"Moonraker" is the most unfairly criticised of all the Bond films. The 11th film in the series and the fourth starring Roger Moore, "Moonraker" works very well for a number of reasons. As Ian Fleming's original novel (written in 1955) had become too dated to translate to the screen, the producers decided to capitalise on the sci-fi craze started by Star Wars, and so created a spectacular space-age adventure where Bond himself journeys into outer space.
Whilst this film was certainly inspired by Star Wars, this is not meant to imply that "Moonraker" copies directly from the former. Don't forget that only the last 20-30 minutes of the film takes place in space. Although the laser battle looks dated by modern standards, it is still a classic slice of Bond action, that, as one reviewer has stated, compares with the underwater battle in "Thunderball". And on that level it works superbly.
What I especially like about "Moonraker" is the way it glides smoothly from one action sequence to another. This way, there's not only no shortage of thrills, but an overall level of consistency in the storyline is maintained, where Bond hops across the globe (to Venice and Rio, for example) uncovering clues as to the disappearance of the Moonraker space shuttle. On the way, he survives the customary assassination attempts by the bad guys (Drax and Jaws), and then at the end of the film all the clues piece together to complete the jigsaw. It's steady, consistent storylines like this that prove the key to a successful Bond film.
Purists often accuse "Moonraker" of being too stupid. Although there are some pretty outrageous sight gags, the film still retains its enormous appeal. Certainly, "Moonraker" is the most light-hearted Bond film, and it's quite clear that Roger Moore was enjoying himself tremendously here. His performance in this escapade certainly brought a smile to my lips.
There's also a wonderful cast. Drax is quite possibly the best Bond villain. His one-liners are great and he is certainly not short of ideas on how to dispose of Bond. The beautiful Lois Chiles proves to have the right qualities as an astronaut/CIA agent, and she is a worthy ally to 007. Bond's first romantic encounter Corinne Dufour (Corinne Clery) brings a lot to the film. Richard Kiel makes his encore performance as the steel-toothed giant Jaws. After his superhuman appearance in "The Spy Who Loved Me", Jaws plays more for laughs this time round, but his Roadrunner/Wile E. Coyote-type battles with 007 are still entertaining. There's also another henchman, Chang (Toshiro Suga) who provides more credibility if somewhat less invincibility in a superbly staged duel with Bond in a glass factory.
"Moonraker" also sees John Barry at his composing best. He provides a number of rich, atmospheric tracks that perfectly reflect the film's outer space theme. Shirley Bassey's third title song isn't quite as good as "Goldfinger" but better than "Diamonds Are Forever", and is certainly as good as Carly Simon's song for TSWLM.
"Moonraker" has often been placed at the bottom of the Bond spectrum. It doesn't belong there. It has everything a successful Bond film needs: a great plot, superb villains, exotic locations, beautiful women, brilliant special effects (for which visual effects maestro Derek meddings received an Oscar nomination) and action by the bucketful. There are scenes which generate genuine suspense and which feature awe-inspiring stunts in mid-air and on water. The space scenes are well done and all aspects of the space shuttle look true to life. In summary, "Moonraker" is a brilliant film in its own right and should rank up there with "Goldfinger" and "The Spy Who Loved Me" as one of the best Bonds ever made. I strongly urge you doubters to take a second look.
Action / Adventure
Action / Adventure
James Bond is back for another mission and this time, he is blasting off into space. A spaceship traveling through space is mysteriously hi-jacked and Bond must work quickly to find out who was behind it all. He starts with the rockets creators, Drax Industries and the man behind the organisation, Hugo Drax. On his journey he ends up meeting Dr. Holly Goodhead and encounters the metal-toothed Jaws once again.
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December 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm