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Octopussy (1983 - PG)
In OCTOPUSSY Bond travels to India in search of an exiled Prince after British agent 009 dies while ascertaining a covetous Russian Faberge egg. Meanwhile a Russian General has hopes of starting WW III and instigating universal Soviet control: his plans include smuggling an atomic bomb into a U.S. Air Force base in Britain. While Bond peruses his way through nemeses, women, alcohol, and action and adventure, he races against the clock to take down Khan, Orlov, and stop the bomb before his beloved "Octopussy" and thousands of innocent civilians are killed!
Written by: Ian Fleming and George MacDonald Fraser.
Directed by: John Glen.
Genre: Bond Action
Its high flying and all-out action in the first five minutes of this Bond film, as stealth jets and heat seeking missiles result in a great aerial sequence and some impressive pyrotechnic special effects. Pan to some ultra cheesy very early 1980’s disco credits where nude female silhouettes (the hallmark of all Bond beginning film credits) suck you into this psychedelic montage before the real action resumes. The movie reconvenes with agent 009, dressed as a clown with a knife in his back (not part of the costume), stumbles upon the British ambassador at the Royal British Embassy in Berlin holding a covetous Russian Faberge egg. After 009’s quick death, Bond is called on the scene to investigate and take over “Operation Trove”.
Pan to Russian General Orlov (Steven Berkhoff) who is proposing universal Soviet domination based on nuclear threats. Orlov plans to smuggle an atomic bomb into a U.S. Air Force Base in England in hopes of weakening the country’s defenses and allowing it to be overtaken by Soviet rule. However Orlov’s plans for a short lived WW III does not have the support of his fellow Russian colleagues and political advocates. Further complicating matters it seems Orlov is behind the manufacturing of the “replica” Faberge egg which has suddenly gone missing (and which ironically, Bond is now in possession of thanks to 009). Trying to sell the replica at a local auction (after a sneaky switch), Bond gets in on hiking up a precarious auctioneer who ends up bidding on the fake egg at the hefty price tag of 500,000 lbs: that’s a lot of money for a fake egg!
Pan to India where Bond has traveled in hopes of ascertaining information as to the reasons behind the mysterious auctioneer and his desire to purchase the Faberge egg. As it turns out, the egg is being sought by a rich, exiled, Indian prince, Kamal Khan (Louis Jordan), who is in cahoots with the nefarious General Orlov. As Bonds reveals his identity, and his interests, in India, he beats Khan at his own nasty card games. For the price of 200,000 rupees Bond is suddenly being followed by dozens of men looking to kill the man with the Faberge egg and the cold hard cash (presumably they are part of Khan’s posse).
A brief interlude with techy guru “Q” (Desmond Llewelyn), the man with the genius behind all of Bond’s fantastic spy gadgets, proves quite entertaining. Of course even more entertaining for Bond is his lengthier and more romantic interlude with the sultry woman he’s espied frequently clinging to Khan’s arm: Magda (Kristina Wayborn) But after a steamy nights of passionate nothings, Khan retrieves his “right hand woman” and reports to another woman who is allegedly responsible for Khan’s purchasing the Faberge egg. Meanwhile Khan’s main partner in crime, Gobinda (Kabir Bedi) is keeping a watchful eye on Bond.
After a very hostile “invite” to dinner, Bond is left staring at his meal (“stuffed sheep’s head”) and locked prisoner in Khan’s palace shortly thereafter. Of course his handy gadgetry quickly liberates his from his cell. However shortly after his escape the arrival of a Russian helicopter, hosting none other than General Orlov, begins to make Bond’s escape route a bit more precarious than originally expected.
Meanwhile a brief game of “hunting” ensues: tigers, lions, spiders, crocodiles, snakes, and Bond, oh, my! While Bond does his best to escape a mad Indian hunt, Khan and his nemeses track him down on elephant. Of course Bond does escape and winds up at none other than the beautiful “Octopussy’s” (Maud Adams) pad. There he is allowed safe harbor, that is, until Khan insists on Bond’s death. While Bond once again plays Rico Suave to Octopussy, Kamal hires deadly blade saw assassins to off with his head. Managing to escape certain death (though his partner Vijay was not so lucky), Bond heads back to mainland India and conspires how to once again get in contact with Octopussy, bring and end to Kamal and his men, and get down the bottom of Kamal’s interest in Orlov and Russian jewels.
While doing his Sherlock thing Bond discovers the Russians selling an atomic bomb to Gabindi and Kamal’s men, without Octopussy’s knowdlege of such a trade! As the atomic bomb races for the British border Bond does his best to bring down as many nemeses as possible in hot pursuit of Orlov and his men. However Orlov’s own men get to him first and Orlov dies before he gets to see his perverse dream materialize. Meanwhile Bond has fought his way through a slew of enemies while tracking Kamal’s deadly bomb across several countries. With the plan set in motion for detonation inside the “Octopussy Carnival” (stationed at the U.S. Air Force base in Britain) at 3:45 pm that day, Bond races against the clock to intercept the bomb, save thousands of innocents, and undo Kamal before its too late…and what about the beautiful but dangerous gem smuggler Octopussy?
Who says there’s no such thing as lucky #13? The thirteenth film of the hefty Bond adventure films, arguably, “Octopussy” is one of the most compelling of the series. It’s sensual and vibrant visuals, paired with its seamless plot, its amazing diversity in geography, sensuality, and non stop action and adventure make this film a top notch entertaining masterpiece from beginning to end. Unlike most Bond films there is no lull in the action, no decline in the wittiness of dialogue. This film is sharp, canny, and funny and brilliantly satirizes and pays homage to its multitudes of places, genres, and motifs. As one critic notes, “There is a sense of place, of play with the place, and of a willingness to look at things… There's blood, there's action, there's gadgets, and there are plenty of very pretty Bond girls.”
The heart of the film, shot in India, explores the sensual and vibrant exotic palate of the Indian summers: bright reds, oranges, pinks, yellows, jades, and emeralds shimmer and sparkle under the careful eye of an astute film lens. Likewise the quintessential Indian architecture: mosques, sculpted and embossed buildings, etc., bright white palaces contrasting with ramshackle flea markets, add to the titillating visual splendor of the film. There is an undeniable romance, almost Romantic romance in the literary sense, surrounding the sets and the plots of “Octupussy”- Octopussy’s exclusive island is no exception, nor are her brilliant saris. Between the elaborate costumes, detailed scenes, and versatile geography: from India to Britain, and from land to sky, “Octopussy” has and does it all. This Bond film covers all bases and leaves nothing wanting.
The acting in this film is likewise pleasing. Roger Moore doesn’t disappoint audiences in his umpteenth performance as the debonair British spy, 007, James Bond. His cool, calm, collected demeanor are as deft as ever, and heightened by some witty dialogue which has quite a few snappy one-liners. Admittedly one of the most hilarious scenes (though the humor is short and dry) is that between Bond and Q when the latter discusses the basic mechanics of all the spy gadgetry to the former. Likewise Maud Adams and Krisitna Weyborn are your quintessential Bond girls. Arguably the former is more compelling than the latter, largely in part of her character, though both give fine performances as enigmatic seductresses. Lastly, Louis Jordan was brilliant as the suave, albeit sinister Kamal Khan.
“Octopussy”, despite being #13 in the series, is nothing short of another lucky gem. “Octopussy” is a rousing adventure film that received 2 critical film awards: Germany’s Golden Screen Award (1984) and the U.S.’ Motion Picture Sound Editor’s Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing. Likewise the film was nominated for another three critical film association awards.
Orlov: Never! The West is decadent and divided!
Khan: You better spend it fast!
Bond: Easy come, easy go!
Bond: It certainly pays to advertise!
Bond: Having problems keeping it up “Q?”
Q: Experimental model!