Monday, September 26, 2016

Bond Watch: Moonraker (1979)



I hadn't watched Moonraker (1979) since middle-school.  My recollection of watching the movie included three things:  the opening parachuting sequence (which is the best part of the movie), it had Jaws running around in it, and the ending feeling like it had been imported from a completely different franchise.

Straight up - I'm not sure that this is literally the worst Bond movie - finishing the series will tell me that.  But this is my personal least favorite Bond movie as of this writing and has been since I saw it the one time previously.

All this is frustrating coming right on the heels of one of my favorite Bond movies (The Spy Who Loved Me), especially as they abandon the tone of danger and adventure with light comedy that movie employed and turn this movie, essentially, into a Roadrunner cartoon with Jaws in the role of Wile E. Coyote.  It's kind of mystifying.


It's a strange movie.  The very beginning doesn't really make sense - the hi-jacking of a space shuttle - when it seems the villain who hi-jacked it had perfectly reasonable access to building his own space shuttles.  I mean, I guess he needed another one, but he had six.  Seems he could sell his house and have a few more.

The search for the shuttle leads to California and then to Venice and then to Rio de Janiero.

I remember having a particular concern watching Bond movies as a kid that my short attention span was preventing me from keeping up with these films as Bond hopped from location to location, and that concern really bubbled to the surface with Moonraker.  And re-watching the movie, I can see how that happened.  The movie barely holds together as to why Bond is doing anything at any given moment, from "why are these women who literally just met him agreeing to sex?" to "now, why is he on a speedboat on the Amazon?  A flower?"

And, of course, the "we gotta have a Star War!" ending to the whole thing.  Yeah, yeah, I DO appreciate that it's a nice celebration of the early shuttle era, but it's also remarkably stupid.

It doesn't even really have any memorable Bond women.  I mean, you can't forget a name like Holly Goodhead, but she's not the best character - which is a real shame because she could have been more compelling than our foil in The Spy Who Loved Me.

I dunno.  I don't even want to write about it anymore.  Just looking forward to For Your Eyes Only, which I remember being really good.  At least it has a great theme song.  Moonraker doesn't even have that.

5 comments:

RHPT said...

I think Moonraker was the first Bond movie I watched. I remember thinking that it was so cool because of the spaceship (shuttle?) and Jaws. I also recall that my grandmother wouldn't let me watch a movie called "Octopussy".

Ryan Steans said...

Dude, yes. I remember a friend who would just say "Octopussy" and then start laughing. He would do it over and over, and to this day, it's kind of taken the simple joy of the name of that movie away from me.

But one thing I was absolutely sure of was that I knew better than to ask to see "Octopussy".

My first was, I think, the one I'm set to watch next, which I remember very, very fondly.

JAL said...

Good book, but what a stinker of a movie. For Your Eyes Only is probably my fave Moore Bond film.

Jake Shore said...

I remember when I was a kid Octopussy was making the rounds on HBO, back when they would run the same five movies over and over again for a month, and asking my Uncle (in the middle of a birthday party) if he had seen the movie.

My Uncle: Octa-WHAT?!

Me: You know.

My uncle: Octa-What?

(repeat five times)

Me: (murmuring) pussy...

My uncle: OCTA-WHAT?!!!

(My aunt is now yelling at him to stop, but he's keeps at it until it gets me too blurt out...)

Me: PUSSY!

Jake Shore said...

You're right, of course. This is a terrible movie, but I count at least five Bond movies worse than this one (Live and Let Die, License to Kill, A View to a Kill, The World is Not Enough and Die Another Day).

On the plus side, Hugo Drax isn't a bad as Bond villains go. The opening sequence is good until JAWS tries to flap his arms like wings. And Holly Goodhead is on the Mt. Rushmore of great Bond girl names.