Over the last several months, members of the CBn Forum have been reviewing all the James Bond 007 films in the “Countdown Threads“. If you wish to join in on the forum discussion all you have to do is register. Now here are some selected reviews, varying in opinion, of Moonraker…
‘Moonraker’ by Turn
A lot of people look down their noses at Moonraker. I credit it as the film that made me the hardcore Bond fan I am today. As a kid, I always enjoyed Bond movies, but at age 12 I began losing interest in them to sports and other things, even missing airings on ABC. Then in summer of 1979, I saw Moonraker in the theater and it hooked me. The film isn’t the best, but has a sentimental place.
The thing about Moonraker is it is made in an era when spectacle was in high gear and Roger Moore was clearly in his element. No, it’s not On Her Majesty’s Secret Service or From Russia With Love, but taken for what it is, a fantasy-tinged epic, it makes for great entertainment if not Fleming.
When they turned around 360 degrees and made the radical approach with For Your Eyes Only 2 years later, it had the opposite effect, in my opinion and was completely boring. Moonraker is in-your-face spectacle, and if you just sit back and let it go, you have a good time with it. Think about it, was it more natural to have Moore to see Moore raising his eyebrow and wearing gaucho outfits or being forced to act hard and throw out bad fortune cookie lines? I’ll take the former.
After a fantastic gunbarrel, what follows is one of my favorite teasers in the series. I never saw The Spy Who Loved Me to that point and only heard about the ski stunt, but the freefall made up for it. From there, we are treated to a globe-hopping adventure.
The scenes on the Drax estate are a lot of fun, right from the approach with Barry’s fine music to Bond’s spying in the lab to the attempt on his life in the centrifuge. The scene where he shoots the sniper (Drax: You missed, Mr. Bond. Sniper falls from the tree, dead. Bond: “Did I”) is one of my favorites in the series and a perfect Moore moment. Corrinne Clery is one of the more attractive sacrificial lambs in the series and her death is very offbeat for the series. I point that and the centrifuge scenes out to anybody who thinks Moonraker is all silly fluff.
I enjoy the glass factory scene and especially the receptionist. Moonraker has to rank as one of the best films as far as having plentiful babes for Bond and the audience to enjoy; yet another element lost in the current Bond era. Bond’s infiltration of the Drax lab is atmospheric, and the fight with Chang is good fun. And I think the Bondola scene is in good fun also.
The Rio scenes aren’t as interesting, but still not bad. Same with the rest of the film. Bond in space isn’t the evil element some think.
Although I don’t enjoy the music as much as some, I am starting to warm to it more as the years go by. It just seems a little too romantic and atmospheric for a film where everything is greatly exaggerated and sometimes goofy. I do rank the title song near, if not at, the bottom of my list.
Drax is a good villain with some of the best lines of the series. Jaws, well, he’s just there, as is Lois Chiles as Holly Goodhead. And it’s sometimes hard to watch Bernard Lee and know it will be his last as M.
The film does get bogged down in a lot of humor, but I can take it given the era the film was made and knowing it’s not this too serious tone, the way something like The World Is Not Enough worked. Comparisons to The Spy Who Loved Me may also drag it down, but at the time I first saw Moonraker, I hadn’t seen it, so Moonraker will almost always rank higher for me.
‘Moonraker’ by trumanlodge89
I hate Moonraker. The movie should’ve ended after the title credits. A shameless use of the popularity of Star Wars, a bland villian, a carbon copy of The Spy Who Loved Me, this is one Bond film I won’t watch when it’s on TV. This is the only Bond film I dislike.
Moore does his job here, nothing more. He brings nothing new to the character, like he seems to in all of the other films he made. He raises an eyebrow, sleeps with a couple girls, saves the world, calls it a day.
Jaws is out of place here, a poor continuation of the greatest henchman in the series. Drax is given great lines, but he is the most drab and boring villian in the series. He wishes he was as exciting as Elliot Carver.
Holly Goodhead is Anya Amasova: Part Duex. The only difference is her nationality.
The space sequence is almost unwatchable. Unlike Star Wars, I really dont get the feeling of being in space. The weightlessness effect is laughable, and there are major continuity issues in the sequence. Where did all the women go in the travel from earth to the space station? And the “video game” ending? It’s just silly. To be honest, the whole movie feels like it was made just so Bond could have sex while floating in the air and Q could say “Looks like he’s attempting re-entry.”
The music in this movie goes downhill after the titles. I don’t know why, but it just isn’t exciting like other Berry scores. Even the 007 Theme is out of place. It is too slow and melodic or something.
However, the PTS in this movie is just about as good as you can get. Bond jumps out of a plane without a parachute? And survives? This unbelievable escape is done very well, and makes it seem very possible. If only the rest of the movie was like the teaser.
‘Moonraker’ by Hrabb04
Why bother calling it Moonraker? Aside from Drax and Bond and M, and maybe one or two more, it is a stretch to call it Ian Fleming’s Moonraker. Roger Moore always reminds me of Gil Gerard as Buck Rogers in this movie. And how dumb can this Bond be by repeatedly punching Jaws in the mouth, always hurting his own hand? And does Jaws really have steel balls?
The action is incredibly lame and unbelievable. The pre-credits fight is ruined by Jaws and the idiotic ending on the circus tent. The gondola chase is cheesy and stupid. It sets the tone for the rest of the movie. This is not Ian Fleming. It isn’t even James Bond. Oh, sure, Roger Moore is playing some guy with that name, but he’s not 007.
The only thing I like about the movie is the Shirley Bassey theme and the John Barry score, and that is why I have the soundtrack and not the movie.
‘Moonraker’ by Bond111
Often regarded as one of the weakest Bond films, on the contrary I think it’s quite good. Great performances all around, a beautiful setting, and some clever action scenes make this one a favorite of mine. Bond in space is a little farfetched, but it’s not enough to make the film a complete waste.
‘Moonraker’ by DLibrasnow
Another Bond movie with promise that (like Die Another Day) instead seems to lose focus and in turn the audience around halfway through. After a simply excellent precredits sequence and some detective work in California (I love the g-force sequence) the movie moves to Venice and also into slapstick and parody.
And it gets worse – in Brazil Jaws meets Dolly and )okay its too painful to go on). Suffice to say the movie makers bowed to audience pressure to turn Jaws into a goodie and in doing so eliminated any menace the character had not just in this movie but in its brilliant iconic predecessor The Spy Who Loved Me.
Indeed this movie seems to be an attempt to remake The Spy Who Loved Me which was in fact a remake of You Only Live Twice. One bright spot this movie does hold is the always enjoyable and watchable Michael Lonsdale as Drax. Lonsdale gives us probably the best villain since Auric Goldfinger with some wonderful lines – Like a lord of the Manor with “May I press you to a cucumber sandwich?” to the classic instruction to Chang, “Look after Mr. Bond, make sure some harm comes to him!”
When I was very young I loved this movie and hated For Your Eyes Only but as I got older (and wiser) this movie steadily dropped to the bottom of the list, and For Your Eyes Only climbed to the top.
‘Moonraker’ by Freemo
Just for the dialogue, or more specifically, just for Drax’s dialogue:
“Mr. Bond, you defy all my attempts to plan an amusing death for you.”
“You appear with the tedious inevitability of an unloved season.”
“Look after Mr. Bond. See that some harm comes to him.”
Damn, they don’t make ’em like this anymore.
‘Moonraker’ by Scottlee
Despite being a wholesomnly entertaining Moore adventure, it just misses out on my top ten due to some sloppy filming and over to the top emphasis on comedy. The main problem for me is the cable car sequence. It could and should have turned out to be one of the most dramatic and tension filled ten minutes in Bond history. It turned out, though, to be nothing short of a farce from beginning to end.
Most of the other stuff is good, most of it. I could nitpick other small things here and there if I had the time, but on the whole this is a better Bond than some people give credit.
‘Moonraker’ by Qwerty
“Where all other Bonds end…this one begins!”
Moonraker is perhaps the most underrated James Bond film in the series. Often cited as being too humourous, too “out of this world”, filled with too much fantasy and other things like so, I think this is without a doubt one of the best James Bond films in the entire canon.
This is Roger Moore as James Bond. He looks the part and acts well alongside Bond girl Lois Chiles and villain Michael Lonsdale. While there is alot of comedy in this film compared to some of the others, it doesn’t detract from the story or film itself much at all.
Hugo Drax has, perhaps, the very best lines of any character in any James Bond film, thanks to some sharp writing by Christopher Wood:
“Look after Mr. Bond, see that some harm comes to him.”
“Observe Mr. Bond, your route from this world to the next.”
“You’re not a sportsman Mr. Bond, why did you break off the encounter with my pet python?”
“Mr. Bond, you appear with the tedious inevitability of an unloved season.”
…and many more. He is an excellent villain who has a quiet menace about him. One of the very best in the series.
Lois Chiles as Holly Goodhead is also sorely underrated. She’s an intelligent Bond girl who doesn’t immediately fall for Bond’s charm, making her very interesting as the film progresses. The scene between Bond and herself in the hotel room is excellent.
The action sequence between Chang and Bond in the glass museum is also rather amusing.
Moving on, we come to John Barry’s score. The best, quite simply. Melodic cues in the space scenes, a terrific ‘007’ Theme appearance, a strong theme on the whole running through the film and simply terrific on all fronts. It’s a shame it is not better represented on the official soundtrack.
Shirley Bassey’s title song is also my personal favorite of the bunch by far. Whether it’s the main theme of the disco end-title, it never ceases to be the best. Furthermore, it’s also matched with my favorite main-title sequence designed by master Maurice Binder in the film. The deep blue backdrops and acrobat women flying throughout are perfect.
Moonraker seems to have become regarded in a higher fashion lately, and I hope more fans come to enjoy it for the outstanding Bond adventure it is.