An unhinged Soviet general is out to cause a nuclear incident
that could cripple Western Europe and make Russia the ruler
of the world. In order to stop him, James Bond must travel
to India, where the perils he encounters include a man-eating
tiger and the equally dangerous head of an international smuggling
ring, a woman known as Octopussy...
By this point in his Bond career, Roger Moore is snogging
women young enough to be his daughters, but it's still fun
to see how he manages to save the world yet again. Octopussy
has Moore quite literally clowning around in a frivolous roller
coaster of a movie.
The screenplay, by George MacDonald Fraser (author of the
Flashman series of novels), Richard Maibaum and Michael G
Wilson, draws inspiration from the Ian Fleming short stories
"Property of a Lady" and (surprise, surprise) "Octopussy".
The former is faithfully adapted into the riveting auction
scene, while the events of the latter are referred to in the
past tense, with the character of Octopussy (Maud Adams) revealing
herself to be the daughter of Major Dexter Smythe, making
the movie a sort of sequel to the short story. With a few
changes to the Sotheby's sequence - perhaps it could be glossed
over as a second-hand account reported by the character of
Jim Fanning (Douglas Wilmer) - and with the Fabergé egg replaced
by some other Russian treasure, the story would make a very
curious aspect of this film (and also its predecessor, For
Your Eyes Only) is that while certain scenes strive to
ensure that the story is taken more seriously than usual,
other aspects just seem to get sillier. On the one hand we
have the tense countdown sequence as Bond struggles desperately
to reach a bomb in time to deactivate it, while on the other
we see 007 swinging through the trees, yodelling like Tarzan,
and instructing a tiger, Barbara Woodhouse style, to "sit".
Jordan isn't tremendously memorable as the primary villain,
Kamal Khan. Steven Berkoff is far more menacing as the seriously
deranged Russian General Orlov.
all its faults, this is a much livelier affair than For
Your Eyes Only. The action is helped along no end by one
of John Barry's best soundtracks, which is a great improvement
on Bill Conti's work. The movie also benefits from a larger-than-usual
role for the eccentric gadget-master Q (Desmond Llewelyn).
well as all the previously released special features - an
audio commentary by director John Glen, the music video to
Rita Coolidge's title track "All Time High", a feature focusing
on production designer Peter Lamont, a "making of" documentary
and trailers - this Ultimate Edition also includes
the half-hour 1983 documentary James Bond in India,
plus location and special-effects footage. There's a distinct
lack of any contemporary television programmes celebrating
what was the movie franchise's 21st anniversary, but we do
get to see the three complete screen tests that James Brolin
performed when the production team thought they might need
a new 007. Excerpts from Brolin's screen test with Maud Adams
also appear in the "making of" doc, which also reveals how
an action sequence went badly wrong for stuntman BJ Worth.
is far from being the greatest Bond film ever made (which
is a pity, because it would have been fun to give it a score
of 008), but it's certainly an improvement on Moore's previous