James Bond #13: “Octopussy” (1983)
MI6 agent 009 (Andy Bradford) is found dead with a replica Faberge egg in his hands. Head of British Secret Service, M (Robert Brown), sends his best agent, James Bond (Roger Moore), in to investigate. After the real Faberge egg sells at auction, Bond ends up following the purchaser, Kamal Kahn (Louis Jourdan), and his lovely companion (Kristina Wayborn) to India. It is there that Bond discovers the plot between Kahn and a mysterious woman known as Octopussy (Maud Adams) to smuggle rare jewelry through Octopussy’s circus.
Of course this is only part of the plot, as a Soviet General (Steven Berkoff) is also working with Kahn in a double-cross. Their plan is to replace the jewels with a nuclear bomb, and detonate it at Octopussy’s circus during a performance on a US Air Force base in West Germany.
Two elements that seem to be requirements for James Bond films are cheesy dialogue and convenient coincidences. In “Octopussy,” both of these seem to be, just like the film’s theme song, at an “All Time High”. Typically, these conveniences are easy to overlook because they make everything come together so perfectly, but in this installment of the historic franchise, there are so many of these situations that a fake feeling resonates throughout the entire picture. Although this does make the film feel less realistic, it certainly doesn’t take away from the entertainment. It’s actually one of those movies that if you can get past the overly complex (and somewhat obnoxious) plot, it becomes easy to sit back and enjoy yourself.
Roger Moore has reached a point were there is nothing left to do with the character of James Bond. He seems to be just going through the motions, reading the lines and doing the stunts. He’s not bad, but seems to have grown tired of playing the same character, again and again. He does, however, hold his own very well for a man of 56. The numerous fight scenes, including the ones on and around a moving train and on the outside of an airplane, are done superbly. Obviously, most of the credit here goes to the stuntman, but some of it is Moore himself. Stuntman Martin Grace was seriously injured while filming this train sequence, and had to be replaced by Paul Weston, so the editing for the film is even more commendable considering some footage was Moore, some Weston and some Grace, yet you can’t tell which is which.
“Octopussy” is often cited as one of the worst James Bond films, but I tend to disagree. Sure I could have done without the Tarzan yell as Bond swings through the trees, and Bond in a clown suit just seems wrong, but overall I am willing to overlook some of the smaller facets of the film and enjoy the film as sheer entertainment.
Here are the statistics from “Octopussy,” as well as a running total from the first 13 James Bond films:
- Number of people James Bond kills: Well, things have gotten tricky for this film. I count 15 kills through the majority of the movie, but in the opening scene Bond, while flying in a plane, leads a missile into an aircraft hangar full of soldiers. I am going to give a conservative count of 75 men for this explosion, bringing the grand total for “Octopussy” up to 90. Total number killed through 13 films: 243
- Number of times we hear “Bond, James Bond”: 1 Total thus far: 14
- Number of women who succumb to Bond: 2- There’s Magda (Kristina Wayborn), and naturally, Octopussy (Maud Adams). Interestingly, Maud Adams becomes a statistic for the second time, as she was also a Bond girl (as a different character) in “The Man with the Golden Gun” (1974). Total women: 33
- “All Time High”- the theme song from “Octopussy”: ★- To be honest, this song is one of my least favorite Bond songs ever. It has almost nothing memorable or distinctive about it. The song, just like the film’s score, was composed by John Barry, with lyrics written by Tim Rice. The song is performed by Rita Coolidge, and was very successful upon its release, despite my objections.
James Bond will return (and so will Lasso the Movies) in “Never Say Never Again” (1983). After much thought and reflection, I have decided to include this non-Eon film in my continuing series.
For more James Bond fun, be sure to check out:
“Dr. No” (1962)
“From Russia with Love” (1963)
“You Only Live Twice” (1967)
“Diamonds Are Forever” (1971)
“Live and Let Die” (1973)
“The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977)
“For Your Eyes Only” (1981)
“Never Say Never Again” (1983)
“A View to a Kill” (1985)
“The Living Daylights” (1987)
“License to Kill” (1989)
“Tomorrow Never Dies” (1997)
“Die Another Day” (2002)
“Casino Royale” (2006)
“Quantum of Solace” (2008)