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Moonraker was the last time the Eon team made a slightly
forward-looking Bond. While there are obvious references to the past,
as is inevitable in every franchise, it makes a departure from previous
outings by sending 007 into space. Today's Bond is a retro man, who
tries to capture the romanticism of the past by driving what looks like
Sean Connery's Aston Martin.
One problem is that Moonraker is a remake of 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me with a space theme. Another is, as Bond fans will tell you, that this is hardly 'Ian Fleming's Moonraker' as the titles and movie posters proclaim. Only the recurring characters are the same (Bond, M, Q, Miss Moneypenny), but there is a different female lead role and the villain is no longer ex-Nazi Sir Hugo Drax, but Drax (no Christian name), obsessed now with the conquest of space rather than the destruction of London.
Moviegoers must bear in mind that Moonraker is a comedy. This is about Roger Moore metaphorically winking at the camera. Moore himself has said he enjoyed his Lewis Gilbert-directed outings the most, because he and the director had a similar sense of humour, and both had a fun time injecting light comedy into the piece. Scriptwriter Christopher Wood has created something to suit, although the absence of Richard Maibaum is evident.
Michael Lonsdale plays a suitably mad villain with such lines as 'First there was a dream, now there is reality,' and the famous 'Look after Mr Bond. See that some harm comes to him,' played with a menacingly calm manner (although not as nonchalantly as Gert Frobe in Goldfinger); but on the whole, all characters-and their wardrobes-are cartoon-strip caricatures.
For moviegoers in 1979, one appeal was the return of Jaws (Richard Kiel), the most popular henchman of the franchise. In line with the comedic angle, Kiel has one sentence to say after two films, at the end of Moonraker. While scary in The Spy Who Loved Me, Jaws is now a cartoon villain, playing for laughs while Bond head-butts him in the teeth.
There are some saving graces in the beauty of the Bond girls, but even they are flat characters who can hardly be called independent. Dr Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles) may have a Ph.D. but can hardly be called a counterpart to Bond in the manner of the leading ladies in the Brosnan Bonds to date; but like Corinne Dufour (a luminous Corinne Cléry), she is stunning and the camera delights in her presence.
Moonraker is notable for featuring the last appearance of the excellent Bernard Lee as M, here adopting a more fatherly relationship to Bond, as he occasionally does in the books.
Maurice Binder's opening title is probably the best of all his Bonds; the primary colour tones are used to good effect, the typography observes certain rules about balance and letterspacing, and it has, for the most part, aged better than the rest of the film. John Barry's score is absolutely marvellous and heavily orchestral; there are strong melodies and it accurately reflects the comedic action in its arrangement of The James Bond Theme. The Moonraker theme itself is such a beautiful piece that it must rank as one of the finest Barry has composed; it is not as Bondian as Goldfinger or OHMSS, but it is very Barry, used most effectively as "love themes" when Bond meets Corinne in her bedroom-or when Bond meets Holly in hers. Shirley Bassey lends something to the vocals but in some respects she does not seem to be the right choice for such a romantic theme. Matt Munro might have been, but we will never know.
There are some good (for 1979) special visual and miniature effects, particularly the floating-in-space sequences when the first astronaut arrives at Drax's space station, and Moonraker does not suffer as badly next to the space films of the era as, for example, You Only Live Twice (also directed by Gilbert) did against 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Product placement is at its peak in this Bond film, in a far more obvious fashion than in Tomorrow Never Dies. Marlboro cigarettes and Air France tickets are in Holly Goodhead's drawer; Bollinger is referred to expressly by Bond; and a road in Brazil has the billboards of all the major participating companies in this film (!): Seiko, 7 Up, British Airways, Marlboro.
The fun everyone had on the set is apparent. Provided that a goofy and offbeat Bond is what you seek, Moonraker doesn't fail to deliver: Jaws attempts to fly by flapping his arms when he discovers his parachute won't open; Alfie Bass coughs and chokes when he sees a villain's coffin floating down a Venetian canal; the opening notes of Close Encounters of the Third Kind are used as the code sequence to a secret lab; a tourist examines his wine label when he sees a gondola on land (an old joke, but thank you Christopher Wood); and Bond rides across the desert on horseback wearing a poncho to the theme of a wonderfully arranged The Magnificent Seven (a throwback to the John Barry Seven days-or simply a concession to the product placement by Marlboro?).
This is not a Bond where you have to think. Then again, none of the Bonds are. As long as you approach it with comedy in mind, it is successful. Moore fans those who enjoyed The Saint or The Persuaders will find nothing wrong at all with this film and wonder why people are so cruel about it. This is the trademark light comedy Roger Moore Bond, and is a fine example of that genre if it can be called one.
I think that people mistakenly dismiss this movie as pure cheesiness. I
have seen all of the bond films several times and i think that this is my
favorite for several reasons. the locations are fantastic, the villains
(even without jaws) are really interesting, and the way that the plot leads
to outer space, though unrealistic, is just a lot of fun to watch. this
bond film takes all the aspects of a bond film and pushes them to the limit
who would watch a bond film to learn some deep message about life??? if only the new films wouldn't be so serious. If i want a fun film i will watch moonraker, you only live twice, or diamonds are forever. i would pick the evening news over goldeneye or tomorrow never dies anyday.
i like the bond films that make me feel like i am reading a comic book which is what moonraker does best.
WHY? Why all the negative comments about this film? I mean, I'm not trying to be be impartial even though I am a BIG Bond fan and really like Moore's acting ( though he's not as good as Connery or Brosnan ), but I think that this movie deserves more credit than it's getting. It has great action, a great plot and GORGEOUS women!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So Pleeeeeeeeease give this film more credit than it's getting.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After its excellent predecessor "The Spy Who Loved Me", this was a
rather underwhelming film. It cost $34 million to make, more than twice
as much as that film and about 30 times as much as "Dr. No" 17 years
later. However, I enjoyed those films far more than this one.
In his fourth appearance, Roger Moore is on fine form, playing 007 with his usual wit and charm. While the then 51-year-old was already beginning to look a little too old for Bond, he was very bit as effective in the role as he had been in the first three films. In his eleventh and final appearance as M before his death in 1981, Bernard Lee was as excellent as ever, though it was quite clear that his health had declined quite a bit in the two years since "The Spy Who Loved Me". He was a wonderful actor with great presence. His performances, even in the lesser films, helped to make M seem three dimensional. The character's bark was often worse than his bite and, in spite of the fact that he frequently chastised 007, he had a great deal of respect for him as an agent and I would like to think on a personal level as well. I'll missed his invaluable contribution to the series in future films. While Lois Maxwell is always convincing in the role, the flirting that was so prevalent between Bond and Miss Moneypenny during the Sean Connery seems to have all but disappeared in the Roger Moore era. As Q, however, Desmond Llewelyn gets better material and more to do than in the previous three films and his banter with Bond is the best for quite some time. He also gets the best line in the film!
However, the guest characters are a bit of a mixed bag on this occasion. Lois Chiles is quite good as Holly Goodhead but the character isn't very interesting. She's certainly a capable woman but she has no distinguishing characteristics. She is also the fourth female spy in as many films. It's beginning to get a tad old at this stage, particularly since they couldn't really have improved upon Anya Amasova and her storyline from "The Spy Who Loved Me". Michael Lonsdale is a very good actor but his acting style is too restrained and understated for a Bond villain. He never really conveys a sense of menace as Hugo Drax, I'm afraid. In much the same way as Holly seemed like a poor man's version of Anya, Drax seemed like a poor man's version of Karl Stromberg. While their appearances are brief, Corinne Clery and Emily Bolton are classic Bond girls as Corinne Dufour and Manuela respectively. The former meets one of the more unpleasant ends for a woman in the films, surpassed only by Helga Brandt in "You Only Live Twice". Among the rest of the film's male contingent, Geoffrey Keen and Walter Gotell were the only ones who stood out.
After the seriousness of "The Spy Who Loved Me", the film marks a return to the kind of silly humour seen in "Diamonds Are Forever", "Live and Let Die" and "The Man with the Golden Gun", which is a disappointment as the previous film helped to re-establish Bond as the premiere action thriller film series. I doubt that the fact that the only 1970s film without copious amounts of silly humour is the best regarded is a coincidence. Reintroducing over the top humour seems like a step backwards, though at least we are spared the sight of Sheriff Pepper in California, Venice, Rio de Janiero or space! In this instance, Jaws is the centre of much of the film's humour and it does neither the character nor the film any favours. In "The Spy Who Loved Me", he was bloody terrifying but introducing a love interest for him and making him a goodie was a dreadful idea. The character should have remained a one- off henchman in spite of his popularity. Failing that, they should have at least waited to bring him back in a more serious film.
As I mentioned earlier, Eon spent what was then an absolute fortune to bring the film to life and it shows. The scenes in Venice and Rio de Janiero look wonderful, the Sugarloaf Mountain sequence is excellent and the space station set is one of Ken Adam's best. However, for all that, I still don't think that it matched the spectacle of the previous film. This isn't helped by the fact that the plot is essentially the exact same as "The Spy Who Loved Me", making it appear rather uninspired. Admittedly, that film's plot owed a great to deal to "You Only Live Twice" but I felt that it improved upon the 1967 film in every single aspect so it didn't bother me. Of course, "Moonraker" is best known as "the one where Bond goes into space." While these scenes are certainly very impressive, I don't think that it was a great idea. The last half an hour or so of the film, particularly the laser battle between Drax's forces and the American forces, seems too far removed from its roots to be taken seriously. I had similar problems with the opening sequence in which Bond is able to steer himself while falling from a plane without a parachute and catch up with the henchman, stealing his parachute. Shortly afterwards, Jaws manages to pull off much the same trick. My first thought was, "Christ, this is James Bond, not Superman!"
Overall, this is a decent and well made film but a rather uninspired one. Bigger isn't always better. It tries too hard to be "Star Wars" when it should be trying to be excellent James Bond. I'm looking forward to the series going back to basics with "For Your Eyes Only", though we were promised that film last time as well!
I need to give The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) - I just could not get into
that movie on Monday.
I really enjoyed this one, much better then last two and first scenes was great, very memorable and there some great scenes though out.
I found this flick to really fast pace and flowed really well and I don't think I looked away from my TV screen once!.
I loved most of this movie, until about the last half hour of the movie, which I thought was bit silly, it didn't really fit with the movie and far to cheeses for a action movie.
7 out of 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.
I admit iteven at the tender age of eleven, I had problems with the
laser battle at the climax of Moonraker, recognising it as a lame
attempt by the James Bond camp to jump on the Star Wars bandwagon. I
also had issues with the film's many other unbelievably corny moments,
especially the pigeon doing a double-take, Bond and Holly Goodhead
leaping to safety from a Rio cable car, and the previously emotionless
professional killer Jaws experiencing love at first sight.
Over the years, though, my disdain for Moonraker's abject silliness has waned somewhat, with me eventually accepting the camp nature and tongue-in-cheek humour as part of the Bond series' evolution; as Moore grew obviously too old for the part, self-mockery was inevitable, and besides, after Pierce Brosnan drove an invisible BMW and para-surfed a tidal wave in Die Another Day, nothing that Moore ever did as Bond has seemed quite so stupid again!
Nowadays, I watch this one with an admiration for the spectacular sets, gorgeous women, breath-taking scenery, impressive special effects, and an undeniable sense of fun.
This is another good James bond movie and for all the same reasons it
has lots of action in it it has a good screen play James bond in space
awesome idea roger Moore once again does a great James bond in this
movie the acting is good in and the actors are good in it the villains
are good again and once again Richard Kiel does a great jaws in this
movie. I'm sure you will not be disappointed with moonraker. I'm sure
that you will have a good time watching moonraker and you will watch it
over and over again. Great adaption of moonraker
Overall score ******** out of **********
***1/2 out of *****
A wise man once said "I may not know art, but I know what I like." The
holds true in film, which is why I dismiss the short and scathing reviews
"Moonraker." Roger Moore's fourth outing as Bond certainly seems to be
most polarizing of the series, which is surprising because it has all the
classic Bond elements on a sweeping scope from the opening credits:
skydiving sans parachute, hang-gliding, not one but two boat chases, a
French chateau, Venice, a Concorde ride to Rio, and finally to earth orbit
in a space shuttle. (For you post-Nixon children, the space shuttle was a
big deal in 1979, since NASA's didn't actually fly into space until two
years later.) And of course, the incredible sets. It's not any more
far-fetched than "Die Another Day" (Brosnan's worst!). And it did not
the continuity problems that plagued "Diamonds Are Forever." (Ughh, don't
get me started on that one: the reason Connery said "Never
One of the underlying attractions of the Bond films is that they take the average poor schmoe somewhere they would probably never go otherwise. "Moonraker" has that sweeping scope. Granted, it requires a greater suspension of disbelief to fully enjoy (as opposed to the hard-edged examples of "For Your Eyes Only" and "License To Kill"), but if you can get past some of the silliness (such as the visually-stunning yet implausible space battle finale), you can see the really fantastic job the producers pulled off. A megalomaniacal premise in the Bond tradition, solid (if occasionally uninspired) acting, ILM quality special effects, and superb scoring. It is escapism, pure and simple. But then again, all Bond films are, to one degree or another. The fact is, if you want an edgy, realistic spy flick, see "Ronin" with Robert DeNiro and Jean Reno. Incidentally, Michael Lonsdale, the icy Hugo Drax, is in that one, too, in a more human and humane role. For escapist perfection, you have Bond, with "Moonraker" the most expansive example of escapism the series is likely to ever produce.
I have read all the comments about James Bonds 11th film **Moonraker** and
all I have to say is if you were born after 1962 you should leave this film
alone, I love it when the kids today review movies and they just don't get
it, you have to have lived in the time when all these movies first came out
or you just don't have a clue
I love reading how **Moonraker** ripped off **Star Wars**, actually **Moonraker** was written by Ian Fleming in the late 50's and they adapted the screenplay to make the movie
If you can't enjoy this movie then I truly feel sorry for you, because it has everything you could want in a James Bond film; Beautiful Women, Great Locations, Great Actors, and Great Stunt Work; the opening scene when Jaws pushes James Bond out of an airplane is truly fantastic!!
You young reviewers are truly pathetic!!
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