“Mr. Bond, you persist in defying my efforts to provide an amusing death for you.”
Moonraker has somewhat of a reputation. It’s famous for being the one in which Bond went to space. Many people write it off as terrible because they think it’s only around because Star Wars was popular. Well this is a completely different thing to Star Wars, so different in fact that those two words will not be mentioned again in this review. It is, as Cubby Broccoli said, not science fiction. It is “science fact”.
Roger Moore is still on top form in this, retaining his high number of genuinely good quips from the previous film. Some miss the mark, but it’s far off from being The Man with the Golden Gun. The Bond girl this time is Holly Goodhead played by Lois Chiles, and she’s actually pretty good. In a similar way to Agent XXX in The Spy Who Loved Me, Holly Goodhead is also a spy. This time working for the CIA. There’s a similar dynamic in parts between the two of them as there was in the previous film, but it’s not too bad. Dr Goodhead can handle herself, and is an equal match for Bond. Filling out the baddie side of this movie we have Michael Lonsdale as Hugo Drax and Richard Kiel is back as Jaws. Hugo Drax is just brilliant, there’s no doubt in your mind when you see him on-screen that this guy is evil. His plan is bonkers yet awesome, he wants to take a group of attractive people to his space utopia to start his own of race of super-people. It’s insane, but Lonsdale really sells it.
And that brings us to Jaws. He’s just not threatening in Moonraker. Any ounce of terror he stirred in the previous film is gone in Moonraker. He’s turned into a bumbling fool in this movie, more so than previously. Don’t get me wrong, Richard Kiel is great, and he plays the bumbling fool with conviction, but I want the Jaws who fought a shark and won. In Moonraker, Jaws falls in love as well, which would have destroyed his character if it wasn’t for the movies third act. Towards the end of the movie 007 mentions how Jaws may be not be welcome of the space station full of super models (it’s obvious looking at it, he’s about 8 feet tall with hands like satellite dishes) so Jaws turns good. It’s great seeing 007 fight against armed goons with Jaws at his side. Jaw’s scene with his girlfriend in which he cracks open some champagne, looks her in the eye and goes “Well, here’s to us” is surprisingly touching. However rubbish Jaws gets in this film, he has fitting ending.
Some scenes in this movie look REALLY great. One example is the scene in which Drax’s assistant/pilot is chased down by dogs. The music in this scene, along with a bit of slow motion, makes this scene so nightmarish. It’s brilliant, and is much more beautiful than a movie in which 007 goes to space deserves to be. Another good-looking scene is one in which Bond fights the lethal Chang in a Venice glass museum. The fight soon goes upstairs to the clock tower. The music in this scene, combined with the lighting just gives me shivers every time. It’s a more brutal fight for Roger Moore’s Bond but it’s an excellent scene.
I was ready to come on here and talk about how crap Moonraker was, how the Blu-ray had done the special effects no favours, how a laser battle was stupid etc. But I just can’t. Some scenes in this movie are downright beautiful, and the special effects are really good, even in a higher quality. And things like the laser battle, well they appeal straight to my inner child (or not-so inner child). The whole ending to this movie is just AWESOME. I remember imitating this scene with Lego on numerous occasions, and it’s nice to be able to enjoy a movie just because it’s so fun to watch. James Bond as a whole has that effect on me. I don’t care if it’s stupid or sexist or goofy, I’ll watch it with my mouth open in awe every single time.
Up next – For Your Eyes Only
Reviewed by Jack 😛