A Drax Industries Moonraker space shuttle is hijacked in flight in a daring heist and James Bond (Roger Moore) is ordered to investigate. Bond meets the owner of the company, Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale) and one of Drax’s scientists, Dr. Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles) where his investigations begin however the trail leads to Venice, where he establishes that Drax is manufacturing a nerve gas deadly to humans, but harmless to animals, in an attempt to wipe out all live on earth and start again with his “Noahs Ark” of master raze who are safe in space. Bond with the Aid of Dr. Goodhead must devise a plan to stop this genocidal manic before it is too late!
Ian Flemings’ 1962 novel “Moonraker” which was the third book, and a favourite of mine which I think would have made a spectacular movie. However the writers and produces believed that the story was too tame for the time and with science fiction being the hot topic they decided to take James Bond into space. In fact what the writers done was take The Spy Who Loved Me and rewrote it because the plots are so similar, swap put under the sea for space and boom you have your movie. It’s a hack for the most part, no decent plot, and too many stupid gags as for the villain… Hugo Drax just looks like a dickhead with the most incompetent henchman, even by Bond movie standards. The weightless scenes may have been fantastic for the time but looking at it now just looks stupid, people walking in slow motion, just looks like a spoof. There are loads more goofy moments but I won’t go into them all. The theme song “Moonraker” composed by Jon Barry and performed by Shirley Bassey not my favourite really. I wont spend the entire review slating this movie because it does have its good points. Spoilers ahead but I just have to discuss something which is quite possibly my favourite scene in the whole movie, if not the franchise. It is when Bond is in a centrifuge which is being manipulated by a henchman, causing him to experience life threatening G forces. Just as Bond is about to pass out and die, a smiling Q (Desmond Llewelyn) flashes before his eyes triggering a memory Bond to use the gadget given him at the beginning of the mission, which ultimately saves his life. It felt as if Q was his guardian angel and in many ways I guess he is, always knowing what gadgets Bond will need to get out of trouble ahead. Jaws (Richard Kiel) also returns and due to a lot of fan mail, mostly from children who liked his character but wanted him to be a goodie! Some of the stunts and fight scenes are amazing, the fight scene on top of the cable car in Rio and the opening credits sequence, gags aside, was mesmerising and thrilling.
Why did I choose To be honest it is the one James Bond movie that I have been dreading, and then it came to watching it and I thought it may not be all that bad, then I watched it and remembered why I was dreading it. It is not entirely bad, the major problem is the gags and the silliness that I have mentioned which takes more away than what it gives, but the argument was that James Bond was an escape, it is meant to be silly and fun. It is fun, and truly out of this world. Filmed in four studios over seven countries, three continents and costing more than the budget of the first six 007 adventures combined Moonraker is larger than life in every respect. It smashed box-office records across the globe and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Effects and Visual Effects. I guess for all of its faults a lot of love went into this movie and although it may not be my favourite it is entertaining in its own way and for all I have to complain it does have its moments….James Bond will return in For Your Eyes Only.