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John Glen
Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Topol, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Julian Glover, Cassandra Harris, Jill Bennett, Michael Gothard, John Wyman, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn
Writing Credits:
Ian Fleming (stories, "For Your Eyes Only", "Risico"), Richard Maibaum, Michael G. Wilson

Bond Has Everything - James Bond Agent 007 Is Back.

A British spy trawler is accidentally sunk off the coast of a Warsaw pact county. On board is a hi-tech encryption device called an ATAC which the British use to send launch instructions to their Polaris fleet. The British send agent James Bond to investigate but once the Soviets learn of the loss the race is on to recover the device at any cost.

Box Office:
$28 million.
Opening Weekend
$6.834 million on 952 screens.
Domestic Gross
$54.812 million.

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Mandarin Chinese
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 130 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 10/21/2008

• Audio Commentary with Director John Glen, Actors Lynn-Holly Johnson and Topol, and Publicity Director Jerry Juroe
• Audio Commentary with Executive Producer Michael Wilson, Skiing Expert Willy Bogner, Production Designer Peter Lamont, 2nd Unit Director Arthur Wooster, Camera Operator Alec Mills, Assistant Neil Lamont, Producer’s Wife Dana Broccoli, Stunt Coordinators George Leech and Martin Grace, and Composer Bill Conti
• Audio Commentary with Actor Roger Moore
• Deleted Scenes and Expanded Angles
• “Bond In Greece” Featurette
• “Bond In Cortina” Featurette
• “Neptune’s Journey” Featurette
• 007 Mission Control Interactive Guide
• “Inside For Your Eyes Only” Documentary
• Animated Storyboards
• Photo Galleries
• Music Video
• Trailer
• TV Spots
• Radio Spots


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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For Your Eyes Only [Blu-Ray] (1981)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 31, 2010)

What an odd situation: a lead actor who's afraid of heights, but his role depicts him as he hangs off the side of a cliff. We also get lead actress who can't dive due to physical issues, but her role shows her in multiple underwater deep-sea scenes. How does all this work out in the end? Via some serious movie magic, all of which results in an above-average Bond film, 1981's For Your Eyes Only.

The twelfth picture in the series, Eyes had the producers regrouping to a degree. The previous entry - 1979's Moonraker - took the already-outlandish Bond series to new heights of cartoonishness. Although it did quite well financially, the producers clearly recognized that they could not continue to escalate Bond's adventures along this level, so they decided to scale things back to a great degree for Eyes, one of the most intimate Bond pictures in years.

Not that anyone will mistake Eyes for My Dinner With Andre, of course. "Small scale" in regard to Bond means 1000 extras instead of 5000. This picture contained all of the usual spills and thrills of a Bond film; it just wasn't anywhere near as "over the top" as the previous few releases.

It's a refreshing change, though not one I welcomed at the time. I was 14 when Eyes came out, and I really looked forward to it. As I recall, I thought it was decent but a disappointment after the outrageousness of Moonraker.

My perspective on Bond has changed a lot over the last few decades, and I have very different feelings about the series. For one, I accept the truth that Connery blows away Moore. Although I saw them different at the time, I now think Eyes is much better than Moonraker. While Eyes isn't a great Bond film, it's above average, especially for the entries during the Moore years.

Admittedly, that's faint praise. The truth is that I didn't think Eyes was a particularly good film. It certainly doesn't compare to the Connery pictures, 2006’s Casino Royale or even Pierce Brosnan's best Bonds. Still, Eyes offers enough excitement and fun to make it worth watching.

I was actually surprised how much I liked some of the action scenes in Eyes. The Bond series has become so formulaic that I almost glaze over when the requisite chase segment starts, but that didn't happen here. Eyes contains two such bits: one car chase and a ski pursuit. The former gets a clever and entertaining twist due to the auto in which Bond finds himself contained: a Citroen 2CV, a Euro-crap-mobile that looks a lot like a Beetle, and probably drives even more slowly. Putting Bond behind the wheel of that clunker makes for a wonderful change of pace since usually these scenes exist solely to spotlight the various gadgets with which "Q" has outfitted Bond's newest screamer. In this case, Bond has to rely on his wits and his driving skills to escape, and it's great fun to watch this happen.

The skiing scene is even better. Bond finds himself under pursuit at a winter sports complex, and we see him skiing on slopes, across tables, through a bobsled course, and over a ski jump. All the while, he's pursued by creeps on motorcycles. The bobsled segment's the capper; it's funny and thrilling all at once. The Bond series made much of its name on its stunts, and these are some of the best.

One other happy deviation from the usual formula is the ending assault. Moonraker uses the "D-day" model and shows about eight billion good guys attacking a similar number of baddies. As a result, we see Bond wind his way through these folks until he finally saves the day. I'm not terribly fond of these "epic" endings; they're just so frantic and confused that the large scale can't make up for their messiness.

In Eyes, the filmmakers wisely pare things down to a more sensible level. The conclusion features Bond and only about five others who take on a small enclave of villains. I find that the more intimate scale heightens the excitement and makes the conclusion more satisfying.

So what flaws did I find? For one, our villain is extremely dull and lifeless. I like Julian Glover as an actor, but his Kristatos is simply a flat character. He seems vaguely based after Largo from Thunderball, which is a mistake. Largo was bland to begin with, and Kristatos is only a pale imitation of him. After the cartoony fun of "Jaws" in the previous two Bonds, I understand why the filmmakers wanted to make this villain more realistic, but this one case in which it didn't benefit the film; Kristatos is more bureaucrat than badass.

Quite possibly the worst thing about Eyes is the terrible score. Bill Conti - of Rocky’s "Gonna Fly Now" fame - provides an unpalatable mix of disco-inflected dreck. No, that's not just a reactionary "Disco sucks!" side popping up; it's a reactionary "Sucky scores that try to sound slick by using sucky disco suck!" side that provoked that sentiment. The music really dates the film and makes it less effective than a proper score would have. Half Quinn Martin, half bad Seventies porn flick, the score really stinks.

As a director, John Glen shows flair for the big action scenes but he doesn't seem quite sure what to do during the rest of the film. This results in a movie with an inconsistent pace and occasionally laborious "quiet" scenes. The directing has always been something of a negative for the Bonds. They seem to feature rather "utilitarian" directors and have rarely gone after anyone who possesses more than workmanlike skill behind the lens. As such, their work rarely escalates beyond the level of serviceable. While they don't necessarily hurt their films, they don't do much to make them special, either.

Carole Bouquet plays our leading lady, Melina. In keeping with the rest of the film, she's a bit darker and grittier than the average "Bond girl". One definitely senses that she can take care of herself. Actually, I think she rescues Bond as much as he rescues her, which is definitely a change from the usual "damsel in distress" Bond model.

Bouquet is decent in the role. She looks gorgeous - she has to be one of the prettiest Bond women ever - and she manages some intensity, but she seems fairly shallow at times. I'd still say she's one of the best Bond women, but I think much of that sentiment is due to the script. Bouquet doesn't do much to bring life to the role.

Maybe I’m too hard on For Your Eyes Only. It gets a lot of attention as one of the better Bond flicks, but I just don’t see it that way. This is an above-average movie but it doesn’t rank up there with the best Bonds.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus A-

For Your Eyes Only appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Not too many issues appeared here.

Softness was a mild issue. Some wide shots could look a bit tentative, and the movie sometimes lacked the superb definition I’ve come to expect of Blu-ray – and most of the other Bond flicks. Nonetheless, the image usually appeared concise and distinctive. Honestly, I’d bet that much of the light softness was intentional to attempt to hide Moore’s increasing level of wrinkles. No problems with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement appeared minimal. The image arrived free from any source flaws.

Colors worked well. The movie didn’t boast the broadest palette of any Bond flick, but it made good use of what it showed and presented consistently dynamic, vivid hues. Blacks were tight and rich, while shadows appeared appropriately smooth. A little “day for night” photography contributed some slightly dark sequences, but these weren’t problematic. All in all, I felt pleased with this fine transfer.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Eyes did a nice job of opening up the image. The audio spread neatly across the front three channels. It's well localized, and occasional effective pans occurred as well. The rear channels received sporadic use. For the most part, they broadcast music and periodic effects; the latter usually were monaural, but we did sometimes hear some good split surround usage, such as when helicopters flew across the rear soundstage. The five channels meshed together well to create a good sense of place and action.

Audio quality was a little inconsistent but acceptable for its age. Though speech occasionally showed a bit of edginess, the lines were usually concise and natural. Music presented good clarity but lacked much low-end; the score came across as surprisingly thin at times. Effects packed more of a punch and gave us good bass heft when necessary. A little distortion accompanied a few of the louder elements, but they generally seemed solid. Overall, I liked this track and thought it was well above-average for its era. Only the occasional distortion kept this strong mix from “A” level consideration.

How did the picture and audio of this Blu-ray compare to those of the 2006 Ultimate Edition? Both were already very good on the UE DVD, so they didn’t have a ton of room for improvement. The visuals demonstrated the usual step up in resolution, but I thought the DVD still looked pretty good. In fact, the higher potential definition of the Blu-ray made a few slightly soft shots more obvious, so the disc wasn’t a huge upgrade over the DVD. Oh, it looked better, but it didn’t blow away a already very positive DVD.

The Blu-ray offers all the same extras as the Ultimate Edition. We open with three separate audio commentaries. The first features director John Glen, actors Lynn-Holly Johnson and Topol, and publicity director Jerry Juroe. Narrated by David Naylor, all sit separately for this edited track. The piece looks at the creation of the opening sequence, cast and crew notes, locations and specifics of some action sequences, the use of gadgets and the film’s tone, and the atmosphere on the set.

This commentary provides a reasonably interesting look at the production, though it never becomes great. A little too much dead air occurs, and the tidbits also tend to become a bit off-topic. Rather than concentrate on shoot specifics, we hear a lot of general information about the participants and the tone of the shoot. There’s enough here to keep us involved, but not enough to make this a terrific track.

For the second commentary, we hear from executive producer Michael Wilson, skiing expert Willy Bogner, production designer Peter Lamont, 2nd unit director Arthur Wooster, camera operator Alec Mills, assistant Neil Lamont, stunt coordinators George Leech and Martin Grace, composer Bill Conti, and producer’s widow Dana Broccoli. Again narrated by Naylor, this piece looks at crew information, story and the movie’s darker tone, stunts and action sequences, locations and related concerns, effects, the title song and score, camerawork, and other production specifics.

Expect a track that bears a strong resemblance to its predecessor. Again we find a smattering of gaps, though this one doesn’t sag as much as the first commentary. We also get notes that focus more on general areas than on specifics, though again, this proves less problematic here. In addition to reflections on various participants, we find reasonably strong information about production challenges and solutions. This is probably a better commentary than the other one, though both have enough good moments to sustain us.

Finally, we get a running, screen-specific track with actor Roger Moore. He looks at some aspects of shooting the film but usually focuses on memories of cast and crew as well as connections to his other work. Sometimes I think Moore gives us more info about The Saint than he does Bond! I do like his remarks about how he now recognizes that Eyes attempted to step back from the gadget-crazy Bonds of the then-recent past but he didn’t notice this at the time.

If you’ve read my other reviews for Moore’s commentaries, you won’t find much to deviate here. This one features the usual patterns of highs and lows. Moore remains charming and amusing, but he goes silent quite a lot, and it takes him a little while to get a head of steam. Despite the lulls, this is another generally enjoyable visit with the actor.

We find four elements under Declassifed: MI6 Vault. We begin with a collection of Deleted Scenes and Expanded Angles. Glen introduces all three. We get two of the former via “Hockey 007 Style” (1:58) and “Joining Forces” (1:01). Both are pretty forgettable.

For the “Expanded Angles”, we look at “Death of Locque”. We can choose between the original scene, the expanded angle, and a “multi-angle” screen that shows both. The 44-second segment provides a decent glimpse of the cut snippets.

Three featurettes follow. Bond in Greece goes for five minutes, 56 seconds, and opens with narration from Wilson. We see shots from the Greek locations as Wilson provides background notes. Bond in Cortina runs four minutes, 18 seconds, and follows a similar approach. Both give us nice footage and insights.

Lastly, Neptune’s Journey gives us a three-minute and 33-second view of underwater photography. We find more narration from Wilson as he tells us about the challenges related to these shots. It’s another interesting piece.

With that we head to the 007 Mission Control Interactive Guide. This splits into components under seven different headings: “007”, “Women”, “Allies”, “Villains”, “Mission Combat Manual”, “Q Branch”, and “Exotic Locations”. An odd form of “greatest hits”, this simply presents a few selected scenes that match the topics.

One of the only interesting elements comes from the presentation of the opening credits without text (2:45). “Locations” (5:00) also gives us a narrated set of clips. Maud Adams chats over the scenes and tells us about the locations. That makes it more useful than the others since they just show snippets from the final film. The rest of the set is a waste of time.

Heading to Mission Dossier, we begin with the 29-minute and 45-second Inside For Your Eyes Only. The program mixes movie clips, archival elements and interviews. We hear from Glen, Moore, Wilson, Lamont, Wooster, Juroe, Dana Broccoli, Topol, Johnson, Grace, Bogner, stuntman Rick Sylvester, special effects engineer Chris Corbould, and special effects supervisor Derek Meddings.

While the presentation is somewhat scattershot - the piece skips from topic to topic with little logic - it's a decent little program. We get to see some good footage from the film's production and the interviews reveal a lot of interesting data and anecdotes about the project. It's not a great documentary, but it's still quite good.

Next come two sets of animated storyboards. One documents the original planning for the snowmobile/motorcycle chase (1:14), and the other shows the setup for the "retrieving the ATAC" scene (1:47). I'm not a big fan of storyboards, but these were fairly interesting.

We also see the music video for Sheena Easton's title song. This clip is really just a version of the film's opening title sequence without the text. Since the “Mission Dossier” also includes this, the video becomes redundant.

Some promotional materials also appear in this set. We get trailer and three TV spots. All four of these are pretty similar; they exhibit small differences, but nothing extraordinary. We also hear two radio spots for the film. These are brief and moderately intriguing.

Folks who like production stills will be happy, as this disc includes about 160 of them. They're filed under 15 separate categories. These are well-presented and mildly interesting.

While For Your Eyes Only isn't a great movie, it provides a level of overall good quality that makes it worthwhile. The film is pretty enjoyable despite some flaws, as it stands as one of the better Moore Bonds. The Blu-ray features very good picture and audio along with a strong roster of supplements. I find nothing about which I can complain here, as this is a fine release.

I’m not quite sure I can recommend a second purchase for fans who already have the 2006 Ultimate Edition DVD, though. The Blu-ray offers superior visuals, but it doesn’t provide a radical improvement over the very good DVD transfer. If you don’t own the UE, then the Blu-ray is the way to go, but otherwise it’s hard to justify the expense of the Blu-ray.

To rate this film visit the Ultimate Edition review of FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main