Roger Moore’s James Bond films are notoriously mixed. Some of Moore’s films are hailed among the greatest Bond films ever made, such as Live and Let Die and The Spy Who Loved Mewhile others are ranked among the worst the franchise has to offer, like Octopus and A view to kill. Just for your eyes wasn’t gutted by fans and critics, but it also wasn’t embraced as much as it should have been.
With a straightforward revenge story that took the franchise back to its gritty, grounded roots after moonrakerspace travel, Just for your eyes deserves a place alongside Live and Let Die and The Spy Who Loved Me as one of Moore’s finest Bond films.
8 He returned to the deep roots of the Bond franchise after Moonraker
The Bond producers first promised to adapt Just for your eyes in the end credits The Spy Who Loved Me. But they made the decision to abstain Just for your eyes after the success of George Lucas star wars was all the rage in space films. Instead, the Bond producers did moonrakerwho sent 007 into space.
This highly controversial Bond film was considered too far-fetched and did not fit the traditionally gritty tone of Bond adventures. Just for your eyes happily returned to the franchise’s deep roots after moonrakertravel in the cosmos.
7 Roger Moore is more charming than ever as 007
Roger Moore isn’t everyone’s favorite Bond actor, but he gave an undeniably iconic performance in the role that (unlike George Lazenby’s take) was cut entirely from Sean Connery’s initial turn. Moore appropriated the role with a goofy, light-hearted sense of humor.
The one thing Connery and Moore have in common is that they’re both effortlessly charming in the role. Moore is as cool and charismatic as ever in Just for your eyes.
6 For Your Eyes Only doesn’t go overboard with Moore-Era’s slapstick
The Moore-era slapstick comedy ruined some of the movies’ most impressive action sequences. In moonraker, a pigeon does a double take. In The man with the golden gunBreathtaking car stunt is spoiled by goofy water slide whistle sound effect.
There are similar moments of levity in Just for your eyeslike a car chase involving a silly-looking yellow Citroën 2CV, but it doesn’t go overboard with the slapstick humor to the point of detracting from the thrills.
5 Melina Havelock is one of the most badass “Bond Girls”
The worst examples of the problematic “Bond girl” archetype are one-dimensional, oversexualized love interests. Usually in the finale they become a damsel in distress that Bond has to save to kill the bad guy.
The “Bond girl” in Just for your eyes – Melina Havelock, played by Carole Bouquet – is an exception to the standard trope. She’s herself a badass whose drive for revenge shocks even 007, one of cinema’s most ruthless Avengers.
4 The Bonkers Cold Open brought Blofeld back
Just for your eyes kicks off with one of the most bizarre and controversial pre-title sequences in franchise history. It’s an interesting compilation of callbacks to Bond’s most memorable pre-Moore moments. He stands at the grave of his late wife, Tracy Bond of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and mourns his death. Afterwards, he is taken by helicopter on an emergency MI6 mission, which turns out to be a ruse by his old nemesis Blofeld. (He’s not identified as Blofeld for legal reasons, but it’s clearly him.)
Bond ends up knocking Blofeld down a giant industrial chimney. This cold open may not have been every fan’s cup of tea, but the sequence is undeniably memorable and gives the film an exciting start.
3 The gritty tone holds up
Few of Moore’s Bond films have stood the test of time. Wacky plot points like riding on the backs of alligators and wearing a clown costume in a circus and going to space are more likely to cause eyes than excitement all these years later.
But Just for your eyes holds its own, as its gritty tone is more in line with fan-favorite hits like Casino Royale and From Russia with love. It received negative reviews upon release, but it has been re-evaluated by critics in recent years for its serious approach. It sounds more like a Connery movie or a Craig movie than a Moore movie.
2 This is Moore’s most faithful portrayal of Bond
Throughout his record-breaking seven-film tenure as James Bond, Moore has mostly avoided exploring Bond’s darker qualities. The coldness and sleazy Bond ethic of Ian Fleming didn’t match Moore’s humorous, light-hearted performance, so they took precedence over most of his Bond films.
But the actor ultimately explored some of the character’s more morally ambiguous tendencies in Just for your eyes. He kills without remorse for the sake of the mission, offering shades of Timothy Dalton’s brooding dark take that was just around the corner.
1 For Your Eyes Only is a classic revenge story
Sometimes the plot of Bond films is too complicated for its own good. Octopus introduces a whole network of smuggling of jewels before introducing the nuclear terrorism of which it is the facade. Just for your eyes follows one of the most deliciously simple narrative frameworks: it’s a classic revenge story.
Melina’s parents are shot by an assassin and, understandably, she is bloodthirsty. There’s a typical Bondian megalomaniac wrapped up in all of this, but at its core, Just for your eyes is an enjoyable and precise revenge thriller.
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