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) 60%

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

talk show indie Turner black asian-american Netflix Cosplay 2019 unscripted PlayStation Academy Awards The Witch Disney obituary documentaries teaser 2017 james bond Dark Horse Comics 2016 2015 OneApp cinemax football cars Apple franchise Alien historical drama marvel comics Sundance Now suspense Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt name the review natural history breaking bad satire cancelled TV shows TCA Awards slasher hollywood Rocketman royal family adaptation remakes game show Comedy Central justice league Sci-Fi toy story romance Country Nominations Stephen King french Pirates superman Box Office Extras cops monster movies new star wars movies FX Action 2020 news space TCA 2017 The Walt Disney Company ghosts Peacock Drama social media Ovation australia miniseries south america new zealand aapi Fox News book adaptation spider-man police drama Family international dramedy MCU The Walking Dead Hallmark Christmas movies versus Sundance TV Captain marvel Countdown Spring TV worst movies superhero Paramount Television Critics Association japanese television YA Lifetime Christmas movies hidden camera award winner Shondaland Valentine's Day Mindy Kaling Television Academy Funimation ITV Winter TV Black Mirror SDCC book A&E Classic Film Disney Channel crime drama mission: impossible Hallmark gangster American Society of Cinematographers green book animated 24 frames basketball spanish romantic comedy 90s all-time universal monsters 21st Century Fox scorecard 99% venice festivals OWN comedies GLAAD parents Hulu Brie Larson YouTube Epix IFC Films Lifetime movie heist movie Comic Book criterion sequels Ellie Kemper quibi Apple TV Plus theme song Pop king arthur witnail comiccon Mystery Lucasfilm child's play dc nfl Musicals Pet Sematary kong kids blockbuster Interview wonder woman concert Amazon Studios 45 twilight Reality Competition The Academy cooking serial killer 2018 DGA DC streaming service Disney streaming service stand-up comedy travel casting vampires TruTV Film films facebook 007 comic book movies FOX Set visit Showtime canceled game of thrones FX on Hulu Exclusive Video DC Comics fast and furious rotten movies we love Schedule CMT deadpool chucky Wes Anderson Music Britbox Pacific Islander transformers Bravo hist First Look sitcom 20th Century Fox series anime Acorn TV streaming movies elevated horror slashers movies blaxploitation SundanceTV 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Travel Channel screenings Creative Arts Emmys medical drama Arrowverse Spike foreign war 1990s action-comedy period drama live action Kids & Family HBO Max Discovery Channel E! Fall TV trailers video canceled TV shows CW Seed singing competition Elton John prank Image Comics Esquire laika psychological thriller psycho Black History Month 2021 rt archives History kaiju BAFTA joker posters ABC Signature MTV scary movies indiana jones Logo robots Summer Superheroes BBC One telelvision Chilling Adventures of Sabrina pirates of the caribbean TNT Premiere Dates rt labs critics edition classics TV renewals YouTube Premium Quiz Winners dceu Lionsgate godzilla popular Adult Swim toronto cats halloween tv cartoon Marvel Studios National Geographic President CBS All Access Amazon Prime Food Network Podcast NBC children's TV PaleyFest LGBTQ jamie lee curtis high school Comedy Watching Series BET cancelled Crackle Biopics strong female leads Women's History Month zombie TV One critic resources Chernobyl GIFs Toys New York Comic Con Sundance dragons Cannes Spectrum Originals debate finale Grammys Legendary disaster NBA Trivia ratings Election Film Festival legend based on movie cults Character Guide Fox Searchlight Superheroe Super Bowl RT21 mcc boxing Video Games Nickelodeon Infographic crossover spanish language TCA Winter 2020 binge Musical YouTube Red SXSW Awards Tour Sneak Peek Marathons VICE new york Emmy Nominations Mudbound thriller streaming comic books Crunchyroll doctor who Ghostbusters TV movies Horror Mary poppins Trophy Talk NYCC BBC America biopic TLC Disney+ Disney Plus ABC Family Tumblr TCM GoT boxoffice diversity tv talk Teen Opinion X-Men renewed TV shows latino APB discovery politics Pride Month adventure rom-coms Tokyo Olympics young adult VOD Paramount Plus cancelled TV series TCA best comic zero dark thirty rt labs christmas movies Nat Geo independent Binge Guide CNN crime zombies batman 93rd Oscars stop motion know your critic revenge spinoff Star Trek free movies worst USA Avengers lord of the rings ViacomCBS Marvel marvel cinematic universe festival anthology japan political drama blockbusters archives golden globe awards USA Network 72 Emmy Awards Freeform Western cancelled television docuseries Rom-Com saw a nightmare on elm street Netflix Christmas movies docudrama Emmys Warner Bros. MSNBC Star Wars TBS biography nbcuniversal Marvel Television king kong Sony Pictures Writers Guild of America IFC Amazon Prime Video razzies Masterpiece HBO Go Cartoon Network Hear Us Out CBS target harry potter nature Starz directors Fantasy Heroines 4/20 HBO Pixar Martial Arts science fiction AMC Red Carpet Thanksgiving Pop TV women Certified Fresh richard e. Grant Calendar documentary aliens halloween screen actors guild 71st Emmy Awards A24 die hard sag awards Vudu ESPN DirecTV Tubi Mary Tyler Moore ID First Reviews dexter The CW dogs scene in color dark comics FXX Anna Paquin olympics LGBT Apple TV+ BET Awards BBC rotten Christmas Animation RT History Baby Yoda The Arrangement crime thriller Comics on TV Tomatazos mockumentary Disney Plus emmy awards reboot Comic-Con@Home 2021 TV Walt Disney Pictures Rock mutant Paramount Network italian Holidays sports sequel stoner feel good composers Trailer video on demand hispanic comic book movie TIFF spain golden globes what to watch supernatural jurassic park Year in Review See It Skip It Syfy true crime Oscars El Rey Universal Holiday WGN Awards Mary Poppins Returns 73rd Emmy Awards Song of Ice and Fire DC Universe Amazon Tarantino Shudder Reality WarnerMedia adenture reviews fresh Rocky spy thriller PBS Broadway technology VH1 San Diego Comic-Con hispanic heritage month Turner Classic Movies The Purge werewolf Columbia Pictures ABC TV Land Best and Worst critics Endgame Photos Polls and Games E3