April 14, 2024

I have to admit that Moonraker does not register as one of the more memorable Bond films I have seen. The film’s opening gambit was another edge of the seat action stunt sequence involving James being thrown out of a plane without a parachute and naturally surviving through a mid air struggle with his returned nemesis, Jaws! This sequence was unfortunately the best part of the movie as none of the action set pieces that followed were as impactful or memorable.

The opening credits theme song is always something to look forward to. Shirley Bassey returns to sing the title song for the third time (having done the honours for Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever). Alas this time around the tune leaves much to be desired. It was one of the rare failures to the title song as I found it rather tuneless and forgettable.

Then there is the villain of the piece. Hugo Drax, played menacingly by a Michael Lonsdale, head of Drax Industries which manufactures space shuttles. He has a crazy idea that would see the end of civilization and a plan for a new beginning for the planet. As usual James Bond disposes of his villian in an all too easy manner. Meanwhile he has to save the world in between bedding every women he sets his eyes on along the way. Played by Roger Moore, the James Bond character becomes more and more  comic book like with incredible and unbelievable plots, and encounters with cartoon like bad guys like the recurring appearance of Richael Kiel’s steel teethed Jaws. I still get a kick to see how Kiel is able to literally lift Roger Moore off his feet like a toy and threaten him. No questions ask to show would win in a real fight here. The space theme this time was probably inspired by the Star Wars craze at that time but the story and reasons on why we get the plot set in space is pure rubbish. However the space sets and sequences were so poorly down the whole thing just ends up looking silly.

At least, Lois Chiles manages to project a memorable Bond girl and she is one of the few bright spots in the entire movie. The film’s locale from Beirut to Italy to Brazil provided a spectacular eye candy but serves very little to enhance the level of the plot. This marks the last Bond outing for the 1970’s and anticipation grows as we enter the next decade and as our expectation grows for more of the same.

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