Sorry for the delayed review y’all! Lots of things happening in my life lately, all good. I moved several hundred miles back north to my hometown to take a fantastic new job, Boyfriend and I are now Fiance and Fiancee (when we watched this movie, he was not yet Fiance, so that’s why you’ll see him as Boyfriend in the review), and I am getting used to scraping ice off my car once again.
Many thanks go out to my buddies Dominic and Sasha who have been faithful companions for Bond Sundays. I will dearly miss having them over for Sunday viewings, since they always contributed lots of interesting observations that frequently worked their way into these reviews.
For Your Eyes Only is definitely one of my favorite Roger Moore films yet. I think Melina has skyrocketed into my very favorite Bond girls. There are great landscape scenes of snowy mountains, and of that crazy rock monastery. M isn’t around since Bernard Lee sadly passed before filming his scenes, but my beloved Desmond Llewellyn as Q is still as adorably cranky as ever, and Moneypenny busts out this awesome filing cabinet vanity at one point (something I need to investigate installing in my new office).
There is a random chase scene at the beginning involving the white cat and someone who appears to be Blofeld (whose real identity was left vague due to legal reasons), with no seeming connection to the rest of the movie. But it’s so great that it kind of doesn’t matter – Boyfriend declared it his favorite opening of a Bond movie thus far. Also, I think this might be the first movie in which Bond’s cover company, Universal Exports appears. In addition, by having Bond visit the cemetery grace of Teresa Bond (d. 1969) it’s the second Roger Moore movie that adds on to the continuation story that started with Bond’s marriage in OHMSS.
Plot in twenty words or less: If Bond doesn’t recover a missile tracking system before the Soviets do, things are gonna get real bad.
How it’s aged: Fairly well despite the OMG SOVIETS!! One thing that’s fascinating about James Bond movies is to see what was the aspirational technology of the time. Sometimes I think there is a greater inclination to point and laugh at more recent aspirational technology than earlier aspirational technology. I’d say this dividing line is at the widespread development of microcomputing. It’s pretty easy to laugh at a dot matrix printer (see: the Identigraph in this movie) being the height of technology in the 1980s, because even Gen-Y folks like myself remember dot matrix printers. But if you haven’t experienced the 1960s but know a bit about technology, you can contextualize it a bit more and be like, “Okay, I get why the laser was such a BFD in Goldfinger.”
Although it’s aged fairly well, this is still obviously a movie straight out of the 80s. Everyone in our merry band of Bond-watchers noticed that the theme song, camera angle, film coloration, and especially the chase scenes were very similar to other 1980s movies.
Something that was just weird and/or WTF y’all: So, chase scenes on beautiful ski slopes is obviously becoming a Thing for Bond movies. This is now the third movie (assuming my counting is correct, I might be wrong – you’d think I’d remember the details of these movies better, but you’d be wrong, the others were OHMSS and TSWLM) featuring epic wintry chase scenes. I kind of dig it (especially when you learn that the same cameraman/professional skier was behind much of the work), but tragedy also struck this time, because one of the stuntmen died in the bobsled filming process. Next time we have a winter chase scene, I hope it’s changed up through some curling or Bond landing a triple salchow.
Obligatory feminist commentary: Oh (wo)man, what a study in contrasts between Melina and Bibi, eh? Melina is smart, gorgeous, and cool under pressure. Also, she wears a great dress with deep pockets, and when I’m ruler of the world, one of my first acts will be to require that all women’s dresses be made with real pockets. Bibi veers wildly around a disturbingly young Madonna-Whore axis, and seems more like a confused (and almost certainly exploited) little girl than A Real Woman. Her relationship with the trainer was intriguing – I thought they could have explored that more (or maybe I just really want to see a Bond movie pass the Bechdel test) and the fact that they didn’t was a missed opportunity.
One of the best scenes with Bibi is when she tells Bond she’s not a virgin, and he tells her to put on her clothes and he’ll buy her an ice cream…. it’s delivered so dryly because the whole setup is so absurd. This lines up with Bond’s other dalliances – we very rarely see him with extremely young and naive women, but usually with women who clearly have been with other men (or sometimes, other women).
Also, Bibi is slapped at some point, and y’all know how I feel about gratuitous slapping of female characters. Surely now that we’re in the 1980s we’ll see less of this (please? I hope?)
Completely hypothetical cultural reference points: Dominic’s good ear caught another tonal sequence, from “Nobody Does it Better,” for the door to the Identigraph room.
Superficial Thing that did not Amuse Me: What was up with all the pistachios? Was this movie sponsored by some pistachio trade group?
Superficial Thing that highly Amused Me: Oh, so many. Q in the confessional booth and “Margaret Thatcher” were probably my favorites.
Administrative information concerning this viewing:
Drinks consumed: Sam Adams winter lager
Food eaten: Black bean soup and cornbread
Viewed on: November 17, 2013
Viewing Partner: Boyfriend, Cat, Sasha Holiday, Dominic LeFihre*
*Not her/his real name. All my viewing buddies are getting Bond-girl/Bond-baddie aliases.