Octopussy Poster 2Octopussy

  • Year:  1983
  • Director:  John Glen
  • Series Rank:  #24
  • Year Rank:  #120
  • Oscar Nominations:  none
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  none
  • Bond Girl:  Maud Adams (Octopussy), Kristina Wayborn (Magda)
  • Bond Villain:  Louis Jourdan (Kamal Khan), Kabir Bedi (Gobinda), Steven Berkoff (General Orlov)
  • Bond Support:  Robert Brown (M), Lois Maxwell (Moneypenny), Desmond Llewelyn (Q), Vijay Amritaj (Vijay)

For Your Eyes Only was a big step forward for the Roger Moore films.  It had been the directorial debut of John Glen, who had edited three previous Bond films.  With Glen returning for the next film, could, perhaps they do it again?  Well, perhaps they could have, but they didn’t even try.  The final two Moore films would be the worst of the lot, filled with jokes, lackluster villains, unimpressive Bond girls and a Bond who was clearly too old for the role.  And I have a hard time deciding which one is worse.

While watching For Your Eyes Only, Veronica said to me, a couple of times, “You’re right.  This is much better than the other Roger Moore films.”  When we got to Octopussy, she just could not contain her disbelief at what her eyes were seeing.

jourdan-octopussyWhat is wrong with this film?  Well, let’s start with the title.  Yes, it’s the title of a Bond short story by Ian Fleming, but it works for a Bond short story.  As a film title, and a character name, it’s just ridiculous and it sound more ridiculous every time someone in the film says it.  Yet, it’s far from the most ridiculous thing in this film.  How about Louis Jourdan as the primary villain (already a silly idea) who’s an exiled Afghan prince.  How about when Bond escapes his palace (why, exactly, does an exiled Afghan prince have a castle in India?), he eventually uses vines to swing through the trees and, yes, does a Tarzan yell.  That’s after he somehow managed to not get eaten by the Bengal tiger or the saltwater crocodile, two animals that if they get anywhere near you, you are pretty much going to die.  At one point Bond dresses in a gorilla suit to hide from one of the villains.  Then he dresses up as a circus clown to hide from the West German police.  If only he could have hidden this whole film.  And all of this so he can stop a nuclear explosion at literally the last second possible.  The story is ridiculous, the performances are pretty terrible and even the action scenes (like getting chased through the crowded streets of India on what is essentially a golf cart) aren’t particularly good.  This film isn’t just bad for a Bond film – it starts to get down into the range of simply being a bad film.

Maud Adams i OctopussyNow, at the risk of sounding sexist, although writing an appreciation of James Bond films has already put me at the risk of sounding sexist, one of the things you can generally look forward to in a Bond film is the Bond girl, the eye candy.  For this film, they bring back Maud Adams, who’s certainly not bad looking, but is now 9 years older than she was in The Man with The Golden Gun and she wasn’t exactly Ursula Andress back then.  Sadly, it does not appear that she has worked much on her acting in between those films either.  She’s not that interesting of a villain (her octopus kills more people than she does), she doesn’t give a good performance and she, like the leading actor, is aging.  That is not the primary thought you want when you watch a Bond film.  She’s not the only Bond girl – there is also her henchwoman, or maybe she is Khan’s henchwoman, or maybe she’s just another boring blonde for Bond to bed.

eggThe plot isn’t as boring as all that, but it’s confusing enough.  It involves a Russian general stealing Fabergé eggs, faking them, selling them at auction, and then, I think, using the profits for something.  Or returning the eggs?  I wasn’t really sure and when someone who can follow the plotlines of the Mission: Impossible films without a problem isn’t sure what’s going on, that’s a bad sign.  At one point an egg is smashed, and I think it was supposed to be a real egg but they never really make that clear.  (Sidenote: since I needled my mother in the previous review, I should point out that the real Fabergé eggs are amazing intricate works of art and I know that because she has a book on them that I used to look at as a kid and because she has actually seen 26 of these amazing eggs in San Diego back in 1989.)  Octopussy-Clown-SuitAnd yet, they lay that plot aside to go with a worn-out plot – a bomb going off.  This one would be a nuclear bomb at a U.S. base in West Berlin that would make NATO have to pull back and leave Europe ripe for a Soviet invasion.  There’s a circus involved in all of this, but don’t bother to ask how – it’s just an excuse for Bond to have to dress as a clown.

Having written this review, even having to think about this dumb film, I think this is the grand winner of worst James Bond film.  Thankfully, in between these two films we get a reminder of what a good Bond film can be like.