Bonding with Bond, Day 12: Moonraker

One intrepid RT editor is watching all of the James Bond films in order.

by | November 1, 2008 | Comments

Today’s offering is Moonraker, the 1979 Bond film that took the British superagent into space. Read below to see if I found it to be great entertainment or a silly addition to the fanchise.


Moonraker (1979) 61%

Moonraker1

Well, you all warned me about Moonraker, so what can I say? It was everything I expected it to be. At first, I was under the impression that the movie as a whole would be over the top, and while it did have its share of ridiculous scenarios early on, I didn’t really feel that it felt out of step with the previous three Moore offerings. Then, in the last 45 minutes or so, things really got out of hand.

Let me start from the beginning again. First of all, the stunt that opened The Spy Who Loved Me was so breathtaking that I wasn’t sure they’d be able to match it. Boy was I wrong. The skydiving scene before the credits of Moonraker most definitely takes the basejump of Spy and elevates it, literally, to a new level. And, it’s helped by the presence of Jaws, who returns from the last movie, and some excellent cinematography that had me repeating to myself, “How did they pull that off?” Very impressive, Mr. Bond. Very impressive.

After this stellar sequence, the story begins in earnest, and we get what ultimately amounts to many of the same elements we’ve seen in the Bond franchise thus far. Since I’ve noticed these in almost every film, I’ll just say here that I’ll try to keep the obvious things out of my writeups from here on out, in order to keep from becoming repetitive. I’ll just assume that Bond needs little in the way of romantic ammunition to sleep with any woman, that he will continue to walk boldly right into the hands of all of his adversaries, that all of said adversaries will be sophisticated gentlemen, and that he will engage in various motorized chases for extended periods of time.

Speaking of which, we have not one, but TWO boat chases in Moonraker, both of which culminate in some ridiculous vehicular transformation. The first chase ends as Bond flips a switch in his Venetian gondola and converts it into a hovercraft, driving it onto land and into a public square — very subtle. The second boat is ultimately lost off a waterfall, but not before Bond flies away into the sky, using its roof as a hang glider. I will give credit to the minds behind these films: they are… imaginative, to put it lightly.

Moonraker2

Of course, most everything in the first hour and a half or so is relatively standard Bond fare, and none of it prepares the viewer for an extended encounter in space, of all places. Interestingly though, I noticed at least two subtle references to earlier space films in Moonraker (there may have been more, but I only caught these): When Bond meets Drax during a quail hunting excursion, the end of the hunt is signaled by a servant who blows the first three notes of “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” most famous for its use by Stanley Kubrick in his sci-fi masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. Later in Moonraker, a scientist enters a secret laboratory by entering a 5-digit numeric keycode, the musical tones of which echo the same five notes that are used to communicate with alien intelligence in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

If the subtlety of these two references was lost on most, there was still a quite blatant “homage,” I suppose, to Star Wars in the final scenes that take place on the space station. After Jaws is turned away from the dark side, as it were, we see Bond, Holly Goodhead (the requisite tongue-in-cheek name), and Jaws facing off against Drax. With all of Drax’s underlings pointing their laser guns at the trio, they bear a striking resemblance to Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Chewbacca (Ha! Jaws is CHEWbacca – get it?). That was cute.

Moonraker3

In conclusion, yes, I didn’t feel that Moonraker was particularly good, but it wasn’t the ridiculousness of the latter part of the movie that did it for me. I was more let down by the fairly textbook proceedings that preceded the grand finale in space; very little of those events was novel or inventive. In fact, I might even go so far as to say the last half hour was somewhat refreshing after having to sit through the by-the-numbers storyline. A few films ago, I wondered to myself, “When will they run out of ideas?” I just hope it hasn’t already happened.

Favorite line: “I think he’s attempting reentry, sir.” – Spoken by Q when visual contact is made with 007’s shuttle, and they all get a good view of Bond and Goodhead making zero gravity love.

Favorite moment: How do I choose just one? Perhaps the pigeon doing a double take at Bond’s gondola-hovercraft; or Jaws’s first encounter with his pigtailed soul mate; or the swordfight in the glass shop (that must have been fun to film); or Jaws getting bustled away mid-fight by revelers in Rio, only to throw up his hands as if to say, “What the hell; might as well go along with it!” Precious moments, all.


Other Articles:

Tag Cloud

ESPN DC streaming service Spike Cannes Summer war Comic Book Sundance TV Shondaland cancelled E3 politics Nominations ghosts Stephen King 2017 OneApp GoT batman PaleyFest Acorn TV Fall TV Country versus Red Carpet See It Skip It doctor who strong female leads Musical screenings TLC Holiday docudrama political drama Amazon Studios Spectrum Originals Chernobyl independent Avengers period drama cars Women's History Month ratings Reality CW Seed justice league CNN Premiere Dates Film Universal Calendar facebook discovery Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt A24 Mystery BBC America social media singing competition comic Grammys cooking Television Academy Disney Plus X-Men CMT GIFs The Arrangement finale Sneak Peek ITV Nickelodeon OWN based on movie YouTube Winter TV Winners Dark Horse Comics AMC technology award winner transformers hispanic Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Peacock SDCC cops Brie Larson NBC Emmys zombie Spring TV Logo cats Mary poppins free movies robots Amazon CBS All Access Apple TV Plus VICE hist American Society of Cinematographers binge Captain marvel Animation TV Land TV MTV 2015 medical drama Ellie Kemper Podcast spanish language comics Awards First Look TCA 2017 psychological thriller Marvel Studios Tumblr Disney foreign Polls and Games President what to watch Academy Awards BBC Heroines Starz Sony Pictures sports Turner jamie lee curtis Rock Paramount National Geographic boxoffice 45 blockbuster TNT true crime Binge Guide Star Trek USA kids natural history Fox News Certified Fresh 21st Century Fox space Nat Geo 2020 Disney+ Disney Plus Cosplay romance Masterpiece Food Network Watching Series Crunchyroll cinemax San Diego Comic-Con Shudder E! YA game of thrones CBS FOX The CW Character Guide Vudu VH1 talk show south america crime name the review ABC Family IFC Star Wars TCM cults movie spinoff spy thriller Creative Arts Emmys cancelled TV shows Musicals indie 24 frames IFC Films Amazon Prime Video Anna Paquin Writers Guild of America Sci-Fi Holidays 2019 Fantasy joker Black Mirror slashers Baby Yoda Apple TV+ Crackle Adult Swim travel police drama quibi Arrowverse streaming Rocketman Film Festival Mudbound christmas movies Lifetime Comedy Central book Discovery Channel television golden globes tv talk blaxploitation canceled Quiz Horror Superheroes Mary Poppins Returns MCU RT21 casting spider-man Ovation First Reviews Bravo dogs Disney streaming service video Thanksgiving Action Awards Tour Paramount Network Martial Arts Music ABC theme song YouTube Premium Walt Disney Pictures Marvel cancelled television toy story GLAAD Marathons DC Comics Epix miniseries 71st Emmy Awards Ghostbusters Superheroe disaster Biopics zero dark thirty biography WGN Cartoon Network Comedy Elton John zombies Extras Western Marvel Television RT History sitcom Year in Review Pet Sematary The Witch Esquire Amazon Prime rotten movies we love cancelled TV series Photos Trivia Christmas Schedule nature Turner Classic Movies USA Network crime drama Pirates latino Kids & Family supernatural Pop The Walking Dead Sundance aliens Toys Election New York Comic Con Apple El Rey vampires Lifetime Christmas movies LGBT LGBTQ Opinion revenge halloween game show SundanceTV Rom-Com mutant directors TIFF Britbox FX YouTube Red adaptation Sundance Now DC Universe Countdown NYCC Syfy TCA Winter 2020 historical drama festivals green book series mockumentary TCA MSNBC crime thriller Emmy Nominations elevated horror adventure movies children's TV Hulu Trailer Infographic WarnerMedia crossover DGA dragons Tomatazos animated DirecTV Classic Film TBS werewolf APB The Purge Pixar canceled TV shows richard e. Grant Lucasfilm serial killer Drama Box Office Rocky Freeform comiccon PBS Pride Month anime Reality Competition reboot HBO Valentine's Day science fiction 2018 spain 007 documentary 2016 Warner Bros. Showtime romantic comedy Disney Channel dceu teaser Video Games dramedy TV renewals Oscars HBO Max TruTV BET Columbia Pictures SXSW Netflix A&E unscripted Mary Tyler Moore Netflix Christmas movies sag awards witnail Endgame harry potter History Trophy Talk renewed TV shows Best and Worst Mindy Kaling composers anthology Hallmark Christmas movies breaking bad stand-up comedy psycho Family cartoon Comics on TV Lionsgate sequel 20th Century Fox Teen Song of Ice and Fire Super Bowl screen actors guild Interview Set visit thriller Tarantino diversity FXX dc Tubi Hallmark