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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
By far, MOONRAKER is the most far fetched and unique of all the Bond
movies, simply because it too James Bond to a place he'd never been
before, outer space, a place where audiences could never have envisaged
the character of Bond going. At the end of THE SPY WHO LOVED
ME(1977),audiences were told that the next Bond movie would be FOR YOUR
EYES ONLY, but due to the release of STAR WARS:A NEW HOPE(1977)and
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND(1977),Albert R Broccoli decided to
make a Sci-fi flavoured Bond adventure and FFOR YOUR EYES ONLY was
shelved for the time being. The story is like this, a Moonraker space
shuttle owned by Drax industries in the USA is hijacked in transit on
it's way to the UK,007(ROGER MOORE)investigates the hijacking and his
findings lead him to the owner of the space shuttle,multi millionaire
Hugo Drax(MICHAEL LONSDALE)who has created a deadly gas and plans to
wipe out the entire human race and repopulate the earth with his own
Although MOONRAKER is a fantastic film and is definitely on the side of the better Bond movies, although it is a little hard to believe that James Bond would actually go into space and that an entire regiment of US army rangers would follow to do battle with a megalomaniac as depicted in the films climax. Factors like these prompted me to ask "What were the producers and writers thinking"?, it is apparent that Broccoli and United Artists had been bitten by the Sci-fi bug that was sweeping the globe in the late 70s.The film was scripted solely by Christopher Wood, who had co scripted THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, at times it felt as if he had let his imagination run away with him, MOONRAKER doesn't really feel like a Bond movie but I enjoyed it anyhow.
At times I felt as if the film was reverting back to the stupidity of THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN(1974)as most of the action scenes got a little bit silly and were full of humour, however I did find them very amusing and they were excellent. The boat chase through Venice was great and I couldn't help but laugh as Bond Gondola mounts dry land and travels across the town square, I was very impressed by the sword/stick fight between Bond and Chang,check out how the two fight their way into a museum and trash the entire place. The cable car fight was also brilliantly done and the part where the cable car crashes through the building with Jaws inside the cable car was among one of the funniest scenes in the film, Jaws facial expression just says it all. The best action sequence of the whole film was the speedboat chase along the Amazon river, the way all the other boats exploded as they were hit with mines was fantastic, I nearly died laughing as Jaws rips the steering wheel off his boat before it plummets over a waterfall, again the look on his face is priceless. The battle in space at the end of the film was alright too but didn't compare with Bond's previous battles on earth. The funniest part of the film was the fight in mid air during the pre credits sequence, it was hilarious!,I had to pause the film because I was laughing so hard, it was just the sheer stupidity of it all, the way Bond and Jaws soar through the air and grapple with each other, the 007 theme playing in the background made it all the more funnier. The whole thing where Jaws gets a miniature sized girlfriend was a little silly but did manage to provoke laughter, I also loved the way he turns good at the end of the film and helps Bond fight Drax, it let audiences know that he was a gentle, loving man and not a colt blooded killer, look out for when he speaks at the end of the film, also the scene as 007 rides into a town on horseback to the theme of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN(1960)was also a nice touch.
The whole science fiction subplot didn't really appeal to me as I'm not a Sci-fi fan, I think the film will appeal fans of this particular genre and younger Bond fans but I did have fun with the film. It was great to see Jaws back and the title song by Shirley Bassey was beautiful, I really did enjoy the film and it was made even more fun by the presence of Roger Moore, MOONRAKER was the very first Bond film I saw as a child so it will always have a special place in my heart. Thankfully, Albert R Broccoli would make FOR YOUR EYES ONLY two years later which would bring Bond firmly back down to earth.8/10.
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
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.
11th of 23 Bond movies.
This is an entertaining movie but it sort of comes across as a futuristic reboot of the franchise...it's perhaps best to see it in that light, but there are some recurring characters which tie it closer to the time...which is unfortunate, as pretty much the most annoying thing about the movie is the Star Wars style laser guns, which feature later. It's anachronistic. However, since 1977's "Star wars" movie soon became the highest grossing movie of all time, it's perhaps unsurprising that this Bond film borrowed some ideas from it...with regard to weapons and setting.
Exotic settings -
U.S.A, Venice, Rio de Janeiro and...outer space!
A space shuttle manufactured by Sir Hugo Drax's Drax Industries disappears. The pre-title sequence shows what happened here. That sequence is what made me refer to this movie as "Thunderball in space" in my header...there is an equivalent sequence to this in Sean Connery's turn as Bond in "You only live twice".
Anyway, Bond must investigate the circumstances of the shuttle's disappearance.
Gun barrel sequence...check.
Pre-title sequence -
The greatest to this point, in my view...and quite possibly the best ever in the franchise. It really defies belief!
Main title theme song -
One of the great elements of Sean Connery's incarnation as James Bond was the great Shirley Bassey singing the theme song to some of his movies. "Le grande fromage" returns for one last great song...perhaps her best in the series. It's beautiful. Hal David wrote the lyrics.
Usually not much to say about the man, as I don't usually include what technology he provides to Bond in my reviews. However, I must say that Q's line right near the end of the movie is killer! He usually doesn't get that sort of quality dialogue!
Silly female names -
Dr. Holly Goodhead work for you?
Check. Bond is paternalistic here, at times. There is a good, awkward moment between Bond and Goodhead when they first meet. She has some good lines to use on him! Bit of a war of the sexes here.
Wine snobbery -
Check. Bond says "Bollinger. If it's '69, you were expecting me!". Hmm, seem to recall reading somewhere that that the wines that Bond values in the movies aren't really that well regarded by real wine connoisseurs!
Things of interest:
* Sir Hugo Drax is one of the better Bond characters...he has some marvellous lines to Bond...like the one about Britain's one indisputable great contribution to Western society...afternoon tea! Ouch!
* Animal lovers take note...some pheasants are shot in this movie as part of game hunting...but it's OK...Bond was shooting them in self-defence!
* If by this movie you can't spot the product placement, you really must get your eyesight checked!
* Bond comes across as a little bit creepy at times in this movie...sort of a stalker...which isn't really very spy-ish. Other aspects of his spy 'technique' seem to leave a little to be desired too!
* Not that Connery's Bond films were never silly at times, but here the comic book aspects are magnified and amplified...Q Division is in hyper-drive and Jaws is more of a comic book creation here...listen for the aural hint that Jaw's teeth aren't the only things made of metal on his body!
* General Gogol returns in this movie.
Notes to self -
* big words I do not understand...bolas/vassar funambulists.
* Is this true?...the orchidea nigra was worshipped once? Stuff about sterility...caused by this plant?
* re gravity...20g is apparently fatal. 3g is what astronauts launching into space experience. At 7g most people pass out. Bond experiences at least 14g. That's a memorable scene...nicely done...wonder how they done it.
This is a good, entertaining movie, but I get the feeling that the comic book aspects to it may alienate some people...not me, so much.
In my opinion, this is one of Bond's better films with Roger Moore at the
helm. I believe this because I am also a sci-fi fan and I liked the fact
that Fleming incorporated the space shuttle program, which was fairly new at
the time of production. I've always been a bigger fan of Connery over
Moore, but having watched the show just this afternoon on cable reminds me
of my affections for this outing.
Moore follows a shuttle which was believe destroyed on this mission that sends him, once again, to the United States, where his CIA counterpart, for once, is not Felix Lighter (sorry if I misspelled the last name--& I am not going to spoil it for you, either). Among his travels, he encounters many space related problems and his old nemesis, Jaws. Good movie, overall, I think, and I gave it an extra point just for the fact that it was sci-fi based.
John-597 is absolutely correct!
Moonraker is one of the most enjoyable Bond films for its complete package of excellent stunts, special effects, gadgets, beautiful women, and Globe-trotting plot. We even have closure for Jaws! Given that nearly ALL Bond films are (just a bit) far fetched, this one at least gives a rather unique plot with a double dose of technology and eye-candy!
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.
My favorite James Bond film with my favorite James Bond has 007 foiling
one of the wildest plots ever concocted by a Bond villain. Michel
Lonsdale plays Hugo Drax, billionaire industrialist has a scheme to
exterminate the undesirables and impose a new world order from no less
than outer space. Adolph Hitler with all his theories on racial purity
is a piker compared to what Lonsdale has in mind.
Roger Moore is 007 in Moonraker and British Intelligence brings him in when a US space satellite is hijacked in mid flight. The satellite was designed by Lonsdale's company and when Moore starts investigating Lonsdale, some very nasty traps are set for him, all of which James Bond has to elude.
The official Bond girl in Moonraker is Lois Chiles playing Dr. Goodhead, part time scientist and part time CIA employee. Does she live up to her name, you have to watch Moonraker to find out. Her scientific skills are even more valuable than her romantic ones.
Richard Kiel returns as super villain Jaws. He was a most menacing figure in The Spy Who Loved Me and Cubby Brocoli must have thought he was good enough to use again as he survives in that film. In Moonraker he does the bidding of Lonsdale, but Moore makes the rather logical argument that the racially perfect world that Lonsdale has in mind will have no need of freakish people like him. Kiel has to do some serious reassessment in Moonraker.
Moonraker got an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects, but lost to another classic space adventure, Alien.
Even with three succeeding James Bonds, Moonraker remains my favorite film with my favorite 007, Roger Moore. Just the breathtaking extent of the villainy gets me every time I see it.
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