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For Your Eyes Only  rating

Review: written 2007

Excesses toned down for a superior Bond outing

The worst excesses of the 70's fatuous Bond's are laid to rest in this superior Bond movie. All the Bonds are entertainment to a certain formula which is always entertaining to a degree.. but the producers decision to `come back down to Earth' after Moonraker pays off handsomely with a more adult feeling script and some genuine drama and subterfuge going on.

When a British spy trawler sinks suddenly, both sides of the Cold War set out to retrieve the coding device known as the ATAC. The first victims are the Havelock's, marine biologists who use their diving as a cover to retrieve the device from the wreck. Their daughter, Melina, sets out for revenge and this brings her into contact with Bond. Their journey takes them from Corfu to Greece, where Bond must find out who is his enemy - the sophisticated oil and shipping magnate Kristatos (Julian Glover), or Columbo (Topol), the smuggler.

It's a neat script, and executed in an able and unshowy manner by John Glen, more than capable of taking the hot seat after editing and second unit directing so many previous Bonds. A neat idea was in having Blofeld eliminated in the opening credit scene - one which introduces the idea of revenge, a theme for the movie, and gets the silliness out of the way, as if to make a fresh slate for the rest of the movie. Moore is, alas, starting to look a little paunchy and wrinkled - he very nearly did not come back for this movie, but was persuaded back for an undisclosed sum. His scenes with the young teenage skater are just a little uncomfortable to watch, with Moore in his 50's. Carole Bouquet is gorgeous and exotic - great Bond girl material. The only downside is that she and Moore never seem to generate any real chemistry - though the plot does not require too much of it anyway.

There is a jarring note, that knocks off a whole star from the rating. The electronic music by Bill Conti was modern Oscar material in its day, but horribly dated and - dare I say it - amateurish sounding now. Also, in quibble mode, the ending is somewhat anticlimactic - but it sure beats a yawn inducing evil lair exploding yet again.

With the usual stunts, car chases, ski chases, climbing, exotic locations, beautiful women etc all serving the story instead of acting as individual scenes pasted in to make up the formula, this is quite possibly the finest Bond Moore was in, even if not his personal best performance in the role.

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