Bondfest: Octopussy

Mission Dossier: Octopussy

The Year: 1983
The Director:
John Glen
The Bond: Roger Moore
The Girl:
Maud Adams as Octopussy
The Baddie: The above, along with Kamal Khan and an insane Russian General
The Scene

Cup of tea time of course.

Octopussy, surely the most absurdly named of all the Bond films, joins a number of the other Roger Moore efforts in being really quite enjoyable, though not spectacularly so.

The enjoyment factor and sense of fun that was so utterly lacking in For Your Eyes Only is thankfully reinstated in this one. This much is obvious from the prologue which sees Bond escape in small plane that he manages to fly through a hangar in a very impressive looking scene.  The film generally concerns diamond smuggling, with a lot of the action taking place in India which is a nice change of scenery for the series. It does eventually expand to include a rogue Russian military official and a nuclear bomb threat. What is nice is that the shift between the two is really easy to follow, avoiding the confusion that a number of Bond plots do bring about. The culmination of all this is broken into two. An excellent, tense bomb defusal sequence followed by a horrid final showdown featuring circus performance. Groan. Though in a major defence of the scene, it does awesomely feature Q piloting a hot air balloon.

Whilst the film is really quite enjoyable, it is hurt by some of the sillier efforts such as the finale mentioned above. Chief amongst these crimes is Bond approaching Octopussy’s castle inside a fake crocodile. Other questionable moments see some truly hideous tennis jokes deployed, a horrible homage to Tarzan, Bond in a gorilla suit, Bond in a clown suit… I could go on. One gripe I really do have with the series overall, which rears its head in this film, is a tendency to have the same actor play different roles in different films. I just think it is totally unnecessary given the number of really good performers out there and it just confuses things. Especially when watching a lot of the flicks close together. Here Maud Adams plays Octopussy, but she also featured in The Man with the Golden Gun. Take nothing away from Adams though, because her performance in this film is really slick and believable. It is a good character too, with a fair bit of depth for a female in a Bond film. She is the head honcho of a smuggling organisation who tries to recruit Bond and has some interesting ambiguity about where her true loyalties and morals lie.  The other main villain of the piece, Kamal Khan played by Louis Jourdan, is also delivered by a really good, menacing performance and the multiple villains in the film interact well throughout the narrative.

There is a lot of fun to be had with Octopussy. There are horrid, cringeworthy moments aplenty, but they do not derail what is a good, easy to follow spy story brought to life by some nice performances from most involved.

Verdict: Stubby of Reschs

Bondfest Leaderboard

  1. Thunderball (1965)
  2. Goldfinger (1964)
  3. Moonraker (1979)
  4. Dr No (1962)
  5. From Russia with Love (1963)
  6. Octopussy (1983)
  7. The Spy who Loved Me (1977)
  8. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
  9. Live and Let Die (1973)
  10. Diamonds are Forever (1971)
  11. You Only Live Twice (1967)
  12. For Your Eyes Only (1981)
  13. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

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