Over the last several months, members of the CBn Forum have been reviewing all the James Bond 007 films in the “Countdown Threads“. If you wish to join in on the forum discussion all you have to do is register. Now here are some selected reviews, varying in opinion, of For Your Eyes Only…
‘For Your Eyes Only’ by Turn
This film was touted at the time as being the film that would bring Bond back down to earth after Moonraker and he did — with a thud.
For Your Eyes Only follows the trend began in The Spy Who Loved Me where EON began recycling popular elements of previous films on a consistent basis — underwater scenes, check; ski/snow scene, check; car chase, check; Bond hanging from great heights scenes, check; Bond pursuing a piece of equipment that could have catastrophic results if it falls into the wrong hands, check.
For Your Eyes Only is such a deliberate reaction to the over-the-top Moonraker that it tries too hard and a lot of the fun from that film is lost. They decided to drop the exotic sets and effects in favor of stunts. That would have been fine, but compared to another stunt-filled movie that came out that year, Raiders of the Lost Ark, For Your Eyes Only looks lame.
The underwater scenes are particularly boring. It always amuses me when people complain about Thunderball‘s underwater scenes being slow, especially in the final battle in comparison to this. At least there were interesting visuals and things going on there. Hearing Moore make lame jokes (even after he says not to speak to conserve air) and disconnecting wires is not my idea of fun. Possibly the slowest stretch of any Bond film outside of the San Francisco scenes in A View To A Kill for me. And what point did that mad scientist guy in the other attacking sub serve? Overkill.
The villains are some of the least intersting ever. Kristatos isn’t my least favorite villain, but he’s not a great baddie by any stretch. The blood feud with Columbo is okay, but not that involving. Locque and Kriegler are basically Red Grant variations.
I’ve grown to like the Melina character a little more over the years. She looks especially nice in the scenes in the sleigh in Cortina. But this has my vote for the least sexiest Bond film ever. You see Bond and Melina at a motel early on, but it seems like they probbly stayed in separate rooms.
And why does the Bibi Dahl character exist at all? She does nothing to move the story along, save that she is practicing in Cortina, giving Bond an excuse to go there to visit Kristatos. Moore’s interaction with her is cute, but this is a Bond movie. If it was Connery’s Bond, it may have been a different story.
I like Moore’s performance, and the Columbo character, the last time Bond had a good older figue type aiding him. And I really like Conti’s music, another case where fans either love it or hate it. It beats Arnold’s last 2 scores as well as Sera and Kamen. That aside, this is the most overrated film in Bond fandom.
‘For Your Eyes Only’ by Janus Assassin
For me it is For Your Eyes Only. There are many things that contribute to why I don’t like this film. The PTS was kinda dumb with a man that we think is Blofeld controlling a helicopter.
The plot… The ATAC was to control Polaris submarines to attack it’s own nation and Allies… why would you want to destroy your own nations and allies. Made no sense to me… maybe thats just me.
The little yellow car was probably the worst chase scene I had ever seen. EVER! The Lotus should not have blown up… otherwise it would have been a cool chase scene with a cool car Bond style. Watching that was like watching Bond drive a Pinto.
Bibi Dahl… Bond should know better not to get involved with spoiled teenage figure skaters. Although she was hot.
The music was even worse that Eric Serra’s GoldenEye score.
I did like Moore’s performance… Columbo was a good ally and the ski chases were not too bad. But this was a film in which individual scenes were better than the whole.
‘For Your Eyes Only’ by booyeah_
The film starts off rather weakly with a poor conclusion(or is it?) to the Blofeld saga, but is followed by the start of an adventurous Cold War thriller. The weapon system known as ATAC is lost at sea and a MI6 agent and scientist is killed by a Cuban hitman. Bond confronts Gonzalez but is bested by Melina Havelock, who seeks revenge for her father’s death. A lively exciting chase pursues afterwards with an unusual small car. Bond identifies Locque and leaves for Cortina where he meets Kristatos, an informer. Bond mingles with Kristatos’ protege, Bibi, who he turns down due to age. Soon he is under assault from Locque and Bibi’s boyfriend Kriegler, which results in the most innovative, thrilling and exciting snow chases ever in cinema history. Bond dodges another group of attackers to find Ferrara, a local agent, dead with Colombo’s symbol on his body. After Columbo, James Bond finds Melina and uses a game of baccarat to identify Colombo’s mistress, Lisl, and charms her into bed. On the beach the next morning, the couple is attacked by Locque, only to be captured by the of men bearing Colombo’s symbol. On board the Colombina , Columbo tells Bond that Kristatos is the true danger as he is a heroin dealing double agent working secretly for the KGB. After a raid on Kristatos’ warehouse and an attempt to explore the ruins of the ATAC’s carrier ship, Bond is captured by Kristatos and the Live And Let Die novel sequence of Melina/007 being dragged through water was perfectly executed and is a highlight of the series. The film climaxed with a raid on Kristatos’ mountain home featuring impressive climbing stunts and fights with Kriegler.
For Your Eyes Only marks Roger Moore’s finest hour as James Bond. With a smart but not humourless script, Bond is more of a gentleman assassin than cookie cutter action star. I cant help but cheer every time I see Locque die by car crash. Just as impressive as Mr. Moore’s performance is that of the supporting cast. Topol is perfect as a criminal smuggler turned enemy of my enemy to Bond. Carole Bouquet was stunning and believable as a woman searching for revenge. Julian Glover is also fantastic as a villain who is a wolf masked in sheep’s clothing.
And the Margret Thatcher impression at the end was quite funny.
‘For Your Eyes Only’ by Double-Oh-Zero
After Moonraker, Bond comes back down to reality.
But he goes waaayyyy down. The film is a crashing bore, and Kristatos is probably the most unmemorable villain of the entire series. In addition, the Bond Girl here is just…unremarkable. Save for the ski chase, the film is lacking in any notable scenes or sequences.
Not recommended for use with heavy machinery.
‘For Your Eyes Only’ by DLibrasnow
There wasn’t much further 007 could go as far as sci-fi wizardry and fantastic characters after the cartoonish Moonraker that had seen James Bond propelled into space.
What was called for was a ‘back to basics’ approach that emphasized realism, exotic locations, less gadgetry, down to earth villains and a return to the ruthlessness that Roger Moore had exhibited in movies such as The Man With The Golden Gun and The Spy Who Loved Me. What better way for the filmakers to return Bond to his roots than to tap into original Fleming source material.
Taking characters and situations from the Fleming novel For Your Eyes Only, but also the keel-hauling sequence from Live And Let Die writers Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson wove together a complex and enticing cold war spy drama that included some of the staple setpieces underwater and on the slopes that had served the character so well in the past.
As the late John Brosnan noted in his review of the movie this production is essentially one long chase, but in the one solitary tip of the hat to the fantastic plots of the previous two movies, here the stakes could not be higher. Those stakes are the fate of all the British nuclear missiles in the polaris fleet. Forget the kidnapping of a few nuclear warheads in previous movies, here the balance of nuclear brinksmanship is at risk and ultimately the fate of the world.
This movie sports several of my favorite characters from the entire EON canon. Topol plays a brilliant, amiable Greek smuggler named Columbo and the good natured trust and friendship between him and Roger Moore’s James Bond is clearly evident in every scene they share together. Noted British television actor Julian Glover plays Greek mercenary and chief villain Kristatos and I love the understated mannerisms and menace that literally oozes from every line. The movie also has one of the series most beautiful women with the appealing Carole Bouquet and this particular Bond fan had a huge crush on Lynn Holly Johnson who portrayed the chipper Bibi Dahl. Add these elements together and place it against the backdrop of the Italian Alps and the Adriatic and you have one of the best entries in the series.
‘For Your Eyes Only’ by Harmsway
It’s usually hailed as one of the greats in the series, but I find it to be bland and boring.
It’s Glen’s directoral debut, and his direction is incredibly lacklustre (as it is throughout all his films). The action is slow (the ski chases have been done before and better in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and The Spy Who Loved Me) The story is incredibly uninspiring, using characters that illicit little emotional response as either heroes or villains. Not to mention that incredibly DREADFUL score.
‘For Your Eyes Only’ by Freemo
Well made, “good”, but dull and uninviting. Supposably a “return to Fleming”, but I don’t recall Fleming ever being dull and uninviting. Nothing from it particularly sticks out as memorable, which is such a rarity for Bond films. Sandwiched in the middle of the Moore years, but particularly in the spirit of his tenure. The car chase at the start is great, and the rock climbing at the end is one of the more suspense filled Bond scene, but between those two highlights lies a alot of tedium and plodding around. Fine, but very unmemorable.
‘For Your Eyes Only’ by Qwerty
This is a good film, do not get me wrong, but it’s just not a great film. I often see Roger Moore said to be giving his best performance in For Your Eyes Only, but I partially disagree. Sure it’s a fine performance, but I don’t see much wrong with The Spy Who Loved Me or Live And Let Die performances then for example.
Melina Havelock is an average Bond girl, and while Carole Bouquet is nice looking, I don’t think I liked her character as much as I used to. Just doesn’t seem to have as big an impact as other Bond girls, but she is no means bad.
The plot is good, but the ATAC just doesn’t seem to evoke enough danger as alot of the previous James Bond film plots have.
Kristatos, Claus, Kriegler, Locque, and all the others make for some good villains, but not stand-outs. It was a step down from Moonraker, but was it too big a step?
That said, I like Conti’s effort to the film and Sheena Easton contributes a very nice title song.
‘For Your Eyes Only’ by tdalton
For Your Eyes Only was by far the best of the Roger Moore Bond films. Granted, The Spy Who Loved Me was a good film, but when stacked up against For Your Eyes Only, it pales by comparison. Roger Moore stumbled out of the gate with Live And Let Die and the awful The Man With The Golden Gun, gained some swagger with The Spy Who Loved Me, and faltered again with Moonraker. For Your Eyes Only, however, was the only movie in the Moore Era that resembled a true Bond film, one that harkened back to the Connery Era and even the Lazenby Experiment.
Roger Moore turns in his best performance as James Bond in this film. For once, he is not jokey, but is instead dead serious, and this comes across well on the screen. If ony all his Bond films had been like this.
As the producers decided to reel in the fantasy of Moonraker, this creates more realisitc and more interesting villians. Kristatos is one of the more memorable Bond villians simply because he is a real, flesh and blood, human being. There is a very real and understandable reason why he and Columbo hate eachother. It is this type of feud that the Bond films need more of, rather than the larger than life Bond villian who wants to destroy the world.
The plot is a simple one. A British decoder is stolen from a British ship. Bond is charged by the Defense Minister to find the device and who took it, as well as finding who murdered the Havelocks in order to recover the device. This type of plot is a far cry from the space exploits that Bond engaged in during the previous film.
The smaller scale approach works better here than does the larger scale approach when it comes to the plot and the locations of the film. Bond proved in Moonraker that space is the one place where he should not go. The locations of For Your Eyes Only, while still exotic, are some of the better ones in the series. The climb up the Meteora in the film’s climax is much more suspenseful than Bond piloting a space ship. It is very well done, with the audience kept on the edge of their seat as Bond climbs very slowly up the face of the mountain where Kristatos is hiding, trying not to be seen by the guards as well as trying not to fall to his death.
The car chase towards the beginnning of the film is also another high point. Bond is forced to rely more on his driving abilities rather than gadgets after his Lotus is destroyed. It was good to see that Bond still had the ability to elude the bad guys on his own, after the few previous films where we had seen Bond rely more on his gadgets than his wits.
Carole Bouquet’s Melina Havelock is also one of the finest Bond heroines in the series. She’s tough, and she hangs with Bond every step of the way. Her sidequest to kill her parents’ killers is very riveting, and gives her more depth than your average Bond girl who is just there to be eye candy for the audience as Bond runs around trying to save the world yet again.
Musically, For Your Eyes Only is a very solid film. The musical score continues to reflect the style of the time, but it is still quite good and very Bondian. The title track by Sheena Easton is one of, if not the, best in the series and perfectly fits the film.