Octopussy (1983) – Review

3 1/2 Stars

This is one of the finest Bond films of the Roger Moore era complete with all the glossiness, humor, and formula that audiences have come to expect. In the amusingly titled Octopussy the creative forces behind the project have taken full advantage of a well versed recipe and managed to add a complaining story, original henchmen and a stunning femme fatale. It’s classic bond fodder. I firmly believe had this same script been filmed during the Connery years purists would hail it a classic. Unfortunately this most rousing adventure tale gets a bum rap from a lot of long time fans of the series. The knock being that Moore is too old for the role (I disagree) and the moments of comedy are silly (agreed). However this outing is nowhere as peculiar as previous Moore entries. The voodoo mysticism of Live and Let Die or the space station battles of Moonraker are far more absurd than anything found here.

The Bond films have always been known for featuring exotic locations and this the thirteenth entry in the series is no different. Taking place almost entirely in India the picture goes to great lengths incorporating the danger and pleasures of this foreign country into the adventure tale. Without a wasted moment or scene, Octopussy is among the more tightly scripted of any Bond film. Representing the pinnacle of the eight films that Roger Moore occupied the role. In all honesty this should have been Moore’s swan song to the series, as it were this is his penultimate appearance as 007. Only determents are over-length and a ‘bad guy’ that isn’t on the level of the greats like ‘Jaws’ or ‘Bloufield’,the massive and intimidating Arabian heavy is only serviceable. Everything but the kitchen sink thrown in for the sake of good entertainment.

Director: John Glen
Stars: Roger Moore, Maud Adams, Steven Berkoff

One thought on “Octopussy (1983) – Review

  • October 23, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Octopussy was a great movie. As a kid, Roger Moore was my favorite bond. Looking back on these movies many years later, I find that the humor in the stories to be dated and rather childish. I now have a different preference. Of course, Moore is not to be blamed (entirely), he just reads the script and the script is a product of the times.

    Connery’s movies are more serious but Bond is inadvertently portrayed as an idiot. Look at many of the Connery films and you see the super agent, James Bond, get captured by the bad guys, escape, get captured again, escape again, get captured, escape, and finally Bond kills the villain in the end. How great a spy is that? And the special effects range from great to poor. The choreography in the fight scenes is just plain bad. Then again, the film was just a product of the times.

    Timothy Dalton wanted to bring some seriousness back to the role when he took over after Roger Moore. I always said that Dalton never got a great script; however, his deadpan acting failed to make his version of Bond exciting or even likable. I’m not sure if this was a product of the times or just a bad product.

    Pierce Brosnan did a fantastic job as James Bond. He was able to blend both the seriousness of the Connery Bond and the humor of the Moore Bond and make it all work. Unfortunately, the scripts during the Brosnan period were either very good or very bad. By the last Brosnan film, Die Another Day, the gadgets had gone too far and the stories had separated from anything involving reality.

    By the late 2000s, spy thrillers such as the Bourne movies became the standard. A far cry for the whimsical Bond movies. Enter Daniel Craig. The producers of Bond decided to reboot the series and start over. Now Bond was grounded more in reality, the gadgets are gone for the most part, solid stories with fewer jokes are center stage. I like the new Bond. Rumor has it that this third film will be Craig’s last. I hope not. I find his serious, tough-guy version of Bond to be the best so far. Although, I’m sure, this is a product of our times.

    Bond has been around in the movies for 50 years. So far, the films have changed with the times–and they are all a product of their times (except maybe the Dalton films). Hence, people love to argue about the best Bond and the best Bond film. Hopefully, it is a discussion that will continue for decades to come.


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