Moonraker – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: Lewis Gilbert

Cast: Roger Moore, Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale, Richard Kiel, Corinne Clery, Bernard Lee, Desmond Llewelyn, Lois Maxwell

Film matched beverage: Moonraker Cocktail

Synopsis: In a film that saw 007 try to jump on the bandwagon following the success of Star Wars, this film takes a very simple yet exciting original story from Fleming, and turns it into Bond’s turn to jump the shark.   There are some good moments here, but they culminate in a final battle set entirely on a space station.   Mike Myers was certainly watching this one.

At the end credits of The Spy Who Loved me, the statement appears “James Bond will return in For Your Eyes Only”.   Something happened between then and the start of production on the next Eon 007 picture, however.   Star Wars was released.   So in a move fully intended to embrace the sci-fi zeitgeist of the time, plans were changed to make a James Bond movie in space.   Clearly a bad move by today’s standards, this did indeed sadly happen.   The Bond novel Moonraker was selected, being the only one that sounded kind of spacey, and about all that was used from it was the character names.   The result is for me not only the worst ever Roger Moore Bond feature, but the worst Bond of all the 23 films that have been released (making the assumption that the one film I have not seen, Skyfall, could possibly ever be as ridiculous as Moonraker).

It is quicker to list what the film did well, as it would take much longer to list all the things it did wrong.   I sincerely wish I COULD do that, but really, I have to settle for not what was good, but what was not terrible.   And that was Lois Chiles.   As appallingly named Dr. Holly Goodhead, she rises above the name and gives a very strong performance.   It is a performance that lacks spark, and is ultimately forgettable, but that is perhaps more a scripting issue than Chiles’ acting skill.

Otherwise, it was all downhill from there.   A death trap similar to a Luna Park sideshow amusement.   The”Bondola” that was both a jetboat AND a hovercraft.   Jaws de-fanged with a love story.    Two army’s facing off in a laser battle in space.   And a pigeon that does a double-take.   In many ways, we don’t need Austin Powers as this film is already a parody of Bond.   It is a film that equated more with better, and found out that it got the equation wrong.

On to science and technology.   The best tech on display here is not in the film, but on the Blu-Ray upgrade.   The laser battles do look pretty cool, and had it been an actual sci-fi film franchise I would approve.   It is just glaringly out-of-place in Bond.   Otherwise, the science in this film is atrocious.   We have a vessel attempting re-entry which is skipping on the Earth’s atmosphere (entry angle too shallow), while at the same time burning up because the entry is too steep., meanwhile chasing objects on the same trajectory that have no trouble at all!!   Also, when Bond is being forced to experience G-Force, a few quick calculations show that in reality, the G-force he would be experiencing would make him a smear on his seat, and not the supposed 12 Gs the counter is showing.

Thankfully, everyone involved seemed to agree the whole film was too excessive in every department, with a conscious effort made to ground the film that did follow Moonraker, the too long-delayed For Your Eyes Only.

2 stars out of 5


Moonraker on IMDB

Moonraker on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=]


Moonraker Cocktail

1.5 parts tequila

4 parts pineapple juicw

0.5 parts Blue Curacao

Pour tequila and pineapple juice into a highball glass over ice and stir.   Pour in blue curacao slowly for layered effect.

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