James Bond: Classic, Cheese or Crap? – “Octopussy”

“Octopussy”

1983

Bond: Roger Moore

Classic, Cheese or Crap?: CHEESE

Ah, cheese. Sweet, delicious cheese.

The “Plot” of “Octopussy” is so convolulted that I still don’t think I understand it 100%. Honestly, I’m not even mocking it, it’s just a) complicated and b) not well spelled out – so it takes a while to put it all together. Octopussy is an international jewel thief/smuggler, who as part of her diversified “empire”, owns a circus. Which she uses to assist her global smuggling operations. General Orlov is a Russian general who has been working with Octopussy, forging some of Russia’s priceless jewels/art and then smuggling the real items out of the country, leaving the forgeries behind in their place. He sees Octopussy’s circus/smuggling operation as an opportunity to smuggle a nuclear device onto an american military base. In order to do this, he works with Khamal Khan, Octopussy’s associate, who double crosses her. If Orlov is succesful, he feels the explosion will look like an American nuclear accident, and Russia will be blameless. This accident, he theorizes, would lead to a global nuclear weapon ban which then, finally, would allow Russia to use their conventional forces advantage to take over Eastern Europe.

Now, that paragraph isn’t the easiest thing to follow… but try figuring it out from watching the movie. I swear it took me like three viewings. I’d always be like, “Why the #&$% is there a nuke all of a sudden?” and “Wait, what? She owns a circus?” or “Hang on, I thought Khan was the bad guy, what does he have to do with Orlov?” I’m telling you, it’s all over the place.

Which SHOULD qualify the movie as crap. Except this movie is filled to the brim with Bond Goodness. The things people love about Bond. Action sequences. Gadgets. Hot women. Cartoonish henchmen. Roger Moore also has genuine chemistry with Maud Adams (Octopussy). She’s around his age it seems, so you don’t feel as though he’s robbing the cradle as you do with half of his other female co-stars. Even Q gets some action!

The “Star Wars” effect on Moonraker is well documented. But I’ve never seen anyone discuss the “Raiders of the Lost Arc” effect on “Octopussy”. To me, it’s blatantly obvious they were cribbing from that movie. The action sequences all have that “Non-Stop” feel to them. And there’s some really great action sequences, with people hanging off of trains and stunts with planes. Even if it is blatantly obvious that they’re all stuntmen and that Roger Moore was off drinking tea in his trailer, somehow, I don’t mind in this one.

In the end, this chapter in the Bond saga is lighthearted, fun, and cheesy.

Win.

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10 thoughts on “James Bond: Classic, Cheese or Crap? – “Octopussy”

  1. When I’m done with these, we’ll have to post up our lists.

    What’s 22 out of 22 if you dont mind me asking? Mine is “Never Say Never Again”, in a close battle with “Man With the Golden Gun”.

    And yeah, you’re right, its definitely on the southern border of the cheese spectrum, but I think the decider for me is how much I enjoy them when they’re on. And this one is one I have fun watching.

  2. I have mixed feelings about Octopussy. All the “proper ingredients” are there, but without even the semblance of reasonable context, so it stoops very close to self-parody. On the other hand, it’s still entertaining.

    I guess that’s what cheese is, when you get down to it.

    • Yup. You pretty much gave a dictionary worthy definition right there man.

      You know you shouldnt be liking it, because you’re like this is dumb, that’s dumb, or however you’re ragging on it. But yet you’re having fun and at the end you have to say, yeah, I kind of liked it.

      And I do. This is one of the Bond movies I like way more than I should.

  3. While I think it’s true that Octopussy owes a lot to Raiders, the banquet sequence in Temple of Doom owes a lot to Octopussy. And Last Crusade owes a lot to Sean Connery.

  4. Question…Is there a Roger Moore Bond that you would rate as classic???

    Appears that Moore is going through the ringer more than any other Bond. I think Octopussy is classic. It has all the elements of a great Bond film. A good plot to affect the world including the soviets (which make the best villains to Bond I think, like the Nazis to Indiana Jones.) Essentially, 3 villains with Khan, Gobinda, and Orlov instead of just a main one. A good opening and title sequence with the twins and 009. An island full of women that Bond sneaks on to, that’s CLASSIC! Some great stunts with the airplane fight scenes (okay even though you can see the parachutes behind their jackets and the stunt doubles. Still, they are executed well. Great backdrops at the casino, Knah’s palace, the circus, on the train. And even though they recycled Maude Adams, she was still a great as the female lead.

    Obviously you can tell this is one of my personal faves and Moore is above Daulton and Brosnan in my book. I just feel like this is as Classic as Bond can be.

    • Answer… Yes. But not many.

      a) I always thought he was too old for the role.
      b) His movies drifted towards cheese, big time.

      I love Octopussy. One should not confuse cheese with crap. I lead with “Ah, cheese. Sweet, delicious cheese” This is actually a top ten Bond film for me. I love it too.

      But Jason, its hard to argue this one straight up classic. The Tarzan roar? The Crocodile sub? Bond in the clown outfit? The convoluted plot?

      I wont argue with you if you want to take this one seriously, that’s cool man. This is actually one of my favorite Moore Bonds. But I have to classify it in the cheese bin man.

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