Octopussy is a lot like all of Roger Moore’s Bond films – a sprawling plot, several interweaving storylines, and a reliance on camp – but unlike entries like For Your Eyes Only or Live and Let Die, I found myself entertained by most of it. Hell, I’d count Octopussy as one of only two Roger Moore films I’ve truly enjoyed so far, the first of course being The Spy Who Loved Me.
Like For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy takes things down a notch from the wackiness displayed in Moonraker, and tells a much more grounded, character-driven story. There are, of course, a fair amount of cheesy elements, but I for some reason didn’t find them that bothersome here. Even the movie’s third act, which quickly devolves into a silly romp through and around a circus, kept me interested.
I can’t exactly say why I liked Octopussy so much. I can’t quite place my finger on it. I know that it’s one of the more divisive of the Moore films, which is understandable, but something about it just spoke to me. The jewelry-driven caper reminded me a lot of Diamonds Are Forever (another film I quite liked in spite of its sour reputation), and I like that it all stemmed from the death of another 00 from MI6 and slowly escalated into a larger and larger web of intrigue and espionage involving both the Russians and an Afghan prince.
The plot can be hard to follow at times, as it feels like several movies mashed together, but each piece felt interesting and unique and built off of the previous sections in fun ways. With that said, there’s not a ton of great character development here; Roger Moore is playing the same old Bond (and looking older than ever), and characters like Khan and the titular Bond Girl (played by Maud Adams, who actually had a small role in The Man with the Golden Gun) don’t get enough screentime to become fully-formed characters.
Things that would have driven me crazy in former Moore films, like 007 disguising himself as a clown and gorilla or using a robotic crocodile to sneak onto Octopussy’s island, actually worked on me this time around. Perhaps I’m just used to Moore’s usual antics, or maybe he’s finally starting to grow on me. Either way, I found a lot to like in Octopussy, and will remember it as one of the high points of his run.
With that said, I am excited that I only have one Roger Moore film to go. I just never bought him as James Bond, and the older he gets the harder it is to buy into the fact that he’s supposed to be playing a super suave, super capable international man of mystery. He just looks tired. Plus, seven films is a long run for the same James Bond actor. Even Connery (who I loved!) got a little break when George Lazenby took over for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Next up is Moore’s last mission: A View To A Kill