Welcome to Gracetopia’s Shaken and Stirred 007 Scorecard series, where you will find the most exhaustive, comprehensive grading of James Bond movies anywhere on the internet. Fact. The movies are judged on a scale of 1-5 Moneypennys across 5 very important criteria: theme song, Bond girl, villain, Q tech, and kitsch factor, and then given an overall grade. This is a serious, scholarly series of blog posts, so no nonsense please, except in the comments.
Release Date: 1983
Series Order: Thirteenth
Bond: Roger Moore (his sixth). Suave, quippy, and a little long in the tooth, Moore wears the role comfortably.
Synopsis: A fellow secret agent gets killed and Bond uses his unparalleled Fabergé Egg skills to track the bad guy down. He ends up in India, where he finds an island filled with lawless half-dressed women, one of whom is named Octopussy because that’s a totally normal human name. The Soviets are involved somehow but that’s not nearly as important as Bond going undercover as a circus clown to diffuse a comically-large bomb and save the day and get the Octopussy.
All Time High, written by John Barry and Tim Rice and performed by Rita Coolidge is, like, OK. Kind of sultry in a forgettable way. Underwhelming.
The opening credits sequence is pretty great, though, filled with neon and legs. If you watch closely I think you can see nipple in a few spots, so an extra Moneypenny is awarded for that.
Octopussy (Maud Adams) is the epitome of HBIC. She has a pet octopus and runs a girls-only smuggling ring from her very own private island and, I mean, #lifegoals amirite?
This is no damsel in distress. When shit goes down she is right there with a gun, whether it’s shooting bad guys in her boudoir or breaking open bombs. And always with flawless feathered hair and a steely glint in her eye.
Where is my Octopussy biopic, is what I’m saying.
Can you name the bad guy in Octopussy? No, you cannot, because he’s kind of a non-entity. His name is Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan), or perhaps his name is General Orlov (Steven Berkoff)—both men seem to think they’re the Head Villain here, and that leads to a wishy-washy bad guy situation and competing plotlines. Is this movie about jewel smuggling? A bomb? How do these plots intersect? Who knows?
The second-tier villains are pretty quality, though. Gobinda (Kabir Bedi), Khan’s silent, imposing #2 is a dream in a Nehru jacket and the twin circus knife throwers, Mischka and Grischka (David and/or Anthony Meyer), are among my favorite Bond sidekick villains, that perfect combination of deadly and silly.
The technological high points of the movie are both animal-related: a horse that turns into an airplane, and a submarine disguised as an alligator. (I whisper these words to myself when I’m having a bad day and they instantly make things brighter.)
The other tech is pretty mundane, a bug/homing device hidden in a Fabergé Egg and a pen that shoots acid, boooooring.
You’re better than this, Q.
I mean, guys, where do I start. There’s a circus. Bond disguises himself as both a clown and a stuffed gorilla. A snake charmer plays the Bond theme. (Which leads me to ask existential questions about why the Bond theme song exists in the Bondverse.) There is an island filled with lady criminals run by a woman named Octopussy. And just in case that isn’t enough for you, Bond DOES A TARZAN YELL while he is being chased by men on elephants.
This is it. This is the pinnacle of Bond Kitsch. This is the stuff dreams are made of.
Overall Grade: A
One of the greatest achievements cinema has ever seen. Don’t @ me.
… I mean please share your thoughts in the comments, so I guess do @ me.
OK fine it’s kind of slow at the beginning, like they could have chopped off the first 20 minutes and just started with the auction, but aside from that the movie is perfect. OK and the plot is kind of a mess. But seriously. One of James Bond’s finest outings. Did you see the part where he has an alligator submarine???
Until next time…