The James Bond series was a monumental series for me growing up and, as I planned on featuring one of the 20+ films in the series as a Key Movie, I just couldn’t choose. Since I can’t choose a single one, I am reviewing each and every Bond film continuing with today’s entry, Octopussy
Welcome to Key Movies Of My Life James Bond Edition.
Today’s Key Movie:
Roger Moore returns as James Bond in an adventure concerning fake eggs and nuclear war in his penultimate performance as the world famous Secret Agent. While assigned to follow a General who is suspected of stealing valuables from the Soviet Union, Bond finds himself entangled in the arms of our title character Octopussy (played by Maud Adams) as he travels across the globe to discover the real reason these jewels are being stolen.
Why this movie?
In my youth this was my all time favorite Bond film. It had everything, action, adventure, The intro mission alone was worth the price of admission. While Bond does manage to infiltrate a South American disguised as one of the officers (hmmmm), the opening has one of the coolest action scenes of Bond completing his mission than any that have come before. Airplanes, espionage, and more, it is truly incredible.
While the story itself has some rather slow moments, it plays closer to a classic Connery Bond film than any of Moore’s adventures thus far making it very enjoyable despite it’s some of it’s flaws. In this one, Bond faces Russians, knife throwing henchmen, nuclear bombs and a whole lot more.
Okay, you like this film, but is it really a ‘good film’?
This is Roger Moore back in form after stumbling for a couple films and man does he own this role. Filling in for 009 after the agents untimely death, Bond begins his adventure from London to India where he meets with the films Villain Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan) and Khan’s partner in crime, Magda (Kristina Wayborn). Magda, of course, ends up sleeping with our hero, only to use this as a way to get the upper-hand on the British Agent but did you really expect anything else from these films? Sex is just as much a weapon to secret agents and megalomaniacal villains as are the guns and bombs they use.
Like I indicated earlier, this is Bond back to form even though the plot tends to meander at times. Everything is as it was from the earlier incarnations for good and for bad, even some of the flagrant sexism that 007 just can’t seem to shake.
The Main Villain in this is Kamal Khan, a man, working for Octopussy, who has machinations of his own as he plans to use the denuclearization of the early 80’s to his advantage. Partnering with the Soviet government, Khan uses his network to supply the Soviets weapons to expand their territories while gaining the riches he so desperately desires. Played by Louis Jourdan, Jourdan channels all of the best attributes from Auric Goldfinger to Dr. No in his role, even hunting Bond through the jungles of India in a Most Dangerous Game fashion. His portrayal almost makes you wish that he was the start of a whole new SPECTRE, which was so unceremoniously put to bed in the last film with the death of Blofeld.
It is halfway through the film where we finally meet the film’s namesake, Octopussy. Played by Maud Adams, Octopussy has a deep connection with Bond that ultimately makes them allies against the machinations of Khan and his people. Using her smuggling business, she has formed an Octopus Cult of women who have come from any number of backgrounds, giving them a place to be safe and productive while working for her in her business ventures. She is a strong willed and cunning villain who, of course, ends up in the arms of our irresistible secret agent. For once, I would have loved to have seen a strong lead female character resist the desires of our British Super Spy but, alas, this was the 80’s and such a thing would never been allowed.
As with every Bond film, the ‘title song’ is as iconic as Bond’s PPK, Aston Martin and the various Bond Girls. This one, however, is one of the few that does not reference the film or really even Bond himself. Sung by Rita Coolidge, the song All Time High is one of the softer and more contemporary tunes that, while it is not your typical Bond Theme, it is quite the catchy tunes. It may not be a great Bond Theme, but it is a pretty good tune, the music alone will play in your head for some time after watching the film.
All in all, this is one of Roger Moore’s finest attempts at James Bond. He seems to have found a solid balance between the campy one liners and the action needed to make this character his own. Sadly, it would be his second to last performance as the British Agent soon giving way to a new actor to take the reigns. But before Moore’s final appearance as Bond…something interesting happened, that, we will talk about next week.
OK, where do I get this movie?
The best way to get this one is in the Roger Moore Collection Volume 2 which also contains Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only and Moore’s Final effort, A View To A Kill. For around $20, you really can’t beat it.
And of course, The Trailer:
Thanks for reading,
Late To The Game 3/28/2019
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