Sunday, 20 March 2016

For Your Eyes Only (1981)

"Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned."

"That's putting it mildly, 007."

This is very odd for a Bond film. There's nothing awful about it but it's oddly small scale and unambiguous, lacking in glamour, wit and oomph while remaining competent. Still, I suppose it's a natural and predictable reaction to the excesses of Moonraker.

The opening titles are perhaps the oddest thing- it's nice to see Tracy hasn't been forgotten as Bond leaves flowers at her grave, but Blofeld is bizarrely back in a very silly sequence that rather undermines the character.

(Oh, and Tracy's gravestone makes it explicit that she died in 1969, the year she died on screen. Stating this nakedly may be increasingly wise as the years go on!)

The ending is awkward, too. After two films that end with Bond and the Bond girl in question being seen shagging on screen and a gloriously terrible sex-related pun, this time we get a ridiculous skit with a parrot and Margaret Thatcher. There's a distinct lack of polish to this script. Even the set pieces are less dramatic than usual, although I liked the extended riff on the Winter Onympics.

Still, the Greek locations are good, as is Julian Glover as the bizarrely small scale baddie. It's off to see Charles Dance in such a tiny part, though. And it's the '89s now- Moonraker was just two years ago, but the cars and the fashions make that seem a long time ago. This is a decade that suits Bond aesthetically so much more.

One nice touch is the refusal yet to recast the part of M after Bernard Lee's demise shortly before filming his scripted scenes. But overall this is a film which makes no huge missteps but is strangely lacking in ambition. It may not be the worst Bond film but it's certainly the most forgettable so far.

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