Bond in Review: Octopussy

Allen L. Linton II
11 min readSep 10, 2019

I really like the James Bond franchise. This is part thirteen of a behind schedule, bimonthly, 24-part series of me watching James Bond movies and providing a stream of consciousness style commentary for a given film. I will also rank the movies so stay tuned for that at the bottom of the piece. We lead the famed “Battle of the Bonds” with the official EON title, Octopussy, which borrows its name from the short story series by Ian Fleming in 1966. The original plot for the movie is completely new and sees Roger Moore battle back against the Cold War and a red-hot Sean Connery in another James Bond movie.

· It is so funny to see Moore in the gun barrel walk with such a large heel even though its 1983.

· Prior to the 1980s, we never really see the Bond movies doing any equestrian work but we will get a lot between this and A View to a Kill

· Sign me up for fake formal wear, reversable jackets, and apparently a soft cap that can suddenly become a hard cap

· Undercover Bond is always doing the most — no need to mess with that guard while walking in as Col. Toro.

· Bond chop is as effective as always; Bond stealth skills at an ALL TIME LOW (Pun intended)

· Look at Bond movies leaning into several different stereotypes of masculinity: 1) that men get uncomfortable with another man smiling at them and 2) men become suddenly unable to focus when a woman is nearby

· Pulling the parachutes is a super great idea

· Bond, in the novels, really hates killing in cold blood. So it was very nice of him to simply disable that truck. He isn’t that nice later in the movie when he goes off the rails with headshots

· So this plane is real. It is the Bede BD-5. It has a small fuel cell but was absolutely something one could build or buy

· Bond miniature work is right up there with their stunt work. It is on full display with this opening scene, particularly the foreground of the hanger and the bridge

· “All Time High” — Rita Coolidge

· Let me say that this is an odd song for this movie or any Bond movie. But I love this song. I sometimes walk around just humming it in the middle of the day. I don’t know why but it does it for me. Good way to describe how I feel about this movie.

· Title sequence feels more than lazy with the bodies but you can’t win em all.

· Not scary clown running through the woods. This guy is a double 0 agent but didn’t know that the balloon on his jacket is giving him away?

· TWINS! More often than not scary when running with knives.

· Let me also say this movie does something right: that knife in the back should not kill him instantly like in many movies. It should hurt like hell or paralyze but not kill. Very realistic that 009 made it that far.

· Not realistic that the balloon is still inflated.

· Penelope Smallbone. Oh no! Age is wearing on them both.

· Ok so the person going to the auction with Bond is excited to get some help in identifying the seller, but everyone seems so displeased that he is talking so much. Screw them. Old M wouldn’t show such disdain

· Operation Trove…as in treasure trove? I also am on board with “Eyes Only” designation

· “Property of a Lady” is a short story in the Octopussy and The Living Daylights” short story collection. It is where the Faberge egg/Sotheby’s story comes from for this movie

o It would also be a great title of a new Bond movie

· General Gogol is looking quite comfortable at this movie.

· THIS SCENE IS BANANAS! Steven Berkoff as General Orlov is so unhinged that it is brilliant.

· Rubbing the head, rolling the Rs, snapping fingers, inflection of voice, and this absurd room with the rotating floor.

· I bet you Orlov’s powerpoint presentations would be amazing.

· “THE WEST IS DECIDANT AND DIVIDED!”

· People get confused about the egg plot. Let me spell out with a plot update: Orlov is doing something with fake national treasures. A fake got out. That’s bad. He wants someone to reacquire the real egg so there will be no problems with a real and a fake. Only one twin present. We think.

· Bond is just there to eye the ladies.

· A good auction is hard to do because people go over the top with it. This is excellent because the growing groans in the hall create the tension.

· Bond sleight of hand has improved!

· M not happy with Bond and, wait, he didn’t tell the other guy he switched the egg? Where did he keep that?

· I always am intrigued by how they name stations. I get “Station I” is India. Cool. But what happens when they need to get to Italy or Iran?

· Bond theme as the recognized by Bond. OK, so I am of the belief that this is a good, maybe the best, fan service. I DO NOT think Bond has the “Bond Tune” in the world of Bond. I think he knew this would be his song just for this mission. Also, great nod to the fact that the song originated from an Indian song

· Vijay played by Vijay Amritraj. Notably, he was a professional tennis player before turning into an actor.

· I would be pretty pissed off if someone unpacked my luggage but that could be my simple lifestyle

· I do genuinely enjoy nervy Bond always looking for a bug.

· Bond always is coming in ruining his cover.

· He is coming in so hot with egg

· This is my favorite scene in Roger Moore’s time as Bond. Upending Kamal Khan’s cheating and repurposing the “It’s all in the wrist” after the no look roll

· It’s the little tilt of the head that makes it work. “I prefer cash.”

· HOW IS KHAN’S SERVANT HOLDING A CHECK BOOK THAT LARGE?

· Bond being stabbed was a good part — forgot he had the money in the jacket.

· “That’ll keep you in curry for a few weeks.” — ughhh, we are entering the over the top inappropriate ethnic stereotyping section of the movie: Tennis sounds for someone hitting another person with a tennis racket; An actual panhandler; Camel; Sword swallowing; Walking on coals; Random bed of nails

· Bond is getting off these one-liners with the quickness. Its never a bad time to pun.

· Q is irate. I haven’t seen him this upset since You Only Live Twice

· Vijay almost laughed at the “problems keeping it up” line; totally cracked at the pen joke

· All things considered, that Q scene is top notch.

· This dinner conversation is as painful as anything all movie. Scrapbooking and memory making.

· The Roger Moore “Hmmm?” after “I need a refilling” is why he is so great

· Forced title of the movie into dialog: Complete.

· The instrumental for this song is so elegant.

· Ahhh yes, holding the egg behind her in front of a wall length mirror. Classic.

· Helluva way to exit a window. Also, what was the sound that his hand made when landing that blow on Bond’s neck?

· Plot update: Bond wants Khan to get the egg back so he can track him with it. Khan has the real egg and the fake egg.

· Oh, snap Khan has a boss and it’s a mysterious woman!

· A pet octopus is a sweet villainous pet.

· Is Bond’s watch making that much noise when it’s on tracking mode? That’s a dead giveaway

· Where do villains get their sizes for folks? Or did they raid his room and bring a tuxedo?

· So, the souffle couldn’t wait but they only took 3 bites, at best, of it? Wasteful — but so is the table…way too big

· Stuffed sheep’s head is no fun but that falafel and rice looked good.

· Bond asking Gobinda for a night cap is excellent.

· If the bars could bend in the middle, he wouldn’t need the acid.

· Bond snooping around as we are in the middle of learning about the plot is good movie making. We know enough to try to figure it out until we learn that Orlov is going to give up the real goods after he, uh, starts World War III

· How does that hairdryer from all the way up there affect Bond?!

· Great eyes on Khan to see that. And Gobinda with excellent instincts.

· Plot update: Orlov smashed the real egg. Oooof

· That sound that Bond made when sitting up was so clearly not Roger Moore…its embarrassing.

· Telling a Bengal Tiger to sit is too much camp for even Roger Moore

· “Hiss off” instead of “piss off” is not too campy for the record

· Tarzan yell. Again, too much. What a hit or miss scene.

· That Bond is essentially saved by a travelling tourist crew with some moron who wants to know if Bond is with their crew is bonkers but feels real enough.

· Someone on that boat wants to get a picture of “the guy with the turban” because “that’s just terrific.” Such a white tourist in India thing to say. Good casting

· YO! Bond saw the octopus once and he presumably drew this rendering. Did he stop at a freaking arts store to get all of these colors? Also, helluva memory.

· Sexual discrimination is about as close as the franchise could get to “reverse racism”

· Crocodile submarine is a classy piece of work

· Super spy James Bond totally exposed on camera. My goodness.

· MAUDE ADAMS! Back and not with Scaramanga.

· This story about the gold and such is the short story and is, frankly, a cool story

· Octopussy’s guard is dressed like an extra in Spaceballs.

· Kamal Khan is dressed like Blofeld.

· Khan shut down twice, once for bungling the killing and twice for being told she can handle it, is nice

· Octopi is not the plural of octopus. It’s octopuses.

· Smuggling isn’t a crime that involved the secret service.

· Picking up hit men from the local bar is not a recipe for success

· Octopussy is an impressive business woman. That she reacts in such an over the top way to Bond not being hired is disappointing.

· LOOK AT THAT OCTOPUS BED!!!!!!!!!

· Two points: 1) Moore doing the Connery forced kiss is so bad. 2) Why not name the movie “two of a kind” if that is the case?

· Terrible death for Vijay. Even nature knew it was an awful way to go

· I hate the slow camera creep up on the hero to reveal it wasn’t the bad person. It was over done in the 1980s and still over done now

· The saw yo-yo is pretty cool but totally ineffective when people know to look for it.

· Wow can the director foreshadow any more that the octopus is coming into play? The answer is no.

· Croc sub is an all-time clutch piece of equipment.

· M is full of disgusted looks in this movie.

· I really wish there was a person who had a golden gun at the circus. It would be such a great insider reference

· Catching a knife thrown at a short distance, blindfolded, is super impressive.

· That’s a moving screen, even in East Germany!

· Romanoff Star trouble. There can only be one.

· Not much to say here except, WAIT IS THAT A NUCLEAR DEVICE?

· Plot update: Khan and Octopussy are in business to smuggle goods. Orlov is in it too to make some side money but really wants to go to war. The plan? Use the existing smuggling ring to smuggle in and set off a bomb to prompt the use of the tank divisions. Also, steal the real jewels.

· The use of reflection is the most realistic spy thing that one can do in every day life.

· Tough Roger Moore doesn’t work. This is a Dalton speech. Hell, a Brosnan speech

· Bond has never been overly violent when it comes to gunning people down. I’m sure that will continue…

· OH, HE JUST SHOT HIM IN THE HEAD!

· OH, ANOTHER HEADSHOT!

· OH, A THIRD FREAKIN HEADSHOT! What videogame accomplishment is he after?

· Science time: this cannot work in real life. However, they did nail the fact that if you keep something on the accelerator, it will keep going

· Wow, that car came in hot on that stunt. Stunt people were always too close for comfort back in the day.

· Misha working on his craft. I like that

· Where is the body in the cannon? How did he get into that costume? Is security this bad?

· As someone who never lived during the Cold War, it is still hard to believe that crossing the border would result in people shooting them. Oh, in Trumps America that is nearly a reality. Whoops…

· Gobinda has great instincts. Maybe one of the best for a henchman.

· These stunts are pretty amazing.

· Gobinda’s sword skills are pretty piss poor.

· They tumbled off a moving train at speed and no one hurt their shoulder or anything? C’mon

· Bond getting suckered by the teens is embarrassing. I mean, you got played. Sure. But where the hell were you fitting in that full car, old man?

· Sausages and beer. This movie stereotypes everyone.

· Bond forces himself to women all the time but this woman barely gets to the phone before him and he is totally helpless? Stop it.

· Nice touch to have the car not start immediately. This movie does a lot of the little things right which make it very rewatchable in my opinion.

· Loved that Bond didn’t make a graceful stop either. He was whipping that car around

· This super spy spent all the time to perfectly do the make up and get into every detail of the clown costume? That quickly? Wow

· Wow, Magda is not the best personal advisor to Octopussy

· This is the appropriate amount of chaos for all of this: clown who is an agent, fighting, going to the bomb, bomb apparatus shooting out

· Gymnastics and acrobatics being incredibly useful here. Plus male incompetence.

· Gobinda is really the most underrated henchman.

· Khan is such a sleezy villain.

· Shoutout to the sword versus machine gun fight with the sword sounds

· HE IS COMING IN HOT WITH A HOT AIR BALLOON WITH A UNION JACK ON IT! COULD HE BE MORE OBVIOUS?

· Bond is racking up an incredible body count in this one

· Wow it went from dark to the light of day in less than 3 minutes. Like we wouldn’t notice…come on now

· Gobinda notices everything. Absolutely everything.

· This stunt is also bonkers. Who cares about the obvious stunt man and the parachutes on display? Pretty incredible

· The ending of the movie, Khan’s death, is pretty extra and unsatisfying but such is the life of these movies.

· “JAMES”

So that is how the Battle of the Bonds was won. Listen: the movie isn’t an all time great movie but it is a very enjoyable watch. Has some lagging parts which isn’t good. The main villain is fairly weak but Gobinda is an MVP level henchman. Super effective, vigilant, and on it. Also, headshots all over the place. That felt like the 80s and also felt a bit out of place. Here’s the updated ranking:

1) From Russia With Love

2) Goldfinger

3) OHMSS

4) The Spy Who Loved Me

5) Live and Let Die

6) Dr. No

7) Octopussy

8) The Man with the Golden Gun

9) Moonraker

10) For Your Eyes Only

11) YOLT

12) Diamonds Are Forever

13) Thunderball

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Allen L. Linton II

Free writing about politics, sports, intersection between the two, and Chicago.