For Your Eyes Only appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. One of the best-looking Bond transfers, this one almost always offered terrific visuals.
Only minor softness ever affected the movie. The vast majority of the flick came across as crisp and taut, and I thought those sporadic issues with definition were brief and fairly insignificant. No problems with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement appeared minimal. As with the other Bond Ultimate Editions, this one 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 very pleased with this fine transfer.
The audio of For Your Eyes Only also proved satisfying. As with the other Bond Ultimate Editions, this one featured Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks. Both sounded identical to me.
The mixes did a nice job of opening up the sound 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 “Ultimate Edition” compare to those of the original 1999 special edition? The audio was essentially the same, but the visuals demonstrated significant improvements. The UE looked tighter, brighter and cleaner. It was a substantial step up in quality.
The UE offers all the same extras as the prior release along with some new ones. I’ll mark this package’s exclusives with an asterisk, so if you fail to see a star, the component also appeared on the original set.
On DVD One, 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 wheel to get a head of steam. Despite the lulls, this is another generally enjoyable visit with the actor.
Over on DVD Two, 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 DVD 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, and this isn't a great DVD, 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 DVD features
Should folks who already own the prior release pursue this Ultimate Edition? Yes, as the UE presents significantly improved visuals along with a few tasty new extras. This is a good little upgrade.
Note that this “Ultimate Edition” of For Your Eyes Only can be purchased only as part of “The Ultimate James Bond Collection Volume Three”. This five-movie set also includes On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Live and Let Die, From Russia With Love, and GoldenEye.