A fake Fabergé egg, and a fellow Agent's death, lead James Bond to uncover an international jewel-smuggling operation, headed by the mysterious Octopussy, being used to disguise a nuclear attack on N.A.T.O. forces.
James Bond is back again and his new mission is to find out how a Royal Navy Polaris submarine holding sixteen nuclear warheads simply disappears whilst on patrol. Bond joins Major Anya Amasova and takes on a a web-handed mastermind, known as Karl Stromberg, as well as his henchman Jaws, who has a mouthful of metal teeth. Bond must track down the location of the missing submarine before the warheads are fired. Written by
You don't review James Bond movies, you evaluate them, rate them
according to how well they meet expectations. There are certain things
one has come to expect, even demand of a Bond film and each individual
effort either delivers or it doesn't. So, here are ten elements that
make a Bond film a Bond film and how THE SPY WHO LOVED ME rates on a
scale of 1 to 10:
Title: THE SPY WHO LOVED ME: The title seems more appropriate for a
Harlequin Romance novel, and if suitable at all for a Bond film, it
would have been a better title for ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE.
Yet, it does finally work the word "spy" into the title of a Bond film.
Pre-Credit Teaser: It's all very nicely done: Within a few minutes, we
see a submarine stolen and its crew kidnapped; we meet the Soviet's top
agent, who just happens to be -- surprise! -- a woman; and we get the
added treat of one of Bond's greatest stunts, the great
skiing-skydiving trick. A pretty cool way to kick off the film and set
up the various story lines. 9 points.
Opening Credits: Arguably the silliest of all of Maurice Binder's
efforts, the opening sequence finds 007 bouncing around on a trampoline
while various miniature, and apparently naked, babes do gymnastics on
the barrels of guns. (Pity he didn't come up with that idea for THE MAN
WITH THE GOLDEN GUN.) Bordering on self-parody, it is nonetheless
naughty and fun and colorful and oh-so very James Bond. 9 points.
Theme Song: No beating around the bush here, the song gets right to the
point: "Nobody does it half as good as you, Baby, you're the best."
Just what Bond is best at is open to interpretation. The music by
Marvin Hamlisch is swanky and matched by Carol Bayer Sager's dreamy and
only slightly sarcastic lyrics. And Carly Simon's vocals bring it all
home. Maybe not the best Bond song, but right up there. 9 points.
"Bond, James Bond": Moore finally makes the role his. The number of
smug one-liners have been trimmed, yet he still invests the character
with humor -- plus some warmth and charm, and unexpected sadness. And
we get to see a bit of Bond's vanity as he matches wits with a female
agent who is his equal and not impressed by his stock-and-trade
flirtations. Moore's best appearance as Bond. 9 points.
Bond Babes: The prevailing notion has always been that "Bond Girl"
equals "Bimbo," which is only partly true. Most of the women Bond
encounters are highly skilled professionals -- as well as being bimbos.
But Soviet agent Major Anya Amasova, a.k.a. XXX, is the first Bond Girl
to give James a run for his money. She's smart, sexy, capable,
resourceful and it takes her almost the whole movie to actually fall in
love with Bond. What will power! As played by Barbara Bach (a.k.a.,
soon-to-be Mrs. Ringo Starr), Anya ranks as one of the best Bond Girls,
easily worthy of 9 points.
Bond Villain: Karl Stromberg (nice villainous name, by the way) is one
of those mad billionaires who hopes to create a new world order by mass
genocide and building a new society, this time underwater. It is pretty
much a cliché character and unfortunately Curt Jurgen plays the part
like a grumpy old man and can't seem to muster up even a maniacal
laugh. 5 points.
Bond Baddies: Oddjob look-a-like Sandor, played by Milton Reid, puts in
an appearance long enough to die a memorable death, but it is Richard
Kiel who steps into the limelight as Jaws, one of the great Bond
villains. If being a hulking, seven-foot tall muscle man weren't
enough, he also has steel teeth and an amazingly obsessive desire to
kill 007. Playing Wile E. Coyote to Bond's Road Runner, Jaws earns 9
Sinister Plot: Stromberg steals a Russian and a U.S. sub, as well as a
British one, with the hopes of starting World War III and destroying
the civilization as we know it today. Been there, done that. 4 points.
Production values: Romantic imagery, clever lighting effects and
intriguing camera angles make this the most visually appealing Bond
film. In the past, the emphasis was always on the most effective way to
film action sequences, but here director Gilbert Lewis strives for that
little bit extra as far as mood and romance. 9 points.
Bonus Points: Connery had his Astin Martin and Moore gets a Lotus
Esprit. It is not nearly as snazzy, but it does turn into a submarine
and you never know when that will come in handy. 5 points.
Summary: It had been hinted at in the three previous Bond adventures,
but a new sense of style is fully apparent here. The roughness and grit
that many of the purists loved about Connery's films are pretty much
gone in favor of a polish and panache. Whether that is being suave or
merely superficial is open to interpretation, but it does set the tone
and the expectations for all future Bond adventures.
Bond-o-meter Rating: 84 points out of 100.
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