- Movie Rating -

Moonraker (1979)

| June 29, 1979

If there is one trademark of the Roger Moore Bond film, it might be the foolhardy way in which the producers are willing to take 007 into the theater of the ridiculous.  Let’s see, thus far we’ve had a voodoo priest, a fat southern sheriff, a metal-mouthed monster, a carnival sideshow, a cut-throat Herve Villechaize, and now outer space.

If Moonraker weren’t entertaining, I might complain but the movie is oddly entertaining even while being patently ridiculous.  I admire the attempt to be current, what with the rebirth of the space program and the success of Star Wars, anything less might have seemed to be putting Bond out to pasture.

His adventure this time is silly in the extreme, but that doesn’t mean it’s not coupled with the tenets of the Bond series:

• An international crime has been committed.  In this case the hijacking of the space shuttle
• Bond is called in to see M (Bernard Lee).
• He flirts with Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell).
• M gives him the particulars of the mission.
• Bond investigates and finds a pretty lady, in this case a NASA scientist with a pornographic name, Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles).
• He meets the villain, in this case a megalo-maniacal billionaire named Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale).
• He discovers a plot for world domination.
• Drax discovers that he has discovered the plot for world domination.
• Drax sets up an overelaborate and easily escapable trap to do away with Bond, in this case he leave he and Dr. Goodhead under a shuttle that is about to launch.
• Bond discovers that the villain has a hideout, in this case a city-wide space station.
• There’s a fight to the finish.
• Bond beds down with his lady companion.
• The credits roll while we get to hear the lastest theme, in this case “Moonraker” by Shirley Bassey.
• I walk away smiling.

Most would find this a complete washout, but not me.  I know it’s a silly and low-level adventure for Bond but I like how audacious it is.  I like where it goes.  I like how dull the villain is.  I like how elaborate the sets are.  I like how insane Drax’s plan is.  I like that the Bond series is trying to stay with the times.  Is it the best of the Bond films?  Certainly not.  I can’t even say it’s in the top 10.  But I had fun and I guess that’s all that matters.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1979) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized