Saturday, 29 October 2011


Year:  1979
Director:  Lewis Gilbert
Screenplay:  Christopher Wood, based on the novel Moonraker by Ian Fleming
Starring:  Roger Moore, Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale, Richard Kiel
Running Time:  126 minutes
Genre:  Thriller, action, science-fiction

This is the film where James Bond goes into space.  Aside from the title and a couple of character names, the film abandons pretty much everything from Ian Fleming's excellent novel, in favour of an overblown attempt to tie-in with the science-fiction boom after the success of  Star Wars (1977).

When a new space shuttle named "Moonraker" is stolen in mid-air, British secret agent James Bond (Moore) is ordered to find out what happened to it.  Following the trail to California and the home of the shuttle's sinister manufacturer, billionaire Hugo Drax (Lonsdale), Bond makes the acquaintence of alluring scientist Dr. Holly Goodhead  (Chiles), as well as his old enemy, hulking killer Jaws (Kiel), who has stainless steel teeth.   As Bond travels from California to Venice, to Rio de Janeiro, to outer space, he begins to realise that there is something far more dangerous than a missing shuttle at work.

For my money, this is probably the worst of the James Bond movies.  The plot is virtually non-existant, and what there is is impossible to take seriously because it is all played for campy laughs (for example the scene where the giant Jaws falls in love with a diminutive blonde girl while the soundtrack plays "Love is a Many Splendoured Thing", and the scene where Bond drives an inflatable gondola through the streets of Venice).  The special effects range from the serviceable to the terrible.  Roger Moore appears on autopilot throughout the whole movie, smirking his way through the endless quips and fights and Michael Lonsdale as Drax makes for a very flat villain.  However the sets are impressive, and even the very worst Bond films still have their share of entertaining moments.  The quip at the end is genuinely funny and some of the action scenes are exciting. 

  Lois Chiles and Roger Moore investigate Moonraker

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