Moonraker (1979) Movie Review: James Bond in SPAAAAAACE

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for references to famous Sci-Fi films

Take a Drink: every time Jaws appears

Take a Drink: for goofy puns, or silly animals

Do a Shot: when Bond uses a gadget

Community Review


Movie Review

By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Four Beers) –

British Super-spy James Bond is assigned to investigate the millionaire genius Hugo Drax, whose company is manufacturing the Space Shuttles for the U.S. government.  The latest “Moonraker” shuttle has disappeared, and was possibly stolen.  As Bond investigates, he discovers that Drax has his eyes set to the stars, and plans of world domination/mass genocide.  Moreover, Drax has enlisted an old nemesis of Bond’s: the henchman “Jaws” with a mouth full of metal…

and a face to match...
and a face to match.

A Toast

Director Lewis Gilbert’s third and final Bond film, Moonraker is in many ways the most ridiculously silly entry in the franchise, featuring bad puns, goofy bad guys, ridiculous scenarios, and crowd-pleasing genre co-opting.  In spite of these flaws, the film actually is quite entertaining.  This is the sort of Saturday-afternoon entertainment in which the brain can be switched off.  James Bond fans actually will find much to appreciate as the film features nearly all of the most beloved series tropes, such as an eccentric villain, crazy gadgets, beautiful women, and globe-trotting adventure.

And jumpsuits, so many jumpsuits!
And jumpsuits, so many jumpsuits!

Beer Two

Lewis Gilbert’s Bond films get sillier and sillier from one to the next. When You Only Live Twice is tame by comparison, you know things are about to get weird.  In Moonraker Bond encounters a ninja in Venice, and has a knock-down-drag-out fight with him in a glass museum, just as an excuse to watch things get destroyed. Bond’s Gondola turns into an inexplicable hovercraft for no reason that is ever explained, and as if the extended underwater battle from Thunderball wasn’t enough, now Bond gets to fight bad guys in zero gravity (admittedly the effects work is top-notch for the time).

Beer Three

Bond’s physical superior, and with neck-biting steel teeth that are right out of a horror movie, Jaws is arguably one of the most frightening Bond henchmen of all time. At least that is what he was in The Spy Who Loved Me.  In Moonraker, the filmmakers decided to include a subplot involving Jaws falling in love and turning to the good side.

“Here’s to a clichéd plot twist!”

The producers were cleary attempting to make the film’s appeal spread to younger audiences.  Which would make sense, except that this is a Bond film that also involves a high body count, and one of the more frightening character deaths in Bond history, involving a pack of dogs chasing after one of the Bond Girls, set to stark piano music….

Spoilers: watch at your own risk:

Beer Four

Remember that Hovercraft Gondola I mentioned?  In a frenzy of comedic excess, director Lewis Gilbert (poorly) looped a shot of a pigeon looking up at the camera to give the impression that the pigeon was doing a double-take.

This is endemic of the Roger Moore-era Bond films. Silliness for the sake of silliness. *sigh*


For all its faults, I find myself liking Moonraker anyway.  It’s definitely a flawed movie in many aspects, but maintains the classic Bond charm.


About Oberst von Berauscht

Oberst Von Berauscht once retained the services of a Gypsy to imbue in him the ability to accurately describe the artistic qualities of a film up to seven decimal points. To maintain this unique skill, he must feast on the blood of a virgin every Harvest Moon, or failing that (and he usually does), he can also make a dog do that thing they do where they twist their heads slightly (you know, when they're confused about something) at least a few times a week. I've gotten way off track here... The point is, Oberst is one of the website's founders, so... yeah

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