Friday, January 18, 2008

Octopussy - A Movie Club Column

And let's be heard!

Hey does Bob Grant still say that? Before we get to today's movie review, I just gotta tell you that nothing is more pathetic than Radio and Records magazine announcement this week that they are taking back a Lifetime Achievement Award that was to be presented to Grant this March. I am not a fan of Grant's, nor do I listen to his show, but there is nothing more cowardly than R&R bowing to "political correctness".

And we can see who that rag of a mag is in bed with the announcement this week that they will add that Reverend Al Sharpton to a forum on race in the media. Sharpton has been calling for a golf TV reporter to be fired after she made a wisecrack about lynching Tiger Woods. Woods is friends with her, and wasn't offended, but Sharpton has to cause more trouble. And as I mentioned last month, Sharpton feels that John White, the Suffolk County man who shot and killed a teenager who was yelling racial taunts on the sidewalk in front of his home should not have been convicted... but that the taunting teens should be arrested and prosecuted!

In my best Mary Tyler Moore impression, all I can say is... "Mr. Grant... do you really want to get an award from a rag that embraces Al Sharpton?"

Well its time for another Movie Review and we go from Mary Tyler Moore to Roger Moore as today we present the 3rd of our 6 James Bond Movies - Octopussy

This past Sunday, American Dad did a hysterical spoof of the James Bond movies... kind of daring since there already have been 3 Austin Powers movies... but as I watched the parody, it occured to me that The Bond movies are so tongue in cheek they are almost a parody themselves.

As you know, we are doing 6 Bond movies, each one featuring a different actor. Two of the first three are actors I have always liked... Connery in Goldfinger, and now Moore. I actually even liked the George Lazenby movie. As you know, my pal Steve picked out 4 of the 6 Bond movies for this series...(The Lazenby and Daniel Craig movies are an automatic since it's their only Bond movies)... and loaned me the (gasp!) videotapes, After I actually gave Lazenby a good review.... Steve had some comments you might have missed.. I just want you to face this way while I remind our readers of Steve's comments.... Ill ask you the same questions.... if you give me the same answers.. you'll hear this buzzer.... and Ill ask him to try again.... Oh wait... thats from Family Feud!.... Here is what Steve said about our December 7th Pearl Harbor Day Column....

Interesting review... I thought Lazenby was a terrible choice to portray Bond. This guy had no acting chops, no discernible personality, and brought the Bond character down at least a couple of notches. And while Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli, remarked that Lazenby could have been the best Bond had he not quit after just one film, I for one am glad he did...

In fact, after he quit Bond, because the role was "too tough" for him... sniff sniff... he went on to become an extra or minor character in literally every other project he worked on, with the exception of some soft porn in Emanuelle. Acting chops indeed... HA!

Good riddance to bad acting... Now Roger Moore... There is the real James Bond!

Interestingly enough during the last few days, Steve asked me if I thought Moore was better than Connery.... hmmm... we'll have to address that at some point. Let's start with the trailer....

Octopussy is actually the name of this movie's Bond Girl... who is tied in with a bunch of crazy villians Kamal Kahn and General Orlov who are hell bent on stealing valuable jewels and World Domination. The Orlov character is especially over the top with a Shatner/Caruso-esque performance that even includes rolling R's. The introductory unrelated storyline starts with a plane concealed within a horse trailer... and ends with Bond getting gas at an Enco! station. Years and years ago Exxon used to be Esso but in the South they called it Enco. I still remember that from a trip to Texas I took way back in 1972!

Fast forward to the real story where a circus clown is killed by knife throwing twins who are more precise than Ed Ames... The clown is actually Agent 009 which leads to 007 to take on the case. The clown's last heroic act was delivering a Fabrege Egg to the British Embassy, leading to the mystery of why the clown was killed and what is the deal with the Egg? Bond wisely figures out that The Dead Clown with The Fabrege Egg is somehow connected to an upcoming auction for the real Egg which is where he meets Kamal. He follows him to India where upon arriving meets tennis player Vijay of a few crummy acting performances in this movie... even though the other actors were intentionally throwing a little Shatner into their performances.Vijay's code signal to Bond is playing snake charmer music which is actually the Bond theme!

Interestingly enough this movie was filmed in the early 1980s when a lot of us thought of India as an exotic foreign country.... but as Esso/Enco shifted to the back burner of our memory banks... Indians living in my part of NJ shifted curry to the front burners of their stoves taking away a lot of the mystery of this oh so exotic land. Actually, at one point Bond wins some money in a backgammon game where he double crosses the cheating Kahn and tosses the money to Indians with the wisecrack.... "That should keep you in curry for a few weeks." By the way, one of the points in the American Dad spoof was that Bond always wins at a casino game at every movie!

As it turns out Kamal had hooked up with this crazy nut job General Orlov.... and while it seemed like this was all about jewel thieves... Orlov uses a traveling circus's train ... (this is where Octopussy gets in the storyline; she owns the circus... I guess The Ringling Brothers weren't available).... to smuggle a nuclear bomb to a circus performance at an American Military base in Germany which he figures will lead to more disarmament and ultimate world domination, because people will think it went off by accident, and not realize where the bomb really came from.

Octopussy.. played by Maud Adams... becomes Bond's 2nd chickie in the movie... the first one is Kamal's sidekick Magda played by Kristina Wayborn who was Miss Sweden in 1970. Magda does the ol' hocus mcpocus with Bond and then steals back the Farbrege Egg.... of course not realizing that it is all a set up since a future-esque Lojack-esque device had already been inserted inside it and was connected to Bond's Dick Tracy-esque watch. It seems that even though Adams is supposed to be The Main Bond Squeeze...(she lives on an island inhabited by beautiful acrobatic women), Magda is a far sexier performer. However as it turns out Octopussy is a much more complex person who has a family past with Bond... She gets her name from an octopus fixation... and her circus is named for her... much like how Goldfinger had Pussy Galore and her Flying Circus. What is it with Bond movies using that name and performers who can do cunning stunts? Incidentally, Octopussy's all female circus performers will save the day later in the movie in a fight scene right out of the Batman TV Show!

Moore does an excellent job as Bond... His Bond is not as goofy as The Connery Bond in the one movie I had seen.... Moore is not only a pilot but is able to drive a car with 4 flat tires along railroad tracks. I never knew that was possible! He also has a way with jungle animals handling a tiger better than Siegfried and Roy..... well definitely better than Roy. His end of the movie bomb defusing heroics were a bit hard to believe since the time on the clock was expiring quicker than a Tony Romo 4th quarter playoff comeback attempt... but unlike Romo, Bond is able to save the day! That's not a spoiler... how the heck else do you think these goofy movies end??

Overall I liked the movie... some of the characters, especially Orlov were way over the top... but then again, that was pretty much expected... The story is told very well, and the gadgets are quite cool... although a 1983 futuristic gadget isn't as impressive as the ones from the movie that were filmed in the sixties. The scenery is terrific and it really makes India look quite exotic without that fine scent of curry that wafts through the streets of Edison and Iselin. The music was up to par as usual, with a catchy theme song "All Time High" by Rita Coolidge... and as usual the Bond girls - homina, homina homina. Is Moore better than Connery? The Moore Bond is more clever.... and overall I am a bigger fan of Connery, although I always liked Moore when he was "The Saint"... but in reality both did a pretty good job with the cards they were dealt. Incidentally, Moore was the oldest Bond at the time.... he did this movie when he was 55... but looks much much younger! On a scale of 1 to 4 bladders meaning how less likely you would be to leave in the middle to go to the bathroom.... Octopussy gets 3 bladders.

Next Movie" "The Living Daylights" with Timothy Dalton

CLASSIC CLIP OF THE WEEK: Hey did you know that our wacky liberal pal DAS from DAS blog is getting married this Sunday? Yup... and now I see that I am going to miss the first half of the Giants-Packers game!! I think the Giants will win... and I have a feeling there could be a collosal upset by San Diego. After all - our nation is in the midst of a credit disaster... who better to be in The Super Bowl than The Chargers?? Anyway, back in '06 we did a podcast chat with DAS and here is Part II of that chat which features love advice from Nate... and it looks like our ol' chum DAS listened to my brilliant advice!! Here it is from July 20, 2006!!

Your Influence Counts.... Use it! Get Khadafy!!


Steve said...

Bravo... The series changes quite a bit when Dalton takes over. It seems that the times caught up to the technology, and the Bond movies become more spectacle than story. But i'm glad you enjoyed Octopussy. I'd love to hang with you to watch the next one. Let me know if this kind of thing is cool, or if company limits your creative thinking process and film absorption methods.

Nate said...

Of course you're more than welcome to come over for the next Bond screening! And Pumpstradamus can come too! Usually, I screen the movie with a little pad and paper just to jot down notes... but many times movies that I have viewed for these reviews are watched a 2nd time just to catch some stuff I might have missed the first time around... (plus the notes on IMDB are very helpful too!)... So having peeps over during the viewings is not going to be the least bit of a distraction!