Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
United Kingdom/USA, 1981. Eon Productions. Screenplay by Richard Maibaum, Michael G. Wilson, based on the stories For Your Eyes Only and Risico by Ian Fleming. Cinematography by Alan Hume. Produced by Albert R. Broccoli. Music by Bill Conti. Production Design by Peter Lamont. Costume Design by Elizabeth Waller. Film Editing by John Grover. Academy Awards 1981. Golden Globe Awards 1981.
The team behind the Bond films definitely made up for Moonraker with this excellent entry in the series, a stylish and understated action film that sticks closer to Ian Fleming’s original writings than any of the Bond films had done in years. Avoiding the overemphasis on gadgets that had marred the franchise in the seventies, first-time director John Glen (promoted from his second unit status on two previous films) instantly shows the new direction the film is taking by dumping Blofeld for good in the pre-credits sequence and exploding Bond’s loaded-to-the-hilt Lotus in the first major action sequence. Bond is sent to Greece to investigate the mysterious sinking of a British spy ship that carried on it a navigational computer program that controlled nuclear submarines. He is joined by goddess Melina (Carole Bouquet), whose parents were killed by whomever was responsible for the sinking, and the two of them join together to get the bad guys and save the world from destruction. It has plenty of exciting car chases and even a ski race, but for the most part it is more low-key than Moore’s previous adventures. Bill Conti takes over musical duties from John Barry and does an excellent job with both the score as well as the best Bond theme song from the eighties, sung by Sheena Easton (who appears in the opening credits). Moore, who wasn’t originally planning on reprising his role, looks far too old to pull off the many stunts he is supposed to be accomplishing, but the film itself is too enjoyable for you to mind (though it is hilarious how the further along you go in the series, the more usage of long shots there are in the action sequences). This one was also the film to start the trademark of Bond villains employing really hot blonde henchmen (in this case, John Wyman).