“The fantasy you freed in me”
Even for those who – like me – enjoyed Moonraker, there was no denying it left the franchise with nowhere to go: after sending Bond into outer space the only thing they could really do is bring him back down to earth. Having long-since jettisoned the comparatively mundane exploits told in the books, Bond had become too big to handle. The outlandish plots to take over or destroy the world (or both); the cool-but-preposterous gadgets; he had evolved into a larger-than-life super-spy. But it was time for a change. Despite plans to re-cast, Roger Moore would return, but the rest was effectively a reboot: a new director, a script which – for once – followed the original stories fairly closely, and no gadgets. It was back-to-basics. The result was a chapter that even non-Roger Moore fans regarded as good; a gritty and more serious approach which worked...[Read the complete movie review]
For Your Eyes Only is included as part of the Bond 50 Box Set in much the same shape it was in on its earlier standalone release, presented in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen, courtesy of a Lowry-restored transfer in 1080p High Definition. Although perhaps not one of the absolute standout best efforts from Lowry, the thirty-year old movie still looks remarkably good, boasting strong detail, vibrant colour, mostly decent low-lighting sequences and almost no damage whatsoever.
Certainly DNR has been applied – the faces often look softer than you would have hoped for, and grain has been largely removed in the process too – but, for the most part, it still looks impressive, lacking that painful edge enhancement that plagued the earlier DVD releases and cleaning up fairly nicely. Skin textures are well represented; Moore’s age-lines becoming evident; clothing weaves and set details are also readily apparent. There are some wonderful little touches – like when Bond is pinned down in the snow by the sniper – where the fine detail truly does surprise.
The colour scheme is perhaps the most easily noticeable aspect of this upgrade; tones are rich and vivid and simply pop out of the screen, an irrepressibly bold offering that blasts you with bright blues and red parkas which play wonderfully off the crisp bright snow white slopes, glistening in the sun. Indeed the colours are so dominant that some viewers may not particularly appreciate this bolder approach towards the palette.
The underwater scenes are brilliantly represented, offering up better clarity than on many of Bond’s other underwater outings; whether during the exploration of the temple or the sunken spy-ship, and the final climb up the mountain also showcases an unprecedented amount of detail during the ascent.
There are a couple of more problematic sequences – the night-time casino scene appears to have always been plagued with a softer edge – but these are comparatively infrequent, especially when juxtaposed with the quality day-for-night execution of Locque or the strong rendition of the warehouse assault. Overall it’s a good presentation that, whilst nowhere near as impressive as some of the preceding titles, is certainly the best that the movie has ever looked.
Picture score : 7
Presented with a decent DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, For Your Eyes Only has also never sounded as impressive as this before. Again, it isn’t up there with the best of the Bond re-mixes but it does offer up a warmly all-encompassing track which showcases welcome increased surround activity and some decent bass support. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently largely from the frontal array and, where appropriate, dominates the rest of the track. Effects are balanced across the surrounds, with some nice directional flourishes and echoing gunshots that carry far more punch thanks to that aforementioned enhanced bass element. From the air-ripping whip of helicopter blades to the subdued underwater whirr of submersibles, it all sounds authentic, delivering a sound package that will impress far more than disappoint. The score – whether you like it or hate it – gains prominence in several key set-pieces, wonderfully championing on the extended ski chase, whilst diminishing a couple of other sequences. It’s a shame because, when it’s more subdued, it works quite well, but the more aggressive moments only occasionally hit the right note. Indeed there have been several complaints about the score being just too damn loud, but I seldom found this a serious issue, it just felt more dominant in certain sequences. Far more impressive than any previous audio presentations, For Your Eyes Only’s active score – for the most part – does a stand-up job.
Sound score : 8
This new Bond 50 Box Set comes complete with all of the old Ultimate Edition DVD extras ported over (as well as some new material on a further disc in the set). Far from bad news, the old UE releases pretty-much offered up definitive background material for each title, and For Your Eyes Only, whilst not quite matching up to some of the best-endowed discs, was still well-treated.
Sporting no less than three Commentaries we also have a number of informative background Featurettes and Documentaries, as well as a hefty amount of promotional material. Fans of the film will no doubt know all about these offerings; newcomers couldn’t want for more.
Commentary by Sir Roger Moore – as always the highlight of the Commentaries and highlight of the extras, Moore’s once again on humbly self-depreciating form, entertaining us with his fond recollections and musings on this chapter.
Commentary by Director John Glen and Members of the Cast – has the director joined by Moore, Topol, Lynn-Holly Johnson and Julian Glover for a considerably more bitty offering that has cleared been recorded separately.
Commentary by Michael G. Wilson and Crew – leaves us with the most technical accompaniment, offering further insight behind the scenes of the production.
Declassified: MI6 Vault
Deleted and Expanded Angles allows us access to two Deleted Scenes – Hockey: 007-style and Joining Forces, which don’t really offer us anything wildly memorable; a hint of extra Charles Dance and a distinctly flat moment where Moore’s Bond has to once again contend with Carole Bouquet’s limited line delivery – as well as an interesting Expanded Angle feature that shows us an alternate look at the pivotal Locque death sequence where Bond kicks his car off the cliff. This is definitely worth a look.
Bond in Greece – offers a 6-minute home video-diary style approach to the production in Greece, with Moore playing backgammon with Broccoli on a clifftop (they were always gambling together, as can be seen from the extras on the other Moore titles) as the production crew do some location scouting work.
Bond in Cortina – spends 4 minutes on the snowy mountaintops looking at the amount of fake snow that they had to ship in to enhance the scenes.
Neptune’s Journey – takes us underwater with the two-man submersible and spends three-and-a-half minutes looking at this remarkable machine.
007 Mission Control houses the usual selection of scene-access options: 007, Women, Allies, Villains, Mission Combat Manual, Q Branch and Exotic Locations.
Inside For Your Eyes Only – is another half-hour documentary narrated by Patrick Macnee which packs in a fair amount of behind the scenes material, cast and crew snippets and b-roll production footage into its runtime.
Animated Storyboard Sequences – we get two variant scenes here, the Snowmobile Chase and the Underwater ATAC retrieval, both providing interesting alternate looks at the scenes as originally envisaged.
Sheena Easton Music Video – is actually a little misleading, as it is just the title sequence playing without the credits (and therefore with the girls less covered-up).
Ministry of Propaganda
Theatrical Archive, TV Broadcasts andRadio Communication do exactly what you would expect, offering up a selection of promotional trailers and radio adverts.
Image Databaserounds off the disc with an expansive gallery.
Extras score : 8
“Who was this man he was going to do this to? What had he ever done to Bond?”
The last thing audiences expected after the excesses of Moonraker was a follow-up like the gritty back-to-basics For Your Eyes Only, one of the few Bond outings that stayed relatively true to Fleming’s original source work, and arguably the first and only reboot of the franchise which didn’t involve a new actor. Capably presenting a darker take on the commonly more lightweight Roger Moore Bond, the end result was a refreshingly down-to-earth Cold War thriller with action-adventure highlights, tense and intense stunts and solid, revenge-inspired undertones. More hit than miss in its somewhat misguided approach to blending classic Moore comedy with the intended grittier Bond direction, it’s just a shame that the filmmakers didn’t fully embrace the tonal shift, either here, or in Moore’s subsequent outings. Still, it remains one of those rare Roger Moore Bond movies that appeals to even those who didn’t like Roger Moore as Bond.
As part of the Bond 50 set, For Your Eyes Only comes with good video and audio presentations that, whilst not standout in the collection, still mark a considerable step up from DVD and probably showcase the film better than it has ever looked before. Fans will also be pleased that all of the old Ultimate Edition DVD extras have been ported over here.
Bond has been served well by a phenomenal box-set, timed to coincide with the arrival of Skyfall and the 50th Anniversary of the franchise. For Your Eyes Only forms part of the set along with the other twenty-two films in the series, the majority of which look and sound terrific, and contain a wealth of extra material as well as a separate and new disc full of extra features further examining our favourite super-spy. It comes with the highest recommendation.
Overall score : 8
1,670 word review written by Cas Harlow.
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