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|Index||297 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Albert R. Broccoli sneaked into George Lucas' backyard--outer space--with director Lewis Gilbert on the eleventh James Bond epic "Moonraker," the absolutely most outlandish 007 thriller ever made. Basically, "Moonraker" was an overblown version of "Goldfinger" with an audacious battle sequence at the end with Space Marines storming a space station established by the ambitious villain. All Bond movies are essentially alike, being stitched together with episodes from other Bonds. Hugo Drax steals a space shuttle on loan to the United States from Britain and M dispatches 007 to investigate. The pre-credit sequence where Bond performs a free-fall without a parachute is one of the best in franchise. Later, when Bond is strapped into the gravity simulator, he emerges looking pretty wiped out. The scene is the most realistic of any Roger Moore Bond. The gondola scene in Venice is rather far out and goes over the top later when Bond's gondola becomes hovercraft. Jaws who had menaced Bond in "The Spy Who Loved Me" returned but he was no longer a villain as he joined sides with 007. "Moonraker" ranks as one of John Barry's best orchestral scores, especially the bits during the theft of the space shuttle at the beginning. The riff on "The Magnificent Seven" in South America is cool as well as the monastery that serves as a training ground for spies. One of Q's coolest gadgets is the sleeping sombrero clad fellow who turns out to be shell concealing a machine gun. Lots of fun!
Of all the James Bond movies Moonraker is one of my favorites. I am a huge Roger Moore Bond fan but I especially looooooovvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeee Lois Chiles as Dr. Holly Goodhead. She is the most beautiful and sexy of all the Bond girls, in my opinion. Jaws has a good showing in this movie as well and the opening sequence is one of the best in Bond history. Sir Hugo Drax is as evil as a Bond villain gets and the terrific pacing of this movie makes it one of the most enjoyable of the Bond adventures. Maybe some other people don't like it but I do.
I steered clear of MOONRAKER (1979) for years because critics
unanimously said it was awful. In 2003 I systematically went through
the Moore era and finally came to MOONRAKER, fully expecting to see a
real dog. Wow, was I wrong! MOONRAKER is thoroughly entertaining from
beginning to end and one of the best films of Roger Moore's 7-film
stint in the series.
THE PLOT: Bond investigates Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale) after a space shuttle on loan to the British is stolen. James slowly discovers that Drax has a mad scheme to re-create a human race of perfect human specimens. The giant villainous sidekick Jaws (Richard Kiel) returns from THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977) as 007 teams up with the beautiful Dr. Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles). The story climaxes with a spectacular space battle at Drax' space station.
WHAT WORKS: Everything in MOONRAKER is over the top! The locations, the action, the villain's mad scheme, the humor, the seriousness, Jaws and the space-battle finale. This works fabulously because Bond films were never meant to be deep, thought-provoking pieces of art, but rather grandiose pieces of thrilling eye candy.
One thing that I demand in any Bond adventure is great globe-trotting and spectacular locations. This is one of the reasons I consider LICENCE TO KILL (1989) weak, but MOONRAKER delivers in spades! The film starts out with breathtaking scenes high above Napa Valley, California, as Bond engages in a thrilling sky-diving duel. From there we get France, Venice, Rio De Janeiro, the jungles of Brazil & Guatemala and the spectacular Iguazu Waterfalls, Argentina.
Lois Chiles is one of the more beautiful and competent Bond "girls." Of course her name -- "Dr. Goodhead" -- is ludicrous in the tradition of Pussy Galore and Chew Mee (lol).
Drax is a formidable, serious nemesis contrasted by the cartoony villainy of Jaws.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The film works on every level in entertaining the viewer, but -- depending on one's tastes -- some people may have one or two cavils. For instance, many criticize the goofy humor associated with Jaws. The good thing is that it's really funny and you'll likely bust out laughing a number of times. Regardless, the picture remains an essentially serious story, albeit totally outlandish, which is in keeping with the series (e.g. GOLDFINGER and YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE).
Others object to the notion of Bond in space. I don't get this beef. He's been all over the earth and in every ocean, why not have an adventure in space for something new? Some have criticized that MOONRAKER was trying to go "Star Wars", but this makes no sense; MOONRAKER has nothing in common with "Star Wars." It's like arguing that THUNDERBALL ripped-off "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" because it has underwater scenes.
Something else I'd like to point out: One of the reasons I steered clear from MOONRAKER for so many years was because I thought most of the film took place in space, and space is not something I seek in a Bond flick, but this isn't the case. Bond doesn't go up in space until over an hour & a half into the story! Overall, only 23% of the film takes place in space. More importantly, the climax is actually interesting and exciting unlike the ending of, say, THE SPY WHO LOVED, which was boring.
FINAL ANALYSIS: Roger Moore has done more Bond films than any other actor (which is only matched by Sean Connery if you include his unofficial 1983 entry NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN). Roger started the role in 1973 when he was 45 and ended in 1985 at the age of 57 (!!). Regardless of his age he always looked great and perfectly convincing as 007 -- yes, even in A VIEW TO A KILL. His films contained more humor and action than the slightly-more-serious early 60's films, which were fantastical and absurd in their own way (e.g. Oddball's killer hat, etc.), but Moore's stint isn't so different when you consider Connery's later films, like YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE and especially DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. Many prefer the Connery era, and I certainly appreciate those films, but I find the Moore era to be the most consistently entertaining in the series. Every one of his films was successful at the box office and MOONRAKER was the most successful Bond film until Pierce Brosnan's GOLDENEYE in 1995. There's not a dud in Moore's bunch. They're colorful, vibrant and full of pizazz.
The film runs 126 minutes.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I grew up watching Bond films as a kid, and that was during the 1980's,
my late mother was a huge fan, and I always heard as a kid that
Moonraker was the worst of the Bond films and then chose to ignore it.
I didn't get around to watching it, until I was almost 27 years old. I'm now 35, I was born in 77 so do the math. Well regardless I think this is now one of my favourite films, not just a Bond film, but a space film. I love everything about this film, it has class, great acting, great special effects(for it's time), and also a great score. I loved all the space scenes, they were reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
I know Star Wars is the only reason Bond went to space in 1979, but still, it has great atmosphere, with an awesome technological story. They saved the best for last in this film, and I loved every minute of it.
An arch villain trying to take over the world through some kind of atmospheric plague, creating a new super race. Sounds a lot like the idiot Hitler in WWII. Except this is on a more modern scale.
I love this film for what it is, and love it as part of Bond history. Moore is excellent. I'm also not here to argue what actor played Bond the best, nor am I here to argue the point of what Bond film was the greatest. I just really love this instalment in the Bond series, and will love watching it for years to come.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
To even include this monstrosity of a movie in a catalog of Jame Bond
films borders on travesty. This was NOT Bond! This was simply a sorry
attempt to cash-in on the space craze started by Star Wars, and
complete the process of turning Bond into a comic-book character.
Fleming's Bond (or even Eon's early Bond incarnation, as played by Sean
Connery) is by now totally unrecognizable. He's not a secret agent (and
government-sanctioned assassin) but a jet-setting playboy crime-fighter
who stumbles from one action set-piece to another. Roger Moore's Bond
is a total lightweight, and comes across about as credible as Inspector
Gadget. Maybe that's fitting, because "Moonraker" is far more a filmed
cartoon than a spy thriller.
True, "Moonraker" didn't begin the slide from Fleming's vision into comic-strip, but did it accelerate it! You could even say that "Moonraker" ran the series right into the ground, so naturally there was no where else to go but "up" for the next entry, "For Your Eyes Only". "Moonraker" is absolute rock-bottom for the entire series, what with a totally outlandish plot, overblown futuristic sets straight out of "Star Trek", one-dimensional characters who are as thin as cardboard, and (most embarrassing of all) ill-advised attempts at broad humor.
The plot is senseless and ridiculous. True, Fleming's novel was horribly dated by 1979, but ANYTHING would have been better than what Christopher Wood finally dreamed up. Drax plotting to destroy all life on earth and breed a new generation of perfect people under his rule in a space station??? Does this make ANY sense??? All the action sequences are only tired re-workings of previous movies (far too many to list, but suffice to say that I saw elements of virtually every previous Bond flick made to date). And if this rehash wasn't enough, they even went so far as to bring back the "crowd-pleaser" of the previous film, Jaws. Jaws made a mildly interesting villain for one movie, but trying to sustain menace into a 2nd appearance just doesn't work -- you get the feeling that both Bond AND Jaws are completely indestructible, so where's the tension in their fights? I suspect the producers and screenwriter must have recognized this too, for mid-way thru they turn Jaws into a virtual cartoon character, and ultimately a "hero" who helps Bond. (Can anyone remotely picture Odd-job having a change-of-heart in Fort Knox and helping Bond diffuse the bomb???)
But what makes "Moonraker" truly unbearable is the comic relief. While Fleming purists might not like the witty remarks and tongue-in-cheek humor of the early Bond films, it could be argued that such an approach did make Bond more salable to the movie-going public. I suspect that if Eon Productions had retained the utterly humorless Bond of the novels, then "Dr. No" would have been a "one-off" production only, instead of the longest-running series in motion picture history. Unfortunately, each movie (especially from "Diamonds are Forever" on) became more and more campy and comic. By the time "Moonraker" was made Bond was being played strictly for laughs. James Brosnan, author of "James Bond in the Cinema", has called "Moonraker" the most expensive slapstick movie since "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World"...and unfortunately he's right.
The gondola sequence in Venice comes off as ridiculous; the craft itself is stupid-looking, and the scene is far too reminiscent of the boat-chases in "Live and Let Die" and "Man w/ the Golden Gun". But the scene really sinks into the pathetic when the gondola becomes a hovercraft and moves into the piazza. At this point we see tourists staring in disbelief and suspiciously eyeing their drinks, people falling into the water a la the Three Stooges, and even pigeons doing double-takes! (Man, but Ian Fleming must have been doing some serious turns in his grave at this point). Then we're treated to a scene in which Bond gains entrance to a lab by typing on a touch-tone pad, and it's naturally the alien's tune of "Close Encounters" (groan). Bond also rides a horse, dressed as a gaucho, to the theme from "The Magnificent Seven" (gag).
But Jaws contributes the most embarrassing scene in the entire movie (and the entire Bond series) when he meets that little blonde German gal and it's love-at-first-sight. They come together to the strains of "Tara's Theme" from "Gone with the Wind" and walk off hand-in-hand. OH MY GOD...truly excruciating!!! (By now poor old Ian Fleming must of been spinning like a top). When I first saw this scene in 1979, I was practically grasping for a barf-bag. But I noticed there were plenty of yahoos in the audience who were belly-laughing big-time. Geez, but talk about the producers playing to the lowest common denominator. (And I thought the redneck sheriff of "Live and Let Die" and "Man w/ the Golden Gun" was as cheesy as it comes!). Jaw-in-Love would be bad enough to sink even a good movie (which "Moonraker" certainly is NOT) all by itself. But it's inclusion here insures "Moonraker" as the WORST Bond film EVER.
Moonraker is a jolly bond film. It stars roger moores bond and the tone in the 70s is humour. this is reflected on screen and gives the film a positive tone. Moonraker has pretty actresses lois chiles (who had just starred in death on the nile) and corinne clery. the film was made with french and USA help and the presence of french actors corinne clery and michael lonsdale add to the film. there are a number of memorable moments in moonraker- the freefalling parachute sequence, the sequence on top of the cable cars, the chasing dogs, the presence of laser guns and Bond and Holly popping up at the end on the MI6 screens. the film is also known for the return of jaws. the character was huge in the previous film and he turns good in this film. the film was inspired by star wars and it's part of the adventure of space. the romance in moonraker is also an uplifting element and it was a very popular film when released in cinema
After "The spy who loved me" Bond producers wanted to do "For your eyes
only". But the massive "Star Wars" success made them change their mind
-sending 007 to space.
"Moonraker" (1979) is maybe too fanciful and slapstick, with too many special effects, stunts and gadgets. The film goes too far away also from the previous movie ("The spy"), which was perfect.
But "Moonraker" is very well done, from a technical point of view it's a masterpiece. It's surprising to see how everything was made with accuracy -for movies, in 1978-79, there were neither computers nor CGI effects.
The film is really funny and entertaining, with beautiful sceneries and sets. Venice, France, California, Brazil and Guatemala are the fantastic locations. Scenes in the space are only in the last 30 minutes of the movie -so it's not true that the film is entirely set in the space, as some detractors say.
The film contains also homages to "The magnificent seven", "Close encounters of the third kind" and "2001" -discover them! 7,5/10
This film really has everything that Bond needs, and it has the budget
and technology to make it look good. Moore seems quite comfortable in
his role as well, delivering just the right performance whether it's
action, seducing women, or having non-verbal encounters with the
Granted, Bond can work as a more serious film, as we saw in "For your eyes only", but on the spectacular side of the spectrum "Moonraker" finally delivered the ultimate experience. Those who find the film too unrealistic or outrageous fail to understand that at the end of the day Bond IS an outrageous character, and so are his antagonists. "Moonraker" simply did what most other Bond movies have tried to do, only this time they really did it well.
It remains one of my fondest childhood memories.
A Bond movie's pre-title section often indicates how the rest of the
movie will be. There are a few exceptions; "Moonraker" is not one of
them. James Bond (Roger Moore) is on the "last leg" of a mission,
introduced with the first of many genuinely funny puns in this movie.
Naturally, the unnamed villains plan to eradicate Bond, leading to an
action scene in free fall with one parachute too few. It is
nonsensical, but genuinely entertaining, thanks partly to composer John
Barry's music. This scene is not fitting in a James Bond movie, yet,
like the rest of the movie, it is great fun to watch.
Goofiness has decimated more than a fair share of Bond movies. "Moonraker" does not fall victim itself because the filmmakers did not try to mix silly with serious, and never made a mockery of their characters. That is the reason I was pleasantly surprised on my first viewing. I responded negatively after my second because I started to analyze it. I should not have been so serious. The enjoyment I felt the first time gave me all the information I need. Just because I did not understand why I enjoyed it the first time does not mean I have to hate it.
"Moonraker" is one of the two least popular Bond movies among the series' hardcore fans. It also made the most money until "GoldenEye," and drew the most viewers and repeat viewers of all the Bond movies between Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan. No matter how different the movie's tone is from the "James Bond standard," it has enough positives to stand on its own. That is why both critics and audiences in 1979 voiced approval with their money and keyboards.
Its production set at least three world records that are still unbroken: most break-away glass in one fight, largest sound stage ever used in France, and the greatest number of actors in simulated weighlessness. Ken Adam became a legendary production designer with his work on the James Bond movies. "Moonarker" is his final, and he saved his best for last. The fact that the two-time Oscar winner was not even nominated for his work in "Moonraker" is a sad example of how political the Academy is. Like the movie or not, the Venice, Amazon, and space station sets are more than likely to impress even the most skeptical Bond fan.
After reporting to his boss's secretary (Lois Maxwell) that he fell out of a plane without a parachute, Bond is tasked with investigating the loss of an American space shuttle that disappeared en route to England. He first visits Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale), the shuttle's owner. When informed that the shuttle itself was not destroyed, Drax offers full co- operation, then orders Bond's elimination as soon as the latter leaves the room. I have either discussed or viewed this movie with a number of people. Even though this twist occurs less than 20 minutes in, the movie conceals Drax's villainy so well that none of these people suspected him.
Drax's plot takes implausibility to its highest level. I will give no details except to say that it makes Karl Stromberg's grand scheme from the previous movie look sophisticated and sane. As advertised, the story boldly takes 007 where no British spy has gone before. Drax's space station remains the coolest set in the series. The simulated weightlessness remains impressive to watch more than 30 years later.
In tune with the movie's comical nature, Drax is often unwilling to harm Bond unless he can amuse himself with the creativity of it. Drax has more off-beat lines than the next two or thee Bond villains combined. I am not sure there is anybody who would seriously say, "you appear with the tedious inevitability of an unloved season" or greet a stranger with, "you have arrived at a propitious moment," but Drax has at least a dozen such lines. Lonsdale adds surreal humor to his role by speaking them with an almost bored somberness. A majority of actors work a whole career without having to say anything so weird. If Lonsdale realized that back in 1979, he certainly was not going to let anybody know.
In the meantime, Jaws (Richard Kiel) from the previous movie is back. Jaws' outrageous physical power and invulnerability made him a liability in the previous movie. "Moonraker" stretches it and uses it as a reliable comic device. In one scene, he stops a gondola wheel with his bare hands. The wheel starts to move again, but one look from Jaws makes it think twice about being rebellious.
The gadgets feature not one, but two special made boats. The first can convert to a hovercraft. Of course, Bond takes advantage of it, just in time for Victor Tourjansky to make another appearance as The Man with the Bottle in arguably the best running joke in the series. Q (Desmond Llewelyn) tops off his contribution by ending the movie with one of the cleverest double entendres in history.
Does all of this lavish praise equal a recommendation? Perhaps it does. My girlfriend condemned "For Your Eyes Only," Roger Moore's most serious Bond movie, as too cheesy. "Moonraker" joined "Tomorrow Never Dies" and "From Russia with Love" as her favorites. That told a lot to me about how the casual Bond fan views "Moonraker." It does not deserve elite status because it does not deliver the excitement a Bond movie should, neither is it an example of great movie-making even with numerous strengths. That noted, it sells out completely to its premise and is not reluctant to take the extra effort to entertain. I disagree with the filmmakers' comedic approach, but they did aim to entertain. In that area, they succeeded. For that, I give "Moonraker" seven out of ten stars.
My, how Moonraker has received some unfair reviews. I must have been watching a different movie because I consider this to not only be one of the best 007 films but also the peak of Roger Moore's career as Bond. I suppose I will have to make an attempt to defend the goodness of Moonraker: For one, the plot of this movie at the time was somewhat original and futuristic. Even now, it still stands out to a lesser degree. Second, the gadgets (one weapon in particular) made for a nice little battle at the end of the movie. Third, the Bond girl known as Dr. Goodhead is quite the attractive intellectual who can hold her own despite her cover. Fourth, the main villain while lacking personality is sinister and has some catchy dialog. Fifth, here it comes... the return of JAWS. Yes, the metal mouth giant played by the same actor comes back for his second and unfortunately final outing in the 007 film series. Though JAWS doesn't get quite as much screen time he got in Spy Who Loved Me, his performance suffers no less and still brings much entertainment to the action scenes that he is in. One more thing about JAWS and then I will move on... I really liked how his character turned out near the end of Moonraker. Without giving spoilers, this is one reason I wish JAWS was brought back a third time. The other reason of course being that his character is just so unique to begin with. Seriously, I don't think MGM noticed the potential franchise they could have had with this particular Bond character. To finally move on, the pacing might not have been quite up to par as it was with the Spy Who Loved Me and I think that is one problem critics had with Moonraker. As for me, the pacing didn't ruin a thing and I can't think of any major or central moment as to where the pacing lagged. Another reason critics bashed Moonraker is because of it's "over the top futuristic plot theme". I beg to differ; this is part of what made Moonraker stand out from the typical and occasionally overused 007 formula. Trust me folks, Moonraker holds up there with its predecessor that critics so dearly praised though rightfully so and as I commented at the start; this may have been a peak in the 007 series especially considering a few of the future Bond films that came after it.
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