Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Octopussy [1983]

A quick consultation of the blog's main page informs me that it has been nearly three months since my last post here.  THREE MONTHS!!!

Inexcusable!
All I'll say in my own defense is that work -- you know, the thing I have to do for 45-50 hours per week in order to have money for rent, and car payments, and bill payments, and cat litter, and food, and whatnot -- has been more than a bit hectic since.  I've also been working on my Stephen King blog, primarily on this whopper of a post.  However, I've felt bad about the extent to which I've been neglecting You Only Blog Twice, so I'm going to do my best to get several new posts up here before doing anything else substantial there.

Deal?

Alright, moving on...

Today's subject, obviously, is Octopussy.  If we consider where that movie came in, in terms of the history of the series, it's an interesting place: the series had been going for a bit more than twenty years by 1983.  The late '70s had seen a pair of massive successes in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, but those movies came under criticism in some camps for being too outlandish and excessive.  So, producer Albert Broccoli tried to swing things back in the other direction with the next film, For Your Eyes Only, which was more realistic, more patently influence by Ian Fleming's original works.  That film, too, was a hit; not as big as Moonraker had been, but big enough that nobody seemed to worry that going back toward gritty realism had been the wrong move.

And yet, ever in search of the perfection of the formula, the creative personnel made another key decision regarding Octopussy: to keep a certain amount of the realism, but within a highly escapist framework.  The result is a film that tries very hard to be, at once, all types of Bond movies, for all types of Bond fans.

Was it a successful attempt?

Let's have a look and render a verdict.


easily one of my favorite of all Bond posters


(1)  Bond ... James Bond

Roger Moore was 56 when this movie came out, so perhaps Octopussy ought to be viewed as a stereotype-defying step forward for advancing the role of seniors in cinema.  Because lord knows, Moore looks every bit of that 56.

By all accounts, he had been trying to hang up his tux and closet his martini tumbler for a while by 1983, so let's give Moore credit for knowing that his time had perhaps elapsed.  The producers seem to have been on much the same page, too, because they had a younger replacement waiting in the wings:

James Brolin.  He did a screen-test and everything (of a scene from From Russia With Love, co-starring Maud Adams as Tanya).




Now, I don't want to say that re-casting the role with Brolin as 007 would have been a disaster, but ... re-casting the role with Brolin as 007 might have been a disaster.  The producers had flirted with the idea of casting an American actor twice before -- John Gavin was actually signed to a contract years before, and Burt Reynolds was strongly considered, as well.  In none of these three cases did it seem to matter to anyone that Bond, as a character, NOT have an American accent; by all indicators, Brolin was simply going to sound like James Brolin.  Don't believe me?  His screen test is on the Octopussy DVD and Blu-ray; check it out for yourself.

In any case, it ended up being a moot point, and the reason for this was Kevin McClory.  The producer -- who had successfully sued Ian Fleming and won co-ownership of the film rights to Thunderball in the process -- was finally getting his own Bond movie underway.  It was to be a remake of Thunderball (which was all he was legally entitled to make), titled Never Say Never Again.  In a major casting coup, Sean Connery was signed on to reprise the role of 007 for this competitor film.

Not wanting to risk the possibility of a new Bond (i.e., Brolin) being decimated at the box office by the original Bond, Broccoli made the only choice that seemed safe: he successfully got Roger Moore, who was still a devastatingly popular Bond box-office-wise, to agree to return for a sixth outing, age be damned.

The gambit paid off.  Octopussy performed only a hair's-breadth less well in theatres than For Your Eyes Only had done, proving that Moore as Bond was still a big-time draw.  And perhaps even more importantly, Octopussy sold more tickets than the rival film, Never Say Never Again.

From a historical standpoint, then, it's hard -- at least for this fan -- not to be glad that Roger Moore is the star of Octopussy.  Leaving that angle aside, though, does Moore's performance hold up?

Well ... yes.

And no.

The fact is that having a James Bond who not only is a senior citizen, but also seems like one (an important distinction), is detrimental to the series.  That's a fact we don't have to like, and I suspect that as I continue to get older, I'm going to become increasingly resentful of the notion that James Bond can't be 56 years old.

Thing is, James Bond kinda can be 56 years old.  Want proof?  Well, check out Octopussy; there he is, 56-year-old 007, kickin' ass, chasin' tail, and savin' the world.  Undoubtedly, that'll provide some solace a little further up my road.

Still, it's a little disconcerting to find yourself wondering if James Bond wishes he could have supper at 3:45.  Annoyed the girl at the ticket counter at the movie theatre didn't automatically give him his senior discount.  And so forth.

Roger Moore gives it his all here, and brings his customary wit to bear at all the right moments.  One of the best scenes involves him lying in bed, post-coitus, with Magda, who is working for Kamal Khan.  He sees a tattoo on her back, of an octopus.  "Forgive my curiosity, but what is that?" he asks.  "That's my little octopussy," Magda replies.  Moore's reaction is close to perfect, though it certainly comes close to tripping over the edge of subtlety and landing on the other side.









Priceless.

He's also got a great gross-Indian-dinner scene, one that predates a similar (and, admittedly, better) scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom by a year.  The main course comes up, and it's stuffed lamb's-head.







Way to retain that essential core of dignity, James.

Another favorite scene: Bond sliding down a bannister, machine-gunning bad guys as he goes.  He gets near the bottom and finds an impediment in his way, and deals with the way you'd hope and expect.









You've also got to love this:


this cracks me up, and I'm not entirely sure why


I also want to call attention to a scene in which Bond just straight-up murders a dude by shooting him through his skull.  It's brief, but kinda brutal; and yet, it manages not to weigh the movie down.







Brutal!

Mostly, though, Moore is busy getting off his customary share of solid one-liners; he's having fun in this movie, and it's hard to not have fun with him having fun.  However, during a great many of his scenes, I find myself keenly aware that he is an old man pretending he is a young man.  Especially any time a fight breaks out or a love scene occurs.  And with that in mind...

Points awarded: 004/007.  Moore's performance is fine, but his age is an undeniable liability.

By the way, lest you're feeling bad for James Brolin, here's a very mild form of consolation: he did eventually, in Pee Wee's Big Adventure, get to play a vaguely James Bond-like figure.  In the movie-wthin-a-movie at the end, he plays Pee Wee, who has somehow turned into a suave secret agent ... with a bow-tie and a bicycle.




That scene cracks me up. I can, right this second, mentally hear Pee Wee -- in his dubbed voice -- saying "Page-ing Mist-er Her-man."  Hilarious.

(2)  SPECTRE

Main Villain:  Something occurred to me while re-watching the movie and taking notes for this post: the main villain of the movie is General Orlov, not -- as is commonly agreed upon by, like, every bit of Bond info everywhere -- Kamal Khan.  Orlov sets the entire plot into motion; Kamal Khan is working directly for Orlov, so how could I possibly put Orlov into the "henchmen" category?

Can't do it.

This is similar to the situation I faced in assessing From Russia With Love, where I designated S.P.E.C.T.R.E. as a whole to be the movie's main villain.  Part of me feels that was the wrong decision.  In fact, I'll go ahead and make the call: that was the wrong decision.  Clearly, that movie's main villain is Blofeld.  You could make the same argument about Thunderball too, I suppose, but in that film, Largo is a strong enough presence that he qualifies, in my mind, as the main villain.  In FRWL, the villain duties are spread out amongst Kronsteen, Klebb, and Red Grant, and as a consequence none of them seems like anything other than a subordinate to Blofeld. Not so with Largo.

You could make the same argument about Kamal Khan, who does not feel like a subordinate to Orlov so much as he feels like a man who is happy to go along with Orolv's scheme so as to further his own ambitions.  And if Orlov had as small a screen presence as Blofeld did in either FRWL or Thunderball, I'd be okay with elevating Khan to main-villain status.

This is not the case.




Orlov has a good amount of screen time, and actor Steven Berkoff is not the slightest bit shy about gnawing on the bones of each and every scene he appears in.  He seems to be channeling George C. Scott's performance in Dr. Strangelove to some degree, just without the delicate comedic underpinnings.

In fact, there is nothing delicate about this performance at all.  It's quite over the top, and for me it doesn't work particularly well.





The character on the page is quite a bit better.  In 1983, it would have seemed both frightening and semi-plausible that a rogue Soviet general could, theoretically, put a plot like this one into motion.  As such, Orlov works pretty well as an early-eighties representation of the fear that the Cold War could still turn quite hot at a moment's notice.

Points awarded (Main Villain):  003/007.  Good character, hurt by a hammy performance.
 
Henchmen:  Well, if Orlov is the main villain for this picture, Kamal Khan has to be considered the main henchman.  Frenchman Louis Jourdan -- whom I know only from this and from his small role in Alfred Hitchcock's The Paradine Case -- plays Khan, and he's just as racially challenged as the Khan from the previous year (Mexican Ricardo Montalban playing Khan Noonien Singh in 1982's Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan).  We could assume, I suppose, that Kamal's parents were Indians who adopted a French orphan, or something.






Jourdan is decent, but somewhat bland and unmemorable.  A big part of that is due to the fact that Kamal Khan, on the page, is bland and unmemorable; Jourdan brings more to the role than it brings to him.  Still, Khan -- whether you consider him to be the main villain or not -- is not one of the better villains the series has ever seen.

I am somewhat more taken with Khan's personal henchman, Gobinda, played by Kabir Bedi.  Bedi is apparently a well-known Bollywood star, and having him in this production undoubtedly helped make it a big deal to India.  He's not really called upon to do anything other than be tall, crush some dice in his fist, and wear a neverending parade of turbans and nice suits.  But he does well at those things, and to my mind, he's the most impressive of the movie's villains.




He also gets to be part of one of Moore's best moments.  I should have written about that in the section about Bond, but what the hey, I'll toss it in here.  After the sumptuous dinner of stuffed sheep's-head, everyone is returning to their rooms.  Bond, probably facetiously, tries to go with Magda into her room.  "I could come in for a nightcap," he offers, helpfully.  Gobinda throws a massive cock-block of an arm in Bond's path, although it doesn't appear that there was much danger of Magda taking James up on his offer.




From there, Gobinda escorts Bond back to his own room.  "I don't suppose you'd care for a nightcap...?" asks Bond.  Rejected again, Bond walks into his room, defeated yet oddly chipper.




Priceless.

Points awarded (Henchmen):  003/007.  I like Kabir Bedi, but truth is, there's just nothing particularly special about this movie's baddies.
 
Total points awarded (S.P.E.C.T.R.E.):  003/007

(3)  The Bond Girls

Main Bond Girl:  Marking a first-time event (though not the first time an actor had played two different roles in two different Bond films -- Charles Gray did that as well), Maud Adams returns, and became the first actress to play two different Bond girls.  She, to my palate, was by far the more interesting of the two in The Man with the Golden Gun, and that would have been a much stronger film if her character had lives and Britt Ekland's died.

Perhaps sensing that after the fact and trying to atone for it, Cubby Broccoli himself was seemingly the catalyst for Adams' rehiring.

In watching the film this time, something struck me: the movie makes a bit of business out of keeping Octopussy's face obscured for her first scene, and for part of her second.  Because of that, it plays almost as a plot twist that the mysterious Octopussy turns out to be ... duh-duh-DUM! ... Maud Adams.  I wonder how many Bond fans of the time -- and how many in the years since -- have mistakenly assumed, even if only for a moment, that Adams is actually playing the same character she played in The Man with the Golden Gun, mysteriously restored to life and intent on a successful new life of crime.

Obviously, that is not the case, but it's really not at all unreasonable to make the assumption, especially if you are a casual fan who doesn't read press articles about movies.  I'd be willing to bet money that there are plenty of Bond fans who have made that particular mistake.






I was a big fan of Maud Adams as Octopussy when I was a kid.  She was one of several youthful crushes who informed the development of my idea of feminine beauty.  Today, though, she kinda doesn't do it for me.  She's got really weird cheekbones; and her Swedish accent bothers me, rather than enticing me.  Plus, to be honest, she's got very little personality.  The DVD has a good promotional film from the era that highlights the crew's journey to India, and during part of that film, you can see Adams playing with some of the elephants used during the safari scene.  In that clip, Adams is delightful: vibrant, alive, charming.  It seems obvious that as a person, she has some real vitality, and it's a shame that this film didn't find a way to utilize those qualities a bit more.

As for the character of Octopussy herself, she's a blank slate.  It's a cool idea for a woman to be the leader of a powerful organization like this, but we've seen that before with Pussy Galore, and it was more interesting the first time.

Points awarded (Main Bond Girl):  003/007

Secondary Bond Girls:





 
There seems to be a hot chick walking by approximately every fifteen seconds in this movie.  God bless you, EON Productions, you shameless bastards.

Only three of these subordinate female characters are individuated to any meaningful degree.  The first is Michaela Clavell, who plays Miss Moneypenny's hot new assistant, Penelope Smallbone.  I declined to screencap Miss Smallbone on the grounds that I felt her very existence to be an insult to Lois Maxwell; as did Maxwell, according to all indications.

The second is Tina Hudson, who played Bianca, the lady who assists Bond in the pre-credits sequence.




She's certainly got some appeal.

The third, and by far the most significant, is Magda, played by Kristina Wayborn.  I like Wayborn, although to be honest, I don't find her to be particularly attractive.  Her head has a weird shape.  My head does, too, on account of how I'm, like, a hundred pounds overweight, so really, I shouldn't be talking.  Still, I find her to be ... well, certainly not unappealing, but nowhere near my upper echelon of Bond girls.






I must admit, though, that she looks smashing in a tophat:




Wayborn was a model, by the way, and here is the photo that evidently got her the job as Magda:




Who am I to argue?

Points awarded (Secondary Bond Girls):  003/007.  Lots of eye-candy in the background, and some valiant attempts to craft strong female characters.  For me, though, it's a miss.  A mild one; but a miss nonetheless.

Total points awarded (The Bond Girls):  003/007
 
(4)  "Oh, James..."

Action/Stunts:  There are some terrific stunts in this movie, including some jaw-dropping aerial stuntwork, some excellent fighting atop a train, and a killer scene in which a guy on a horse chases down a plane and hops from the horse onto its tail.

Let's have a look at those now, shall we?



This cracks me up.



Pay attention to this one and the one beneath it: in this excellent scene, you not only see Bond running across the top of the train, you can also see Gobinda running inside the car, trying to outpace him so that he can grab Bond once he leaps to the next car.


And it totally works!



During the filming of this scene, stuntman Martin Grace collided with a concrete barrier that was on the side of the tracks.  The barrier shattered his hip and tore most of the flesh away from one of his thighs, but Grace held on for dear life and survived.  He spent months recovering, but was back on the stunt team for the next film, A View to a Kill!

Great stunts still happen in movies-circa-2013, but the rise of CGI possibly means that most of the truly great stunts lie in filmmaking's past, not its future.  Considering the accidents that happen to pros like Martin Grace, maybe that's not such a bad thing.  There is a part of me, though, that laments it.  Will we, for example, ever see anything like this next series of screencaps happen again?




Yeah, sure, he's wearing a parachute.  Doesn't make this less impressive.



No, I suspect we're never going to see those days again.  Maybe that's as it should be, but if so, it's all the more reason to celebrate achievements like the ones seen during the Roger Moore era of Bond films.

Apart from the jaw-dropping stunts, there is also a very fun scene in which Bond tries to evade some baddies by running into a side-street in India.  There, he encounters ever stereotype of Indian street entertainment known to man, including sword-swallowers, a guy sleeping on a bed of nails, and a guy walking barefoot across hot coals.  To its credit -- or its shame, depending on your point of view -- the film (and Bond) takes full advantage of each one of these things.





If you don't have some love in your heart for a movie in which the hero grabs a sword out of the throat of a sword-swallower and then proceeds to fight a guy with it, then you and I have different ideas of what makes for a fun movie.

I also enjoy the bit in which Bond bodyslams a guy onto a bed of nails, killing him.  The Indian man who had previously been laying on the nails looks very indignant at the whole thing.




I didn't add that text, by the way; that's how the subtitle appears in the movie.  Somehow, the thing that tickles me the most about it is that it's all in capital letters, but without an exclamation mark.  That cracks me up.  So does the second person from the left, who is proof that goobers exist in all cultures.

There is also a pretty good auto-rickshaw chase, part of which involves leaping a camel.





The best bit of this chase, though, was unplanned.  Part of the scene involves Vijay, Bond's plucky Indian assistant, fighting with an assailant while also driving.  This involves the two auto-rickshaws being quite close together.  According to the behind-the-scenes material on the DVD, the crowds of people watching the filming on the streets was incredibly difficult to manage.  At one point, a man on a bicycle broke, unawares, through the cordon, and steered directly between the two auto-rickshaws while the stuntmen were filming the fight!






He pedaled on his way, seemingly oblivious to the fact that a fight -- real or not -- was going on!

Amazing.  Given that the production seemingly captured the moment from two different angles, I'm not sure I believe it was 100% unplanned; but it looks cool either way,

Later on in the film, there is an assault on Monsoon Palace, Kamal Khan's fortress.  The assault is carried out by Octopussy's squad of bodyguards and circus performers, and ... well, it's a fun scene, but to be frank, it's utterly ridiculous, not merely in terms of conception but also in terms of execution.
 
Example:




I mean, I know we've got a whole circus theme going on, but does it seem likely that Kamal Khan had a trapeze in the middle of his courtyard?

Then there's the matter of this fellow, who comes busting out of a door like he's the fucking Kool-Aid Man or something.




If you don't get that reference, you need to see The Cannonball Run.  STAT.

This guy makes such an entrance that you assume he's going to be some sort of a major player in the scene, probably as a one-on-one adversary for Bond; but he just kinda goes away after a second.  It's kinda perplexing.  The whole sequence is perplexing, to tell you the truth.




However, Octopussy was made for -- and probably by -- people who find spectacle of the sort typified above to be utterly enthralling.  And if you have to have it explained to you why someone would find an assault by red-spandex-clad bodygards and black-binki-wearing assassins to be a good time at the movies, well ... I'm almost certainly speaking to you across a divide that neither of us is going to be able to span.
 

Points awarded (Action/Stunts): 006/007.  One point off for the fact that Roger Moore is simply too old to convincingly play a badass.  It was never his strong suit, and definitely wasn't by 1983.

Editing:  One of these days, I'm going to have to pay more attention to editing.  I always feel as if I have to little to say in this section.

My sense of things is that this film was edited quite capably.  It moves quickly, never lagging too much.  One scene in particular stands out: Vijay's death.  We cut from the yo-yo saw slashing down at him to a shot of birds noisily taking off from a tree, their sound standing in for the brutality of Vijay's killing.  That shot quickly cuts to an interior shot of Bond and Octopussy in bed asleep, until the birds in the cage in her room jump up and make a much smaller version the same noise.  Bond awakes, alert to danger.  It's a masterful moment.

I'd also like to point out that the editing of the action scenes is very good, particularly in terms of how well the editors -- Peter Davies and Henry Richardson -- cut around the various stunt doubles.  Footage of Roger Moore performing limited stuntwork is mixed in quite capably, creating the illusion that all of these actions are being performed by the same man: James Bond.  I'm sure that many a moviegoer back in the day simply assumed that Moore was doing all of these things himself.  A great deal of the credit for that illusion has to go to the editors.

Points awarded (Editing):  006/007

Costumes/Makeup:  There are some lovely costumes in this movie, not the least of which are the saris worn by Octopussy and Magda.  The Indian extras are also beautifully-clad, although whether the credit for that should go to the film's costumers or to the locals who appeared as extras themselves, I cannot say.  Doesn't really matter; they look smashing.

Bond wears a cool white tuexedo, and as previously mentioned, Gobinda gets a fairly wide array of sharp-looking suits.  I'm telling you, if you die and come back as Gobinda, you could be doing a lot worse.

No mention of this movie's costumes and makeup would be complete without the following shot:




The idea of Bond going in disguise as a clown is one that should not, under any circumstances, work, but in my opinion, it works incredibly well here.  Let's give half of the credit for that the design of the costume, which works quite well in combination with Roger Moore's face and physique.  The other half goes to Moore himself, who is awesome in the scene.  Yeah, that's right, I said it: awesome.  Connery couldn't have done that; not a chance.

Points awarded (Costumes/Makeup):   006/007

Locations:  The majority of the movie is set in India, and the filmmakers took advantage of the scenery in Udaipur.  There are lovely palaces, hotels, and rivers; streets beautiful in their ugliness; a floating palace on a lake.  And hey, just because they could, a couple of gorgeous shots of the Taj Mahal, which is, I think, nowhere even close to Udaipur.  No matter; still looks great on 35mm.










Points awarded (Locations):  006/007.  I suspect this movie helped Indian tourism quite a bit.

Overall points awarded ("Oh, James..."):  006/007
 
(5)  Q Branch

Bond's AlliesOctopussy is the first film in the Bond series to feature someone other than Bernard Lee playing M.  Here, M is played by Robert Brown, his first of four films in the role.  He had previously appeared in a smallish role in The Spy Who Loved Me, as a naval commander.

There is no indication as to whether we are meant to believe that this M is the same character as the one played by Bernard Lee, or whether we are meant to believe that MI6 has a new chief.  Bond canon would support either reading, frankly.  As for me, I tend to go with the notion that this is a different character (possibly the same officer Brown portrayed in TSWLM).




Brown is okay here, but he's no Bernard Lee.  I do quite like him in the scene where he finds out that Bond has swiped the real Faberge egg from Sotheby's; "Good God..." he says, in a tone that indicates he may be about to faint.

Bond's other allies don't amount to a whole heck of a lot.  Moneypenny gets her customary appearance, but it's mainly to remind us of how old she is, and it's kinda disheartening to see the movie playing that card when it's simultaneously okay with the idea of Bond sleeping with women nearly thirty years his junior.




Q shows up, as always, and gets to pilot a hot-air balloon.  Desmond Llewelyn is fun, as always.

There are a couple of fellows from MI6's Station I who help Bond.  One of them is played by noted tennis pro Vijay Armitraj, who is a very good tennis player.  He is decidedly less good as an actor, although he does a capable job of not panicking during the scene in which he is handling a cobra.




Points awarded (Bond's Allies):  003/007.  Not a series highpoint for this category.

Direction:  Director John Glen returns for his second go behind the camera, and his work in general is more assured than it was previously in For Your Eyes Only.  He seems, somehow, to have a better rapport with some of his key collaborators.  He's also got a solid handle on the tone the movie was striving for: that mix of realism and escapism that I mentioned earlier.  This is by no means a great piece of cinema, but I think it hits most of the notes Glen was aiming for.

Points awarded (Direction):  004/007.  Competent, if unspectacular, work.

Cinematography:  This is a bright, lovely film, but it's also, somehow, a little on the flat-looking side in many places.  And in case you're wondering, the answer is no: I have no real clue what I mean by that.

The film was shot by Alan Hume, who had previously filmed For Your Eyes Only and would go on to film A View to a Kill.  The summer of 1983 was a pretty good one for him; he had both Octopussy and Return of the Jedi come out.  That's a good-looking double-feature to put on your resume.

Points awarded (Cinematography):  005/007.

Art Direction:  The production design here came courtesy of Peter Lamont, who had taken over the Bond series when Ken Adam left after Moonraker.  Everything here looks pretty great: Octopussy's palace is gorgeous, as is Kamal Khan's.  The circus looks like a real circus, too.







Best of all is the boardroom where the Soviet generals meet with Brezhnev:





That set is almost as good as some of the big ones Ken Adam did, which is saying something!

Points awarded (Art Direction): 006/007.

Special Effects:  Some terrific effects-work appears in this movie, starting with the pre-credits sequence.  There is a gorgeous explosion, and until I saw the behind-the-scenes stuff on the DVD a few years back, it would never have crossed my mind that the hangar which explodes is a miniature.





I figured they just exploded a hangar for realsies.  Fooled me!

The shots of Bond's plane evading a surface-to-air missile are also pretty damn great:




Points awarded (Special Effects): 006/007.

Gadgets:  There are a decent number of gadgets in Octopussy, some of which are pretty cool.  There's a location-tracking watch (which seemed quite futuristic in 1983), and a fountain pen that dispenses metal-melting acid, and a mock alligator that can safely house one MI6 agent for perilous river-crossing duties.
 
The best one is probably one not used by Bond himself: a yo-yo-style sawblade that a henchman uses, first to kill poor Vijay and then to try to kill Bond.





There's also a moderately dodgy-looking octopus.  It looks kinda crap when it's in its tank, although once it's out and face-humping this poor henchman, it looks quite a bit scarier.




You know, it had never occurred to me until tonight that an octopus is basically an aquatic spider, but with suckers on its arms and a big bulbous head.

Ick.

Points awarded (Gadgets):  005/007.

Opening-Title Sequence:  This is not necessarily one of Maurice Binder's better title sequences.  Maybe he was uninspired by the movie, or by the theme song.  Maybe he was having a bad week.  Maybe he was still bummed out to have not been able to get Sheena Easton to take her kit off.  I dunno.









It's not a bad sequence; there are still naked girls, and there are still random figures flying through the air artistically.  The color schemes are quite lovely.  So is this young lady, who is, for my money, far and away the hottest woman in the entire movie.







The best of Binder's title sequences amplify the themes of the movie, and I'm not sure that happened this go-'round.  If it did, it's lost on me.

Points awarded (Opening-Title Sequence): 004/007.  Not bad, just not particularly memorable.

Overall points awarded (Q Branch):  004.47/007
 
(6)  Mission Briefing

This movie's story and screenplay, not unlike the rest of the Bond films during Moore's era, seemingly exist purely on a level of comic-book logic.  By that, I mean comic books of the sixties and seventies, not something like, say, Maus, or Watchmen.

You're either okay with that fact, in which case I think it's still highly possible to enjoy virtually all of Moore's Bond films, or you aren't.  In that case, you probably find the years 1971-1985 to be well-nigh deplorable so far as James Bond movies go.  If so, I sympathize with you, because part of me feels the same way.  Most of me, though, is able to sit back, relax, and just enjoy the goofiness.  I suspect this is sheer nostalgia at work, because I will make concessions to these films that I will not make for modern blockbuster-wannabes that employ similar storytelling techniques.

One thing I admire about this movie's screenplay is that the writers used snippets of two Ian Fleming short stories: "The Property of a Lady" (from which the auction scene is loosely dervied) and "Octopussy," which helps to inform the background of the character who draws her name from that title.  In both cases, the gestures toward Fleming are somewhat perfunctory; but they are better than nothing, and help to maintain the links between filmic Bond and literary Bond.




Severe logic problems crop up from time to time in the film.  For example, during the scene in which Bond is in a automobile, racing on its tire-free wheels down a train track in pursuit of a train, why, exactly, does the guy working the rails switch Bond onto another track when he sees the car?  This guy is in charge of knowing what to do, so he must surely know that he's just put this car onto a track that has an oncoming train on it.  What a moron.  Then again, his job is to do what's in the screenplay, so maybe we shouldn't blame him.

Similarly, let's consider the scene in which Bond is hiding inside the gorilla suit.  (Side note: I enjoy pronouncing the word "gorilla" with a heavy emphasis on the first syllable, like GO-rilla.  So just know that any time I type that word, in my head, that's how I'm saying it.  This is likely how Sheriff J.W. Pepper would say it, and that's fine by me.)  First of all, there's the simple matter of Bond being inside a gorilla suit to begin with.  Roger Moore makes this work.  Somehow.  However, when Gobinda senses that there is an intruder in the train car, he goes straight to the gorilla suit, and chops its head off.  Meanwhile, Bond is scampering onto the roof of the train.  How did Bond get out of that gorilla suit?  Magic.  Specifically, the magic of editing.

It's silly, but, as with a lot of the silliness in this movie, it kinda works, provided your brain is in neutral.
  
Points awarded: 003/007.  In a lot of ways, it's a bad screenplay.  However, it's efficient, and it accomplishes it goals, so I can't hate it.

(07)  The Music

Title Song:  I imagine that a lot of people hate this song.  I'm not one of them; I quite like it, in fact.  It's got a kinda-sweet, kinda-sad vibe to it; it's kinda sexy, and kinda creepy; it's kinda lifeless, but also kinda vibrant in an easy-listening sort of way.

It's performed by Rita Coolidge, with whom I have zero familiarity beyond this one song.  She was apparently linked to Kris Kristofferson in some way during the seventies, and I have to say, she was hotter than I'd've expected:




By the time Octopussy came out, that seems to have come to an end.  Was Kris Kristofferson to blame, or can we safely just blame "the eighties" in general?




I'm blaming the eighties.

Points awarded (Title Song): 004/007.  I get why its detractors dislike it, but I think it's a lovely melody, and I think Coolidge sings it well.  So leave me alone!

The Score:  This is, in my opinion, by far the weakest of John Barry's Bond scores.  Now, don't misunderstand me; it isn't a bad score.  I just don't think it has the zing of inspiration that most of Barry's 007 work has.  He puts the melody from "All Time High" to sumptuous use on a couple of occasions, although even then, I have to wonder why he decided to use that piece for Bond's love scenes with both Magda and Octopussy; thematically, it really only applies to Bond's scenes with Octopussy, so technically, it's misused when he uses it to underscore scenes with Magda, as well.

Elsewhere, there are a couple of good ominous themes that pop up from time to time.  It's all competent; just not the glory that we tend to expect from Barry on these jobs.




Points awarded (The Score): 004/007.

Total points awarded (The Music):  004/007.




Double-0 Rating for Octopussy:  003.92/007.  Definitely not an all-time high.  In fact, this clocks in close to the middle of the pack, in terms of potential score.  It's got huge flaws, and is weak in terms of both its villains and its ladies.  But it's also a lot of fun, and very sound technically-speaking.

Here's how the series rankings look so far:

006.23 -- From Russia With Love
006.03 -- Goldfinger
004.84 -- Moonraker
004.76 -- Dr. No
004.42 -- For Your Eyes Only
004.39 -- Live and Let Die
003.92 -- Octopussy
003.77 -- The Man With the Golden Gun
003.66 -- The Spy Who Loved Me
003.09 -- You Only Live Twice 


You Only Blog Twice will return in ... Never Say Never Again.

Spoilers: that movie sucks.

Before I go, here are a few odds-'n'-ends images that I didn't fit into the article proper, but wanted to include anyways.


nothing to do with the movie, but it still made me chuckle





poor 009...























And finally, a few panels from the Marvel Comics adaptation, art courtesy of Paul Neary.  I had a copy of this comic, and I bet you I read that sucker a thousand times.












37 comments:

  1. A genuine LOL at Captain Chaos! And the octopussycat.

    Poor Vijay. That dude with the yo-yo-saw-blade really captured my imagination as a youngster. I wanted one. I guess I still do.

    Basically, I think this encapsulates everything there is to be said about Octopussy: “if you have to have it explained to you why someone would find an assault by red-spandex-clad bodygards and black-binki-wearing assassins to be a good time at the movies, well ... I'm almost certainly speaking to you across a divide that neither of us is going to be able to span.”

    Bingo.

    Fantastic screengrabs all around, but good God, Octopussy’s mansion is just gorgeous. The sort of place the term “a sumptuous visual feast” was created for.

    And there was a comic adaptation! I never knew that. I suppose I should’ve assumed there was, but I never read it. Damn. (Resisting urge to visit eBay… Fail.)

    I don’t know what it says about me that this is definitely the Bond film I’ve seen the most. Being the exact right age for all the boobs-zoom-ins and zany-hijinks probably has something to do with that, but even so, there’s just a sense of fun to this one I’ve never seen recreated. It, to me, is the high water mark of the “old Bond.” Like you say, it’s tough to tell whether my nostalgia is driving the car, or what. I think you’ve got it placed very fairly in your Bond rankings.

    I’m happy to hear we’ll be getting more of these in 2013!

    Speaking of 009, are there any other MI6 agents that don’t exist just to motivate Bond by getting killed? (Or go rogue, like Javier Bardem?) It’d be nice to meet one or two.

    Fantastic stuff, here.

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    1. I wonder if Q ever sets up shop in whatever country 003 or 008 happen to be stationed in. It sure doesn't seem that way, does it?

      It would indeed be cool for a couple of the other agents to pop up at some point. I'm a little surprised the series has never done that, if only for the spinoff potential.

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    2. Good point re: Q! He only has eyes for Bond.

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  2. I know you're not a Family Guy fan, which I understand completely, but have you seen the movie Ted? I was amused by the first Octopussy reference and happily surprised by the second. I only wish they'd found a way to get Roger Moore to show up at the party in the Flash Gordon scene...

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    1. I saw "Ted." I laughed quite a bit, but thought it was fairly mediocre overall. The "Flash Gordon" stuff was funny at first, but it seemed typical of MacFarlane's approach to humor: make a legitimately funny joke, and then rather than make another joke, remind your audience about once every twenty minutes of that awesome joke you made earlier.

      Still, multiplied over the course of a full movie, that adds up to quite a few chuckles.

      Then again, maybe I wasn't paying close enough attention, because I honestly don't remember there even being an "Octopussy" joke. Has Alzheimer's struck already?!?

      By the way, I'm looking forward to MacFarlane hosting the Oscars. I find him, as a personality, to be funny and charismatic, and I suspect he's going to be a very good host.

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    2. I can't disagree with your assessment of Seth's formulaic approach to gags, particularly referential ones. The real-life-celeb-playing-a-coked-out-version-of-himself gag is close to running its course, as well, if it hasn't already. But, I'm sometimes pretty easily amused, so I just went with it.

      As for the Ted/ 007 connection, Wahlberg's and Kunis's first date ended with their watching Octopussy on tv, and when he tries to win her back by serenading at the Norah Jones concert, it's with "All Time High," delivered in a squeaky, off-key falsetto. I was happy to see it. That's the thing with MacFarland; a lot of times when I'm sighing at his formula, I'm often still tickled pink by the reference. (At other times, I find it so tedious I have to call someone up and bitch about it for ten or fifteen minutes.)

      Death to Ming!

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    3. Good lord... I seriously don't remember either one of those things. Like, at all.

      How strange!

      The thing is with humor, it's entirely in the eye of the beholder. And there have been times when things I saw on Family Guy made me laugh hard enough to give me a headache. For example, I watched the first few episodes when they aired, and two jokes made me nearly hysterical with laughter:

      (1) There's a courtroom scene, and somebody makes some sort of surprise revelation or something. Cue one of the characters gasping and saying "Oh no!" Then it cuts to another character, who also gasps and says "Oh no!" This goes on for three or four people, and then cuts to a shot of the Kool-Aid Man bursting through the wall. He says "Oh yeah!" and everyone in the courtroom just looks at him, blinking. He looks back for a second and then just backs out through the hole he just made in the wall.

      (2) I don't remember what happens exactly, but Peter, like, trips over a tree root and starts to fall over. Something like that. Whatever the case, Spider-Man swoops down out of the tree and saves him from hurting himself. Peter says "Thanks, Spider-Man" and Spider-Man looks at him and says, "Everybody gets one." And then swings off.

      If only for those two scenes, MacFarlane will always have a place in my heart.

      And just to be clear, I've got no criticism for anyone who is a hardcore fan of his work. He's deserving; it's just not entirely my cup of tea.

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    4. Couldn't agree more on both the scenes you mention, as well as comedy-criticism in general.

      It just occurred to me that we watched the unedited version of Ted on-demand; perhaps the Octopussy stuff was cut from the theatrical release? Just a thought. Anyway!

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    5. MAcFarlanE, MAcFarlanE, MAcFarlanE... I fear I'm forever-destined to misspell that guy's name, verdammt.

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    6. I had to look it up in order to get it right, so don't feel too bad.

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  3. Hi Bryant, I have very much enjoyed reading all of your Bond reviews. I stumbled upon here, looking for a location trivia for You only Live twice, since I am currently living in Tokyo, Japan. (I was looking for Hendersons house/garden..)

    I am an avid Bond fan and I am lucky enough to travel a lot and always try to see Bond locations on the way. A few weeks ago I was in Vegas and naturally visited Circus Circus and other Bond hotels.

    Thanks a lot for your excellent reviews, I am tempted to rewatch the movies again for the zillionth time. Naturally I dont agree with all your comments, although in general we have the same taste: My favourite is still on her majesty's secret service, since it is most closely a resemblance of the Fleming Novel.

    I thought Brosnan was a good Bond, but the material in most of his movies were lacking. I would have loved to have seen him as Bond in Casino Royale and most of all Skyfall. Craig is okay, but I can not help that he is way to ugly to be a suave Bond, however he is a very good actor. He just looks way too much like a Russian spy.

    Connery remains my number 1 Bond, although I agree that his performance in both You only live twice (a guilty pleasure Bond film, also because of the Japan location. He should revisit Tokyo again!) and especially in Diamonds are forever (a crap Bond, despite filmed in Amsterdam where I was born.)

    Connery is still the ultimate Bond. His first 5 movies remain in my personal top 10. Moore is the movie, like yourself I grew up with, but I kind of despise the super hero stuff that happened in most movies like Moonraker, although, like you, I learned to appreciate it more and more, mostly because of the excellent locations.

    This is becoming a rambling piece of writing. I could care less, my point is made. Love your writing and I strongly hope you will continue blogging about the other movies: your analysis brings a fresh approach to the Bond movies, something that is quite incredible after so many viewings.

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    1. Thanks a lot for all the kind words! I apologize greatly for how slowly I am moving on getting all the movies reviewed. It's kinda driving me nuts, but it looks like I'm only going to be able to do one of these every few months. Argh!

      I agree with you totally about Pierce Brosnan. I'm not too big a fan of any of his movies, but I like HIM a lot as Bond. I like Craig more than you, but I've heard other people express the same concerns as yours, and I can see how you would come to that conclusion.

      Anyways, thanks again for reading my little reviews. I'll try to step my schedule up a bit!

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  4. Thanks bryant, looking forward to the next blogpost, although it will not be my favourite Bond by a distance: A view to a Kill.

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  5. Yes, this one was okay. It didn't really get me going until he was running on top of the train. From there to the circus, to the assault on Khan's palace, to the plane, it's pretty entertaining. It just takes a long time (about 1 hour & 40 minutes!) before we get there. Still, it's impressive how they fit all that action into the last 30 minutes.

    Some of the moments that stand out for me before then have to do with Khan's accent, how he pronounces Okh-tu-pusee… Okh-tu-pusee… And the part you highlight, where Roger sees an Octopussy tattoo?/sticker? on Magda's back. Wish they pulled back a bit so I could see exactly where that was. "That's my little Octopussy," & Roger's reaction. I could watch that on a loop for a while.

    When the stuntman's making his way hanging onto the side of the train, I don't see any safety wires or anything. It's so dodgy, what if he got tired & started losing his grip? How long does it take for the train to stop? I wonder how much that stuntman got paid to risk his life? And how much more did he get after he got hurt! I think you have to be partly crazy to do a stunt like that.

    A couple things you might like:

    Octopussy Alternate Endings
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1esJ5aICw0

    Hulk vs. James Bond. This is an in-depth analysis of the whole series, in 4 big chunks. To find the other pages, just google part of the title.
    http://badassdigest.com/2014/07/14/hulk-vs.-james-bond-staring-into-the-id-of-a-boner-incarnate/

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    1. Those alternate endings are great.

      I couldn't agree more about Moore's reaction, although I think I actually prefer the one at the dinner table. He's just perfect in those scenes. I know Moore isn't every Bond fan's cup of tea, but the fact (as I see it, at least) is that none of the other Bond actors would have been able to play those moments as well as he did. For the type of movies he made, Moore was just wonderful.

      You make some good points about the train stunt scene. Happily, even though a serious injury resulted, it didn't seem to do any severe permanent damage. And hey, the scene looks great and will entertain people for what seems likely to be hundreds of years to come. Not a bad legacy, and maybe it makes taking risks like that worthwhile.

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  6. Interestingly enough (perhaps) I did my own scores for each of these sections (and really, my only differences were giving Secondary Bond Girls a 5, and Opening Credits a 2 and maybe a .5 difference in one or two other spots - I think I like the villains a little more than you did) and just tallied it all up with your system and my double-0 rating for Octopussy is 4.27,

    Which leaves it exactly the same spot in these rankings! Except when you get to Goldeneye, you rate that one 4.36, so that would ahead of my own slightly-higher score for Octopussy. I don't know if I'd rate Goldeneye higher or lower. I do want to go through each of these and see how your rating system would work for me, but the problem is, as always, time. One of these days! Perhaps the next time Encore is doing one of its Month of Bond-a-thons.

    With regard to B's comment: "Some of the moments that stand out for me before then have to do with Khan's accent, how he pronounces Okh-tu-pusee… Okh-tu-pusee…"

    That totally cracked me up. Khan's particular way of pronouncing so many things from this movie really burned onto my brain, as I discovered (or rediscovered, I should say) last night trying to explain to my wife why I was laughing at spots that weren't particularly funny.

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    1. Jourdan "Okh-tu-pusee..." reading IS a highlight of this movie, no doubt. Think about it: an elegant French actor playing a man who is supposed to be elegant and suave enough to be a sort of dark reflection of James Bond, but he's being asked to do something as ridiculous as to use the word "Octopussy" in that fashion. How does one manage to do that and retain ANY dignity? Well, here's your answer.

      My rating system is deeply flawed, to the point that I see it as being irredeemably busted. Too much of it just doesn't work. (Although since its only real intent was to provide we with some fun -- which it certainly has -- I think it can be considered a success of sorts.) I plan to revise it one of these days and add/delete categories and restructure/reweight certain things. A project for another year!

      I also find myself looking at some of the scores I gave and wondering if I was too influenced by whatever mood I was in at the time. For example, the score for the villains here really DOES seem too low. And my decision to classify Orlov, not Khan, as the main baddie is ludicrous; there was a logic to it, but that doesn't keep it from being the wrong decision.

      Ah, well!

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    2. I think I'm more positive on the rating system than you are. I think it's a pretty solid evaluative system. I'd add a "Personal Memory" category, so I could mathematically justify (perhaps that should read "mathematically" justify, or mathematically "justify," or both in quotes) over-ranking things like Octopussy. As I discovered when doing all the TOS Treks, there are some episodes I recognize are inferior in quantifiable criteria that I'd still pack for a desert island scenario over others.

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    3. This project has had some interesting results in those ways for me -- especially as regards "Die Another Day" and "Moonraker" and "The Man with the Golden Gun." But that's good! It's helped me see all of the movies in a new light, which is a better result than any I'd intended or hoped for.

      I like the idea of a "Personal Memory" category; sort of a wild-card bonus-points system, maybe. Once I'm gotten through "Skyfall," I think I'll put up a post about a potential revision to the system, and see what we can all come up with.

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  7. It is worth noting that Octopussy ended the formulaic streak started in Goldfinger that one of the secondary Bond girls (usually the second billed actress) would bite the dust.

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    1. True, but not entirely: no secondary Bond girl died in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service."

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    2. But a Bond girl did died in it, Tracy herself.

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    3. You will note that Tracy is not a secondary Bond girl.

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    4. No, but she did carry on the tradition that at least one Bond girl dies in each Bond film.

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  8. Also no Bond girl dies in Spy Who Loved Me, right? Unless we're counting Caroline Munro, but she and Bond never hook up. Also he kills her, so that shouldn't count. The secretary Stromberg feeds to a shark isn't a Bond girl. I guess we technically have to count "Felicca" even though she and Bond barely snog before she gets shot in the back (what's your interpretation of that scene anyway, does she make a desperate move that puts her in the path of the bullet or does Bond actually spin her into the line of fire to save his own bacon? It's hard to tell, but if the latter is the case, goddamn 007!)

    You have the screencaps, but I'm surprised you didn't review the twin knife-throwers under "Henchmen." The scene where they hunt 009 is pretty brutal, I remember it scared me as a kid seeing how desperate the agent was to escape and ultimately failing. I would add a point to the category for those guys. Bond's revenge on them is pretty stone-cold badass as well.

    They were sort of the template for Xamot and Tomax in GI Joe, weren't they?

    You make a good argument, but I'd definitely consider Jourdan the "main" villain of the movie. He's the one who sits across from Bond, sizing him up with calculating glares and tries to have him killed (Orlov's not even aware of Bond until his last scene). Gobinda serves as the Oddjob-esque henchman, and he works for Khan. Khan acts like a Bond villain, he dies spectacularly like a Bond villain (main Bond villains don't get shot in the back by their own soldiers!) For me Khan's definitely like a Largo or a La Chiffre - working under a head baddie, but definitely calling the shots and going head-to-head with Bond. Whereas Orlov's more like a self-serving Gogol, or Ourumov in Goldeneye.

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    1. Some really good points here, so allow me to cover them each in order:

      I suppose you COULD argue that Felicca is a Bond girl and therefore, since she dies, a Bond girl does die in TSWLM. Ultimately, that begs the question: what qualifies one to be a Bond girl? Does he have to fuck her? If so, that takes Wai Lin and (arguably) Honey Ryder off the list. Does he merely have to have a flirtation with them, however brief? If so, then, uh, guys: does Silva count as a Bond girl? Because Bond briefly flirts with Silva in the line of duty, and you could make the argument that the only reason he has sex with Miss Taro in "Dr. No" is because it's in the line of duty. It's a much more complex subject than it seems.

      Which means that any system like the one I'm using here for scoring purposes is doomed to . . . well, if not failure then certainly to complication.

      I CANNOT BELIEVE the knife-throwing twins got omitted during this review. I mean, good lord, that right there is enough that Licence to Blog ought to be taken away. I suspect I got too wrapped up in the issue of who to classify as the main villain and therefore allowed that to push other aspects out of my brain. The twins are indeed very cool, and and I agree that a point (if not two) should be added to reflect their presence. Thanks a bunch for pointing out this enormous error!

      I agree with you that Khan is the movie's primary villain. My logic for making it Orlov is solid, but nevertheless, when I get around to revising these posts, I'm going to reverse that.

      I realized maybe halfway through the films that my scoring system had major flaws, and was in need of revamping. But it seemed easier to go ahead and complete the series as I'd begun it and save the revisions for a "second draft" version of the blog. And anyways, the scoring system is just a tool, one which should in no way be taken very seriously. That said, I think it's turned up some interesting results for me personally in terms of the way I think about a low of the films, so it's been worthwhile to me in that respect.

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    2. I would count Naomi as a Bond girl given that Caroline Munro received 5th billing in the film and Bond obviously showed an interest in her.

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  9. I just discovered these blogs and I'm enjoying reading them immensely. Well thought out and very entertaining. I'm very much looking forward to reading the rest.

    But nary a mention of Mischka and Grischka??

    Since tone doesn't always come through in writing, let me assure you that I'm just having a little fun and not making a serious complaint.

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    1. I appreciate the clarification of tone, but even if you both intended it as a serious criticism AND came off that way, I'd have earned it! I honestly don't know how I managed to leave off those two characters. Too busy chuckling to myself over some of the captions, probably.

      Thanks for the kind words, and apologies for my (no doubt) numerous other failures you DIDN'T mention...!

      ;)

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  10. They legitimately scared me when I was a little kid watching Octopussy for the first time. The scene where they're chasing 009 (if memory serves me, he was wearing the same clown disguise as 007 would wear later) through the woods and he turns to look to see how close his pursuers are, only to run smack dab into... Mischka??... Grischka??... I can never be quite sure... Well, at any rate, that whole scene scared the crud out of me.

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    1. I believe it! I was 9, and I remember being a little scared by them, too; although, strangely, it was the comic-book versions that got to me moreso than the "real" versions.

      All of that puts me in mind of something I have thought about the Moore era of Bond films from time to time: in many ways, they are movies for children, which operate on a comic-book level of logic. And I don't mean that as an insult. In fact, the more time I spend with them, the more I realize that it's actually a great virtue. And I think it explains perfectly why I became a massive Bond fan: having been born during the early years of Moore's reign, I turned out to be the perfect age to embrace what he was doing.

      Part of me wishes that the movies would try that approach again, but I sort of doubt it will ever happen. Not during my lifetime, at least.

      Thanks for all the comments! Feel free to pepper 'em around all the other posts, too; I love talking about this stuff.

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  11. I love discussing Bond movies with other fans, I just don't know many people who love them as much as I do, especially the Moore era. He's been my favorite Bond since I became a fan of the movies.

    And you are spot-on about them being made for kids. I think the Moore haters see that as a negative, but like you, I WAS a kid when I discovered Bond in the early 80s. I suspect we're about the same age (I'm 40... Fuck, just typing that made me feel old), so we grew up in the Moore era and I love what he brought to the role. Craig's great and all (I have him third in my personal ranking, behind Connery), but fuck, lighten up a little. Look, I'm about as nostalgic as one gets (stopping shy of having a problem, of course), particularly for the 80s, so it only makes a certain kind of sense that I love the more (Moore) kid friendly approach from a time when I was a kid.

    I'm reading these in random order, not chronologically, not by the Bond, so I'm going to continue going threw them right now. I must say, I'm glad to have discovered You Only Blog Twice now that you've caught up to Spectre, now I can just dive right in without having to wait between entries. Well, except for having to wait for the next new Bond movie. But since you can't see into the future (you can't, can you?), I won't hold it against you. ;)

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    1. To be fair, I went through a phase where I saw the "kiddiness" of the Moore films as a drawback. Most of my thirties, and probably a bit of my twenties, I disliked those movies, at least in terms of thinking about them in an objective/critical sense. (I'm 42, or will be in a few weeks; so a wee bit older than you.) But looking at them for this project, I found myself really admiring most of them in that same objective/critical sense; it's just that they have different goals than, say, "Licence to Kill."

      That's as it should be. Part of what has kept the series prosperous is its producers' ability and willingness to adapt to the times and to the whims of their audiences. Heck, even "Spectre" -- and even the ridiculous Blofeld revelation within it -- is following the trends of the day to some extent.

      That doesn't mean I'm going to cut it any slack, though! Some other blogger can do that. He/she might even be able to change my mind, for all I know.

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  12. *Through, not threw. Typos make me die a little inside. Only my own, mind you. I'm sure I commit many of them, but I can't let the glaring ones slide.

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    1. Yeah, it's a real shame Blogger doesn't permit for editing comments. I have committed many a typo myself, of course; I still catch one within the body of my old posts every once in a while when I go through a bit of one or another of them. It makes me cringe, but my posts tend -- and this is purposeful -- to be first-draft-only types of things. So all in all, I think I do okay.

      But if you -- or anyone else -- ever sees one, feel free to point it out, because I'd just as soon make 'em go away.

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