Movie Review: FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Moonraker was literally out of this world for the Bond franchise, so when 1981’s For Your Eyes Only was released it came as no surprise that this story would be more grounded. Roger Moore’s fifth turn as 007 had a lot more in common with early Connery-Bond, than it did with his own first four flicks. That isn’t to say that FYEO doesn’t engage in the usual Moore hi-jinx… we will talk about the parrot later.

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My FYEO Notes:

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Bond’s coolest moment? In typical “Roger Moore is James Bond” fashion, even when in danger he stays as cool as a cucumber. Case in point, when being chased by baddies he still makes time to look out of the car window and give them a double-take/nod.

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? Getting sexually harassed by the teen figure skater. Just how old is Bibi Dahl (yes, I know, that name!) supposed to be exactly?

Bond’s best line? “Yes. Well, you get your clothes on… and I’ll buy you an ice cream.” When Bibi tells him she isn’t a virgin.

Best acting performance? Topol! Topol is absolutely killing it here. Columbo is the most interesting character in the entire film. This might include James. 

Bond’s #MeToo #TimesUp moment? Shockingly enough, there isn’t one. He treats Melina with respect. Has some feelings for Lisl. Bond gets the reverse treatment from Bibi Dahl though, as stated above under embarrassing moment.

Worst line in the movie? Without a doubt it’s “I’ll buy you a delicatessen! In stainless steel!” from Blofeld in the pre-title sequence.

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 97th time? One of Gonzalez’s henchmen is the same stunt actor who James Brolin had his Octopussy fight audition with. 

Best action sequence? Willy Bogner and his crew did some fantastic work with the skiing scenes. For me, it’s the only time Bill Conti’s score really comes alive. 

Who or what is the title song about? Sheena Easton (who is the only Bond singer ever to be shown during the song/credits) sings about how much she loves James and how she is all his. 

Best looking cinematic moment? Like I mentioned earlier, the skiing scenes in Cortina are beautiful. It’s got a “Bond goes to the Winter Olympics” feel. 

How could the villain have succeeded? Kristatos, aside from being one of the dullest Bond villains ever, ruins a cool way to kill Bond/Melina. Dragging them across the ocean bit is sinister, but he easily assumes they have either drowned or that the sharks have quickly eaten them up. 

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? There was some serious thought that Roger Moore wouldn’t return. Timothy Dalton’s name was mentioned as a possible replacement. There are elements of this film that suit his Bond quite well.

Does Bond ever think he might die? I don’t know if the character does, but Roger Moore certainly does when he is climbing that mountain in Greece at the end. Tom Cruise he is not. 

What would have made the movie better? Making Columbo the real villain since he is actually interesting. Dropping the whole Bibi Dahl subplot. 

What’s in a name? James Bond keeps his name when he tells Lisl (played by Cassandra Harris, the late wife of Pierce Brosnan) that he is a writer researching Greek smugglers for his next novel. 

What’s in a title? “For Your Eyes Only” comes from an Ian Fleming short story. 

Drinking game: Take a shot of Ouzo every time Max (the parrot) speaks.

“WTF?!” moment: The Columbo-Kristatos fight at the climax of FYEO has aggressively bad film editing continuity.

Fun fact: Just in case Moore didn’t return, the opening at the graveyard of Bond’s wife Tracy was to establish that this character has always been the same man. Codename theorists begone! 

Overall ranking: 16th out of 24.

Review synopsis: For Your Eyes Only has some terrific action set pieces, and an espionage tale worthy of classic Fleming. The tonal shifts are the biggest issue. This is the least campy of the Roger Moore era, yet we still have to deal with Bibi and Max and a Margaret Thatcher impersonator! However, it is a nice film-palette cleanser sandwiched between Moonraker and Octopussy.

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