I really like the James Bond franchise. This is part eleven of a bimonthly, 24-part series of me watching James Bond movies and providing a stream of consciousness style commentary for a given film. I will also rank the movies so stay tuned for that at the bottom of the piece. Following the model for Bond movies was, well, a bit of a blast from the past. Moonraker reacts to the success of space-based movies like Star Wars and puts Bond in space. But the formula feels too familiar: someone stealing a vessel and we end with one team fighting another in a huge space (see Thunderball and You Only Live Twice). The novel was Fleming’s third published in 1955 and is fantastic. Nothing like the movies but well worth being made into a movie. It’s my favorite of the Bond novels.
· I do not like how the music sounds and the dingy looking gun barrel opening.
· Oh this is a model if you ever saw one. Sign of the times.
· So this opening dialog…it feels like these two won some contest to be in a Bond movie and this is what they got to work with. “Just trust the RAF, Sir.” *chuckles*
· One of the most impressive parts of this movie is how closely the space shuttle looks to the real space shuttle. Remember: the space shuttle hadn’t debuted yet so this was a big deal.
· WHY IN THE HELL IS THE SHUTTLE FUELED WHEN ITS BEING TRANSPORTED?!?!!?
· No wonder they were so impressed with the time they were making with that load
· Not a model.
· “A little premature, isn’t it?” is a great one-liner
· So this is some great stunt work here. Sure you can see the parachutes a bit but that’s a real stunt
· PEOPLE: shooting the controls doesn’t mean things will go out of control. It means you won’t be able to read the darn gauges.
· Uhhhh, world class secret agent didn’t know a giant man was on a tiny plane?
· This stunt is pretty freaking awesome. Took so many takes to shoot it all but its all real. Music choices are pretty well done. This stunt feels underrated.
· Jaws is absolutely frightening. He is the baddest of baddies. That he is undercut by being too strong and ultimately flapping his wings like a freakin bird is disappointing. There is humor and then there is camp.
· Landing in a circus…very on the nose.
· “Moonraker” by Shirley Bassey (3rd Bond song)
· This song is really odd. I enjoy this song but it doesn’t feel right for a Bond movie. Once I hear it, it does get me excited to listen from beginning to end.
· Directed by Lewis Gilbert. Also directed You Only Live Twice and The Spy Who Loved Me. My guy had one idea and did it sorta in space, underwater, then really in space. Tsk.
· Q is really acting impatient. ACTING.
· “Most Secret.” That’s an annoyance.
· This may be a stupid question but does the UK have a space agency that was doing manned, space exploration? Like why would the British need to borrow that air craft?
· This dart gun is so bulky and obvious.
· So does Bond have to project out the situation and figure out which darts to load for the circumstance.
· Hugo Drax is a fantastic name for a villain.
· We are still in “California” but we are also in France now. Clearly.
· This is somewhat surprising as a reveal with the focus on Drax’s hands playing the piano in a giant room.
· Lonsdale plays it very passive. I know people do not like it but it works for me. Monotone, deliberate, and direct. Works for me.
· Why is Drax looking to hurt Bond here? What does it help in any way? *sips tea*
· Bond was slow to enter the modern day. You know: a day where a woman can be a doctor. A woman.
· Clowning Bond for losing the space shuttle is not effective.
· Bond, on the other hand, finishing Dr. Goodhead’s sentences is annoying as hell
· Question: why would you make a machine that can go up to 20Gs if that is fatal?
· The line about “never a 70-year-old around” is pretty good
· And if they are out to cause him harm, why make it so obvious where the source of the issue is? Also, were they going to kill him?
· I guess armor piercing were already loaded. No way Bond would be able to stand that soon
· I like the flashback to trigger the wrist watch logic.
· Bond is dressed like a suave burglar
· FORCING KISSES IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!
· This word foreplay is pretty lackluster.
· Looks like the safe cracking technology has evolved much better than expected. I really like that device
· “There you are, you see? You have a heart of gold.” It’s cheesy but sweet
· 18 karat. Is this because she doesn’t have a pure heart of gold or is this a misunderstanding of the fineness system?
· Ok James Bond: Do you need a camera with your listed secret agent number on it?
· Thus far, Bond has been a lousy secret agent and I think that’s why the movie is off to a slow start.
· I LOVE THIS SCENE. So much loaded in this scene
· It’s the charm of Bond to see through the façade, be effective at his job, and get his one-liner off without being over the top. “Did I?…such good sport.” Then walks away.
· Can Drax be any clearer that he is the villain at this point?
· So this part of the scene is quite out of place, like disturbingly so. It’s well shot (except the gym shoes she suddenly has on)
· Corrine being chased by dogs in a suddenly foggy forest, with this music, is like something in a horror movie. No Bond to save her. Just super dark amid this light movie.
· Travel Log Bond now presents: Glass blowing in Venice
· Chekhov’s bowl.
· I’ve never understood that pause when seeing Bond during her tour. Is it recognition or just surprise?
· Stalker Bond is awfully creepy. Dr. Goodhead with a great line about not knowing a good reason why they can’t have drinks but says one will come up.
· I’m disappointed this boat casket wasn’t in Live and Let Die
· They opted to kill Bond with the ol knife throwing routine when a machine gun was available the entire time? Fire them all!
· Smoking Italian guy is not good.
· This movie has a ton of over the top bits here: couple undeterred by their soon to be sinking gondola; gondola hover craft; over the top reactions (wine bottle taking the cake); speed boat leaving guy behind
· Pigeon double take made through editing is one of the worst parts of the franchise.
· Audio lock and keypad is surprisingly accessible
· Yes, that is the melody from Close Encounters of the Third Kind
· Roger Moore’s Bond is forever leaving something out to indicate he has been in a room.
· I love the fact that we are watching Bond figure out what is going on and he doesn’t know and we pretty much don’t know
· I forgot about this scene so Chang popping up legit startled me
· Bond slapper only minimally effective there.
· Who knew throwing a head piece would lead to a world class secret agent to fall through a cabinet?
· This clock room scene is shot beautifully. The movie takes the impact out a bit by showing us the potential payoff.
· The response “convalescing” to “What are you doing here?” is a rare moment when the SAT words section paid off
· Bond, just futzing about, with gadgets and dropping bad witticisms all over the place
· The dialog for this scene is so exhaustingly underwhelming.
· Playing bridge with Drax is a nice reference to the books
· “…and in distinguished company all wearing gas masks.” Just dry as can be but cutting
· Instead of Bond going rogue, he is going “rogue” but M knows. This should be a model for the new Bond movies
· WHO IS DRAX TALKING TO? What service is this that he is updating the mission and getting henchmen replacements?
· Jaws is alive from that fall from the sky. Stunning.
· CONCORD! Still an awesome machine
· How is Bond being surprised by people in seemingly empty rooms?!
· Why is Manuela whispering? I guess that is seductive to some — just hard to hear to me
· Bond Travel Log presents: Carnivale!
· Bond in a tuxedo stands out like a sore thumb
· A giant, slow approaching clown is very frightening
· That this trained killer was easily dissuaded by a group of party goers is baffling. That Bond and Manuela just proceed as normal with the guy in the background is negligent.
· “I don’t know if I trust you either. That’s what makes it more exciting, doesn’t it?” Are they talking to each other or the viewer?
· Why is there a random chain in this vehicle?!
· Moore’s charming Bond is in full effect this movie.
· And apparently Jaws can jump the distance of a long jumper — with complete ease.
· So Jaws meets Dolly and is apparently in love and just, well, doesn’t care about the mission
· WHY DOESN’T DOLLY HAVE BRACES!?!?!
· Bond slapper very effective there. Non-lethal slapper.
· Lots of absurd product placement in this scene
· Well, we are now in a western, I guess. What is this movie?
· Every six months, I think about getting a poncho. This is probably why
· Oh these laser sounds are so strong and they just melt things.
· Bond is awfully sassy this movie with him correcting authority figures and finishing sentences and knowing scientific plant names
· Live and Let Die is calling and wants its movie back. Boat chase!
· Hang gliding from a boat is a truly fantastic invention to offer by Q.
· Oh, I see. Jaws is still to strong for his own good. Just taking a menacing figure and turn him into a total joke.
· Good on Bond to not fall for the bridge trick but less effective to fall for the rock platform bit
· Drax’s henchmen are dressed in the most absurd outfits. The helmets are unbelievable.
· This is such an impressive but odd villain headquarters. The room is angled like a triangle and is full of oddly shaped screens.
· This conference room that descends into the floor is the other reference to the books
· Gadgets galore in this movie
· The background audio mixers had a ton of work to do in the ruins
· The dialog for this movie really does get reduced as they escape into Moonraker 6.
· I hope to avoid being a Moonraker 6 extra.
· Bond in space is going as slowly as Thunderball
· This movie is approximately 20 minutes too long
· The score captures the grandiose nature of the moment
· Referring to space as “the untainted cradle of the heavens” is so beautiful but this speech blows
· “Operation Orchid” is a horrible name for this operation
· Moving slowly to simulate zero gravity — sign of the times
· Shout out to the Vassar fighting program.
· General Gogol is in all red jump suit. Yeesh.
· Some division called the “Space Marines” are waiting on standby just to fly up whenever? And the weather was perfect? What?
· Is that the laser from Goldfinger or The Man with the Golden Gun?
· Jaws has turned and a great character has finished its transition to mediocrity
· This is some world class acting that took place when the station stopped rotating. It’s pretty laughable
· Slow motion, big team battle. Been here, done that. Never with laser noises but this feels very familiar
· Drax does seem to run a very effective operation to continue firing these globes
· Oh Drax, talking a bit too much. So subversive and now it fell apart. Heartbroken indeed.
· Ken Adam did an amazing job with set design and effects
· Jaws/Holly relationship is so unfulfilling and pithy
· A laser that is controlled via a switch and not a trigger is tough to manage
· That Bond misses twice is a really good touch that does legitimately build some suspense.
· “I think he’s attempting reentry.” — Q was so serious in delivering that double entendre
Well that is Moonraker. Space travel had its moment and the Bond movie went, in my opinion, too far to try to fit in. Below are my updated rankings:
1) From Russia With Love
4) The Spy Who Loved Me
5) Live and Let Die
6) The Man with the Golden Gun
7) Dr. No
10) Diamonds Are Forever