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Octopussy is a 1983 British-American spy film based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming. The film was directed by Lewis Gilbert and distributed by United Artists.
James Bond's next mission sends him to the circus. A British Agent was murdered and found holding onto a priceless Fabergé egg. Kamal Kahn buys the egg at an auction, but Bond becomes suspicious when Kahn meets up with Russian General Orlov. Bond soon finds out that Kahn's and Orlov's plan is to blow-up a nuclear device on a U.S. Air Force Base. Bond teams up with a circus group, which are headed by the beautiful Octopussy, who is also close friend of Kahn.
Why It's An All Time High
- Good direction by John Glen.
- The film has one of the best openings in a Bond film. It has Bond sneaking in and trying to blow an enemy hangar only to be captured. He then escape with the help of his partner. He then gets in a mini-jet and while being chased by a heat-seeking missle, destroys an enemy hangar.
- Good song by Rita Coolidge.
- Cool action scenes.
- Good acting.
- The pacing is a bit slow at times.
- The film is somewhat tone deaf. On the one hand, the film clearly tries to continue the more serious and realistic atmosphere of For Your Eyes Only, with Bond in a Cold War plot and with violent death scenes. But at the same time, the film tries to return to the silly humour of Roger Moore's early films, with a plot that also involves an island inhabited only by warrior women in India, and scenes with Bond dressed in a gorilla costume.
- The infamous scene where Bond disguises himself as a clown. Some consider the scene too silly while others consider a clever way of showing just how desperate Bond is as he races to avert tragedy.
- Octopussy was built up to be quite a formidable woman with her own empire, but the few times she engages in a fight she gets beaten rather easily.
Octopussy recieved mixed reviews upon release.
Gary Arnold of The Washington Post felt Octopussy was "one of the snazziest, wittiest productions" of the film series, in which he praised John Glen's direction, Louis Jourdan's performance, and the screenplay. Writing for The New York Times, Vincent Canby praised the film, but noted how "much of the story is incomprehensible". Gene Siskel, reviewing for The Chicago Tribune, awarded the film three stars out of four, stating the film was "surprisingly entertaining—surprising because in his previous five Bond appearances Roger Moore has always come off as a smug stiff. In Octopussy Moore relaxes a bit and, just as important, his role is subordinated to the film's many and extremely exciting action scenes. Octopussy has the most sustained excitement in a Bond film since You Only Live Twice." However, he felt that the character Octopussy was detrimental to the film and that the action "blunts a script that is weak on characterization and long on male chauvinism".
Variety felt the film's strong points were "the spectacular aerial stuntwork marking both the pre-credits teaser and extremely dangerous-looking climax. The rest of the action scenes are well-executed but suffer from a sense of deja vu, as in a speeding train that recalls Sean Connery's derring-do in The Great Train Robbery". Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times felt the film proved "to be business as usual, no better or worse than most of its predecessors. After all this time, it's amazing that the same old formula still plays: the gadgetry, gorgeous girls, travelogue locales and the shameless double-entendres—in this instance, octo-entendres." He complimented Glen's direction, but further remarked that the screenwriters had "given him too much to unravel. At 2 hours and 10 minutes, Octopussy seems a good 20 to 30 minutes too long for light escapist fare. The familiar chases and old-time serial-type cliff-hanging crises come fast but a mite too thick."