James Bond
For Your Eyes Only

Starring: Roger Moore
16172DVD Z1
Certificate: PG
Available Now

When a British spy ship is sunk in the Ionian Sea, James Bond must recover a piece of top-secret equipment before the Russians have a chance to obtain it...

After the high-blown fantasy of Moonraker, this movie brings Bond literally back down to earth, as the documentary features explain. Debut director John Glen and writers Richard Maibaum and Michael G Wilson forgo the usual reliance on gadgets, a policy decision that is graphically demonstrated by the self-destruction of 007's Lotus Esprit. The creative team also attempt to restore a harder edge to Bond. There is a limit to how far this added grit can take hold with Roger Moore still in the role - witness how Bond kicks the villainous Locque (Michael Gothard) over a cliff, but only after Locque's car has already begun to fall. However, we do see the seeds of a style that would reach fruition in the (woefully underrated) Timothy Dalton films. This is also the movie in which Moore's age really begins to show, so we should be thankful that 007 has the decency to resist the sexual advances of the youthful Bibi Dahl (Lynn-Holly Johnson).

A curious aspect of this movie (and also its successor, Octopussy) is that while certain scenes strive to ensure that the story is taken more seriously, others just seem to get sillier. On the one hand we have a tense rock-climbing sequence and the scene in which Bond and Melina (Carole Bouquet) are dragged across the coral reefs, while on the other we have Janet Brown's comical impersonation of Margaret Thatcher, and Blofeld offering Bond "a delicatessen in stainless steel".

No review of For Your Eyes Only would be complete without mention of Bill Conti's disappointingly lightweight music score, which, with a few exceptions, actually distracts the viewer from the action sequences rather than heightening one's enjoyment of them. An interesting extra feature that we don't get would have been an alternative soundtrack by the likes of John Barry, Marvin Hamlisch or David Arnold. Congratulations to the makers of this DVD's menu screens for finding some relatively catchy excerpts to play in the background.

Also on a musical note, this is the earliest of the Bond films on DVD to include a pop video among its extra features. In this instance, however, the "video" to Sheena Easton's song is merely Maurice Binder's title sequence without the titles. Interestingly, this reveals some naughty bits that the credits were intended to cover up, so one wonders if this video was ever shown on Top of the Pops! In addition to the usual features, there are also animated storyboard sequences of the snowmobile chase and the underwater retrieval of the ATAC.

For dedicated fans only.

Richard McGinlay