In an attempt to cash in on the space craze following the success of Star Wars, the producers of the Bond movie rushed into production on Moonraker, about the theft of a space shuttle and the plans of evil billionaire Hugo Drax to commit genocide. Richard Kiel returns as super-badguy-sidekick Jaws and Dr. Holly Goodhead, a scientist on loan to Drax from NASA, is Bond’s main lust-interest. We get your typical globe-hopping, from California to Venice and eventually a space station and a big space battle!
Yeah, it’s not as great as it sounds. But we couldn’t talk about Bond and Star Wars without convening our own Jedi Council, so I once again open the floor to all robots who wish to comment:
Citizen-Bot: I’m going to start this off. Seriously, WTF is this? I don’t know what I just watched, but I’m pretty sure it’s terrible.The first 10-15 minutes of this movie were cool-- bordering on great, even. Then it really turned to crap fast.
Swank-mo-tron: I think the opening of it was fantastic, too. That first stunt with Bond jumping out of a plane, sans parachute, and beating a dude for his mid-air was nothing short of fantastic… But then it literally crashes into a circus and we’re given a taste of the clown shoes misery to come.
Also, comparing this to Star Wars is like comparing Zardoz to Goldfinger on the other side of the scale. On no planet does this movie approach Star Wars and the Bond producers should have just left well enough alone. And this should have been Moore’s last.
Citizen-Bot: I’m not sure what I’m more mad at: the insipidness of the villain, Hugo Drax, the stupidity and bordering-on-racism of his sidekick Chang, or the ridiculousness of their plot. Drax is the most boring villain of the series so far. And if Bond couldn’t immediately tell on his first meeting that this guy was behind it all, he’s an idiot. He may as well have twirled his mustache and cackled menacingly. And Chang? Seriously? His name is Chang. Bond sidekicks have bordered on the offensive before, but this is just beyond the pale. And, to boot, he’s entirely ridiculous. Oh, he’s a Chinese guy with a Fu Manchu mustache, and he’s good at karate? After Ninjas in a Volcano in You Only Live Twice and taking on an entire dojo of baddies in Man With the Golden Gun, this is just small potatoes. Oh, and your plan to get rid of Bond is to get him into the space simulator and turn it up past safety limits? Ok, first of all, who has a space training facility where the training equipment has settings that can be turned up to kill you? Second? Lame.
Swank-mo-tron: My favorite part of Drax’s plan was the chase through the Venice canals… Fortunately, for some reason, the gondola Bond is in is gadget equipped and he can speedboat through Venice. For some reason, when I was a little kid I thought James Bond had a superpower, and that it was that he could simply materialize gadgets to suit the situation out of thin air. I forgot why I thought that until I rewatched Moonraker. And no matter how many times I watch this movie, I can never remember that Drax is actually a Bond villain. He’s so boring and forgettable.
Citizen-Bot: And then there’s Jaws. I can’t decide if he is the awesomest badguy ever or the lamest. On the side of awesome, we have the parachute chase at the beginning and the cable car chase. On the stupid side we have. . . pretty much everything else, especially his “dramatic” reformation at the end? I mean, what the hell? Now that he’s found love with that Swiss Miss girl, he’s willing to possibly sacrifice his life to save Bond? Seriously, what the hell?
Swank-mo-tron: It could be worse. The Swiss Miss girl could have been a circus clown or bearded lady. Especially with this era of Bond shepherds and their obsession with the circus.
Citizen-Bot: And we can’t talk Moonraker without the dramatic ending action sequence. If there’s anything this film suffers from it’s “Seen it done before, and better, in previous Bond movies.” Seriously, this space battle with its ridiculous lasers was essentially Thunderball in space instead of underwater. And Thunderball did it better. Same with the cable car scene-- done better in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The effects are terrible, and rather than giving this a sense of epic awesomeness, it was. . . it was just dumb. It would’ve been better if it had been little kids playing with space toys and making laser sounds and explosions. Just film that. It seriously would’ve been better.
Swank-mo-tron: Of all of the Bond films, I think this is the one that begins Roger Moore’s descent from “trying to be half serious Bond” to “outright parody.”
Citizen-Bot: This movie infuriates me the more I think about it. I had gone in with good expectations-- oh, it’s Bond’s answer to Star Wars! It’s in outer space! How awesome will that be? Well, I guess I set the expectations bar too high by wanting it to be at least as good as You Only Live Twice’s space scenes. For a weak villain, a weaker plot, and poor execution, I give this one weak, watered-down martini and a Picard facepalm (because it’s in space, you know.)
Swank-mo-tron: You’re more generous than I. This film is boring and forgettable. The only reason I’d give it half a star is because it gave us the Moonraker laser which is one of my favorite weapons in the Nintendo 64 Goldeneye game. This film is a half a martini that’s been discarded by a drunk and used as an ashtray by a circus clown.
The consensus is facepalm and some portion of a really dirty martini.