Tuesday, November 03, 2015


Released the same year that Sean Connery reprised the 007 role in NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN, OCTOPUSSY is not one of Roger Moore’s best Bond films. It suffers from a non-threatening villain, an uninteresting plot, and inappropriate humor — a standard of the Moore films. Bond dresses as both an ape and a clown, and if a Tarzan yell punctuating the suave agent’s swinging from vine to vine doesn’t make your eyes fall in shame, there’s no hope for you.

Screenplay by George MacDonald Fraser (THE THREE MUSKETEERS), Richard Maibaum (THE SPY WHO LOVED ME), and executive producer Michael G. Wilson is not based on Ian Fleming’s “Octopussy,” though elements of the story appear. While investigating the murder of a 00 agent found clutching an expensive Faberge egg, James Bond (Moore) discovers a plot by Afghan prince Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan) and Soviet general Orlov (BEVERLY HILLS COP heavy Steven Berkoff, who is hysterical here) to discredit the United States by exploding a nuclear bomb at an Air Force base in Germany.

Octopussy, by the way, is the name of a woman, played by Maud Adams (THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN), who operates a traveling circus and leads a band of sexy smugglers on the side. While OCTOPUSSY features a rich look and lush production values synonymous with the 007 series, John Glen’s direction is unusually sluggish. The action sequences lack verve, and what should have been a suspense highlight — Khan on an elephant pursuing Bond through a jungle — comes off as ridiculous with 007 dodging snakes, spiders, leeches, lions, and crocodiles. An exception is a sequence set aboard a train, which shows off some agile stuntwork.

Robert Brown replaced the late Bernard Lee as M. Lois Maxwell and Desmond Llewellyn appear as Miss Moneypenny and Q, respectively. John Barry again composed the score with Rita Coolidge performing the theme, “All Time High.” Though NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN had the advantage of a bigger opening day weekend (OCTOPUSSY opened at #2 behind RETURN OF THE JEDI), the Moore film ended up grossing more domestic bucks over all. Moore returned for one more — A VIEW TO A KILL — before handing off his Walther PPK to Timothy Dalton.

No comments: