Anthony's Film Review
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
A down-to-earth Bond that restores the element of suspense...
For Your Eyes Only is literally a down-to-earth Bond movie since Moonraker, the preceding Bond movie, ended with 007 many miles above Earth. After four films, Roger Moore portrays James Bond with only a little bit of the humor that he initially brought into the role and shows more of his darker side. The film goes back to the suspense that the early films emphasized and even goes back to what made Ian Fleming's Bond novels the thrillers they are. Plenty of elements in the movie are taken from the Ian Fleming book of the same name, unlike some other Bond films that use only Fleming's titles.
The story begins with the sinking of the St. Georges spy ship disguised as a fishing boat. On it is the ATAC missile control console, which competing superpowers would love to have their hands on. This already makes the story more related to the ongoing Cold War at the time. What is interesting is that General Gogol, seen as an ally with England in The Spy Who Loved Me, has turned his back on an ally for once as he shows desire for the ATAC. Obviously, it is James Bond's job to find out who wants the ATAC and prevent it from going into the wrong hands.
The main Bond girl is Melina Havelock, played by French actress Carole Bouquet. She is a stunning Bond girl, with a ruthless hatred underneath the beautiful exterior. Melina is a woman who is independent and not simply a bedmate for Bond. In fact, she and Bond kiss only at the end of the movie and not before. My biggest complaint, however, is the character of Bibi Dahl, not really because she's so young, but mainly because she has no purpose in the plot. The story would likely be the same even without her.
As for the action in For Your Eyes Only, I thought it was great without resorting to being unusual. It puts Bond in dangerous situations and make one realize that even he is vulnerable to an untimely death. Whether he is riding on the side of an out-of-control helicopter or skiing with two motorcyclists behind him, Bond is not entirely fearless. You can feel the tension when he is trying to save himself. As for the climax, there isn't a large-scale action scene, but it still ends the story nicely.
The film works well because there is a downplay of silliness and a return to the classic thriller. Roger Moore is also the reason for the film being a good one. Even when he makes witty one-liners, he has a serious tone to it. This is probably the way he should have portrayed James Bond from the start, but it's OK. For Your Eyes Only represents another high point among Moore's seven Bonds. No matter how much or how little gadgets are used, James Bond will always be an international hero.
For more information about For Your Eyes Only, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my reviews of the following:
Official James Bond Films
Unofficial James Bond Films