So, the time has come. The time I’ve been dreading since we started BlogalongaBond all those months ago. If I had to pick one film that I thought would be a struggle in coming up with legacies – and I did – then it would have been this one. The name with the biggest innuendo in any Bond film title has a reputation that precedes it of being somewhat of a dog’s dinner of a film, and I didn’t have particularly fond memories of it from my childhood. But, for thirteen months, I’d lived in fear of coming to this, coming up empty handed and for the Bond Legacy dream of every Bond film leaving a mark.
In one sense, I needn’t have worried, for Octopussy does a fairly good job of helping to leave a lasting legacy that no-one likes Roger Moore James Bond films. The likes of The Spy Who Loved Me feel a distant memory whenever it comes to thinking of Roger Moore, as it’s this arse end of his overlong run of films that stick most in the memory nearly thirty years later. By any convention, Octopussy is a fairly desperate film, and it’s actually a relief that there wasn’t a new Bond for this one, as if he’d ended up with similar material it might have killed his career stone dead.
In terms of what actually works here, there’s the opening stunt with the Acrostar, which is part of a fairly efficient opening sequence, and the final plane stunt is also pretty reasonable. Moore’s not really doing anything different here than he has been previously, other than occasionally being even more lecherous than before, but it’s to Octopussy’s shame that his performance and the two book-ending stunts are about the only major positives to take from this one.
But actually, there are just a few tiny morsels to take away that show that even this dated mess has still had an influence on what followed. (That rushing air sound you can hear is me breathing a huge sigh of relief.)
1. The age of enlightenment? Not quite.
As I’ve mentioned before on this journey, Roger was older when he started than Connery was when he finished. 1983 is a significant year in the Bond world for another reason, and it’s mainly the reason that poor old Rog got dragged back for another round of lasciviousness and eyebrow raising. Shir Shean Connereh was 53, but was offered flipping great wodges of cash to make an unofficial Bond based on Thunderball whose title, I must remind you, we can never say. Never one to miss out on some cash himself, Roger was nearly persuaded to appear again in Sean’s film in a climactic scene, but in the end we just got Lord Connery of Sell-Out winking at the camera. Probably for the best, that dirty old winker.
Consequently, maths being what it is Roger was still older in 1983 than Sean was, and Roger had reached the ripe old age of 56 by the time of Octopussy. While he has, again due to maths, continued to get older since, Octopussy was the first time that Rog looked genuinely past it, yet with the application of plenty of soft focus, long range camerawork and unconvincing stuntmen it was possible for a man nearer sixty than fifty to still be an action hero. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 3? 56. Liam Neeson in Taken? 56. Bruce Willis when he started filming Die Hard 5? You guessed it, 56. If it hadn’t been for the
desperate lure of lining their pockets with even more cash Roger’s heroic example, none of those would have been possible.
2. Always be careful what’s on the menu when sitting down to dinner in India
Of course, India is a third world country, and rather than the refined delights of foie gras, haggis and black pudding that would grace many fine dining menus in this country, in India all they eat is sheep’s head and monkey’s brains. Such an elegant menu deserved to be rolled out again for special occasions, as it was a year later in Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom. Is it wrong that I’d be prepared to give monkey brains a go?
3. Ever wondered why so many people think clowns are scary?
Next time: Old father time decides he’s had enough. It’s A View To A Kill.
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