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Overall Rating
3.22

Awesome26.15%
Worth A Look: 15.38%
Average: 24.62%
Pretty Bad: 21.54%
Total Crap: 12.31%

3 reviews, 47 user ratings


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Moonraker
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by MP Bartley

"The One In Space."
3 stars

Bond films have always defiantly done things their own way and started the trends instead of following them. Nearly always anyway. Occasionally, Bond films would follow a trend such as 'Live And Let Die' which took a lot from the blaxploitation flicks. 'Moonraker' was another that was following the 'Star Wars' trend. All it proved however was that Bond should stick to what it knows best.

After a pre-credit sequence that goes from the sublime (Bond pushed out of a plane without a parachute - great aerial photography) to the ridiculous (Jaws follows but lands on a circus top), which sums the film up nicely, we have Shirley Bassys dull and bland theme tune - the worst of the series.

A British aeroplane has blown up whilst transporting a Moonraker space shuttle from the USA to Britain. However there's no trace of the Moonraker in the wreckage. Bond is assigned to find out what has happened to it, a mission that will take him from Venice to Rio to outer space, and will team him up with astronaut Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles) against the space-obsessed billionaire Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale).

Director Lewis Gilbert had already dealt with space once before with Bond ('You Only Live Twice') and knew how to make Bond big ('The Spy Who Loved Me'). What's needed with 'Moonraker' however is a hand to reign in the outrageous impulses, because 'Moonraker' stands as the most silly of all Bond films. It's not so much the fact that Bond goes into space (although the film does fall apart when that happens), it's the fact that there's too much smug spoofing going on.

For example, Bond is pursued through the canals of Venice on his motorised gondola. That's not too silly though. What is however, is the fact that when it reaches land it inflates to a hovercraft and drives through St Marks square leading everyone to double-take, including a pigeon (I kid you not). I guess the writers forgot about Bond being a secret agent. You know, keeping undercover and not drawing attention to yourself, by not being the most conspicuous man in the city.

Then there's the reappearance of Jaws. Again, he's out to rip Bond apart until he (literally) crashes into a cute little blonde girl and falls in love instantly. When this happens, the love theme from 'Dr. Zhivago' swells up on the soundtrack as they gaze lovingly into each others eyes. You half expect Graham Chapman from Monty Python to march on at this point and declare "Right stop this! You're getting far too silly".

This reflects badly on Moore who throws in his most smug, facile, slimy and patronising (women just take one look at him and melt now. And a lot that get involved get killed with no comment on or from Bond) performance of Bond. Everything he does is done with a terrible quip or double entendre. It's as if Bond can't get up in the morning and have breakfast without saying something like "Ah, nothing like cornflakes and...CREAM!!", or read the paper without saying "Nothing like a good...DOUBLE SPREAD!!".

It's a great shame that this tone runs throughout 'Moonraker' as otherwise there's a lot to recommend it. There's some terrific action sequences from a literally smashing brawl in a museum to a dizzying top of a cable-car fight. The film also looks terrific too, particularly the silent flight of the moonrakers and the reveal of the space station. There's some lovely incidental moments also, such as Bond's casual disposal of Drax's assassin in the trees, and Drax getting rid of a treacherous employee by sending her to the dogs.

Chiles is very good as Goodhead, a rare Bond girl that doesn't simper immediately into Moore's arms, and Lonsdale is a droll, almost bored villain that gets some of the best lines since Goldfinger "Look after Mr Bond. See that some harm comes to him". You also get, sadly, the last performance of the original M, Bernard Lee and as ever he's quietly magnificent. Q gets a good run-out although Miss Moneypenny is pretty disregarded here.

It's a shame then, that for every great moment 'Moonraker' has there'll be a silly one around the corner to spoil it.

'Moonraker' has a strange following as many of the Bond purists will damn it as the worst Bond ever, whilst for those raised on Moore's Bond will declare it as the best ever. Too cartoonish for it's own good, the best you can say about is that it's never boring. It is however frequently smug, silly and stupid. This is a long way from Bond shooting an unarmed man in the back several times.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1224&reviewer=293
originally posted: 07/27/04 01:24:12
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User Comments

10/16/12 Dr.Lao God Awful, but still better than "Quantum of Solace" 2 stars
4/09/12 keith miron This movie is still better than Thunderball. 2 stars
1/24/11 bill norris worst Bond film ever-ever. a nonstory pile of crap 1 stars
11/10/10 Steve Benkin unwatchable. but everyone feels differently about each bond film 2 stars
10/29/10 Debra DeLeone I thought that this was a great Bond movie when it first can out: yet, compared to the late 3 stars
10/28/10 dale schmucker they dont mke them like they use to 1 stars
8/30/09 Jeff Wilder The worst Bond movie. 2 stars
1/22/09 PAUL SHORTT BOTTOM OF THE BARREL BOND 1 stars
1/29/08 Pamela White Bond has unusual mission and farfetched 3 stars
1/28/08 JV35 BOND#11: 007 Zooms into Orbit 2 stars
7/21/07 Sugarfoot Guilty pleasure for serious Bond fans. I'm no fan of Moore, but I sorta like this one. 3 stars
12/15/06 chris f my fav bond movie drax is a good bond villian 5 stars
9/16/06 ProSneakyD Bond into space is OTT, editing sloppy but great music & action makes this a worthy look. 4 stars
1/06/06 Yorkee Drax was THE worst villian - what a shocker!! 2 stars
1/03/06 Anthony Feor Bond in space=greatest idea ever 4 stars
11/20/05 chris i agree with jimmyC drax does rule!! and so does roger moore 5 stars
8/26/05 Ca-Dizzle Wow this is the cheesiest movie I have ever seen. Even Jaws couldn't save it. 1 stars
7/23/05 Nick This was the worst james bond movie ever!!! It should not even be called James Bond ! 1 stars
5/27/05 tony Is this star wars or Bond. Sometimes puzzling movie but otherwis ok(i guess) 4 stars
4/13/05 Indrid Cold An odd, extremely ambitious idea for a Bond movie, but Bond is always entertaining. 4 stars
8/17/04 Herolder Definitively the weakest Bond movie 3 stars
6/01/04 Nobody As I said elsewhere they should make a realistic Bond movie where he gets an STD 3 stars
5/09/04 Sean Scanlan Funny 5 stars
11/29/03 john Bond follows Star Wars into space - and it kind of works! 4 stars
10/11/03 JimmyC DRAX rules! 5 stars
8/06/03 George Williams Good candidate for Worst Bond Film EVER 1 stars
7/06/03 Paul S. Hugo Drax has the best villain`s dialogue of the series in this one 5 stars
3/26/03 R.W. Welch Essentially silly, almost a parody of the series itself, but some good stunts. 3 stars
1/29/03 Charles Tatum Great Bond, until he goes into outer space 3 stars
1/14/03 alien assassin a shameless attempt to cash in on the "star Wars" craz e. 2 stars
1/06/03 Jack Sommersby The worst of the Bonds. Dreadful and just plain boring. 1 stars
9/17/02 CVJ One of Moores better Bonds 4 stars
4/10/02 Hafriz very good 4 stars
1/25/02 Andrew Carden It May Have Been Goofy, but It Was Still An Excellent Movie. 5 stars
8/15/01 MELISSA GALLAGHER I LOVED THE WAY SHE HIT THE TINY PILOT WITH THE GASCAN-THE SPACESUIT FITTED HER PERFECT 5 stars
8/07/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) Kinda stupid for a 007 movie. 3 stars
6/17/01 fifu horrible, jaws is stuiped and they us ray guns at the end 2 stars
3/28/01 James Blatsis Great light-hearted fun! Jaws rules-so does Roger. One of the better Bonds! 5 stars
1/27/01 R.W. Welch Sockeroo opening, loses momentum from there. 4 stars
7/12/00 Terrie Smith Disappointing "Bond' feature; Richard Kiel good as "Jaws". 3 stars
5/18/00 Terry Fantastic! James Bond goes into space, I loved it, great special effects and great fun. 5 stars
10/06/99 strike This is definitely the worst in the Bond series. It sucked big time! 1 stars
4/30/99 Rob Mckechnie This film can be life altering, you just have to watch it in the right way. 5 stars
3/12/99 Claude Serralt Greatb Locations and great women 5 stars
10/27/98 Silent Rob Fun, if not stupid, Bond in space effort. (Holly Goodhead heh, heh, heh) 3 stars
10/25/98 Patrick888 Stunning action sequences and sets, but just too goofy to be taken seriously 4 stars
10/25/98 zeki big budget bang-wham Bond film.great!! 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Feb-1979 (PG)
  DVD: 12-Dec-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Jul-1979 (PG)




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