Forever. No use bringing it to closure if the closure is going to be a mere afterthought.

Boyo,
I did notice the Citroen car chase, but I again ran out of space. The one thing I thought to myself as I watched that was that I needed to get my hands on one of those Citroens, because that thing thing was indestructible! Takes a lickin and keeps on tickin...

Nov 2 - 07:40 PM

martinscorsese25

christopher cantos

ryan, actually, i think the opening scene was a continuiation of on her majesty's secret service... diamonds forever are in a completely different universe just like batman:the animated series and THE batman are totally different series...

Nov 3 - 01:38 AM

martinscorsese25

christopher cantos

ryan, actually, i think the opening scene was a continuiation of on her majesty's secret service... diamonds forever are in a completely different universe just like batman:the animated series and THE batman are totally different series...

Nov 3 - 01:44 AM

inactive user

Jared King

You seem to be going through a slump Ryan. It seems all reviews end with "meh" as the consensus. Well, don't worry. Not long before you get to some Bond gold. Golden eyes that is!

Anyone else think Ryan should get "Manager of the Year" award?

Nov 2 - 07:45 PM

inactive user

Jared King

What film did Roger Moore and Sean Connery dis? Because Ryan when that comes along, run.

Nov 2 - 07:46 PM

ck100

Chris Kubat

My comments:

1. I actually don't mind the way Blofeld was killed off in this movie. Granted, he probably deserved a much better demise. But I guess this just works here for me for some reason. Maybe because the, for lack of a better word, downplayed way he was killed off fits with the more serious tone of the movie here. Plus, with the new decade (the 80's) arriving the producers probably wanted to wipe all slates clean. So they probably figure they can usher in the new decade by killing off Bond's longtime nemesis. It was nice though to have Bond visit Tracy's grave and have Bond finally get even with Blofeld. Anyways, it's nice though we got some finality with him here than with DAF.

2. "What is it about her (Bibi), precisely, that keeps him from wrapping her up in his libido?" Maybe it's the fact she looks young enough to be Bond's granddaughter. The girl practically looks like a teen and Moore was 54 when he did this movie.

3. One scene notable from this movie is when Bond kicks the car containing Locque off the cliff. We've never seen Moore's Bond kill someone like that so coldly in another movie. We haven't seen something like this since Connery's early stuff. I guess it just showed you that even a light-hearted Bond like Moore's has a dark side.

4. The ski chase is great, but don't discredit the other stuff like the warehouse night raid, the mountain climb, and having Bond and Melina dragged in the shark-infested water. Good stuff.

Now we come to Octopussy. It's more of a "business as usual" Bond movie for Moore, but it's still entertaining. Although the camp was toned down for FYEO it kind of makes a return here. However, it's not as prominent or conspicuous as in Moore's earlier stuff. At leat I don't think it is. I will say though that age starts to really catch up with Moore in his last two entries and that he probably should have quit with FYEO. All in all, I guess you ought to get in the mindset you first did with Moore's early stuff (with some adjustments) and then sit back and enjoy.

Nov 2 - 07:50 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Hey, how's a "Treking with Star Trek" by Ryan, or even that Jen person. Just a thought.

Nov 2 - 07:54 PM

bwozar

Bernard Ozarowski

I think you're in for an unpleasant experience with the next two Roger Moore movies, at least you have Never Say Never Again to break them up.

I have to say I'm disappointed you didn't include the Barry Nelson as Bond 1954 Casino Royale (from the Climax! TV show) which is featured (though I believe it's an abridged version) on the 1967 Casino Royale DVD, especially considering you included Never Say Never Again and the Royale spoof...

Nov 2 - 08:01 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Maybe he only does movies. That's a tv show, or so you say.

Nov 2 - 08:09 PM

bwozar

Bernard Ozarowski

ledawg,

This Casino Royale: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1079001-casino_royale/

And I'm not sure if Climax! is properly called a tv show or not, it was like a variety/anthology sort of thing with different stories each week.

Nov 2 - 08:17 PM

Alex M.

Soon 2 Be Free

yay!
i'm pleased to find that you gave a favorable review of one of the older bond movies that i liked a lot
when i went through them last year, this was the one that stuck with me, even until today
hehe
just get ready for the most ridiculous end that is Octopussy

Nov 2 - 08:21 PM

indiefilmfan2

Brandon R

Ryan, I'm curious to know in what format you watched For You Eyes Only. It was one of the few Bonds to be released on Blu-ray a few weeks back. I rented Dr. No and From Russia with Love on Blu-ray last week, and I must say the picture quality looked amazing for films that are over 40 years old.

For Your Eyes Only is really the only serious Moore Bond. The camp creeps back in for the last two Moore outings.

Nov 2 - 08:33 PM

bwozar

Bernard Ozarowski

I'm right with you, indiefilm, I picked up the Blu-Rays last week and I've been extremely impressed with the quality of the image (though it makes some of the rear projection look particularly awful).

Nov 2 - 08:40 PM

bwozar

Bernard Ozarowski

I'm right with you, indiefilm, I picked up the Blu-Rays last week and I've been extremely impressed with the quality of the image (though it makes some of the rear projection look particularly awful).

Nov 2 - 08:40 PM

J S.

J Simmons

Hey Ryan,
Once you're done with the Moore Bonds, I'd be curious to know which was your favorite.
Cheers.

Nov 2 - 08:42 PM

inactive user

Jared King

"Everyone knows it builds muscle tone".

I bet it dosen't work. :)

Nov 2 - 08:48 PM

idratherbe8587

zach orwan

I agree that the opening scene is a lame way to finish off Blofeld (although kind of funny- denied the rights to use Blofeld, they toss a bald guy with a white cat down a smoke stack... take that!) But its still a cool action scene! Amazing helicopter stunts.

But yeah... I seem to recall Octopussy having a fun opener. And of course there is the yo-yo of death. Good for a laugh. And then there's A View To a Kill.... Oh boy! Probably the worst Bond film... Although I don't care for Dalton. It is remarkably bad.

Nov 2 - 09:08 PM

idratherbe8587

zach orwan

I agree that the opening scene is a lame way to finish off Blofeld (although kind of funny- denied the rights to use Blofeld, they toss a bald guy with a white cat down a smoke stack... take that!) But its still a cool action scene! Amazing helicopter stunts.

But yeah... I seem to recall Octopussy having a fun opener. And of course there is the yo-yo of death. Good for a laugh. And then there's A View To a Kill.... Oh boy! Probably the worst Bond film... Although I don't care for Dalton. It is remarkably bad.

Nov 2 - 09:09 PM

Zombies happen.

Serpent T Rainbow

Hay I have loved this series, is there any plan to do another series after this?

Nov 2 - 10:32 PM

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