Monday, 20 June 2011

For Your Eyes Only (1981) - John Glen


Unlike the previous Bond film (Moonraker), I didn't see this at the cinema. Instead I saw it for the first time in that most 80's fashion - a pirate VHS copy. Of course it was awful quality and I think it was that that always made me think of this as one of the lesser Bonds. That along with the fact there aren't any gadgets, no journeys into space, no gigantic hideout built on a Pinewood sound stage by Ken Adam, no Jaws, in fact this feels more like it should have been Moore's Bond debut. It's something that happens all the time with the Bond franchise, as each successive film gets sillier and sillier they reach the point where they need to dial everything back. It's normally these films that work best, Casino Royale, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and The Living Daylights for example.

The story itself revolves around the need for Bond to get his hands on some chunky piece of kit called an ATAC. Being the 80's those damn Ruskies are after it too, and that's about it storywise. Of course this being Bond the story really takes a back seat while we zoom off around the globe for reasons that aren't always that apparent. It all holds up surprisingly well and if anything improves with age. Julian Glover is aces as Kristatos the main baddie, and I would have liked Topol more if he would just stop gobbing nuts everywhere. The Bond girl (Carole Bouquet) is about as wooden as it gets, which is odd when you consider that she was so wonderful in Buñuel's That Obscure Object of Desire. There's also the blink and you'll miss it film debut of Charles Dance, and one of the funniest and tackiest pre credit sequences ever. Director Glen really lacks the sparkle of earlier Bond directors and as with all his Bond films turns in a workmanlike effort, the scenes that shine are the ones with the most action, all the rest of it feels a little flat in places. There are moments when the action has been visibly sped up, and the underwater sequences with the principle actors look woeful.

However as I said it's actually one of the better Bonds, far superior to either Moonraker or Octopussy which were made either side of this. Special shout out to Bill Conti for one of the most embarrassing Bond scores ever, it's slick, brass laden and overflowing with synths, massive pianos and wah wah guitars, which sounds appealing on paper but when it's all put together it sounds thin and all a bit 70's porn. I love it, but it's horrific to listen to. Kind of like the title song by Sheena Easton I guess.

Anyway you don't need me to tell you about an old Bond film, just about everyone on the planet has seen this at least seven times. It's Roger Moore so there are one liners to roll your eyes at, uncomfortable moments when he bashes lips with girls a third of his age but best of all there is Moore's darkest moment - when he punts a car off of a cliff. By far the best bit of the film that, and maybe my favourite Moore Bond moment ever.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...