Octopussy should get more respect - answering the critics of
Darren Harrison | Washington D.C. | 01/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Octopussy has had many criticisms leveled at it since it slipped into cinema's in 1983. One complaint is that there are simply too many villains - is the crazed Gen. Orlov the main villain or the suave Kamal Khan? Another objection postulates that its choice of India as a location sends Bond into a pure fantasy land with a depiction of tribal princes, mysterious islands populated entirely of impossibly beautiful women and bungling local thugs. Still more point to its inappropriate rather juvenile schoolboy humor, from Bond's Tarzan yell to our heroes ogling over a young woman secretary's bust as a reason why the movie fails. These objections are perfectly legitimate, but one has to feel that the movies detractors were missing the point. Bond is a fantasy figure who in the past has battled armies inside bases hidden inside hollowed out volcano's (in 1967's YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE) and shot into space to save the world from poisoned orchids globes (in 1979's MOONRAKER). Bond belongs in the fantasy realm and the over-the-top formula is perfectly suited and indeed complimented by the India depicted here. In addition the villains are similarly over-the-top and the movie audience is treated to two wonderful performances. Who can forget the fantastic performance of Steven Berkoff as Orlov in the Kremlin meeting room - "Never, the West is decadent" Orlov states as he struts around one of Peter Lamont's amazing sets. The humor is also perfectly suited to the Roger Moore portrayal of Bond and in fact the adventures had become so fantastical at this point that it was necessary for Moore to not take events too seriously. The only truly embarrassing scene is the one in Q's workshop where Bond focuses a camera in on a woman's bust. But other scenes referred to pop culture of the 1900s, such as Bond doing his Barbara Wodehouse impersonation telling a tiger to "sit-t-t" and swinging through the vines like Johnny Weismuller in an old Tarzan picture. Neither is particularly intrusive and both elicited belly laughs from the audience I saw the movie with. Similarly the complaint that Bond ends up in a clown suit at the end should be taken in context, he is undercover at a circus, a clown outfit is in fact the perfect disguise. The movie starts with one of the most famous action sequences of the 1980s. Captured trying to destroy a spy plane in Latin America 007 escapes by using the worlds smallest jet even flying it through a hanger as the doors close. In fact the jet, called an Acrostar, actually exists and had been originally planned for use in 1979's MOONRAKER, it deserves its place in the Bond movie's pantheon of gadgets alongside the mini helicopter Little Nellie from 1967. Rolling up to a gas station at the end of the sequence Bond delivers my favorite line in the movie, smiling to the undoubtedly amazed attendant and asking him to Fill her up please." Of course this scene has nothing to do with the movie as a whole but it's a nice little mini-adventure to start things off with and set the tone for the rest of the movie. Following the erotic main titles, in which designer Maurice Binder makes full use of lasers and gorgeous women, we are plunged headlong into the main plot with two assassins chasing a British agent in full clown make-up (shades of what is to come later) as he attempts to get a fake Faberge egg to the British embassy. Understandably a little miffed at the death of their agent and curious as to the reason why he was carrying a fake egg the British send Bond to observe the auction of the real egg at Sotheby's. Here is one of my favorite scenes, there are no explosions, no meglomaniacal speeches from super villains and no incredible sets but merely Bond testing the determination of Khan in a standoff which reaches its final conclusion thousands of miles away over a game of backgammon. Here we see shades of Goldfinger cheating at golf in the 1964 movie except this time its loaded dice on the backgammon table. Special mention must go to the very alluring Maud Adams who holds the distinction of being the only actress to play two leading roles in the EON Bond series (Ursula Andress played two, the first in DR. NO and the second in the non-Eon 1967 spoof CASINO ROYALE). Adams is a stunning Scandinavian beauty and plays the title role with a sense of both amusement and conviction. In fact in what is an interesting tip of the hat to the short story from which the movie gets its title, the plot of Bond tracking down a traitor serves as the backstory to Adam's characters father. The plot for what its worth involves jewelry smuggling and nuclear brinkmanship, but that's really not what is important here, that merely serves as a canvas on which to stage fun set pieces and a generous selection of stunt action sequences. What we have here is a fun action adventure movie, just don't go in expecting anything serious. If you approach this movie with the right frame of mind you might find this entry in the James Bond canon to be one of the series most entertaining - for entertainment's sake. The DVD also features a scene specific commentary from Director John Glen. It can be a little dry at times and it might be better waiting for the upcoming remastered DVD releases that will feature a commentary by Bond actor himself Roger Moore."
Bond's On An Island Of Beautiful Women in "Octopussy"
Phillip C Mackey | Webster, TX United States | 10/31/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Octopussy" is the thirteenth entry of the James Bond series produced by Cubby Broccoli and it marks the sixth appearance of Roger Moore as the British secret agent. John Glen returns to the series to make his second of four directorial efforts in this film. The title of this film is taken from an Ian Fleming short story which is actually told by the title character to James Bond in the film. Only one part of the film, the auction, is based on Fleming's work, in this case the short story "Property of a Lady". The rest of the screenplay was conceived and written by longtime Bond associates, Richard Maibaum and Michael Wilson.The story begins with the discovery of a fake Fabrege Easter egg in East Berlin. Its genuine counterpart is about to be auctioned off in London and M, head of MI6, is worried that this is part of a Soviet operation to raise hard currency. Bond is assigned to attend the auction and report what he can see. What starts out as a simple assignment quickly becomes more involved. Bond first encounters Kamal Khan, a disposessed Afghan prince and apparent jewelry fence. As Bond follows Kamal back to his home in India, he finds that Kamal is involved with a female jewel smuggler known only as Octopussy. But behind them both is Soviet General Orlov and his plans involve more than just selling off jewels from the state archives. Bond must find out what Orlov is up to and stop him.The cast of characters in "Octopussy" is as wide and varied as ever seen in a Bond. Bond is opposed not by one but two master villians. Actor Louis Jourdan portrays the smooth but deadly Kamal Khan and Steven Berkoff nearly steals the show as the maniacal General Orlov. Kamal's henchman Golinda, played by Kabir Bedi, is a worthy successor to the likes of Red Grant and Oddjob. David and Tony Meyer nicely round out the villians as the twin killers, Mischa and Grischa. Kristina Wayborn makes good impression as Magda although she comes off as a little stiff in a couple of her earlier scenes. The film's title character is played by Maud Adams, whose performance as the smart but sensuous businesswoman Octopussy is quite excellent. The regular cast of characters are here as well with Robert Brown debuting as "M" and with Lois Maxwell and Desmond Llewelyn reprising their roles of Miss Moneypenny and "Q". Bond's trusty sidekick in India is played by newcomer Vijay Amritraj.The screenplay to its credit maintains a strong storyline, no mean feat considering the number of characters and the number of fights and chase scenes. The scenes where Bond is racing to prevent the fulfillment of General Orlov's plans are both amusing and suspenseful, worthy of comparison to films like Goldfinger. The final assault of Kamal's palace is a bit weak but the ensuring fight between Gobinda and Bond on the outside of a twin-engine aircraft is first-rate. The MGM Special Edition DVD of "Octopussy" has, like most of the other DVDs, an excellent widescreen print. The DVD also contains a couple of interesting documentaries, an audio commentary track, and many other goodies. As with any movie presenting in a widescreen format, this DVD is best seen on a large-screen TV."Octopussy" is one of those few Bond movies, especially in the Roger Moore's era, that seem to blend all the elements, exotic locations, colorful villians, spectacular physical action, suspenseful plot, into a masterful whole. If not the best of his individual performances, "Octopussy" is certainly the most entertaining of the Roger Moore Bonds. It is a shame that he was persuaded to do another Bond, this effort would have been a great swan song for Roger Moore. This DVD is a must for any Bond fan's collection."
Roger May Look Tired, but this Movie is Fun
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 03/26/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Octopussy" was the thirteenth "official" James Bond film, and Roger Moore's sixth. While Roger is looking a bit ragged, this movie is plotted well and has some of the classiest Bond movie characters. "Octopussy" was released twenty years after the release of Dr. No, well into establishing the James Bond series as the longest running movie series in history. 1983 was also the only year in which two "serious" James Bond movies were released, with "Never Say Never Again," starring Sean Connery, released shortly after this film. Two Bond films were also released in 1967; "You Only Live Twice" and the comedy "Casino Royale," with an all-star cast that included Peter Sellers, David Niven and numerous Bond movie actors, including Ursula Andress and Caroline Munro.
When agent 009 turns up stabbed with a valuable jeweled egg, James Bond is on the case. His investigation leads him to India, where he learns that Kamal Khan is involved in a number of activities, some of them apparently involving Octopussy, a female smuggler who makes her home on an island where there are only women.
Louis Jourdan plays Kamal Khan. Jourdan brings significant class and style to the character, and may be Bond's classiest villain ever. Jourdan's Khan is also utterly ruthless, and comes close to killing Bond several times.
Beautiful Maud Adams plays Octopussy, which was her father's nickname for her. Maud and her girls are smugglers, but you will note that their guns contain darts that put their targets to sleep rather than kill. Maud Adams remains unique as the only actor to be in a lead role in two Bond movies, the first being "The Man with the Golden Gun" in 1974. In many ways the character of Octopussy is similar to the character of Kristatos in "For Your Eyes Only."
As the movie unfolds we learn that General Orlov (played chillingly by Steven Berkoff) has been plotting with Kamal Khan to use the military superiority of the Soviet Union to show the world that the Soviet Union remains a potent world power. Kamal Khan's interest is money, however, and he cares little for Orlov's activities other than how he can benefit from them.
Two principal characters support Kamal and Bond. Kabir Bedi plays Gobinda, a tall, quiet, intelligent henchman. Gobinda seems to be the one to spot when the good guys are about to make a move. Gobinda is also quite obedient, to his ultimate chagrin. Vijay Amritraj plays Vijay, a suave Indian who likes to play tennis, is well-spoken and educated. Octopussy also has her sidekick in the character of Magda, played by Kristina Wayborn. Magda is beautiful, athletic, highly intelligent, and much like Octopussy.
The movie is focused in India until the principal characters travel to East Germany and Berlin where General Orlov's activities climax. Here Bond faces twin knife throwers, a host of East German soldiers, a lady who refuses to give up her pay phone, West German police, U.S. MPs, a bevy of clowns, and a nuclear bomb. The movie then returns to India where Q gets to take direct part in the action in a change of traditions, where Q has traditionally beem away from the action.
The title song for this movie is sang by Rita Coolidge. "All Time High" is a pretty song, and continues the tradition of having current music artists sing the title song. The special edition includes a music video of this song, along with a short on Peter Lamont and a making of documentary. Of the extras the documentary and the voice commentary are the best features. Here are a couple of interesting facts from the extras. The plane that flew through the hangar at the beginning was mounted on a post that was attached to the chassis of a car. If you slow the picture down as the plane flies through the hangar you can easily see the post and catch a couple of glimpses of the car chassis. Later in the movie when Bond is fighting on the circus train, the scenes with Bond suspended just above the moving rails was done with a painted moving below a pair of railroad cars suspended in the air, and a single moving train wheel. I found it hard to tell that the railroad ties were not real even though I knew how the special effect was created. I thought the extras were worth watching.
"Octopussy" has a lot going for it. The plot is now slightly dated, but worthy of Bond. There are interesting special effects, including a fight on a plane and an attack with a high tech hot air balloon. There is also a cool "crocodile" and a saw-blade yo-yo that shows how much of a cutup a bad guy can be. The title song is excellent. Roger looks very comfortable in this role, and Maud and he have substantial screen chemistry. I could readily have watched Roger and Maud in another movie together, even another Bond movie. While this Bond movie may be less than the best, it is still a very good Bond movie and enjoyable to watch time and again. You need this one in your Bond movie collection. "
Phillip C Mackey | 06/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The OO7 period from 1981 to 1985 was like the OO7 period from 1964 to 1967. Goldfinger and For Your Eyes Only are considered by most to be Connery and Moore's best (yet TSWLM is also considred by most to be Mooore's best), Thunderball and Octopussy are very strong follow-ups to their predecessors, and A View To a Kill and You Only Live Twice were expected to be great but fell short by a good amount. Octopussy has several great things about it including two excellent villains with the insane, power-hungry Russian General Orlov and the suave, witty Kamal Khan, a perfect combination of wit and toughness. Octopussy also features some of the best (and very underrated) henchmen in the series, with Khamal Khan's Indian strongman Gobinda and the dynamic duo, the twin brother knife throwers, Mischa and Grischa. Maud Adams and Kristina Wayborn are sexy and excellent Bond girls, and though Moore looks worn out, he gives his third best performance after TSWLM, his best performance and movie, and after FYEO, his second best performance and film. This film also has an excellent Bond feel to it. The plot is solid, which is that Khan will explode an atomic bomb at the U.S. Air Force Base in East Berlin, which will cripple NATO forces in that area and leave it for the Soviets to take it involved with a massive jewelry heist. Rita Coolidge's title song is good, and John Barry's score is top-notch. The settings in India are beautiful, especially the Monsoon Palace and the Floating Palace. The German settings are also good. Unlike most other OO7 films, Octopussy lacks a grand-scale climax but has more action than most Bond films for sure. For hand-to-hand combat lovers, Octopussy is a real treat. It's fights are a fight in, on top of, and off a train where Bond battles one of the knife throwers and Gobinda, in and on top of a plane where Bond battles Gobinda for the final time, on a golf cart-like car where Bond fights off several assasins, including one armed with a jinsu knife during a car chase through the streets of India. OO7 even gets stabbed, but his life is saved by "hard currency". The other hand-to-hand fights are a terrific one at Octopussy's Floating Palace where Bond beats out several of Kamal's henchmen,including one with the ingenious "yo-yo" saw and a fight near the very end at Kamal's Monsoon Palace. The other action is a shootout next to a train, two other car chases, and a very entertaining chase through the jungle. the gadgets are some of the best in the series, which are the "yo-yo" saw, a pen capable of releasing acid wich also has a listening device, a homing device planted in the Faberge egg so OO7 can listen to anyone speaking, and his watch which can track the egg thanks also to the homing device. Overall, this is my seventh favorite OO7 film beaten by For Your Eyes Only, The Spy who Loved Me, Thunderball, From Russia With Love, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and the all-time best, Goldfinger. If you want a fun, action-packed, suspenseful film, rent Octopussy, you won't be disappointed"
Rather underrated Bond flick
Tom Benton | North Springfield, VT USA | 01/03/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"By 1983, it didn't take a genius to figure out that Roger Moore was nearing the end of his time as James Bond. But as "Octopussy" demonstrates, at fifty-five years old Moore was still as suave as ever.
Referencing Ian Fleming's short story "Octopussy", the twelfth screen adventure of 007 is partially based on another of Fleming's tales, "The Property of a Lady", and is partially entirely new material. The story involves James Bond investigating the death of agent 009, and the origin of a Faberge Egg found with the body. The trail leads Bond across India and Russia, and Bond eventually discovers a plan to begin a third World War.
The Bond adventures had been getting sillier and sillier ever since "The Man With the Golden Gun" in 1979 - the peak of the goofy craze being "Moonraker" - and in 1981 the producers opted to go back to a more serious Bond for "For Your Eyes Only". "Octopussy" has the mood just about right - serious, but occasionally silly as well. Only once does it go over the edge - when 007 releases a Tarzan scream in the Indian jungle.
There's some good thrills in this film, directed by frequent Bond director John Glen. The best of which is probably the short, but grabbing pre-title sequence, which involves 007 in a mini-plane to escape from an enemy base. There's another score by John Barry - who was also reaching the end of his Bond adventures - which doesn't live up to what we've come to expect from Barry. Louis Jordan makes a very nice, albeit ferret-faced villain, while Maud Adams returns to play the title character.
All in all, I find "Octopussy" to be a good, quite entertaining, and rather underrated Bond adventure. Next up was Roger Moore's final (and not a moment too soon) outing as Bond: "A View to a Kill". "