Digging Double Oh Seven: For Your Eyes Only (1981)

One of the problems I’ve noticed watching the Bond movies in chronological order in such a quick succession is that I’m starting to notice all the reused gags in these flicks. Previously, my relationship with these movies was occasional rentals and TV viewings which all added to this somewhat vague idea of James Bond in my head. Heck, I couldn’t even tell you which movies had which plots for most of them before DDOS. Had I just watched For Your Eyes Only out of the blue, I might have liked it, but that’s not the case. Not only did I realize that Roger Moore looks distinctly older in this movie than he did in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker which unfortunately takes me right out of the action scenes. There’s also yet another ski chase which also includes a luge course, both of which we’ve seen in previous installments.

The movie’s not a complete loss, though. On it’s own, it’s a fun flick that includes some interesting tech from Q branch. Instead of using a ton of gadgets, there’s a scene where Bond describes a man to Q who inputs the information into a computer that translates the description into a computer image that looks an awful lot like a Mii on the Wii. That’s a pretty cool use of future tech that probably seemed ridiculous back then, but seems almost old school now. There’s also a pretty great henchman in this movie in the big blond guy. I’m not sure what his name is, but he’s an expert in seemingly all winter sports and is apparently strong enough to throw an entire motorcycle. The movie also has a gorgeous underwater diving scene amongst Greek relics that didn’t play much of a part in the story, but still looked amazing. And, they borrowed the idea to drag Bond and a woman behind a boat over coral so that they’d bleed and draw sharks to them from the Live And Let Die novel, which was cool to see. Actually, I just had a funny idea: cutting together the various scenes from the movies to make an faithful adaptation of a Bond novel. Seems like a lot of effort though.

Even with those good bits, I don’t think it makes up for much enjoyment during this specific viewing. The repeated elements were boring and Moore’s age–much as I hate to admit it because 1) I really like him as Bong and 2) he’s got two more Bond flicks for me to watch which doesn’t bode well for those movies–don’t do the movie any favors. I respect the actor a lot for coming back and doing his best, but I should never be thinking “I hope James Bond doesn’t break a hip in that stunt” while watching one of the big huge action scenes. It completely takes me out of the story. Speaking of which, tomorrow’s DDOS entry is the non-canon Never Say Never Again which saw the return of Sean Connery to the role he made famous. I haven’t done the reading yet, but I’m curious to find out how that movie got made.

Oh, there’s one other thing that bothered me about this movie. The very beginning shows a wheelchair bound Blofeld (though he’s never named as such, but it’s clearly him as he’s wearing the gray suit and stroking a white cat) trying to kill Bond by taking over his helicopter. Bond flips the script, scoops the villain up with the landing arm and drops him down a smoke stack. It sounds kind of cool, but turning Bond’s one time biggest villain into a faceless cartoon character and disposing of him in such a careless fashion doesn’t seem to do either Bond or Blofeld justice. Now, I did some reading and the Bond producers did this because of some legal issues with a former writer who technically owned to rights to Blofeld and his organization SPECTRE in an attempt to let that guy know that his contributions weren’t as important as the character of Bond himself. It just comes off as petty though and makes Bond, by extension look kind of weak. Why did it take him so long to take care of this old man who, remember, had his wife murdered and put Bond through now end of turmoil. I’m glad an end was put to that dangling plot thread, but don’t like how it was ended (I am having a lot of trouble with endings today).

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