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Site created 12/15/97.


review added: 10/14/99



For Your Eyes Only

review by Bill Hunt, editor of The Digital Bits

The James Bond Special Edition DVD Collection


For Your Eyes Only: Special Edition

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs
For Your Eyes Only: Special Edition
1981 (1999) - MGM/UA

Film Rating: B

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/B+/A+

Specs and Features:

127 mins, PG, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 1:49:00, in chapter 48), Amaray keep case packaging, 2 audio commentaries (one with director John Glen & others, and one with writer Michael G. Wilson & others), Inside For Your Eyes Only documentary, still gallery, 4 theatrical trailers, 2 radio spots, Sheena Easton For Your Eyes Only music video, 2 "animated" storyboard sequences, Tomorrow Never Dies Sony Playstation game trailer, booklet, "computer interface" style animated film-themed menu screens with sound and music, scene access (56 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1) and French (DD 2.0), subtitles: English and French, Close Captioned

"For your eyes only, James..."

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I've never been a big fan of Roger Moore as 007. But there's just something about For Your Eyes Only that I can't help but enjoy. Sure, it's overlong, and the plot sort of meanders from one set-piece action sequence to the next. But it's the campy fun I can't resist. And make no mistake, For Your Eyes Only is definitely campy.

The story has 007 investigating the sinking of a British electronic surveillance ship in the Mediterranean, which is carrying the super-secret ATAC system. ATAC is a computer device which can send nuclear missile launch signals to British submarines, and if it falls into the wrong hands, it could spell disaster. The Brits have a Greek scientist searching for the device on the sea floor, under the guise of an underwater archaeological expedition. But when the man and his wife are assassinated, their daughter Melina (played by Carole Bouquet) decides to extract her revenge.

Bond goes looking for the assassin himself, hoping to force the man into revealing who hired him, and thus who may be after the missing ATAC. But Melina kills him first, and Bond and Melina are lucky to escape. Fortunately, Bond managed to spot the man who was paying the assassin for the job - a smuggler and all-around nasty type named Emil Locque (Michael Gothard). He tracks Locque down in Italy, and attempts to learn who he's working for. But Locque's got more assassins ready to keep Bond from learning the truth, and to prevent him from recovering the ATAC, before it can be sold to the highest bidder.

One of the most impressive things about For Your Eyes Only, is its sheer scale. The film's action moves all over Europe, in a variety of interesting locations, from underwater ruins, to the Italian Alps, and every sort of terrain in-between. This film arguably packs more action and stunt sequences than any other in the Bond series, and some of these scenes are really over the top, involving just about every type of vehicle you could imagine. At one point or another, Bond is chased by henchmen in cars, on motorcycles, in dune buggies, on skies, in submarines, on skates (a trio of hockey players attack him), in deep diving suits, and he even has a close call or two with sharks. He's chased down a bobsled run (and off a ski jump) on skies, he rolls several times in a car, he's dragged over a coral reef behind a boat, and he almost falls off a sheer rock cliff face that he's climbing. Hell - he's even trapped in a remote-control helicopter operated by none other than SPECTRE chief Ernst Blofeld, in a brief opening scene appearance (completely unrelated to the film's story) where Blofeld finally meets his maker (FYI - Blofeld was the inspiration for the Dr. Evil character in Austin Powers).

The fact that some of this action is really over the top, is part of what makes the film campy. But there's some other elements involved here as well, notably an annoying subplot involving a bubble-gum-sweet, American Olympic skater named Bibi (played by Lynn-Holly Johnson), who has the hots for 007. And then there are the usual antics of Desmond Llewelyn as Q, not to mention a goofy closing scene involving a Margaret Thatcher look-alike and a parrot - don't ask. You just can't help but crack a smile (or at least shake your head) at some of this stuff, and For Your Eyes Only ends up being darned fun, if completely lacking in the class of the Connery 007 era.

I have to say, For Your Eyes Only also makes for a damn fine special edition DVD from MGM. The video is presented in anamorphic widescreen, and it looks really fabulous. The print used for this transfer is of very high quality - it's clean and dust free, and exhibits very light grain. The colors are vibrant, and the contrast is at all times excellent, with superb shadow delineation, and very little unnecessary edge enhancement. The audio is presented in re-mixed Dolby Digital 5.1 (French 2.0 is also available), and it's almost as good as the video, with nice dynamic range, solid bass, and excellent clarity. Dialogue is well rendered, and there is some nifty use of the rear channels for panning, atmospheric fill and directional sound gimmicks (gunfire ricochets, for example).

And, as with the other Bond special edition DVDs, For Your Eyes Only comes loaded with extras. You get 2 audio commentary tracks, one with the director and actors, and another with the writer and other crew members. There's an extensive gallery of stills, 4 trailers, 2 radio spots, and a 30-minute documentary, Inside For Your Eyes Only. You also get Sheena Easton's music video of the title song, and the video actually looks pretty good in terms of quality. There are two "animated" storyboard sequences, one of the snowmobile chase (it was changed to motorcycles in the final film), and another of the scene where Bond retrieves the ATAC. These aren't really animated - they've really just been videotaped in sequence, with dramatic pans and zooms and music added for effect. Still, they're nice to have. Finally, you get the by-now-familiar trailer for theTomorrow Never Dies Playstation game. And none of these Bond DVDs would be nearly as cool as they are, without those nifty animated menus from 1K Studios (see shots below). They manage to be stylish, act as a nice homage to the film's opening sequence, and they're just damn cool to boot.

In terms of picture and sound quality, For Your Eyes Only is definitely one of the best discs yet in MGM's new Bond special edition DVD series. And, as with the rest of the set, this disc has plenty of extras to sift through. There's a whole lot of fun to be had here, no doubt about it. Don't hesitate on picking up this disc even for a moment.

Bill Hunt
billhunt@thedigitalbits.com

A look at 1K Studio's animated menus for For Your Eyes Only...
For Your Eyes Only menu animation

For Your Eyes Only menu animation

For Your Eyes Only menu animation


The James Bond Special Edition DVD Collection

For Your Eyes Only: Special Edition


The James Bond DVD Collection, Volume One


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