This was the first James Bond adventure produced after the success of Star 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 hard... more »ware and special effects to make Luke Skywalker want to join Her Majesty's Secret Service. After the razzle-dazzle of The 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"), Moonraker had no problem attracting an appreciative audience, and there are even a few renegade Bond-philes who consider it one of their favorites. --Jeff Shannon« less
Classic Roger Moore 007 Bond, James Bond! Jaws is the best!
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
No way, Moonraker rocks.
Justin Ratcliff | S.Pasadena, Ca. | 08/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This screen is starting to look like the metaphorical equivalent of the sweet space battle at the end of this breathtaking achievement of cinematic perfection. Well, I'm here to shoot a few of my own lasers now, this movie totally kicks a$$. Let's start with the opening song, which I think is easily in the top 3 of all time best Bond openers.
So there's this frog named Drax who wants to kill everyone on Earth, and start from scratch with his own breeding stock of beautiful people. The genocide of the ugly people of Earth comes by virtue of a space delivered disease, or nerve agent, or something equally superfluous, which Drax of course also manufactures.
I have a theory which goes a little something like this: When a man reaches a certain level of wealth, he naturally begins to contemplate some dimension of world conquest. The uber-villains Bond is often pitted against seem to pan this theory out nicely, begging the question, when will 007 take on Dick Cheney, Bill Gates, or Ronald McDonald?
So in comes old pervy Bond to salivate all over the dames, karate chop some mouth brething henchmen, and get all up in Drax's grille. Drax, for is his part, is no sllouch though. The man is straight evil, but his taste in women, crib's, and lasers is beyond reproach. I suppose because I grew up with Roger Moore playing Bond, I get the best of both worlds, because Connery and Moore are both Bond to me.
Now, in a movie which already has so much to offer the entertainment starved masses, we see the return of super hencmen JAWS. That alone should raise a pulse or two, because this guy is emma effin indestrutable. You can shoot him in the face, throw him out of an airplane, drop him in a tank full of ill tempered sharks, drop his a$$ from outerspace, and he doesn't die. Why can't we unleash this cat in Iraq?
So anyway, Bond figures Drax out, and its on. As I have previously alluded to, there is a magnificent space battle involving cats floating around in space shooting lasers, and invading space stations like that's all they got paid to do. Wow, if it get's any better than this they'll start taxing us for it."
Not bad , but not outstanding.....
(3 out of 5 stars)
"MOONRAKER is okay and has a couple of good moments.The locations are beautiful ;007 travels to California,Venice,Brazil and Outer Space!Unfortunatly,this eleventh entry in the Bond series remains underrated and was never taken to heart by most fans.A plot that was definetly inspired by Star Wars and actors who do not seem to take their roles seriously may have something to do with it. Dr Holly Goodhead(Lois Chiles) is pretty but never had a status as a memorable Bond girl. Hugo Drax(Michael Longsdale) is not a classic example of a head villain.However,Jaws(Richard Kiel) adds flavor to this movie.Despite mixed reviews, MOONRAKER was one of the most grossing James Bond films of all time.I enjoy this movie once in a while,and I find it superior to the two first Roger Moore films(LIVE AND LET DIE and THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN) but inferior to FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME,and A VIEW TO A KILL.The theme song by Shirley Bassey is not bad.Worth a look, but dont have too many high expectations.........."
A Bond Space Bonanza
Octavius | United States | 08/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Reviewers unfairly criticize this film as being one of the worst Bond movies ever. I find it hard to believe that this film could be worst than the Timothy Dalton films or "On Her Majesty's Secret Service." Even in Moore's career as Bond, this movie is hardly as shallow as "Live and Let Die." As a matter of fact, this movie is no more a leap in imagination than "The Spy Who Loved Me"; indeed, it's pretty much the same story except that space shuttles disappear instead of nuclear submarines: both Stromberg and Drax had the same plan of creating a new world and a master race.
Reviewers who bash on this film as being too futuristic with credibility gaps are either irrational; blind hippocrites; or simply lack the courage of admitting that they don't like Roger Moore in the role of Bond. I mean please, as if space capsules gobbling each other to land into a volcano base in Connery's 'You Only Live Twice' is credible but space shuttles flying to an orbitting space station isn't? The last I heard, space capsules upon reentry have almost no propulsion and simply splash into an ocean with a parachute: they don't land vertically with reverse thrusters to fit nicely into a narrow volcano chimney like a car backing into a cozy garage. Is Moonraker's space station any less credible than Stromberg's submersible city and tankerhip in 'The Spy Who Loved Me'? Are the laser guns in 'Moonraker' any less credible and entertaining than those of SPECTER and Scaramanga in 'Diamonds are Forever' and 'The Man With The Golden Gun'? As far as gadgets go, Bond's dart wrist watch in 'Moonraker' is probably one of the most credible gadgets presented throughout the entire franchise! Finally, in terms of special effects and their realism, it's completely ludicrous on the part of some reviewers to bash this film for its effects and at the same time praise Connery films in which the technologies depicted are horribly obsolete and the special effects for them even more so.
This is perhaps a good place to reveal to such snobbish Bond fans pontificating about how 'Moonraker' went overboard into fantasy about some basic premises in storytelling and film types. First of all, the entire idea of Bond as a story format is complete fantasy from the get-go: Bond films were never intended to be 'realistic' and always remained more in the domain of a humorous action-fantasy genre: otherwise it would be fictional suspense-drama and we have Tom Clancy's novels for such a substitute. That's what happens when you define your main character with super-hero-like nerves of steel who seemingly knows everything about everything and goes through the story in over-the-top action sequences involving submarine cars and countless other far-fetched gadgets no nation's intelligence service could ever have no matter how advanced their defense technology might be. Such a plot and theme take a story outside of plausible fiction (i.e. action-drama or tragedy) and into the domain of action/fantasy. 'Star Wars' isn't a proper comparison with this film because Star Wars, although also fantasy, is more specifically science-fiction fantasy as opposed to strict action-fantasy: therefore even further removed from any resemblance to reality. Almost all of the Bond films have been in the range of action-fantasy with the exception of perhaps 'Dr. No'; 'From Russia..'; 'Live and Let Die'; 'For Your Eyes..'; 'Octopussy'; and 'The Living Daylights'; that tended to come closer towards a standard adventure/action theme and plot structure. This being said, I suggest to those narrative-illiterate reviewers who want Bond to be less fantasy and more realistic to stop torturing themselves with their distorted narrative expectations. They just need to switch their allegiances to Jack Ryan's character of Tom Clancy's more realistic novels and films instead so as not to disappoint themselves when watching fantasy-action films such as James Bond.
As for 'Moonraker', I thought the cinematography was great and the action sequences fun: yes, perhaps Jaws becomes a little too indestructible in this film but, again, that's why James Bond is in the domain of action-fantasy as opposed to action-drama or tragedy. Overall, the humor is just as crisp and dry as all of the Moore films. So to those of you who aren't in conflict with the fantasy spy genre, buy or rent this film and have a great time in watching Bond's outer-space escapades with all of the quips, Bond Bunnies, and high-tech action adventures that make this film franchise one of the most loved and watched in the entire world."
Aw come on, it can't be that bad
Brandon J. Seger | California | 12/03/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As much as people here trash the movie, I think it is a good Bond film. Out of all the Bond films, this one seems the most visceral to me. It isn't the best of the Bond films, but I found that I really enjoyed this movie. The plot, although a tad far-fetched, was good enough to drag the movie along and the story required Bond to travel around the globe, from Britian(of course), Venice, California, Rio De Janero, and even space.Lois Chiles, while in my opinion is the least of the Bond girls, still fits the bill, and Roger Moore is my favorite Bond actor, and he takes his role in this film confidently. Jaws is my favorite of the Bond henchmen, and I liked him in this film more than the previous one, "The Spy Who Loved Me." Also, this was Bernard Lee's last role as M Bond film before his unfortunate death after this film.All in all, "Moonraker" deserves more than it is given by the public."
Very Enjoyable Bond
Gary P. Cohen | Staten Island, NY USA | 09/07/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The mention of "Moonraker" usually elicits controversey. Serious Bond fans usually despise it due to its far-out premise of sending Bond into outer space at the conclusion. Yet, if you just want a relaxing and entertaining film, "Moonraker" is wonderful entertainment. This was Roger Moore's 4th Bond film, the Bond film right after his personal triumph in "The Spy Who Loved Me," Moore's best Bond and one of the most lavish and entertaining films in the series. "Moonraker" is nowhere as good as that film, but it is fun nonetheless. If anything, the main problem with "Moonraker" is that it tries to give the audience too much, usually to the detriment of the film. There is a gondola chase scene in Venice that concludes with the gondola driving up into St. Peter's Square and Moore driving through hundreds of tourists that makes me cringe everytime I see it. There is a totally unnecessary scene of Moore being attacked by a large python and dispatching it with a CIA device that he should not logically have. This scene and the previous one should have wound up on the cutting-room floor. However "Moonraker" does have academy-award nominated special effects, wonderful location work, a beautiful all-American leading lady in Lois Chiles and a wild confrontation between American Marine Astronauts(?) and the villain's stooges in outer space. (Sort of like the underwater fight-scene at the conclusion of "Thunderball" transferred to outer space.) In an attempt to outdo the pre-credits sequence of "The Spy Who Loved Me," "Moonraker" has Bond being pushed out of a plane without a parachute. This is a terrific and exciting sequence. (One thing "Moonraker" has an did not need was the return of Richard Kiel as "Jaws." The attempt to turn him into a good guy at the end was ridiculous.") "Moonraker" was a smash hit in the summer of 1979 and received mostly positive reviews from the likes of The NY Times and Rex Reed. It played to sell-out crowds. The picture and sound on this blu-ray are excellent. There is an excellent Roger Moore commentary. Most of the special features have been seen before including a terrific "making of" documentary, another great documentary on the special effects of the Bond films, vintage interviews, etc. The special features are very good. In conclusion, "Moonraker" may not be the most realistic Bond film, however it is still a marverlously entertaining motion picture."