Will Mel think that Roger Moore’s sixth outing as James Bond is an All Time High?
Bond is undercover in Latin America on a mission to blow up a plane with a new radar system. After pulling up in a convertible Range Rover, he reverses his jacket to turn his outfit into that of a military officer. Mel is impressed immediately, dubbing the disguise “Ingenious.”
Unfortunately, he is captured when the officer he’s impersonating also turns up. Fortunately, he has an ally on the mission, in the form of Bianca, played by seventeen year-old model Tina Hudson.
Mel says, “That girl looks like Rihanna. You can see her nipples.”
Bianca draws the Range Rover alongside the military truck Bond is being transported on. She flirts with the two soldiers guarding the British agent, causing a distraction so that 007 can escape.
“I like that she saved him, but not that she had to get her legs and boobs out to do it.”
Bond says, “Gracias, querida.”
Mel loves this. “Querida!” she exclaims. When we were on honeymoon in Mexico earlier this year we took a Spanish lesson by the pool one day with one of the hotel staff. (She asked if we already knew any Spanish, I said, “No, they taught us more French than Spanish at school.” “Oh, so you speak French?” She asked. “Um, no,” I replied sheepishly). Because we were honeymooners, and the only two taking her class, she taught us that gerida is the feminine form of darling, and gerido, the masculine.
Bond detaches the horse box from the Range Rover, and clambers inside. It opens up to reveal an Acrostar Microjet, which he flies off in.
“This is funny actually. I like the fake horse bum.”
Bond’s plane is pursued by a heat-seeking missile, which he uses to destroy the plane he originally came to nobble. He then lands in the USA by a petrol station and asks the attendant to ‘Fill her up, please”
We’re off to a good start. Mel says, “That was really fun! I did really like that.”
The titles start up, along with Rita Coolidge’s All Time High. I actually suggested that we have this as our wedding song, because of the beautiful lyrics:
We´re an all time high,
We´ll change all that´s gone before.
Doing so much more than falling in love.
On an all time high,
We´ll take on the world and wait.
So hold on tight, let the flight begin.
But, sadly, Mel objected to the opening two verses:
All I wanted was a sweet distraction for an hour or two.
Had no intention to do the things we´ve done.
Mel rolls her eyes at all the ladies in the titles. “These are the worst bits of these films,” she says.
I tell my wife that Octopussy is directed by John Glen, who also helmed For Your Eyes Only, which she enjoyed.
“Well, I’ve enjoyed that plane bit at the start of this one.”
We see 009 fleeing for his life from a couple of knife-throwers. He’s dressed as a clown, and is shot before crashing through the window of the British embassy clutching a Faberge egg. I ask Mel if she likes clowns.
“I’m not scared of them or anything, like some people are.”
Bond arrives in Moneypenny’s office, and meets Penelope Smallbone. She tells Bond that Miss Moneypenny has told her all about him. I ask Mel how she thinks Moneypenny described Bond to Miss Smallbone.
“Well, the way she’s sighing like an imbecile she probably said he’s devastatingly handsome and dreamy. But she should have said, ‘he’s a shitbag who chases after every woman except me. I’m in love with him and have been for a long time.'”
“If he screws that young girl instead of Moneypenny I’ll be pissed off,” she adds. “And if she did that to Moneypenny too. Sisters gotta stick together.”
M introduces Bond to Jim Fanning (“Fanny? Seriously?!”), the MI6 art expert. 007 is to take over the mission that 009 was undertaking, and accompanies Fanning to Sotherby’s to see who bids on the real Faberge egg.
“I like the spy story this time. But he’s still a smarmy —-er.”
Bond spots Magda across the auction room. “Now there is a lady,” he murmurs approvingly.
“Urrghh. The way he letches at women.”
Magda is accompanied by Kamal Khan, who bids well over the odds for Faberge. Following Kamal Khan to India, Bond checks into his hotel to find his luggage is unpacked for him.
“I would love that!” Mel exclaims.
After a dramatic chase and fight through the streets, Bond visits Q in a field lab. The agent asks Q to stitch a hole in his dinner jacket where an assailant tried to stab him.
Q says, “They missed you. What a pity.”
Mel laughs and says, “Good lad.”
Q’s Indian rope trick gadget doesn’t work and Bond quips, “Having trouble keeping it up, Q?”
Mel tuts, “That is rude and disrespectful.”
Q demonstrates a video monitor on a watch face. Bond takes control of the camera and we are treated to the unedifying sight of him zooming in and out on a female lab assistant’s décolletage.
“He’s supposed to be sophisticated and that’s how he acts… that’s what he thinks is funny.”
At Bond’s hotel Magda is waiting for him in the restaurant.
Mel makes a prediction, “He’s going to sleep with her… there you go.”
“He looks like a dirty, filthy old man. Oh, wait, he is.”
“She’s sucking his face. Urrggh. Minging.” Mel actually retches a little.
She was really going for it wasn’t she? I say.
“She was eating his face, Mark.”
The next morning Magda falls backwards out of the window as Bond goes to kiss her. She spins gracefully, sari unfurling until she reaches the ground, where Khan waits in a car. I ask Mel if she was expecting that?
“Well, I was expecting to see her in her underwear at some point.”
Bond is rendered unconscious by henchman Gobinda, and taken by Kamal Khan to the Monsoon Palace aboard a dragon boat rowed by scantily-clad women.
“Why has this man got a harem of women?!”
I ask Mel who she thinks is better-looking, James Bond or Kamal Khan?
“Kamal Khan. But I hate them both.”
She’s not impressed when Khan tucks into a sheep’s eyeball. “That is rotten,” she says.
After dinner, Khan locks Bond in his room.
“That’s a risk if there’s a fire,” points out Mel.
Bond is able to burn through the bars on the window of his room with his acid-filled Mont Blanc pen. He climbs out onto the ledge, and finds the next window along is for Magda’s room.
“I hope he’s going to all this trouble to actually escape and not just go that woman’s room…Nah, he’s going for a quickie.”
In the event, Bond just sneaks through Magda’s boudoir, and down to the basement to listen in using the bug Q planted in the Faberge egg that Magda stole post-coitus. His signal is briefly interrupted when Magda turns on her hairdryer in her bedroom.
Mel says, “It’s a good job that wasn’t me drying my hair. It would have taken at least twenty minutes.”
We discover that rogue Soviet General Orlov is working with Khan. Back at HQ, Vijay tells Bond that only women are allowed in Octopussy’s floating island. “Sexual discrimination,” he says, “I’ll definitely have to pay it a visit.”
“You already do, mate. Every day,” says Mel.
Kamal hires some goons to kill Bond. One of them has a retractable circular saw weapon. He kills Vijay with it, who is keeping watch on the floating island from the shore.The goons then attack the island, where Bond has been enjoying sexual relations with Octopussy. 007 puts a henchman’s head through a fishtank. An octopus clamps it’s tentacles around his face.
I ask Mel if she would rather killed by the yo-yo saw or an octopus asphyxiation?
“Yo-yo saw. I wouldn’t want that bloody thing on my face!”
I ask if she’d rather have the octopus sucking her face or kiss Roger Moore?
“The octopus! Every time.”
Bond follows Octopussy’s Circus to West Berlin. He infiltrates the circus train, and ends up hiding in a carriage dressed as a gorilla.
“He looks like the Cadbury’s advert!”
“I am quite enjoying this. Sorry I’m not saying much though.”
Bond is spotted and chased around the train, along the roof and between the carriages. Mel gasps several times. When Bond falls off the train with Grishko, she exclaims, “Oh shit!”
I ask if she felt sorry for him?
“A tad,” she answers.
There is something visceral about John Glen’s direction that makes it seem like Bond is in real danger, and it’s great to see Mel reacting to the action scenes instead of looking bored. Martin Grace, Roger Moore’s stunt double was injured on the train stunt. In For My Eyes Only (B T Batsford, 2001), John Glen says:
“Unfortunately, the train’s designated stopping point was missed and it headed straight for a nasty obstruction – a piece of protruding pipe hit Martin when he was still outside the carriage. He suffered a bad groin injury during the collision, but it’s indicative of the man’s enormous strength that he managed to hang on until the train stopped. If he had fallen off at the time of impact, he would probably have ended up under the wheels of the train.”
Bond makes it to the circus. The police are pursuing him, so he craftily sneaks into a caravan and changes into a clown costume.
“I don’t know how he managed to get all that make-up on in the few seconds he had!” Mel exclaims.
It does take Mel a lot longer than this to apply make-up. The twenty minutes drying her hair is very much the tip of the iceberg.
Inside the big top there is a tense scene Bond is trying to get to the bomb hidden in the cannon, but is constantly blocked by clowns and circus folk performing their acts.
Mel is quite caught up in the action by this stage and finds this frustrating, “Oh, for —-‘s sake!” she says.
With Orlov dead, and the nuclear bomb plan scuppered, Kamal Khan has already scarpered back to the Monsoon Palace when Bond diffuses the nuclear bomb. Octopussy’s women acrobatically attack Khan and his goons.
“They’re very good, aren’t they?” Mel asks, impressed to see the fairer sex at the vanguard of the attack. “These men! Octopussy let these two into her organisation and they —-ed it up!”
But where is Bond while the women battle?
Suddenly, a hot air balloon appears over the palace, resplendant in Union Jack livery. Bond is aboard and the vessel is piloted by Q.
Mel laughs aloud at the sheer chutzpah of the scene. “Haha! That is funny. I like it!”
It’s great to see her enjoy a bit of Bond daftness like this. We both laugh and enjoy the sight of these two ageing icons, and ignore the troubling imperial symbolism of the scene.
As Q lands some of the women make a fuss of him. “There’s no time for that,” he complains; before adding, “Later, perhaps.”
Mel laughs and says, “He should get some, because he’s a lovely man.”
I ask what she thought of the film?
“I actually liked it. That’s the best one yet.”
She might end up a Bond fan yet! And next month I’ve got an awesome surprise for her…
Mel will return… watching Never Say Never Again.
Original theatrical trailer:
Order Octopussy on DVD from Amazon:
Octopussy [Blu-ray] 
For My Eyes Only by John Glen: