Logline: A fellow agent’s death and a fake Fabergé egg lead Bond on a mission to uncover a jewel smuggling operation.
After the release of For Your Eyes Only in 1981, Roger Moore expressed an interest in retiring from the role of British secret agent 007. Thus, the search began for the next James Bond. Many actors were considered including James Brolin and future Bond Timothy Dalton. However, it was decided that an established actor in the role would fare better against Sean Connery in the unofficial Thunderball remake Never Say Never Again due the same year. Consequently, Roger Moore was lured back for his sixth appearance as Bond.
Octopussy was a personal favorite Bond film of mine when I was a kid but this most recent viewing has me reconsidering its place in the Bond canon. Even though it has some fun scenes like the pre-title sequence in which Bond flies a jet through an open hangar, Octopussy gets bogged down by its ludicrous, convoluted plot and various silly elements at work. One of the film’s sillier sequences has Bond disguised in a clown costume. Most infuriating is the Tarzan yell when Bond swings through the trees of a jungle. It’s this type of juvenile humor that feels out of place in a Bond film. The title character Octopussy isn’t as interesting as the film wants you to believe and Maud Adams is pretty wooden in the role.
On the positive side though, Octopussy makes great use of its locations which include India and Germany. The film also includes some impressive stunts in which Bond finds himself atop both a train and an airplane. As Kamal Khan, Louis Jordan proves a worthy adversary for Bond. The film has the feel of an old fashioned adventure in the tradition of Raiders of the Lost Ark, released just a couple years prior to the release of Octopussy.
Octopussy fared better at the box office than its rival Never Say Never Again and there is no doubt that it is the superior of the two. Moore is definitely beginning to show his age though and would only appear as Bond once more in A View to A Kill (1985). While not nearly as good as I remembered, Octopussy is still a decent Bond film. James Bond’s all time high though? I don’t think so.
Rating (out of ****): ***