For Your Eyes Only (US - BD RA)
Gabe prefers the original title: "I'd Rather No One Saw This But You, Is That OK?"
For Your Eyes Only is one of those frightfully generic Roger Moore Bond films that non-fanatics like myself dread watching when marathon time rolls around, but by most measures of good technical filmmaking there isn’t a lot to complain about. The shooting is pretty sharp, the acting is up to snuff given the script, and the production values are pretty high. Given these reasonably infallible facts it’s a surprise to generally think of the film as such a bore, but I have trouble recalling any specific elements even mere minutes after watching it.
Following the tongue wagging absurdity of Moonraker (one of my personal favourites, by the way), there weren’t many places for the Bond films to physically go in For Your Eyes Only, so the producers and writers seem to have decided to just throw in a bunch of Bondian locational standbys into a pot hoping something would taste good. Sure, outer space may have been a little too over-the-top for the series, but revisiting snow capped mountains (which all pretty much look the same on film), underwater locations, and generic European cities isn’t quite the follow up audiences really needed. The alternate route would’ve been the Dalton era semi-antithesis, but it seems to take the series producers two or three movies too many before they notice a reboot might be necessary.
Really the only thing that keeps me personally watching this particularly heavy-footed entry are John Glen’s expertly cut action sequences (the car chase towards the beginning is one of the best in the series). The fact that the action scenes are interesting at all are a testament to Glen’s skills, because on paper I don’t know if I’d find a single one of them even slightly intriguing. Coming up through the Bond ranks as an editor obviously helped Glen perfect momentum and solid sense of geography in these scenes, which are honestly, from a technical stand point, some of the best in the Roger Moore series. It’s too bad that the director’s talents were wasted on four of the dullest Bond scripts.
The treatment of the Bond girls is slightly evolutionary from a script writing standpoint (huge props for including Bond’s wife’s grave), and considering Roger Moore’s age at the time the lighter touch is definitely called for, but the other character treatments are dully generic. Moore looks especially bored by the whole thing, and there isn’t more than a moment or two to remind us that Bond is a dangerous man, or even a particularly talented man, and story wise he’s saved by others over and over again. The Moore problem would of course overtake the entire film when filming ran on Octopussy.
For Your Eyes Only was the first Bond film of the 1980s, meaning it has almost a twenty year video advantage over Dr. No and From Russia With Love. It’s also the second Bond Blu-ray presented in 2.35:1 widescreen. John Glen’s fully structured action scenes, and Alan Hume’s straight forward photography are both richly represented on this disc, which is easily the best I’ve seen the film look. The stock’s younger age makes a pretty big impact in the natural and sharp details. For Your Eyes Only isn’t as garish as something like Live and Let Die, but it’s very colourful, and besides maybe a few blooming reds and slightly dirty whites, the colours are cleanly represented. Blacks are still rich, but unlike some of the other Blu-ray releases, the overall contrast is much more subtle.
Again, there isn’t much exciting I have to say that is specific to this Bond Blu-ray concerning the sound. The film is presented in both a fully lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and the original track, in this case a Dolby Stereo Surround. Again, the revamped surround sound is gracefully and cleanly culled, though the impressive nature of remixing from Dolby Surround is a little less impressive than remixing from Mono. For Your Eyes Only, being more modern, has a slightly more subtle sound pallet, but there are still plenty of massive explosions, hyper-realistic machinery brick-a-brack, and generally over-the-top bits of audio fun.
Bill Conti’s score is very awkwardly endowed with a smiting of early ‘80s disco pop. The DTS-HD track is full of punchy bass and warm instrumentation, enough to impress your system and trick it into thinking that somehow ‘80s disco pop is a modern sound. The titles song, sung by Sheena Easton, may be my least favourite James Bond theme ever. It’s just so disgustingly early ‘80s soft rockish, but hey, you should hear it in uncompressed DTS audio man, it’s like listening to slaughtered cattle in person rather than on tape.
More of the same, but unless you’re sick of the old DVD releases extras the Blu-ray extras should make you plenty happy. In comparison to the other Blu-ray releases the extras are slightly more substantial. Things again begin with a series of commentary tracks: one with Roger Moore solo, one group commentary featuring director Glen and members of the cast, and a larger scaled group track featuring Michael G. Wilson and members of the crew. I floated around all three tracks, and found all three a little dry. The crew group track was probably the most consistent and informative thanks to a little extra added moderator action.
This time the MIG Vault holds a little more than vintage behind the scenes featurettes. Okay, the vault doesn’t hold that much more, but rather than just one or two vintage featuretts, we get three: ‘Bond in Greece’, ‘Bond in Cortina’, and ‘Neptune’s Journey’. This is followed by the relative novelty of two deleted scenes with an introduction from Glen. The scenes are presented in hi-def video, but quality-wise they’re a little beaten up. These are followed by an ‘expanded angle’ version of Locque’s death.
The ‘Inside For Your Eyes Only’ doc actually makes me want to like the final film more than I did. Apparently I just didn’t get the film because it was supposed to be a less spectacular return to Earth for the character. I guess I missed that point among all the cranked up action. The thirty minute doc is just as fact filled and fast paced as the other ‘Inside’ docs, featuring even more behind the scenes footage, and again is my personal favourite extra on the disc.
The disc is finished out with two animated storyboard sequences, a music video, trailers, TV spots, and more of those mission control and image galleries.
I suppose watching all these movies in a row doesn’t really help me judge them as subjectively as possible, but time is of the essence. For Your Eyes Only is a technically adept film, more technically adept than perhaps any of the Roger Moore Bonds, it’s just so much more of the same script-wise. A large part of me personally not being a bigger fan of the series is the familiarity of the formula. This, coupled with my relative exhaustion after watching six Bond films in a row, should put my personal opinion in perspective for fans. On the other hand, I’m not jaded enough with the whole thing yet to not be impressed what is so far the most impressive of the Blu-ray discs visually speaking.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page.
Review by Gabriel Powers
Some material may not be suitable for children
Release Date: 21st October 2008
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Surround English, Dolby Digital Surround Spanish, Dolby Digital 5.1 French
Subtitles: English HoH, French, and Spanish
Extras: Roger Moore Commentary, Director/Cast Commentary, Crew Commentary, Inside Live and Let Die, Deleted Scenes, Extended Angles, Featurettes, Trailers, TV Spots, Storyboard Animation, Image and Info Galleries
Easter Egg: No
Director: John Glen
Cast: Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Topol, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Michael Gothard
Genre: Action and Adventure
Length: 128 minutes
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