The 13th Bond and the 6th Moore. As before John Glen directs, with George MacDonald joining the already well-established pair of Richard Maibaum and Michael G Wilson on screenwriting duties. John Barry returns to do his 9th Bind score. Rita Coolidge sings the intro song “All Time High” – one of only 7 intro songs that doesn’t include the title of the film.
This one is one of those that people know the title of but ask them what happens and very few people can remember. Let me enlighten you… this is a very cold war inspired version film, grounded more in potential reality than a superhero film where the main star is flying around space (as if). 009 is murdered while dressed as a clown, he’s found holding a fake Faberge egg. When the real egg shows up in an auction, Bond swaps the real and the fake egg and then starts a bidding war with Kamal Khan, an Afghan Prince who seems determined to get the egg. After winning it, Bond follows Khan and finds out a few things about his case, importantly though that Kamal is working with a Soviet General (Orlov) who is hellbent on expanding Soviet control of Europe. Advancing in his mission, Bond meets an associate of Khan, Octopussy. She is a wealthy businesswoman and smuggler – and head of the Octopus cult. She has connections with Bond so does not kill him. Bond finds out that Khan and Orlov have been working together, Orlov supplies priceless Soviet treasures, Khan swaps it for a fake, and then smuggles it via Octopussy’s circus troupe. The final plan is to detonate a warhead on an East German military base, using the circus troupe as cover. It would look like it was a leftover American bomb, and once exploded it would give the Soviets the wiggle room they need to march into Europe a little more. Bond, dressed as clown, infiltrates the base with the help of Octopussy – who by now realises she has been used and lied to. After successfully sorting out the warhead, Octopussy attempts to take revenge on Khan. It is not as easy as she though and Bond saves the day.
Moore does great as Bond, following on from a more serious performance in “007: For Your Eyes Only” (1981). The only real problem I have with him here is that he feels a little too old to be doing some of the things the audience is witnessing Bond do. The fights a little too choreographed, a few too many staged/ well filmed/ green screened moments. I love Moore as an actor, but perhaps Albert Broccoli should have been looking for a more youthful lead by now. Despite this, Moore still does well enough for now – I just feel sorry for his aching bones! Maud Adams as Octopussy does a great job, she’s better as a the wealthy business woman than a threatening menace. Louis Jourdan does well as Kamal Khan, as does Steven Berkoff as General Orlov. Desmond Llewelyn and Lois Maxwell return as Q and Moneypenny, with Robert Brown coming onboard to play M, a role he would appear again in the future.
This Bond films continues the more down-to-Earth theme that director John Glen managed to conjur in “007: For Your Eyes Only” (1981), which is both goo and bad. Good because it is more realistic, the film is wrapped up in a 70’s style spy/sleuth mystery adventure using real life fear (Cold War) as a theme. It flows great with a good pace. The negatives though are that it’s not that memorable outside its era – there is nothing much memorable about the film beyond the title. Maybe it is a little too authentic and could have done with a little more razzle-dazzle. There are camp and kitsch moments, all you have to do is watch Moore imitating Tarzan or dressed as a clown to see that. There are some plot holes and the whole Faberge egg thing does not strictly make much sense, acting more as a vehicle or McGuffin for the film to advance to the action. There are times where the cinematography seem a little cheap and rushed… there are also moments everything is slick and well-polished (India and Eastern Europe looks beautiful), but the I wouldn’t expect the anything less then that for a Bond film, so having less quality aspects is a bit of a let-down. I often wondered if the rushed/ cheapness was down to the unofficial Kevin McClory Bond film “007 (Unofficial): Never Say Never Again” (1983) (Starring Sean Connery) which was due to be released around the same time. With that on the horizon, perhaps things were slightly rushed and in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience a lot was rammed into “Octopussy“.
So, in conclusion… did I enjoy it? It was “meh to okay” on a scale of enjoyment. Is it memorable? “meh to not really”. Would I recommend it? As a one of film with Bond in it -probably not, there are a lot better. I would only really recommend it to hardcore Bond fans who want to experience the canon through the 80’s.
This is family friendly enough, there isn’t anything that will upset younger audiences, but likewise there is nothing that will keep them fully engrossed throughout.
Title Song: All time high – Rita Coolidge
In terms of Bond films this is a 6 out of 10.
In terms of movies in the long and illustrious history of film I would give this a 5 out of 10.
Bond, James Bond, 007 – Ranking
|1||007: Goldfinger (1964) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|2||007: The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: Dr. No (1962) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: From Russia with Love (1963) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|3||007: Thunderball (1965) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: Moonraker (1979) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|4||007: You only live twice (1967) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: Diamonds are Forever (1971) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: For Your Eyes Only (1981) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: Octopussy (1983) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|5||007: Live and Let Die (1973) ⭐⭐⭐⭐|