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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 Jack Sommersby

"Deserves a Good Mooning"
2 stars

The most expensive Bond film at the time where you could see where all the money went into the f/x but nary a buck into the sorry screenplay.

All great James Bond villains need a great voice. In a movie series that's almost always over-the-top, the villains are behind outlandish dastardly schemes that match up well with their megalomaniacal madness, and so when they eventually have Bond incapacitated and spell out the details, the villains should be enjoyably nutty in an incorrigible sort of way by emanating power in the manner in which they deliver their lines through inflection and phrase. After all, a dull bad guy is a dull bad guy, and in a series like this where Bond needs to have some gravitas in his innate nature of goodness, we need a suitable contrast between the two. And the delivery doesn't have to be overpowering, as Louis Jordan proved in Octopussy and Robert Davi in Licence to Kill (the two best Bond entries), but we need to feel that the villains are having just as much fun in proudly explaining their plans as they had in devising them akin to a child eager to tell his friends a dirty little secret that only he's privy to. Unfortunately, Michael Lonsdale, who plays Bond's adversary Hugo Drax in Moonraker, doesn't possess the requisite richness the role most definitely calls for. After all, Drax's inimical intentions are absolutely loopy. As the movie opens, the advanced space shuttle Moonraker, capable of blasting into outer space and returning back home just as easily, is hijacked in mid-air from atop a British plane carrier by an unseen culprit; the plane is destroyed in the process, and the British assume it's an accident until no wreckage of the shuttle can be found. The owner of the Moonraker is Drax, a California billionaire manufacturer obsessed with the conquest of space, and Bond flies over to the States to investigate. Drax, pretending to be outraged at the British's incompetence in losing the shuttle, is actually behind it and wastes little time trying to eliminate Bond -- to no avail, of course. And already Drax is a dreadful bore. Heavily bearded without the slightest evilly-mad twinkle in the eyes, Lonsdale is way too reticent to register even a "3" on the charisma scale. While it's fine he doesn't grossly overact, his comatose line readings and inability to use his body expressively fail at suggesting even the slightest morsels of menace. Which is a severe liability, mind you, being that his plan is to kill one-hundred million people by the release of bombs from his secret station in outer space loaded with ultra-toxic fumes from a rare flower; animals and plants won't be affected, and Drax's astronaut trainees will then inhabit Earth to form a superior human race. But for all of Lonsdale's anemic acting, Drax might as well just be knocking over a child's sand castle.

Of course, it doesn't help that the screenwriters have written Drax as not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Trying to eliminate Bond so soon when his superiors know exactly where he is and who he's seeing doesn't make much sense, and why go the trouble of arranging an assassin to take him out during a shooting match for quail when the night before while staying at Drax's mansion a wee bit of the deadly flower's gas could've been leaked into Bond's bedroom? (He's not even bright enough to lock his office door and desk drawers.) If the plot had some compression and the narrative some propulsion, we'd likely be too entertained to take notice of such things, but just about everything on display is second-rate -- except the special effects, which are fine but aren't dazzling enough to warrant the sublimation of the movie's other components. There's a boat chase in some urban waterways that's a pale imitation of the superb one in the Louisiana bayous in Live and Let Die, hand-to-hand fight sequences that were better choreographed in The Man With the Golden Gun, and a battle atop a tram high in the air that was done more excitingly atop a plane in Octopussy (though the scene where Bond is trapped inside a sabotaged training vessel operating at a dangerous G-force speed and uses his explosive-dart wristband to short out the electronics is nifty). Director Lewis Gilbert serves the material without ever really distinguishing himself; he can go from A to B competently enough but doesn't have much use for acute timing and editing -- everything's on the well-worn surface, which is a big negative in that Drax's scheme isn't given its proper trashy due, and the shoot-'em-up finale with laser pistols lacks verve. The location shooting ranging from Venice to Rio de Janeiro to Argentina adds little color; most of Bond's high-tech devices are of the so-what variety, and even Bond's sexually tipped one-liners fail to elicit a smile. And while Roger Moore showed some style and wit in the previous entry The Spy Who Loved Me, he doesn't bring much to the party this time around; it wouldn't be until For Your Eyes Only two years later that he finally "got" the character. Thankfully, there are two standouts from the supporting cast. Richard Kiel reprises his role as Jaws, a seven-foot giant with stainless-steel teeth and inhuman strength who eventually has a change of heart and becomes Bond's ally; his is mostly a pantomimed performance, and it works beautifully. And kudos to Lois Chiles as Dr. Holly Goodhead (yes, you read that right), a winning combination of brains and brawn with some sultry sprinklings or erotica; she can more than hold her own with Moore and practically walks away with the show. Unlike Lonsdale, when she speaks we eagerly and gratefully listen.

Makes even the woeful "The Living Daylights" look favorable by comparison.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1224&reviewer=327
originally posted: 10/28/10 07:48:51
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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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