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Friday 10 April 2015

Burl reviews For Your Eyes Only! (1981)

Ha ha, Burl here! It’s not a very controversial position, but Roger Moore has always been my least favourite Bond! (I’ve liked him elsewhere though, like in ffolkes! Ha ha, ffolkes!) However, his were the ones I sort of came of age with, as it were, so there’s still plenty of extratextual enjoyment for a guy like me! I’ve always thought of For Your Eyes Only as the “good” late-Moore, even though Octopussy is the one of which I am truly fondest, the Walken/Jones evil team and their blimp in A View To A Kill notwithstanding!
But it was For Your Eyes Only I recently rewatched, and though it wasn’t quite as serious-minded as I remembered, it was hardly the gagfest that was its immediate antecedent, Moonraker! I remembered it better through its Mad Magazine parody than through the movie itself! But it wasn’t a standout in any way, just one of the acceptably decent ones in the middle of the pack!
It opens with a pretty good remote-control helicopter scene, then shows us the fate of a British spy ship which pulls a mine up in its fishing nets! Ha ha, boom, and the McGarnigle of this film, The ATAC System! Everyone wants The ATAC System, and it seems that a beautiful lady’s parents are killed about it, and then she, being half Greek, is seeking vengeance as Bond is trying to beat a legion of swarthy Greek toughs and an East German supermen to the prize, The ATAC System!
Lynn Holly-Johnson from Alien Predators is a childlike figure skater who develops an old-man crush on Bond! Julian Glover from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is the initially friendly fellow who may be more nefarious than he appears! And Michael Gothard from Lifeforce (a picture I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed for you yet) is skulking around everywhere, wearing little glasses and causing mischief, and eventually meeting a curiously satisfying fate! And Bond’s ally in the last third of the picture is Topol, whom we know from Flash Gordon, deedle-deedle-dum, and who munches incessantly on some kind of nuts through every one of his scenes!
It’s on the whole pretty simple for a Bond movie, and unusually unambitious! But that works in its favor too – the stakes are mentioned at one point, and while they weren’t low (bad guys could use The ATAC System to shoot off the UK sub fleet’s own missiles at her own cities!) they are not worried over, or even mentioned, thereafter! It’s kind of nice, especially for this period, that the very planet itself isn’t in danger, and that whatever the case nobody was much worried about it! Ha ha!
It was John Glen’s first movie as a director, ha ha, and that must have been a bit of a trial by fire! It’s a pretty big picture to start off with, and maybe that’s why the results are a bit workaday! It’s certainly better than many of the movies, but it doesn’t take many risks either, and so its failures are not spectacular! The scene on the mountainside is pretty good, though spatially it didn’t make much sense! Well, ha ha, it’s Bond, what can you do! I guess after some thought, and taking into consideration that it never subjects us to that Southern sheriff guy, I’m going to award For Your Eyes Only one and a half yellow Citröens!


  1. No mention of the whiniest Bond theme song ever, courtesy of Sheena Easton? Really sets the scene for a movie that's incredibly average, but probably better than the Sean Connery comeback the same year.

    Oh, and "Blofeld" dropped down a chimney - wonder how they got him back out for Spectre this year? Will Daniel Craig get that delicatessen in stainless steel?

    1. Ha ha! I forgot about the stainless steel deli! And I take back what I said about Octopussy being my favourite Moore Bond picture! It's really terrible!