I want to talk about Moonraker. Not the book. The movie. The criminally underrated movie.
On most lists ranking Bond movies, lists by the way that are all shockingly wrong, Moonraker is usually toward the bottom, sometimes below such objectively awful entries like Diamonds Are Forever and Never Say Never Again.
I just watched Moonraker for the first time, have, in fact, been avoiding it due to the reputation it has an I’m livid that I waited this long to watch it.
Full disclosure: Roger Moore is my favorite James Bond. He’s less of a callous bastard than Sean Connery’s Bond and much more wry and playful at his job than any other Bond. He might also be the only Bond I’ve seen who turns down a overly amorous woman (Lynn-Holly Johnson‘s Bibi in For Your Eyes Only).
Back to Moonkraker.
This a Bond film that kicks off with a space shuttle being stolen midflight and then a spectacular sky diving sequence where Jaws and James Bond battle it out in mid-air as they hurtle toward the ground, a sequence that took 88 jumps to capture on film.
This is a Bond film that, once again, has Bond matched up with an equally competent and equally wry secret agent as his love interest (Lois Chiles as Doctor Holly Goodhead). Note: The novel has Bond working with an agent from M5 who is infiltrating Hugo Drax’s installation. So, you know, basically the same thing.
This is a Bond film that ends with a laser battle in space and the villain has a truly derange plot that he lifted straight from a story in Doctor Who.
This is also a Bond film where Bond shoots a gun once and that’s it and yet he still manages to stop the bad guy and avoids being murdered by Jaws.
Oh yeah, Jaws is in this. I can take him or leave him.
The point is, this is a Bond film that has all the moments and pieces that you need for a truly great Bond flick, especially if you’re a fan of the best era of Bond movies (The Roger Moore Era). So what you should do is what I should have done and ignore everything that people have told you about Moonraker and just go watch it.
This experience has convinced me that I need to come up with a definitive rating scale for the Bond films, especially given the number of prfoundly wrong lists I saw while researching this entry.
Also, check out my last Bond blog entry, my endorsement of the many Bonds theory.