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Octopussy: Ultimate Edition

By the time Octopussy arrived in 1983, Roger Moore was 56. He still had some of the moves and the charm, but the movie revealed a more leisurely James Bond than ever before. The story gets underway as 007 is put on alert when 009 is stabbed by twin knife-throwers and ends up staggering into a British embassy, dropping a perfect replica of a Faberge egg before dying. The egg was about to go up for auction, leading Bond to go see who is the egg's highest bidder. It turns out to be Kamal Kahn (Louis Jordan), who's in cahoots with a Russian general named Orlov (Stephen Berkoff) who wants to take over Europe, and a mysterious woman named Octopussy (Maud Adams). Bond follows Kahn to India, where he beds his assistant Magda (Kristina Wayborn) and is kidnapped by Kahn shortly thereafter. Through this, 007 finds out about Kahn's perfect forgeries, as well as a possible nuclear bomb threat. After escaping, he finally tracks down Octopussy, who holds the British agent in esteem for allowing her father to die with dignity. But Bond has provoked Kahn's ire, and even Octopussy's sanctuary can't stand in Kahn's way. Bond escapes again, soon learning that Octopussy has a traveling circus — which is the perfect vehicle for smuggling a weapon from East Germany to West. With Maud Adams at 38, and Jordan at the retirement ready age of 64, Octopussy is easily the most geriatric Bond film ever made. Only Wayborn was under 30 at the time, which means that our aging 007 here could conceivably be her father. All that noted, this (surprisingly) is one of the better Moore vehicles, perhaps because it was at least comfortable with its more sedentary nature — something the filmmakers rejected in 1985's A View to Kill, and in doing so failed miserably. Moore is slightly bemused in Octopussy and does a great stifled reaction to the name itself (it's his best trick of the movie). The picture also is notable for granting Q (Desmond Llewelyn) his most prominent role in the franchise's run.

Fox/MGM's DVD release of Octopussy presents the film in a good anamorphic transfer (2.35:1), and it looks and sounds better than ever with Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, and original Dolby 2.0 Surround audio. Extras on the first disc include two commentaries, one by Moore, the other by director John Glen. On Disc Two there's the normal bevy of supplements: two-part featurette "Shooting Stunts" (7 min.), "Ken Burns On Set Movie" (7 min.), "On Location with Peter Lamont" (5 min.), "Testing the Limits–The Ariel Team" (5 min.), original featurette "Bond in India" (29 min.), the cheekily titled "Inside Octopussy" (33 min.), "Designing Bond–Peter Lamont" (21 min.), a music video for theme song "All Time High," and two storyboard sequences (7 min.). Bond auditioner James Brolin gets his own section to talk about his near-run as Bond (4 min.), two screen-tests (5 min.), and one for tennis star Vijay Amritraj (2 min.), who has a small part in the film. Also included are four trailers, a stills gallery, and "007 Mission Control," which offers highlights of the franchise's repeated trademarks. Dual-DVD slimline keep-case. Available in Fox/MGM's "James Bond Ultimate Collection: Volume 4."
—DSH



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