Fan Reviews - Octopussy

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"Octopussy" by Luds

Following the financial success of the latest two Bond movies (Moonraker in 1979 and For Your Eyes Only in 1981), both grossing around $200 Million worldwide, producers Albert R. Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson would have to face a formidable opponent to ensure financial success with the thirteenth movie.

Indeed, producer Kevin McClory, who participated in the creation of the Thunderball script and movie in 1965 had rights to some Bond material and intended to produce his own rival Bond franchise. McClory’s movie, Never Say Never Again which was based on Thunderball would star Sean Connery as James Bond! Bond versus Bond, Sean Connery versus Roger Moore.

Broccoli, Wilson, and For Your Eyes Only (FYEO) director John Glen decided to use two of Ian Fleming’s short stories (Octopussy and Property of a Lady) as a basis for the story. The script would contain more humour, an ingredient which was omnipresent in Moonraker but almost unused in FYEO.

The movie starts off with a rather spectacular opening scene as James Bond impersonates Luis Toro of the Cuban military to gain access to hanger, where he is captured. With the help of a female agent, Bond escapes using an Acrostar jet fighter and blows up the hanger. Bond later arrives to London where he learns of 009’s death carrying a Faberge egg. Following a lead with Art expert Jim Fanning (Douglas Wilmer), Bond notices a man who has a particular interest in the egg: Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan). Bond follows Khan to India where he meets the rather charismatic ally Vijay (Vijay Amritraj). After escaping from Kamal’s palace, he follows up on a lead to a palace owned by the mysterious Octopussy (Maud Adams). 007 later travels to Karl Marxstadt where Octopussy’s circus has set camp, where he discovers that a bomb has been hidden in the circus cannon by General Orlov (Steven Berkoff)’s men with the help from Khan. Bond disarms the device and later attacks Khan’s palace with the help of Octopussy’s ladies.

Octopussy’s could be described as a movie which contains good ingredients and few major flaws. The story itself is rather interesting, as Bond follows a clue left by a fellow 00-agent who was murdered. The cast is impressive: Louis Jourdan plays a cool Kamal Khan, clearly one of the best villains of the 80’s. Henchman Gobinda (Kabir Bedi) is solid, secondary villain General Orlov is a plays a believable mad-man, and Bond girls Octopussy and Magda (Kristina Wayborn) are better than average characters. While not being one of the best allies in the series (such as Kerim Bey in From Russia With Love, Marc Ange Draco in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and Colombo in FYEO) Vijay’s performance is enough for him to be remembered as one of the “good” allies. Octopussy also treats it’s viewers with an appearance by General Gogol (Walter Gotell), M’s Russian counterpart. John Barry’s score isn’t one of the best but is rather good, as is Rita Coolidge’s theme song “All Time High”.

The only down side to Octopussy would be the rather disappointing “Q scene” which is too silly, especially when Bond focuses a camera on a lady’s cleavage which wouldn’t be described as very “classy”. Many fans didn’t enjoy seeing James Bond dressed in a clown costume, which to a certain point can be tolerated as he tried to avoid the attention of police officers in the circus.

Octopussy easily defeated the competition. Never Say Never Again (NSNA) was clearly not an “official” Bond movie. Even if it was based on one of the very best movies in Thunderball, NSNA was a production nightmare which lacked almost everything necessary to make a good Bond movie, elements that Octopussy succeeded in delivering to the fans.


"Octopussy" by Overkill

“Bond hits an all time high!” bellowed Patrick Allen in the trailer for the unlucky 13th Bond extravaganza. The conceit was repeated in Rita Coolidge's forgettable theme tune.
Whilst OP eventually is less than the sum of its parts (and certainly far from an all time high) it’s an entertaining diversion and further enhanced Moore’s reputation as Bond.
This latter idea was made all the more important by virtue of the fact that a certain Mr Connery was reprising the role himself in a rival Bond picture the very same year…

The history of Never Say Never Again’s genesis is well documented elsewhere, so I will only add that its production meant that OP was really going to have to pull out all the stops to ensure it won the ‘Battle of the Bonds’, which it did… narrowly.

Early speculation suggested that OP would continue on from FYEO in presenting Bond as a fallible hero in a gritty cold war thriller. While the plot synopsis may back this up (Bond attempts to prevent a mad Soviet general from detonating a nuclear bomb in West Germany) the execution harks back to the razzle-dazzle, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink productions of Connery’s heyday.

Bond finds himself in India following the trail of a fake Faberge egg, which was briefly in the possession of a colleague, 009, before he was killed by a pair of knife wielding twins.

Once there, Bond quickly jumps into bed with Magda, the villain’s moll, and then follows this with a quickie with the titular Octopussy (admittedly, a woman closer his own age for a change). Meanwhile the egg (remember that) gets passed between Bond, villain, General before getting confused with the original (not the fake, keep up) which is eventually smashed. The fake ends up in a treasure trove of fakery along with the aforementioned bomb on its way with Octopussy’s circus to West Germany. If this all sounds a bit convoluted and ridiculous well… that’s because it is. But whereas confused plots had previously been a hindrance to Bond movies (TMWTGG being the best example), here it’s actually a bonus as it means we can concentrate on some good, if understated, action and some genuine suspense.

Following FYEO’s lead, OP again features a great cast. Maud Adams returns from TMWGG, this time bagging the female lead she richly deserved. She has great chemistry with Moore, betraying their off-screen friendship, but this helps their relationship on-screen no end producing the only really convincing Moore-Bond Girl tryst in his tenure.
Louis Jourdan, who almost played Hugo Drax in MR, is on superbly slimy form as Kamal Khan, an exiled Afghan prince living it up at OP expense whilst conducting his nefarious schemes behind her back.
Kristina Waybourn is GORGEOUS, but has little to do as Magda, expect look good in bed and make Moore look really old.
And Vijay Amritraj is an excellent ally during his brief moments on screen (hard to believe this was his first acting role…).
But for me, and against the beliefs of many others, the show is stolen by Steven Berkoff as general Orlov. I’m a huge admirer of Berkoff’s theatre work, and whilst he admits he only takes Hollywood roles to pay for his theatre projects, here is one role where he seems to not only act his socks off, but enjoy it immensely at the same time. Good work fella!

OP works only as entertainment, and nothing else. It’s convoluted plot, confused characters (just who does Magda work for?), and occasional casual racism are easily reduced by beautiful photography, wonderful sets, relentless action (one critic said OP had more climaxes than a porn film!) and wonderfully tongue-in-cheek performance from Moore. Somehow it all hangs together. Watching it now it reminds you why you loved watching Bond as a kid. Just glamour, beautiful girls, dastardly villains and outrageous action.


"Octopussy" by NicNac

Director John Glen, having cut his directing teeth on For Your Eyes Only, was given the equally difficult task of taking small amounts of Ian Fleming material, and fashioning a new Bond movie which would maintain the spirit of the series, but drag it all up to date for an 80s audience enjoying the new over the top adventures of Indiana Jones.

Octopussy was set primarily in India, and rather than dwell on the poverty and hardship of living within the world's largest democracy, Glen opted to portray the mysticism and romantic feel of this country. In typical Bond fashion, India became an exotic backdrop, conveniently presented to heighten Bond's exploits. And anyone who was critical of this movie making device, probably never really latched on to what Bond was all about in the first place.

Roger Moore, older, heavier and less mobile than before, moves effortlessly through his scenes, comfortable in his role, but presenting a slightly more cynical Bond. While much is made of his tough-guy cliff top kick in FYEO, here in Octopussy he bates his enemy, kills just as ruthlessly as ever before, and gets surprisingly angry when he confronts Orlov on the train and realises what the mad General is planning. This is arguably Moore's best performance as Bond, only spoiled by his ageing appearance.

The support cast including Stephen Berkov, Maud Adams, Kabir Bedi and Louis Jourdan, is truly excellent. (Berkov's exaggerated madman is entertaining when it could have so easily been irritating.)

The plot? I have always been slightly thrown by the involvement of real and fake Faberge, and how it all links in with the smuggling, and the bomb on the airbase. And every time I see the film and satisfactorily resolve it all in my own head, I have just as surely forgotten it all again by the next time I see it. As a result, I have now conditioned myself to pay no attention to it, but to simply admire the way Octopussy flows so nicely, integrates the action sequences in an unforced manner (unlike the last 3 movies), presents a beautiful romantic side plot between Bond and Octopussy, and includes Ian Fleming's short stories 'Octopussy' and 'Property of a Lady' in a respectful, un-showy manner.

The music is beautiful as befitting this movie, the stunt work and fight sequences of a high order, and of course the pre credit sequence satisfyingly breath-taking.

Naturally the gripes are to do with Bond's need to reflect current cinema trends (in this case Indiana Jones), rather than create them, as was the case in the 60s.

And of course, the jaw dropping moments of Carry-On comedy involving Tarzan and a tiger. Unnecessary by 1983, but somehow Glen could not have felt totally sure that his material was good enough to stand up by itself without throwing in a couple of Moonraker inspired gags.
The material was good enough, but it's all too late, and the Tarzan yell has taken its rightful place besides the doo-wop sound effect in TMWTGG as the car jumps the bridge, and Jaws 'Here's to us' line in Moonraker as truly badly judged moments of comedy in the Bond series.

The overall effect however, is satisfying. OP has not aged well, and critics are sadly quite harsh in their judgment. It certainly deserves reappraisal. It a fast paced, exciting and romantic film.

And it was of course, Moore's last Bond film. Sorry, I mean it should have been Moore's last Bond film.


"Octopussy" by Dr. Karim Largo

1983 was the battle of the Bonds. Roger in Octopussy and Sean in Never Say Never Again. Octopussy had the standard 80's formula of going against the Communists, while Sean did a time warp back to 1965. In the end, Roger won the battle. Moore successfully blends seriousness with humor in Octopussy. Moore's avenging Mishchka nad Grishchka for murdering 009 while finding humor in the India street fight and the jungle chase.

Octopussy had a good mix of suspense, action and humor. Octopussy had two main villians, Louis Jordan as Kamal Khan and Steven Berkoff as General Orlov. Octopussy did a great job in intertwining the two villains by smuggling real and fake Faberege eggs (a nod to Fleming's Property of a Lady) in an attempt to take over non-Communist Western Europe. Jordan's deadpan deliveries and Berkoff's maniacal personalities worked well together towards the plot.

Maud Adams returns to the franchise as the mysterious Octopussy. A nod to Fleming's short story is given as she reveals she is the daughter of Major Smythe. While not the best of all the Bond girls, Adams holds her own as first the mysterious and possible villain, to falling for Bond to becoming a victim to Khan's double crossing, to exacting her revenge. Octopussy also leads the Octopussy cult, which later plays a big role in the climax. Would have liked to have seen more of Biancha.

The recurring cast is solid as always. Robert Brown debuts a M and carries the tradition the Bernard Lee established as M. Ms. Moneypenny's age is definitely noticeable now, to the point that Penelope Smallbone is brought in. Geoffrey Keen and Walter Gotell both have good performances as the PM and General Gogol. Desmond Llewelyn has one of his more memorable roles as Q in Octopussy. Q travels to India to help Bond establish the tracking device in the Fabrege egg. Q also plays a role in helping Bond get to the Monsoon Palace and even helped saved Octopussy's women, whom seemed very grateful. Octopussy was one of Llewelyn's best portrayal's as Q.

Overall, Octopussy has all the elements of a Bond film. Action, espionage, beautiful women, exotic locales, humor and gadgets. Bond as a gorilla and clown raises some eyebrows, but Bond doesn't make it into the circus tent without the clown makeup. Octopussy is in the middle of the pack of Bond films. It's not up there with the best, but it's certainly not among the worst.


"Octopussy" by S. Christensen

1983 was the year that saw "The Battle of the Bonds." After more than a decade since sipping a medium dry vodka martini on screen, Sean Connery returned to the James Bond role outside of the Bond series in Never Say Never Again and the Cubby Broccoli-lead Bond filmmaking team had extra pressure to deliver something special - and they certainly did with Octopussy. The film's Rita Coolidge-sung theme song "All Time High" serenades us with the phrase "All I wanted was a sweet distraction for an hour or two," and Octopussy undoubtedly fulfills this desire. Sewing together elements from Ian Fleming's short stories "Octopussy" and "The Property Of A Lady" (and even "The Living Daylights" with its inclusion of Checkpoint Charlie) while adding in original story pieces surrounding the death of a '00' agent and a Russian General's mad craving for conquest, this the 13th Bond film gets quite down to earth while also being one of the most humor-oriented film of the series. While this balance of laughs and thrills is very effective and entertaining, Octopussy is not meant to be taken too seriously as one could very well end up disappointed with the film's often goofy and slapstick-style humor.

The highlight of the film is Roger Moore who charms with his suave swagger, stuns with his dramatic turns, and makes us laugh with his animated facial expressions and gold-laced delivery of the witty dialogue in one of his most confident and cool Bond performances. Also, Bond Babes Kristina Wayborn and Maud Adams (the only actress to play two different Bond Girls in two different films (the first being The Man With The Golden Gun)) light up each scene they are in with their radiant beauty, alluring presence, and bright characterizations.

Octopussy may not one of the most brilliant entries in the Bond series, as it has its fair share of problems. Such imperfections include the weak villains of Louis Jourdan's non-threatening Prince Kamal Khan and Steven Berkoff's temper-tantrum-throwing General Orlov as well as a variety of missteps that include a pungi-performed 007 theme, Moore stuck in a gorilla suit, lame tennis jokes for Vijay, a bizarre Tarzan yell, scantily-clad army of fighting circus women, and more.

However, despite it all, I find Octopussy to be a very good movie; my appreciation of its finer points seems to grow after each viewing. Some of my favorite scenes include a very cool Acrostar Mini Jet action sequence, the humorous Sotheby's auction and backgammon game, Bond's attempt to escape Khan and his horde of hunters in the Indian jungle, the yo-yo razor blade toting henchman's attack, and especially Bond's death-defying train-top run. Octopussy is simply a fun film from open to close; if you did not start to not take the film seriously after Roger Moore drives a tiny airplane out from under the backside of a horse, then there is just no help for you.


"Octopussy" by timmer

The 13th entry in the series is a highly entertaining Bond adventure. Roger Moore is very much at ease as 007 but his age is working against him. It's not believable that an agent of Moore's age would be dispatched to a hostile country like Cuba to perform a very dangerous behind enemy lines sabotage mission. Well, maybe you needed an older guy to impersonate a General but still this kind of work is generally assigned to younger fit Special Forces types at the height of their physical energies. I think the 56 year old double 0 operative would want to be retired from such assignments. Anyway Moore pulls the mission off with style and transitions us nicely into the Acro Star jet action scene - a well executed, edge of the seat thrill ride, leading us into the powerful main title Rita Coolidge vocal track.
Octopussy is rife with interesting and very deadly villains. From the smooth as silk mastermind Kamal Khan and the crazed General Orlov to assorted vicious henchmen such as the knife wielding twins Mishka and Grishka, the towering Gobinda, (cast in the Jaws/Oddjob tradition), along with Yo Yo man and other assorted thugs and palace guards that we encounter along the adventure.

Maud Adams who was stunning in her earlier Bond incarnation as the The Man With The Golden Gun's doomed Andrea Anders, presents a more mature femme fatale, but with a heart of gold, as the titular Octopussy. Adams plays the role with style, urgency and grace. She is a wonderful foil for Moore's more mature Bond and is quite believable in her role as Circus Impresario, international smuggler and guru to wayward young women.

Along with the colourful cast of characters the movie is bright with exotic locales, plenty of action, genuine suspense and tension, especially as Bond races to defuse the nuclear bomb at the German Nato Base.

Released in 1983, Octopussy addresses the cold war tensions of the time and seems to mock troublesome European peace activists as playing into Soviet hands but is careful not to suggest any official Soviet nuclear hostile intentions, but rather lays the horrific plot at the hands of a renegade and clearly deranged General Orlov.

Tennis star Vijay Amritraj has some enjoyable light moments with Moore however the Tarzan yell and other silliness during Bond's jungle escape from Khan's Palace are too much wackiness even for a Moore era Bond film. Actually the escape might have worked out fine, but for the Tarzan yell. But it's "the yell" that resonates and defines, thus robbing the segment of any real suspense or danger.

It's a very odd contrast as Moore does have some genuinely tense moments in this film. He plays danger Bond well and is all business when dispatching with Grishka and in confrontations with both Orlov and Khan. Yes like any Bond film, Octopussy needs some lighter moments to offset the violence and death dealing but again Eon is guilty of going over the top. This nonsense would continue in the next film with the infamous Beach Boys interlude, marring an otherwise great ski chase.

Octopussy boasts one of the best 1-2 Bond girl combos with Adams and her stunning blonde #2, Kristina Wayborn as Magda. Wayborn is not the most natural actress when it comes to delivering lines, but she more than compensates with her striking looks and slinky fluid moves. She's like an exotic snake that slithers in and out of Bond's bed only to gently tumble over the balcony and softly land in her skimpy finest.
Octopussy is an enjoyable two hour plus entertainment with much hard edged violent action mixed with fantastical Bondian escapist plotting and design.

And despite being well past Ian Fleming's mandatory double O retirement age of 45, Moore's Bond may be one of his most convincing performances as the suave but deadly British Agent.


"Octopussy" by James Clark

"You have a nasty habit of surviving"
"Well you know what they say about the fittest!"

The biggest threat facing the Bond team in 1982 when they began work on Octopussy, apart from the fact that this was to be the 13th official film in the series - unlucky for some - was the fact that Kevin McClory was teaming with Sean Connery for a rival Bond film based on Fleming's Thunderball to be ironically titled Never Say Never Again. Having secured Moore for his 6th outing as the British secret agent, production began on the film on August 10th 1982 in East Berlin. Octopussy brings together a fascinating cast of characters for a Bond film. Louis Jourdan is superb as the head villain Kamal Khan and Kabir Bedi is also excellent as Gobinda, the more physical heavy in the same tradition as Jaws or Oddjob. The film also saw the return of Maud Adams as the title character Octopussy. Though not revealed facially in the film until nearly half the way through, Adams makes her presence known and is still one of the best leading ladies to act opposite Moore in any of his films. There is a certain grace to her performance despite the fact that she is involved with jewel smuggling. Having said this, her role as the ill fated Andrea Anders in The Man with the golden gun, her first foray into the Bond series, is ultimately more successful.

Moore seems confident with the material he is given and delivers some excellent dialogue in a straight faced approach, in particular when he is conversing with the maniacal General Orlov aboard the carriage housing the bomb. Moore always manages to inject some great humour and overall fun in his Bond films and Octopussy is no exception. Whilst the costume is a little dubious, it seems perfectly acceptable that Bond would adopt a clown disguise to stop a bomb from exploding in a circus and killing thousands of innocent people. The scene in which he tests Khan's desperation for the egg at the auction with Fanning is also another example of Moore delivering the comedic goods. It is the climax of the film that seems a little lacklustre and over before it has even begun. The fight between Gobinda and Bond atop the plane feels like a recycled version of a Bond scene that has been orchestrated many times beforehand but then this is Bond 13 and there is a lot to live up to. The title song is also a little under par compared to some of the other classics preceding it - gone is the joy of Live and Let Die or the classics like Nobody does it better in favour of a drab ballad. The one good thing is that John Barry rightly tried not to introduce the film's title into the song. What rhymes with Octopussy? Barry's score is however another great effort and lends some great tension to some sequences - in particular the 009 assassination sequence after the titles which is one of the best moments in the film.

Ultimately, whilst not Moore's All Time High, as professed by Pfeiffer and Worrall in their compendium The Essential James Bond, it is a fine entry in the Bond series with exotic locations, beautiful women, a circus, a bomb and so much more. Octopussy out grossed its competitor on release in 1983 and became a top grossing Moore Bond film. No chance of Bond becoming extinct any time soon - even if Moore is starting to look as though he may need a lie down.


"Octopussy" by Bondfan06

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 56 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" - 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. 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 and gives a much better performance as Octopussy.


"Octopussy" by benny

"Octopuussssy...Octopuuussssy...",yes it's time for my review of my well known favourite of the Bond series. So don't expect anything unusual as far as scoring goes.
The only thing I'll say is that I will justify my scores with an explanation.
Something I fear some of these reviews are a little short at times.
I actually sat down a couple of nights ago and put Octopussy into the dvd player, just to get me in the zone as it were.
Again I get back into my happy place. Often I'm left wondering if OP really is the best of the series in my mind. I watch films like FRWL and OHMSS often regarded by many as the best of the series.
And I too hold them in my top five, along with another favourite of mine TLD. Any of those three in my mind are required viewing for any Bond fan, or Bond newbie.
There should be rules for such things.
Anyway, getting back to OP, it didn't take long for me to realise my questions need not be asked. As the pre-titles scene came to an explosive end, and Sir Rog asks to "fill'er up please." My possible doubts were answered.
I really do enjoy this film. And I can't ever see a time when it will be knocked off the top spot.
Even mini benny sat and watched with me, and I think this had a bigger effect than I at first realised. It was almost like being able to take a time machine back to 1983, when I had my first introduction to the world of James Bond.
He was amazed and amused by the pre-title sequence, giving a 'wow' as the acrostar seemingly made the tightest escape of all time from the closing hangar doors.
He was impressed by Bond winning the back gammon game. (Though I did have to explain it to him) And the resulting taxi chase gave him a few laughs. He is seven.
Q's gadgets made him look on excitedly.
Then after disappearing for a while to play with his Transformers, he returned for the build up to the finale.
Bond has just stolen Orlov's car and races after the train.
My little boy at first stood in the living near where I sat. Then as the car shed its tyres and chased the train along the tracks he sat down beside me. All the while watching the scene unfold. The wearing the gorilla suit got a big laugh, but all the while he concentrated on what was happening.
He knew a bomb had been placed on the train. And he knew James Bond had to stop it.
Then the action begins again, and once again his little mouth opened as Bond climbs first along the top, then the side, then underneath and finally back on the top of the speeding train.
Watching this, and the few questions that he asked to make sure he understood what was going on, was just magical for me. Here was my son, asking (with interest) about my favourite Bond film.
By the time Bond has the clown suit on he was on the edge of his seat. Getting tense as the US General at first fails to believe Bond.
Another big laugh as Q explains that the balloon went by hot air, and again amazement as Bond hangs on to Khans in flight plane. Again another laugh at the "Go out and get him" / "Out there!" line.
And then Bond gets it on with Octopussy and the credits roll.
Apparently that means that the kiss and cuddle, and get some crazy moves going. Looks like the birds and the bees story hasn't quite been told yet. But he's not far off.
Of course this didn't have the effect I thought might or hoped might occur. When I asked if he wanted to watch another one I got a very to the point.
"No way."
Still as usual I enjoyed it. But as I thought more about how mini benny had actually been hooked at mainly the action, but also some of the other memorable scenes, it pleased me. The things that many would cringe at, the gorilla suit, the clown suit, the Tarzan yell, the taxi chase...they all appealed to him. Because he's a child.
And not everything has to be serious. But OP sucked him in, and entertained him. Which in my mind is what a film should do.