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Moonraker (1979)

Action & Adventure movie directed by Lewis Gilbert

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2.5 Rating: This is the only Bond I haven't enjoyed

  • Apr 30, 2009
I thought for the longest time that I would be incapable *not* liking a James Bond film. From `Diamonds Are Forever' to `Die Another Day', there had not been a "Bad" Bond film that I didn't find some redeeming value in. I guess in an over twenty movie-long franchises I was bound to come across one that I wouldn't enjoy, and the day finally came. Moonraker is without a doubt the worst James Bond film I have ever seen. Everything about the film just comes across as wrong. From the random references to popular science-fiction films, to Moore using the same gadget to solve just about all his problems, this film feels like an exercise in camp, and pointlessness. These were present in other Moore films, but never were they as poorly used as in Moonraker.

The plot is pathetic, and when Bond finally gets into space it really is worthless, as it only lasts about twenty minutes. The plot is almost non-existent, and the villain is one of the most forgettable ones in the franchise's history. Jaws also returns from `The Spy Who Loves Me,' which does lead to one of my favorite Bond lines: "All I know is his name is Jaws. He kills people." Funny bit of dialogue, and often Moore does give good one-liners in this film, but they can't compare to the many bad bits of comic relief thrown in throughout.

Only die-hard Bond fans should own this film. Yes, I purchased it, because I am a fan of the series, and like re-watching all the films on a fairly frequent basis, but I can say that Moonraker will be the one I return to most seldom, and will do so only with friends so that we can point fingers, laugh, and engage in conversation.

It isn't a BAD action movie, I will give it that. But it IS a bad Bond film.

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About this movie


This was the first James Bond adventure produced after the success ofStar Wars, so it jumped on the sci-fi bandwagon by combining the suave appeal of Agent 007 (once again played by Roger Moore) with enough high-tech hardware and special effects to make Luke Skywalker want to join Her Majesty's Secret Service. After the razzle-dazzle ofThe Spy Who Loved Me, this attempt to latch onto a trend proved to be a case of overkill, even though it brought back the steel-toothed villain Jaws (Richard Kiel) and scored a major hit at the box office. This time Bond is up against a criminal industrialist named Drax (Michel Lonsdale) who wants to control the world from his orbiting space station. In keeping with his well-groomed style, Bond thwarts this maniacal Neo-Hitler's scheme with the help of a beautiful, sleek-figured scientist (played by Lois Chiles with all the vitality of a department-store mannequin). There's a grand-scale climax involving space shuttles and ray guns, but despite the film's popular success, this is one Bond adventure that never quite gets off the launching pad. It's as if the caretakers of the James Bond franchise had forgotten that it's Bond--and not a barrage of gizmos and gadgets (including a land-worthy Venetian gondola)--that fuels the series' success. Despite Moore's passive performance (which Pauline Kael described as "like an office manager who is turning into dead wood but hanging on to collect his pension"),Moonrakerhad no problem attracting ...
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Director: Lewis Gilbert
Screen Writer: Ian Fleming, Christopher Wood
DVD Release Date: May 16, 2000
Runtime: 126 minutes
Studio: United Artists
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