After a British submarine, armed with the Automatic Targeting Attack Communicator (ATAC), which orders British submarines to fire their missiles, is bombed, James is ordered to retrieve the ATAC system before it is sold on the black market.
Release Year: 1981
Bond, James Bond:
This is Roger Moore’s fifth of seven, and I really don’t have a whole lot to new to say about his performance. He gives the same performance he’s been giving for a few movies now, and I love him. He still seems to be enjoying himself, and he gives little reactions that are wonderful. This is all very much a broken record, but I just love him so much.
I do have to say that his age does start to show in this movie. Part of that is him just naturally aging and beginning to show that, but I think the other major thing is the age discrepancy between he and Melina, the main Bond girl, who I will discuss in a bit. However, I will say that when she was born, Roger Moore was older than she is in this movie. It’s a 30-year age discrepancy, and it is pretty apparent. There are sequences where he looks more like her father, rather than her potential suitor. I do give the film credit for not having them spend most of the movie romantically involved, and instead their first moments together are at film’s end, but even that little bit is enough to send shivers down my back. Despite there being two more Roger Moore films after this one, this one does at least represent the largest age discrepancy in the franchise.
I will say the age issue comes into play with his interactions with another female character, but in a positive way. There is inexplicably a figure skater in this movie named Bibi (I genuinely don’t know why she is here other than to flirt with James) She seems even younger than Melina and she is all over James. The first private time they spend together, she has broken into his room to use his shower, and then takes off of her towel while laying in his bed. Again, films previous to this last handful, Bond would have slept with that girl without a second thought. Here, Moore’s Bond tells her why they shouldn’t do anything and actually does everything he can to get her out of his room. At one point, she even shuts the door he is holding for her and pins him against it as she kisses him, but he is able to pull her off of him and ensure that they do not have sex. It seems really weird to me that I’m impressed that Bond isn’t having sex with a girl who seems wildly younger than him, but that is what this franchise is. You take the obvious wins and treat them as if they are the 1980 United States hockey team in Lake Placid.
Sheena Easton takes over for Shirley Bassey on this movie, which is the easiest follow-up to Shirley Bassey that anyone has ever had. This film’s title song is pretty pleasant. It’s another song sung by a woman to Bond, and it works better at conveying a devotion to the spy that “Moonraker” does, with lines like “You can see so much of me/So much of me that’s new/I never felt until I looked at you.” Beyond the lyrics, the overall sound is much more interesting, and it is primarily carried by keys, which is something I’m always onboard for. I don’t really have passionate feelings for this song either way, but it certainly leans towards the positive side of that.
Julian Glover plays Aristotle Kristatos, and this is a fun little twist on the villainous character, just because when we meet him, and for a decent chunk of the film after that, we are led to believe that Kristatos is going to be on Bond’s side. Bond’s man in the Alps introduces Bond to Kristatos, with the intent of Bond gaining information on Locque, the henchperson that James sees working with a known assassin. Kristatos tells Bond about a former partner, named Columbo (more on him later). It is not until Bond is kidnapped by Columbo’s men that James learns that it is Kristatos who is working with KGB to retrieve the ATAC. It’s a nice little twist, even if Kristatos looks like a Dracula, and I already didn’t super trust him. Once he becomes a villain, he does get a little bit bland, although the scene where he ties Bond up to Melina and drags them along the ocean to kill them does show him having a lot of fun being evil, which is always enjoyable. It is kind of unfortunate that he is defeated by a parrot that tells James a major part of his plan, and even more unfortunate that it is implied that he is sponsoring Bibi in hopes that it will lead to them having an intimate relationship (he looks much older than Bond, who, you’ll remember, denied Bibi’s advances because of the age difference). So, for the most part, the interesting thing about this character is that the film acts as if he is a sidekick of Bond’s, only to reveal his villainy, and that’s really about it. But combine that with a actually easy to follow, albeit kind of boring, plan, and he makes a half decent villain.
Carole Bouquet plays Melina Havelock in this character, and she is actually one of my favorite female leads in this franchise. When we meet her, she witnesses her parents gets murdered, and afterwards the rage in her eyes actually kind of freaked me out and got me very excited for this character.
She mostly holds up throughout the film, although the ADR that she does is very distracting, as the dialogue never seems to really match the way her mouth is moving. I think the words are correct, but just the volume and cadence doesn’t really ever appear to match, which might be an odd critique, but it is something that it threw me off. Otherwise, she plays the revenge well, and she’s kind of a badass. She’s armed with a crossbow, and towards the end of the film, one of James’ men during the final action sequence says “we are only five men,” and then she grabs her crossbow and growls “and one woman.” She’s great. And, age difference aside (even though it is pretty icky) the way she laughs and smiles along with James gives them a pretty pleasant relationship together, although it all feels more father-daughter rather than lovers, so their moment together at the end really does bum me out. But none of that is really her fault, so I won’t that negatively impact her.
Bibi Dahl (which the first time I’ve typed that name and read it to myself marks the first time I read it as “Baby Doll” and I hate it) is a figure skater that is just kind of there to make me feel uncomfortable in this movie. Outside of trying to bed James, which is just outright gross, she really has no impact on this story that another person couldn’t have easily done (take James to the biathlon could have been his contact in the Alps). It’s just a deeply frustrating character. Lynn-Holly Johnson performs the character ok, I suppose, but I dislike the character so much, it could have been an Oscar-caliber performance and I still would have hated it, so no matter where the performance is, it doesn’t matter. Bibi is a very bad character.
Cassandra Harris plays the wife of Milos Columbo, Countess Lisl von Schlaf. Columbo has the Countess go home with James in order to get information from him, and the two end up spending the night together. The role she plays is pretty small, and I’ve been trying to talk more about characters that play a role for a longer period of time in this section, but I do want to bring up Cassandra Harris because her spouse has an important role in the overall Bond franchise. And by that, I mean her husband at the time was literally Pierce Brosnan, whom she brought to set one day, and he had lunch with one of the film’s producers. The rest is somewhat delayed history (more on that when I get to Brosnan in about five films).
At the start of this film, I was already very confused, because James walks into M’s office and neither of the two men in the room were Bernard Lee. So, I paused the film, went to the film’s Wikipedia and searched for Bernard Lee’s name, and, in doing so, I discovered that he was very sick during the filming of this film, and passed away months before the film’s release. This information makes the previous film’s scene between Moore and Lee, where M knowingly sends Bond to Rio, a little bit bittersweet (even if this isn’t exactly the last moment the two spend together). However, the line where Bond throws Moneypenny a flower, while saying “While M’s away” seems like a weird way to call attention to the lack of M, and a little in bad taste, considering the character was away because the actor was sick.
As mentioned above, Moneypenny (still Lois Maxwell) is in this movie in her typical “I’m technically here for a scene” moment, and in it, we see that she puts lipstick on for Bond before he comes into the office, and she makes another comment about how she wishes they had more of a physical relationship. I still know that she can do so much better than Bond (even a Roger Moore Bond), so the closer we come to the end of her time in this franchise, to see her still so hung up on him really bums me out.
I’ll talk more about Desmond Llewelyn as Q below in the gadget section, but I do want to mention that there’s a random scene where Q is in the field, hiding out in a church, disguised as a priest. It’s so unnecessary, because all it does is set up that James wants to work with Columbo (more on him in a bit) in order to figure out which monastery that Kristatos is hiding out in, but I’ll accept it for seeing Desmond Llewelyn in a very large beard.
We have a couple major henchmen in this movie, and I want to bring them up mostly for the wildly different ways that they die. First, Locque, a man that Bond meets early in the film, who is very quiet and had weird octagonal glasses. He is the man who kills the Countess Lisl Von Schlaf, as well as James’ man in the Alps, Luigi Ferrara. He also gets killed in one of the most brutal ways Roger Moore has executed a man. First, Bond shoots him, causing him to lose control over his car, which then hangs precariously from a cliff. After Bond clarifies that he knows that he is the man who kill Luigi, Bond simply kicks the car off the cliff, sending the man falling to his death. Kriegler on the hand, is a built Aryan biathlete, who gets distracted by Kristatos leaving a room, and then Bond knocks him out of a window. After the way Locque dies, for Kristatos to basically get distracted by a shiny object while fighting for his life is just so disappointing.
The first time that we hear about Milos Columbo, we are led to believe that he is the villain. The first time that we meet him, he is winning James over to his side, and telling us that our true villain is Kristotos. It is not difficult to be won over by Topol’s performance as Columbo. He is instantly charming, as he munches on pistachios while wearing the biggest smile. The few scenes that he is in he controls with his charm, and he and Moore play so well off of each other. One of my favorite moments is when Bond is still warming to Columbo, and Columbo assures Bond that “by tomorrow [they’ll] be good friends,” and then offers Bond a drink. Bond responds with “I’ll wait for tomorrow,” and they both share a knowing smile. It’s a great sequence and I love both of these guys.
This is another fairly subdued gadget film, which is really fine with me. I have been enjoying the tours through Q’s section of MI6 and the random gadgets that they are working on, that are almost always something that lead to extremely violent sets. In Moonraker, there was just a laser gun that melted a dude’s face (they use mannequins). This movie includes an arm cast that just straight up crushes a dude’s head, as well as an umbrella that decapitates a person when rain hits it. The latter of which leads Roger Moore to say “Stinging in the Rain,” which Q does not approve of, and I have agree with him. It’s a unfunny line as written, but Roger Moore says it with such relish. His movies are so silly and boring, which is just two complete opposite sides of the bad spectrum, but he is so wonderful.
The other two gadgets I want to reference are used in major ways. The first is a Identograph, which basically acts as a way for James to have Q do a police sketch of the henchperson Locque, and then immediately after they are done creating the rendering of him, the system is able to go through some kind of file system that MI6 has to print out a true picture of the individual being drawn. It’s a neat little scene, just because we so rarely get to see Q and James actually work together.
One of Kristatos’ men wears a diving suit, that I only want to mention because it reminded me of Marvin, the Paranoid Android, from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
I genuinely forgot the main plotline in this movie, despite it seeming to be high stakes from the very start, something that the last several films, with the exception of The Spy Who Loved Me, have pretty seriously lacked. I’m not sure what is the cause of that. It may be the confusion as to who the villain is (which I do genuinely like), or it could be the fact that this movie spends so much time in the mountains, even though the submarine we are looking for appears to be in a much more mild. It’s really not until we are underwater that I’m reminded that we are looking for something that is submerged, but at that point, I am reminded of the underwater scenes from Thunderball so I check out a little bit. I even kind of forget the revenge plot of Melina, which is a lot of the reason that I like her. After she kills the actual murderer, I understand that she wants to find the people who hired him, but that feels like it fades away, and she disappears for a decent chunk of the film, until she turns up underwater. Realistically, I think we just spend so much time in the Alps, with so many lengthy chase scenes, that the core arcs of the film, whether they be high stakes or intensely personal, fade away very significantly.
Miscellaneous Spy Business:
-This movie starts with the killing of a fake Blofeld. They never say his name, but the presence of a cat, a neck brace (despite us seeing him without a neck brace since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but, again, this canon is garbage) and an implied history between the two. The confrontation between he and James ends with James using a helicopter’s leg to hook Blofeld’s wheelchair and dropping him down a smoke stack, but not before Blofeld offers Bond a “delicatessen. Of stainless steel.” It’s very silly.
-Putting “For Your Eyes Only” on a file for James is a cute way to use the title, but it strikes me as odd because that would be on any file that Bond gets, so why are we just now showing this hand off, especially when Melina actually uses the line to decent effect before she removes her robe in order to go skinny-dipping at film’s end.
-James uses an umbrella to slow his fall from a small ledge, and I so badly wanted him to scream “I’m Mary Poppins, ya’ll”
-“Go backwards forwards quickly!”- an actual direction that Melina gives to James and it is so confusing.
-James buys flowers as a guise, runs outside to help Melina, and a guy he kills goes through the flower shop. He goes back to the vendor and tells her “send them to the funeral” and I just love Roger Moore so much.
-There’s a scene where James fights some hockey players, and every time he knocks one of them down, they fall into the goal, and someone is operating the scoreboard to show the score increasing with each guy, and it’s never explained, it’s just not a good gag.
-James tells Melina to speak only when necessary as the go to investigate the crashed ship, and then subsequently speaks entirely unnecessarily, including to make a joke and then to read instructions that only he needs out loud.
-There is one sequence that is underwater that is actually kind of tense, and that is when Kristatos is dragging Bond and Melina behind the boat, and it’s tense because I understand what is going on and I actually feel concern for these characters.
-There’s a lengthy scene when James is trying to scale a rock face, and he gets frightened by a bird, almost dies, and then almost falls off three other times. And then we have to watch Columbo and Melina go up in a basket winch. It’s so slow and boring, and that’s my issue with so many of these movies. Things just go on too long and I check out, hard.
-I do want to give credit to this movie for making Julian Glover look much older than Roger Moore, when he is actually eight years younger, and for making Carole Bouquet look much more mature than Lynn-Holly Johnson, despite being only one year older.
-This movie ends with Margaret Thatcher (played by Janet Brown) talking to a parrot that she thinks is James Bond.
This movie seriously lacks dramatic tension. I completely forgot about the main ATAC plotline. I like Melina pretty well, even if her dialogue never feels particularly convincing. The Kristatos twist was neat, even if he was pretty bland again, and we only see him as the villain for about thirty minutes. And, starting with the underwater stuff, I just started to check out of this movie again. I had heard so much about Moore’s films being odd, but this middle set of three, from Spy Who Loved Me to For Your Eyes Only, have actually mostly been pretty bland and boring, although I have liked Moore. Moore, Melina as a character, and Columbo carry the good parts of this movie that I will score it pretty close to Spy Who Loved Me, but a little bit lower. 006/0010.
TJ Hizer Will Return With: *heavy sigh* Octopussy (Not great)
References For Your Eyes Only Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For_Your_Eyes_Only_(film) Bernard Lee Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Lee For Your Eyes Only Gadgets Page on Universal Exports http://www.universalexports.net/Movies/eyesonly-gadgets.shtml Photo Credits Cover Photo http://www.denofgeek.us/sites/denofgeekus/files/2/06/for-your-eyes-only-james-bond-poster.jpg Roger Moore with Carole Bouquet https://cdn1.thr.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gallery_landscape_1296x730/2017/05/ForYourEyes_Only_8384H2017.jpg Kristatos http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/jamesbond/images/6/61/Aris_Kristatos_%28Julian_Glover%29_-_Profile.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20130506203035 Melina Eyes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ghd7xz4AcqU Melina with Crossbow https://imagesvc.timeincapp.com/v3/mm/image?url=https%3A%2F%2Fewedit.files.wordpress.com%2F2015%2F01%2F143538__bouquet_l.jpg%3Fw%3D400&w=700&q=85https://imagesvc.timeincapp.com/v3/mm/image?url=https%3A%2F%2Fewedit.files.wordpress.com%2F2015%2F01%2F143538__bouquet_l.jpg%3Fw%3D400&w=700&q=85 Q in a beard http://cdn3.bigcommerce.com/s-8ntcmm28/product_images/uploaded_images/desmond-llewelyn-q-james-bond.png Columbo http://www.bondsuits.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Columbo-Blazer.jpg Identograph http://www.jamesbondlifestyle.com/sites/default/files/styles/fancybox_popup/public/images/product/al022-philips-p430-computer-identigraph-for-your-eyes-only.jpg?itok=L6WISJhJ Diving Suithttp://www.universalexports.net/Movies/Graphics/12-images/diversuit.jpg Paranoid Android https://i.pinimg.com/originals/04/38/70/043870751da7d69d4ab3fa4dd12a4aa0.jpg