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Okay, I'm not the biggest fan of James Bond you'll find, but I've seen my share of them. Now, I was never crazy about Roger Moore to begin with but it wasn't just his performance that makes this one of my least favorite Bond films. The plot is weak and it seems like the main drive behind this film was to earn popularity (and money) in the same way Star Wars: A New Hope had done just two years earlier. The attempts at action are laughable and often times portray way more violence than is necessary. Granted the usual dry humor can be found through Bond's comments and "social" situations (which is why I gave it some credit) but everything just seems forced. It's almost like the producers felt obligated to make Moonraker to appease the fans who didn't want to wait a few extra years for them to come up with a good script. In my opinion they'd have done the fans a huge favor by forgoing this mistake.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Many people have written about this being the weakest of the Bond
movies, but I must respectfully disagree. Yes, it latched on to the
"Star Wars" fascination by being an outer space adventure, but it
certainly stands on it's own merits. The special effects are terrific,
but this is not just a special effects movie.
Bond's nemesis in the film, Hugo Drax, is a wonderfully overconfident, determined, bad guy in the truest sense of the word. The main "Bond Girl" in the film, Lois Chiles as Dr. Goodhead is by far the most capable Bond girl, up until Halle Barre in "Die Another Day". She is a CIA operative, immune to Bond's charms for most of the movie, and not only able to pilot a space shuttle, but also able to take out two of Drax's henchmen on her own without any help from James.
This locales used to film this movie were appropriate for the story line, but they were all equally exciting.. from space shuttle centrifuges in California, to ancient ruins in the Amazon. No wonder it is one of the highest grossing Bond films ever.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When Jaws and his girlfriend end up together and Jaws ends his maniacal
quest to bring about death and violence. He just needed to be
emotionally fulfilled, it brings a tear to my eye every time I see it.
Man...I'm so lonely.
Actually this is one of the most divisive Bonds, it made a lot of money, over $200 million when the average price of a movie ticket was less than $3. But the reason for that has been hotly debated. Some think that since the late-1970's were the hey-day of sci-fi spectacles, people were just continuing the fad, which coupled with the mere fact that it was a Bond picture (none of which have ever lost money in theaters) kept people coming to the theaters. Others think it is a really good movie. I take a somewhat middle of the road stance.
As far as action and sci-fi films go, this is the top of the line, better than anything to be brought forth by most of the action "stars" of the 80's and 90's (yet strangely nobody ever lists Roger Moore among the action heroes). As a Bond film, it's far from the worst. Not the best film in the series, and I have seen them all, but somewhere in the middle. Roger Moore is my favorite James Bond, reputed to be Ian Flemmings original choice for the role, he had to wait ten years to get his shot, oh well the time brought forth a great experienced Bond. As the oldest Bond (oldest at time of casting and at time of final appearance), Moore had a certain quality that I always liked even when I started watching Bond films at the tender age of five-which incidentally was A View to a Kill, another Moore film-I guess he is just "my Bond". The things that make a bond film work are here, the gadgets are in force. Q is around with some of the best witty banter. Miss MoneyPenny is in fine form-dang Lois Maxwell was hot. Drax, our main villain, seems to have put some real planning into his plot for world domination. He has armies of people who are ready to put it into motion, not just cannon fodder for when Bond starts to ruin the bad guy's plan. Very much of it's day, the film is a little dated when you consider the space shuttle is about to be retired in the real world, but there hasn't been a Bond film that doesn't get dated after a while, no biggie. Everything works, we were used to high tech cars and boat chases, the production staff threw us for a loop with a high tech boat chase. You know they're thinking when they combine the nest elements from the previous films without making it look stupid or insulting to our intelligence.
And then there is the relationship between Jaws and Dolly, although a pretty minor subplot of the context of the film, it was just so remarkably handled. The actors took what in the script was maybe a half a paragraph total of direction and dialog and made it the most memorable thing to ever enter into the movie. I know I am making a big deal out of it, but, if you don't think it's a big deal, then you really missed the movie. I pity you for that. But if you see what it really is, the greatness of it, then there's hope for you. The 180 Jaws brought about in Jaws by this young lady (called Dolly) is astounding. Odd-job (GoldFinger), Grant(FRWL), and Stamper (TND) are all big henchmen who wouldn't possibly do such a thing in a convincing way. Maybe someday in a future Bond film, we'll see Jaws and Dolly again, married with two or three kids, bump into Bond, maybe invite him to a BBQ or just say hi.
Moonraker is something of the guilty pleasure of the James Bond series.
is the one that polarizes Bond fans the most, criticisms aimed primarily
the film's admitted excess of comedic relief and at the inappropriate
of the sci-fi aspect of the plot.
While the comedic relief in the film is admittedly a bit much, it does not hurt the film fatally, and the space setting of the film is a natural evolution given the space themes of Dr. No, You Only Live Twice, and Diamonds Are Forever. Some of the comedic relief actually winds up making the film better, primarily in the film's treatment of outsized killer Jaws; Richard Kiel becomes the first villainous henchman to return to the series from a previous Bond film. In the film Jaws acquires a love interest (Blanche Ravalec; she is not overtly identified in the film but listed as Dolly in the credits), and while the introduction is cheesy (overblown music amid the wreckage of a destroyed Brazilian gondola), the denoument proves strikingly effective, when the full extent of his employer's plans sinks in to Jaws, and his heart is swayed by the love of Dolly; at the end Jaws and Dolly have a tender scene with a toast in which Jaws has his only lines of dialogue in the series; "Well, here's to us." Certainly no one could have expected this pairing to work as superbly as it does.
Character interplay also serves the film well. James' interaction with Sir Miles Meservy (this proved to be Bernard Lee's final go as M) and Major Geoffrey Boothroyd is better than normal and includes the introduction of my favorite Q gadget, the wrist-mounted dart discharger. It proves decisive in James' relationship with Dr. Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles, initially considered for the role of Anya Amasova in The Spy Who Loved Me). Their relationship begins coldly, but begins to warm when Goodhead places James in a centrifuge chamber and it malfunctions and threatens to crush James to death; he uses Q's dart discharger to blast the controls out of action and slow the centrifuge to a stop. Roger Moore wisely plays the scene totally straight, brilliantly pantomiming the sickening dizziness James feels upon exiting the centrifuge.
James has been assigned to investigate the disappearence of a Moonraker shuttle on loan from the US Air Force to the RAF; HMSS has found evidence that the craft was hijacked in mid-air, and James must begin his investigation by interviewing the shuttle's builder, head of Drax Industries Hugo Drax (Michel Lonsdale, his name anglicanized as Michael for US audiences). Here the film engages in a brilliant use of "masking," using Paris Airport and a chateau and passing the setting off as California by explaining that the chateau was brought from France stone by stone in a forest straddling the Mojave Desert.
Drax is the most understated Bond villian of all, easily matching Donald Pleasance's Blofeld in monotone of evil. "Look after Mr. Bond, see that some harm comes to him" is one of the all-time best Bond lines. Drax's sinister nature shows when he places a sniper for Bond amid a quail shoot, a shoot that Bond in his inimitable style foils; humiliated Drax watches Bond leave and then turns on his personal pilot Corinne Dufour (Corinne Clery), who suddenly must run for her life at the opursuit of hungry dogs, one of the most genuinely terrifying scenes of the series.
James' investigation takes him to Venice, and a showdown with Drax that humiliates M and Defense Minister Frederick Grey (Geoffrey Keen), who demands Bond be suspended; James, however, has a crucial clue that leads him to Brazil, and eventually to alliance with Holly Goodhead as Hugo Drax's plan begins to unfold.
The film displays some of the more engaging SFX of the opulently imaginative late-1970s-early 1980s sci-fi era as well as one of John Barry's strongest scores; particularly effective is the cue used for James' discovery of white-clad young women in the jungle of the Amazon.
But the clinching scene comes at the end with by far the best double entendre of the series, coming as Q doesn't bother to watch a video display but instead reads a tracking scanner.
Sci-fi may not be pure James Bond, but here it works for one of the most entertaining entries of the long and classic series.
One of the Hungarian commercial televisions is broadcasting all James
Bond-movies from 'Dr. No' to 'The World Is Not Enough'. Yesterday evening
the next in the row was 'Moonraker', the 11th installment in the series.
According to the IMDB rating (5,9/10) and the critics, besides 'A View to
Kill' this would be the worst of the series. Having seen all the first 10
James Bond-movies, I would say that this is one of the best of the 1960s
'70s. Only 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service', 'From Russia With Love' and
'Goldfinger' could top this one.
It is a very good action movie because it didn't take itself
and the film-makers at last realised that James Bond is deeply rooted in
worst traditions of the pulp fiction. Ian Fleming is not Len Deighton nor
John Le Carré. So this is the first 007-movie which doesn't want to be
than an escapist action spectacle with gorgeous locales, sexy women,
dazzling fights and state-of-the-art special effects. Fortunately the
slapstick is more subtle than in the 'Live and Let Die' and in 'The Man
the Golden Gun', which are the lowest points of the series and I'm sure
'A View to a Kill' can't be worse.
Many people say that this was a 'Star Wars' ripoff. I would say that
every James Bond-movie should be watched in the context of its historical
(both cultural and political) background. It's natural that the producers
wanted to profit from the success of the 'Star Wars' and other sci-fi
of the late 1970s. The greatness of the James Bond-series is due to the
that every episode is a perfect interpretation of the actual state of the
politics, culture and movie trends.
I recommend this film to every movie fan but one should consider
observations above first.
P.S. If you don't believe in the power of love, you should check Jaws out.
Moonraker had the testicular fortitude to make a "space" movie on the heels
of Star Wars. Nothing wrong with that. You have to ride the wave in
Hollywood and they did it with Moonraker. The film raked in mega bank and
was a huge success. Roger was gritty and fun. The film had some great names
in it too, such as HOLLY GOODHEAD! Hugo Drax played by Michael Lonsdale was
great too. The boat chase was excellent! The return of Jaws was awesome.
Wonderful sets and special effects. The title song was way cool too.
Moonraker is a lot of fun. I recommend it.
Roger Moore returns as James Bond 007 in his fourth Bond movie. After the fantastic The Spy who Loved Me the Bond filmakers really had to pull out all the stops to top it. To do this they had a huge budget (for 1979) $30, plus they tried to cash in on the Sci-Fi boom created by Star Wars. The result was in many peoples minds one of the worst Bond films, because mainly I suppose because it is so over the top. It is also very similar to in storyline to the previous film (swap underwater for Space), have the same henchman (Jaws) etc. It does seem a bit James Bond by numbers. Then why is it that I love this entry so much?. Well as I mentioned before Jaws returned, my favourite Bond henchman, also John Barry scored the film and its a fantastic score too, especially when they finally enter space. The sets and special effects are wonderful, give me this over the computer trickery of Attack of the Clones anyday! Holly Goodhead (snigger) is a great Bond girl, she's a match for him and Lois Chiles is beautiful AND she can act, actually look out for her in a cameo role in the first Austin Powers film! Also Michael Lonsdale as Drax is the bet Bond Villain since Donald Pleasence in You only live twice. The only downers are the over reliance on comedy, I hate the sequence in Venice when Moore drives his Gondala through the square with a pigeon doing a double take, awful! Plus the theme song is a bit weak too. They made the next Bond film more reaistic so just sit back and enjoy this one, its terrific entertainment. ***8/10***
"Moonraker", the 11th James Bond adventure, is probably the most sloppily
made 007 movie to date. Many consider this to be the worst Bond movie
(others may say "The Man with the Golden Gun" or "A View to a Kill" as the
worst). Well I'm a huge fan of the series and I've pretty much enjoyed every
movie, including "Moonraker". This joyfully silly adventure has our favorite
British spy (Roger Moore) investigating on why a space shuttle was hijacked.
This investigation takes Bond first to California, then to Venice, then to
Rio de Janeiro, and finally climaxing in outer space. "Moonraker" has alot
of good things going for it. The action and special effects are fine (if a
bit tacky at times). Bond gets a good female companion in Dr. Holly Goodhead
(Lois Chiles), and 007 crosses paths once again with that steel-toothed
villain Jaws (played once again by Richard Kiel, who played the character in
the 007 movie before this one, "The Spy Who Loved Me"). However if their is
one objection that I have to make about "Moonraker" that would have to be
the main villain Drax, played by Michael Lonsdale. This has got to be the
dullest Bond villain so far. I was constantly laughing at this bad guy
whenever he talked in the movie. Hahahahahahaha! Aside from that,
"Moonraker" is a fun 007 adventure. Not one of the best in the series, but
out of the 19 007 movies in the series to date, it lies somewhere in the
*** (out of four)
Perhaps a bit too far from the james bond formula but this was the highest
grossing james bond film until goldeneye 16 years later.
this is sadly the last appearance of bernard lee as M as he died in the
production of for your eyes only.
Richard Kiel's performance is as good as it can be for the character he plays and the fact that the man is 7ft 2in tall he steels the camera with each appearance
roger moore is now beginning to show his age also but his acting is as fine as ever
the film's biggest attribute is the set which took 22000 man hours to build, and it shows. we have now tacky pictures like we saw in goldfinger and even the explosion pictures are unusually good looking for a james bond film
This is a truly great film. It has a low rating 5.2/10 and even less in others but in my opinion was the (second) most enjoyable "Bond" film that i have seen. I have seen all of them all except the most recent and they are all good in their own right, but this is one of the best. Not only that, but it stars Roger Moore who was the best "Bond." Thank-you.
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