With just a couple of weeks until Skyfall is released – 26th October in the UK – I still have quite a few Bond films to watch. After watching A View to a Kill I have now left the Roger Moore series behind, with Timothy Dalton now taking the helm.
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Director: John Glen
James Bond: Roger Moore
Notable villain(s): Aristotle Krisatatos
Notable Bond girl(s): Melina Havelock
Admittedly, I have taken a while to write up this review but when thinking about this film the only thing I can vividly remember is the incredibly catchy (well, to me anyway) theme song. After refreshing myself on Wikipedia and IMDb I remember one of the reasons I didn’t enjoy this film… Forgive me for saying so if you’re her greatest fan but I just didn’t like Melina Havelock. I wasn’t particularly a fan of Bibi Dahl either.
I think this is the first film where I thought that Moore was perhaps getting slightly too old to fill 007’s boots. Moore would have been in his mid-50s during filming and his age becomes more noticeable when he’s surrounded by scantily clad beauties less than half his age. The usual Bond charm falls very flat, and there is very little, if any, chemistry between Moore and Carole Bouquet (Melina).
Bond’s mission – to retrieve the control console from a ship sunk in the Aegean – sees him in everything from crystal clear waters to snow caps mountains. Unfortunately, the mission and plot didn’t really appeal to me. I put this down to the fact that I didn’t like Melina and Bibi. A redeeming factor, for me, are the rather fun chases, a particularly notable being when Bond taking the wheel of a Citroën 2CV and shows his pursuers a thing or two about driving.
After the disappointment of Melina Havelock and Bibi Dahl the legion of Bond girls redeem themselves with the (re)appearance of Maud Adams as Octopussy. Adams, who previously starred as Scaramanga’s mistress in The Man with the Golden Gun, returns as a jewel smuggler and circus owner who lives a life of luxury in a floating palace in Udaipur, India.
Before I write anymore I think I should reveal that I watched this film over two nights. Perhaps I did start watching it too late but, at 131 minutes, it is a very long film. There are elements that I liked about this film, but it is let down by the fact that it is has a complicated plot. The film starts with Bond being shown a fake Fabergé egg, which then leads to him attending an auction to buy the genuine article. The plot thickens, with Bond having to work out what part everyone he meets plays in this world of smuggling, nuclear terror and deceit.
So, with seven films as 007 under his belt, Moore calls it quit after A View to A Kill, my highest rated Moore film after The Man with the Golden Gun. This time around the action brings Moore face-to-face with Max Zorin (Christopher Walken), a microchip industrialist with a penchant for racehorses and terrorism.
I wasn’t enamoured with this film, but the reason I’ve given it this score and not something lower is down to two things: Christopher Walken and Grace Jones. From the moment the deliciously Eighties theme songs kicks in accompanying the equally flamboyant opening credits, you know that 007 has well and truly embraced the new decade.
Jones’ May Day is physically impressive and loyal, an intimidating character that contrasts greatly with the likes of Octopussy and Melina Havelock. May Day means business, and she presents a greater challenge to Bond than any of the previous Bond girls ever has. Walken’s Zorin has also upped the stakes, with his brand of terrorism somewhat more disturbed and slick than 007’s previous adversaries.
Current order of preference: Goldfinger, Thunderball, The Man with the Golden Gun, You Only Live Twice, Dr. No, A View to a Kill, Octopussy, The Spy Who Loved Me, Live and Let Die, Diamonds Are Forever, From Russia With Love, For Your Eyes Only, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and, in last place, Moonraker.
You can read all my mini reviews and posts in my Bondathon series here.