Countdown to Skyfall: Octopussy (1983)

Countdown to Skyfall: Octopussy (1983)


BOND: Roger Moore

DIRECTOR: John Glen (For Your Eyes Only)

BOND GIRL(S): Maud Adams (Octopussy); Kristina Wayborn (Magda)

COOL GADGETS: A fountain pen that shoots liquid to melt metal; a fake crocodile water craft.  Okay, maybe that last one’s not so cool.

THEME SONG: “All Time High,” sung by Rita Coolidge.  The second worst theme song of the Bond franchise.  Stay tuned for what tops it, but, seriously, this one’s a major snoozer.

IMDB PLOT SUMMARY: A fake Fabergé egg and a fellow agent’s death leads James Bond to uncovering an international jewel smuggling operation, headed by the mysterious Octopussy, being used to disguise a nuclear attack on NATO forces.

ICONIC MOMENTS: James Bond dressed as a clown.  The climactic showdown outside on top of an airplane in mid-air.

FUN FACTS: James Brolin was almost set to take over the Bond role from Roger Moore, but the producers decided to stick with the tried-and-true Moore to compete with an unofficial Bond film, Never Say Never Again, that was released that same year starring Sean Connery.  Maud Adams was a Bond girl in The Man with the Golden Gun, though she played a different character.

VERDICT: It’s awfully hard to get past that ridiculous title and take this movie seriously.  It doesn’t help when 00 agents start dressing as clowns.  Throw in an Octopussy circus, Bond telling a Tiger to “sit”, and Bond swinging on jungle vines while Tarzan catcalls are heard, and this seems like a sure candidate for worst Bond movie ever.  But, amazingly, it’s not.  Sure, Moore is way too old at this point, and the movie sort of reflects that fact.  There is a huge stretch where absolutely no action happens.  Turns out the filmmakers were just saving it all for the end because the last 40 minutes are non-stop action and a race-against-the-clock thriller.  There is a car chase, an extended fight sequence in and on top of a moving train, gunfights, and then – in one impressive piece of stuntwork – the finale atop a plane in mid-air.  Octopussy redeems itself in those last 40 minutes and makes this one of the more uneven, but ultimately satisfying entries in the Bond canon.  What’s also interesting is that most of the movie takes place in India.  The filmmakers were clearly trying to imitate the success of Raiders of the Lost Ark in certain sections, but in doing so, they may just have inspired much of what went down in Temple of Doom, which was released a year after Octopussy.


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