For Your Eyes Only: Special Edition (1981)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Inside For Your Eyes Only
Audio Commentary-John Glen (Director) et al
Audio Commentary-Michael G. Wilson (Executive Producer) et al
Music Video-For Your Eyes Only-Sheena Easton
Storyboard Comparisons-The Snow Mobile Chase
Storyboard Comparisons-Retrieving the ATAC
|Year Of Production||1981|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (100:06)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||John Glen|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, credits roll over montage of images|
First of all, the film has taken all the classic elements of a Bond flick and mixed them in reasonable proportions: exotic locations, an exciting ski sequence, a car chase and underwater scenes, lots of explosions, and of course beautiful women (including, as discovered later, Caroline Cossey - a male-to-female transsexual with a stage name of Tula - as one of the bikini-clad beauties lounging around Hector Gonzalez's villa and swimming pool).
Secondly, the plot is actually more realistic and down-to-earth compared to some of the more outrageous Roger Moore Bond films. Compared to Moonraker preceding it, and A View To A Kill and Octopussy following it, it is surprisingly devoid of megalomaniacs intent on destroying the world through some far-fetched scheme. This film is also unusual in that it does not have a great emphasis on gadgets and is a bit closer in spirit to Ian Fleming's novels than some of the campier Moore extravaganzas (although the film itself is not based on a Fleming novel but loosely based on two short stories - For Your Eyes Only and Risico).
The pre-titles opening sequence has James Bond paying a visit to the grave of his dead wife (a reference to On Her Majesty's Secret Service) and then fighting for his life in a helicopter that is being remote controlled by none other than Ernst Stavro Blofeld played by John Hollis (Austin Power fans will no doubt recognize Blofeld as one of the inspirations for the Dr. Evil character). Needless to say, he succeeds not only in wrestling back control of the helicopter, but dispatching Blofeld to a very long drop down a chimney! We are then treated to Sheena Easton singing the theme song in the opening titles sequence (the first vocalist to actually appear in the opening credits of a Bond film).
After that, the film proper opens with a British surveillance ship carrying the ATAC (Automatic Targeting Attack Communicator) system sinking as a result of an accidental (?) collision with a mine. Needless to say, the Russkies are keen to get hold of this top-secret military device and 007 is dispatched to make sure it does not fall into the wrong hands.
Next, we see Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet) arriving by seaplane to meet her parents, shortly before they are gunned down by the pilot, who turns out to be a hired gunman named Hector Gonzalez (Stefan Kalipha). She swears revenge, and we later find out there's a connection between the killing of her parents and the race to retrieve the ATAC. She teams up with James Bond in an exciting car chase away from Gonzalez's villa in Spain and the pair has various adventures in the skiing town of Cortina in the Dolomites, the Greek island of Corfu and a monastery perched on top of a rock (the Meteoras). Along the way, Bond encounters two larger-than-life Greek smugglers Kristatos (Julian Glover) and Colombo (Topol). They obviously have no love for each other, but who is the bad guy and who is the good?
Of course, there are still enough plot holes to sink ... well, a ship. Why oh why do the sharks ignore the bleeding Bond and Havelock being towed over coral, but head straight to a goon who falls into the sea? What on Earth prompted Melina to leave a valuable oxygen tank at the bottom of the sea in one scene so that they can conveniently retrieve it later while trying to escape? The answer of course is that we are watching a Bond film, so shut up already.
Any scenes featuring the cutesy and ever so fluffy Bibi (Lynn-Holly Johnson) are rather excruciating to watch. I am surprised that Roger Moore seems so reluctant to give in to her girlish charms, and when I think of it, his behaviour is quite out of character for James Bond. Sean Connery probably would not only have gladly have obliged her, but wouldn't hesitate to use her as a human shield for any would be assailants!
Interesting trivia related to this film include:
The transfer features excellent sharpness and detail (an example of which is the screen display at 31:53-31:59 which is clearly readable), with good colour saturation, but is a couple of notches short of reference quality.
Some film grain is present throughout the feature, but was not major enough to cause annoyance.
The transfer is marred by several artefacts, mainly aliasing and shimmering. These are most noticeable in scenes featuring the seaplane near the beginning of the movie as Gonzalez flies Melina to meet her parents.
The main feature is accompanied by English and English for the Hearing Impaired subtitle tracks. I turned these on briefly, and noticed that the subtitles tended to appear in the black bar below the frame. There didn't seem to be a lot of difference between the two subtitle tracks in terms of accuracy and completeness.
This is a single-sided dual layer disc (RSDL-formatted). The layer change occurs at 100:06 just when Bond is entering the confessional box. Although the location of the layer change is not super-annoying and doesn't interrupt dialogue, it does occur in the middle of a scene and is quite noticeable. If only they could have just waited another 30 seconds, they could have done the layer change at a scene change (100:31).
Given that the film was released originally with a Dolby Stereo track, obviously some remixing has been done to provide us with a 5.1 channel track. The remix has been done with some care as it uses the surround speakers rather aggressively, and I noticed numerous examples of split surround effects and directional panning across all speakers. Overall, I was rather impressed by the result of the remix.
However, in comparison with the Region 1 version of the DVD, the audio track on this disc appears to have been mastered at a lower level and generally lacked dynamics and bass. I found this surprising as the audio tracks on both the R1 and R4 versions have been encoded at the same bitrate, so I would have thought that they would have sounded very similar (apart from the 4% speedup inherent in PAL transfers). The Region 1 audio track is by no means perfect, but the Region 4 transfer in comparison sounds rather disappointing, with explosions that generally lack "punch" and music that sounds a little bit more "muffled".
The music score by Bill Conti is quite listenable and even hummable but does sound dated, featuring lots of brass and disco beats. The title song, sung by Sheena Easton, still sounds great after all these years though.
|Surround Channel Use|
I do, however, have an issue with the sheer amount of extras possibly impinging on the quality of the video and audio transfer. I know that it's a Catch-22 situation for MGM: if they cut out extras to maintain video/audio quality they will get critics complaining about Region 4 being short-changed again, and if they maintain all the extras critics like myself will moan about the sacrifice in transfer quality. Next time, as a suggestion for what to do with feature-packed releases, how about splitting the content into a 2-disc set and not compromising on the quality of the video/audio transfer?
I found the documentary quite watchable, and it was quite interesting to see what the cast and crew look like almost 20 years after the production of the film. It does feature some on-location camera footage taken during the shooting of the film, so it is not just a "talking heads" documentary. The quality of the video transfer is quite good, apart from some minor pixelization here and there.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-626D, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (203cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front left/right: B&W DM603; centre: B&W CC6S2, rear left/right: B&W DM601|