“Mr Bond is indeed of a very rare breed… soon to be made extinct”

With just a couple of weeks until Skyfall is released – 26th October in the UK – I still have quite a few Bond films to watch. After watching A View to a Kill I have now left the Roger Moore series behind, with Timothy Dalton now taking the helm.

For Your Eyes Only (1981)

THE VITALS
Director: John Glen
James Bond: Roger Moore
Notable villain(s): Aristotle Krisatatos
Notable Bond girl(s): Melina Havelock

Admittedly, I have taken a while to write up this review but when thinking about this film the only thing I can vividly remember is the incredibly catchy (well, to me anyway) theme song. After refreshing myself on Wikipedia and IMDb I remember one of the reasons I didn’t enjoy this film… Forgive me for saying so if you’re her greatest fan but I just didn’t like Melina Havelock. I wasn’t particularly a fan of Bibi Dahl either.

I think this is the first film where I thought that Moore was perhaps getting slightly too old to fill 007’s boots. Moore would have been in his mid-50s during filming and his age becomes more noticeable when he’s surrounded by scantily clad beauties less than half his age. The usual Bond charm falls very flat, and there is very little, if any, chemistry between Moore and Carole Bouquet (Melina).

Bond’s mission – to retrieve the control console from a ship sunk in the Aegean – sees him in everything from crystal clear waters to snow caps mountains. Unfortunately, the mission and plot didn’t really appeal to me. I put this down to the fact that I didn’t like Melina and Bibi. A redeeming factor, for me, are the rather fun chases, a particularly notable being when Bond taking the wheel of a Citroën 2CV and shows his pursuers a thing or two about driving.

★★★

Octopussy (1983)

THE VITALS

Director: John Glen
James Bond: Roger Moore
Notable villain(s): Kamal Khan, General Orlov
Notable Bond girl(s): Octopussy

After the disappointment of Melina Havelock and Bibi Dahl the legion of Bond girls redeem themselves with the (re)appearance of Maud Adams as Octopussy. Adams, who previously starred as Scaramanga’s mistress in The Man with the Golden Gun, returns as a jewel smuggler and circus owner who lives a life of luxury in a floating palace in Udaipur, India.

Before I write anymore I think I should reveal that I watched this film over two nights. Perhaps I did start watching it too late but, at 131 minutes, it is a very long film. There are elements that I liked about this film, but it is let down by the fact that it is has a complicated plot. The film starts with Bond being shown a fake Fabergé egg, which then leads to him attending an auction to buy the genuine article. The plot thickens, with Bond having to work out what part everyone he meets plays in this world of smuggling, nuclear terror and deceit.

★★★½

A View to a Kill (1985)

THE VITALS

Director: John Glen
James Bond: Roger Moore
Notable villain(s): Max Zorin
Notable Bond girl(s): May Day, Stacey Sutton

So, with seven films as 007 under his belt, Moore calls it quit after A View to A Kill, my highest rated Moore film after The Man with the Golden Gun. This time around the action brings Moore face-to-face with Max Zorin (Christopher Walken), a microchip industrialist with a penchant for racehorses and terrorism.

I wasn’t enamoured with this film, but the reason I’ve given it this score and not something lower is down to two things: Christopher Walken and Grace Jones. From the moment the deliciously Eighties theme songs kicks in accompanying the equally flamboyant opening credits, you know that 007 has well and truly embraced the new decade.

Jones’ May Day is physically impressive and loyal, an intimidating character that contrasts greatly with the likes of Octopussy and Melina Havelock. May Day means business, and she presents a greater challenge to Bond than any of the previous Bond girls ever has. Walken’s Zorin has also upped the stakes, with his brand of terrorism somewhat more disturbed and slick than 007’s previous adversaries.

★★★½

Current order of preference: Goldfinger, Thunderball, The Man with the Golden Gun, You Only Live Twice, Dr. No, A View to a Kill, Octopussy, The Spy Who Loved Me, Live and Let Die, Diamonds Are Forever, From Russia With Love, For Your Eyes Only, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and, in last place, Moonraker.

You can read all my mini reviews and posts in my Bondathon series here.

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6 thoughts on ““Mr Bond is indeed of a very rare breed… soon to be made extinct””

  1. Wow. You have ‘A View to a Kill’ with the same rating as ‘Octopussy’, at a fairly decent 3.5 stars. Okay. Personally, AVtaK is my least favorite Bond film… of all-time ;-). Still, good to read your thoughts on the OO7 film, Claire.

    1. Yeah, I was surprised by that too, Michael. For me AVtaK is more like 1.5 stars, ahah, I mean how could they somehow make Walken so uninteresting as a Bond villain? [scratch head]

      Oh no, no love for Melina Havelock? She’s one of my fave Bond girl 😦 In any case, I can’t wait to hear what you think of Dalton and his Bond movies.

  2. Hmm… Three and a half stars may be a bit generous! I may revisit the ratings I have given once I’ve finished the series. Sometimes I think I’d rather do ratings in percentages rather than stars!

    I think if Walken were to star as another Bond villain now he would knock us all out. In AVtaK I think he was still coming in to his own as an actor. I still liked him, though. He was more straightforward compared to some of the earlier Bond villains.

    PS. Sorry about Melina… I just didn’t like her! The fact that she reminds me of Liv Tyler is a plus but I just didn’t like her 😦

  3. I’m surprised that For Your Eyes Only was your lowest rated of the three. I agree that the women aren’t great in it, but it really brings the series down to Earth after the ridiculous Moonraker. It also includes a few great set pieces, particularly the finale. Octupussy is okay (it’s been a while since I’ve seen it), but View to a Kill is pretty terrible. Yes, it’s fun to see Walken hamming it up, but Moore is way to old to play the part. Also, Tanya Roberts is just awful. I know it has some cheesy value and the villains are good, but there are too many painful parts for me.

    1. I agree about Tanya Roberts, Dan, which is why I didn’t bother mentioning her!

      After FYEO I started watching the Bond series less frequently than I had been – my Letterboxd diary reminds me I saw Moonraker on 31st July, FYEO on 7th August, Octopussy on 26th August and AVtaK on 10th Sept. To be honest, I think I had started growing tired of Moore! I enjoyed him in Octopussy so perhaps he should have drawn a line under Bond then?

  4. I’m also surprised that FYEO was so low down your list, I thought it was a very down to earth film with some great set pieces. Octopussy really bored me and their was too much casual racism “That should keep you in curry for a while” and too much rubbish (Q turning up in a hot air balloon at the end).

    I hope you enjoy Dalton, a proper actor and a brilliant Bond.

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