Juck’s Thoughts on Moonraker

I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most recent. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. The franchise has been around for over 50 years for a reason. Let’s get started!

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I just finished watching Star W-…I mean Moonraker. It is easy to see why this film gets crap. Heck, Bond is in space and there are laser guns. But I won’t fall into the pitfall of unsubstantiated hate. Truthfully, Moonraker was a joy to watch.

Moonraker is the first modern Bond film, and it’s not because it saw Bond in space. Instead, it was the smooth pacing of the film that gave it a modern edge. In the previous 007 films, there was plenty of action to be had, with scuffles and chases graciously spread throughout and massive action pieces to mark the endings. But Moonraker was paced in such a way that the action felt…familiar. Modern.

Moonraker offered some of the most thrilling action sequences to date, from the airplane jump to the G-force escape to the ski-lift scene to the sword fight in the glass room.

The film was bright and gorgeous-looking and the sets were grand. Some of the effects, like zero-gravity, did not look quite as modern as many of the other effects, but it was believable enough where it did not detract from the cohesion of the film. Moonraker was an expensive film to make, and it shows. Vast sets and luxurious settings are proof enough.

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I am pleased to note that there was an abundance of gadgets in this movie. Bond utilizes a dart-watch, a high-tech lock-pick, and a mini-camera. There was also a helping of intriguing CIA gadgets, which most notably included flamethrower perfume. There were vehicle gadgets as well, from mines to torpedoes to a para-sail dispenser. Yes, a para-sail dispenser. A coffin laden with knives also makes an appearance.

There was a true spy feeling to the film that was established by the gadgets and further advanced by the MI6 presence and overall grand scope.

In this film, Jaws won me over. He was funny. He had personality. I finally get him. Just as was the case with Sheriff Pepper, I was puzzled by the character during his first appearance, but he grew on me during his second time around. Although, it is worth noting that Jaws’ scuffles with Bond are never captured clearly. Maybe this is because of the height difference.

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Jaws’ girlfriend, while I understand why she is there, is ridiculous. That’s all I want to say about her.

Moonraker offers a blend of humor that did not always hit, but I didn’t feel that it substantially detracted from the film. Yes, the double-taking pigeon is mindbogglingly unbelievable, but it didn’t override the successful execution of other aspects of the film.

Tossed in with the fantastic action scenes, the laser space battle at the end was completely unnecessary. I understand the desire to end the movie with a grand action piece, but the space battle really did come across as being shoehorned in.

Moonraker ends with a golden line delivered by Q regarding reentry. The movie could not have ended with a better piece of dialogue.

In conclusion, Moonraker is a milestone in the Bond franchise. Its pace gave it a modern feeling, its gadgets gave it a definitive spy feeling, and the beautiful sets gave it a grand feeling. Moonraker was a blast that, I believe, will usher in a new era of Bond.

~Juck

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