Going into the Bond movie, you know what you’re getting. You’ll see lots of action, great one-liners, beautiful girls, crazy super villains, and beautiful locations. The series isn’t about taking on issues or solving the world’s problems. But even knowing that, Moonraker pushes the limits of credibility. The villain hopes to wipe out the world’s population and with a group of “perfect” candidates will repopulate the Earth. Where are these people waiting while the rest of the world is being slaughtered you might ask? In a space city in outer space that Earth’s radar can’t spot.
The plot builds to the showdown on this space city with astronauts shooting lasers at each other. It’s like the end of Thunderball with the underwater shootout with spear guns, except you know, not cool. Made in 1979, Moonraker was most likely trying to capitalize on the Star Wars craze, but it just doesn’t work. The special effects look cheesey no matter how you cut it.
As for the other problems, there are a few biggies with the casting. Bond villains are usually roles that actors have a lot of fun with, think of Telly Savalas, Robert Shaw, Christopher Lee among several others. But Michael Lonsdale as multibillionaire Drax is as bland as they come. The character has no personality as he speaks in monotone throughout. You never know his motivation, and he’s not that evil so you’re never that scared of him or what he’s capable of. The other problem is with the Bond girl. These roles are often just eye candy, but Lois Chiles as Holly Goodhead leaves very little of a memorable impression. I have a feeling they thought of the clever last name and stopped there when dealing with the character.
There’s always something to recommend with Bond movies so I can say Moore is solid here, throwing one-liners left and right while dispatching henchmen. Richard Kiel returns from The Spy Who Loved Me as Jaws, the gigantic killer who provides a worthy adversary for 007. Also, the action is good, including two boat chases, one in Venetian channels in Italy. These Moore Bond movies really seem to love a good boat chase. The other is an exciting fight on air-trams in Rio de Janiero, seen here.
Those minor positives aside, this one was bad almost from start to finish. By the last 45 minutes, I found myself fast-forwarding and even during the climactic action scenes. It wasn’t as bad as Die Another Day, but it was close. I definitely will be steering clear of this one in my future Bond viewings. I can always go play "Aztec" in N64's Goldeneye if I feel the need.