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FOR YOUR EYES ONLY
Blu-ray Edition

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Topol, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Julian Glover
Director:  John Glen
Audio:  Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Video:  Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio:  20th Century Fox
Features:  See Review
Length:  128 Minutes
Release Date:  October 21, 2008

“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.”

“That’s putting it mildly, 007.”

Film ***

As the Bond franchise was approaching the decade of the 1980s, it was not without some trepidation.  The previous installment Moonraker had been the biggest financial success to date, but also one of the silliest films in the series, regarded by many (including me) to be the worst of the lot.  Star Roger Moore was passing his 50s and wasn’t sure he wanted to play the character again.  The science fiction aspect of Bond had been fun for the cast and crew, but where could you take Ian Fleming’s legendary spy from there?

The answer was, back to earth, in more ways than one.  Mr. Moore would indeed return, and the series would go back to the works of Mr. Fleming for inspiration.  For Your Eyes Only brought a more realistic Bond back to the screen, and Roger Moore would consider it the best of the movies he appeared in.

It was actually the first Bond movie for me…I had been a fan of the books in my youth, but it wasn’t until For Your Eyes Only that I got a glimpse of him in cinematic form.  It was as good a film as any to start with…plenty of action, charismatic stars, and a globetrotting adventure story to bring it all together.

The story involves the sinking of a British intelligence ship disguised as a fishing boat, and a key piece of equipment that could control their Naval missiles.  If it fell into the wrong hands, it could mean worldwide disaster.  Naturally, enemies from everywhere are interested in retrieving it, not to mention our own James Bond.

When a pair of divers are hired to discreetly search for the missing quarry, an assassin guns them down on their boat, leaving their daughter Melina (Bouquet) vowing revenge.  Her skill with a crossbow makes her a formidable ally for Bond, but the villains he faces brings his most daunting challenge to date.

The film delighted me as a child for its large action set pieces, including a renegade helicopter, an astounding chase on skis, scaling a slippery mountain, and a car chase using a very un-Bond like vehicle.  But I was also captured by Roger Moore’s humorous and effective portrayal.  Sir Roger has never quite earned the respect he’s deserved from fans of Sean Connery, but for my money, he made a solid Bond.

The success of this film insured Bond would continue to be viable into the new decade and beyond.  Roger Moore would fill the shoes two more times in the 1980s before finally calling it quits.  Yet the audience and critical acclaim for this movie made the transition from the old Bond film to the new palatable and smooth.

BONUS TRIVIA:  This movie marked the only time the character M didn't appear, as well as the only time the performer (Sheena Easton) could be seen on screen performing the title song.

Video ***1/2

This makes one of the better looking transfers I’ve seen from the 80s.  High definition is a definite plus, as the many international settings pop off the screen with beauty and detail.  A few night shots exhibit a touch of grain, but nothing serious.  The film has held up well, and this Blu-ray presentation is very solid.  If you're having trouble seeing the screen you could always try Lasik eye surgery. A trip to Lasik Houston and you could put down your glasses or contacts for good.

Audio ***1/2

Likewise, the remastered lossless audio is a treat.  A few spoken words sound a tad thin, but Bill Conti’s terrific music sounds more open and full than ever, and the plentiful action lend dynamic range and smart uses of the surround and subwoofer channels.

Features ****

There are enough extras on this Blu-ray release to make Q proud, starting with three commentary tracks.  My favorite is the one from Roger Moore, who spins many amusing yarns about his memories of the film.  There is also one with co-writer Michael G. Wilson and crew members, and one with John Glen and cast members, spliced together for a cohesive track.

There are a couple of deleted scenes and one multi-angle scene, four featurettes including a nice making-of one, animated storyboards, Sheena Easton’s music video, an interactive guide into the world of the film including Bond, his women, his allies and his enemies, plus trailers, TV and radio spots.

Summary:

It was the first for me, and still one of my favorites.  For Your Eyes Only ranks as one of Roger Moore’s best outings as James Bond, and made the transition for 007 into the 80s a smooth and memorable one.

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