ASSIGNMENT #011: Moonraker (1979)
In 1977 when The Spy Who Loved Me was released, it stated that James Bond would return in For Your Eye Only, which was quickly put aside for a later date thanks to going with Moonraker as their next film. Why? Because a little science fiction film released changed everything. What was that film?
Yes, Star Wars. I guess I picked a good day to watch this film and make this review dated since Disney just bought Lucasfilm and everything it practically own, including Star Wars. Moonraker was made to cash in on the new craze that is space opera action. As much as I love Star Wars, I will blame it for making the second worst film of the franchise. Of course, plot first, then review later.
The Moonraker space shuttle, owned by Drax Industries, is hijacked and it is up for James Bond to go investigate. As he heads via plane to Drax Industries, Jaws appears to attack Bond, but Bond steals a parachute and escapes saving. Jaws, on the other hand, lands on a circus tent and survives because that’s how he rolls. Bond heads to Drax Industries shuttle-manufacturing area to meet Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale), his henchman, Chang (Toshiro Suga) and eventually Dr. Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles). Bond is nearly killed in a centrifuge chamber by G-forces, but escapes. Bond finds blueprints of a glass vial in Venice thanks to Corinne Dufour (Corinne Clery), ends another taking of his life, and Dufour is killed by Drax for failing. Bond catches up with Goodhead, only to engage in a canal chase with Jaws at the helm, and ends with Bond driving a gondola hovercraft, providing one of the stupidest things I’ve seen in my life. Bond learns that the glass vials contain nerve gas and gets in a fight with Chang, kills him, and goes on to find that Drax is moving his operation to Rio de Janerio. Goodhead is revealed to be a CIA agent spying on Drax and this film turns into Spy Who Loved Me 2.0.
They head to Rio for Bond where Jaws, once more, to attack Bond and Goodhead in a cable car and Jaws get screwed over, only to survives because that is still how Jaws rolls. Jaws falls (for some reason) for a young girl named Dolly who saves him. Q informs Bond that the nerve gas is from a rare orchid which Bond goes to find in the Amazon jungle. He engages in yet another chase with Jaws on the Amazon river ending in Jaws giving the most hilarious ‘Oh Crap’ face in the series as head ends down a waterfall. Bond then follows a strange girl which leads him to Drax’s new facility, only to get, you guessed it, caught in a trap. He is a regular April O’Neil at this point. Bond is taken to Drax and see that six Moonraker shuttles, one which Bond and Goodhead steal, headed to a secret space station Drax owns, which is pretty odd consider it would be quite hard to hide a giant space station. Drax reveals his plan to destroy the human race on Earth by launching a deadly toxin throughout as he has taken who he deemed as the perfect men and women on board to create a master race making Drax essentially Space Hitler. Bond uses this to get Jaws and Dolly to go on the good side and it works incredibly well to his advantage as Jaws takes out to of Drax henchmen. As Drax launches the toxin globes to Earth, Bond manages to jam them to destroy them as space marines come an engage in the shameless Star Wars rip off action scene. Bond beats Drax, escapes with Goodhead to Earth thanks to Jaws, and how do you think it ends with old fashioned boning…IN SPAAAACE!
This movie sucked in every since of the word. The action is dull, the set pieces are dull, it is just a dull movie. It was a chore to sit through and I lost interest a good half hour into the film because I just didn’t care. The film was done better in the previous film, The Spy Who Loved Me, as this is essentially the same film with space instead of the ocean, a worst actress playing the female agent, a retread of the same villain type played still by a great actor, but is just done all poorly. I hated this film and was miserable watching it, with the exception of Jaws. Jaws saves this film doing the opposite of what J.W. Pepper in Man with Golden Gun by saving an entire film, but that alone isn’t enough. Sadly, Jaws is out of the film series for good, but not the video game series if you play the classic multiplayer (more on that in GoldenEye).
As theme songs go by Shirley Bassey, this isn’t her best effort, but even her best effort is good enough. It nearly makes up for the film and is gorgeous as hell to listen to.
Moonraker shoots for the moon, but winds up in the sun to burn up due to being the dullest film and second worst film in the franchise, right after Diamonds are Forever.
Assignment Status: 1.75 out of 5
Next time, Bond goes on a mission that takes him into dealing with an old rival and a woman seeking revengence (revenge with a vengence) for the murder of her parents. Time to go back to Earth in an assignment for Bond’s eye only.
Next Mission: For Your Eyes Only