British Rocket ship (Moonraker) goes missing and Bond is sent in to investigate. Bond starts by investigating Hugo Drax. Drax at the helm of construction of the Moonraker lives in California on a huge estate where he trains astronauts, builds rocket ships and has all the facilities that NASA would be jealous of. Bond finds more than he bargained for with Hugo Drax leading him all over the world, with more one on one combats with his old foe Jaws and eventually Bond even finds himself in space.
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After the success of Star Wars the Bond producers decided to scrap there next film For Your Eyes Only for the time being and make Moonraker. First off there is a massive laser fight in the end in a space station. It is pretty ridiculous. Moonraker has all the plot mechanics you would expect in a Bond film, a megalomaniac (Hugo Drax), off the wall death defying situations and a standard Bond girl. The audience gets what it is used too and wants. In that regard Moonraker is a success. It did everything the producers wanted it to and it became the highest grossing Bond film ever until it was beaten by Goldeneye a decade and a half later.
On the other hand it is revered by critics as one of the worst Bond films for being too over the top. I would have to argue that Bond is over the top, what makes this movie sink for me is how it sells out and it is extremely noticeable. The product placement in this film is so obvious it makes you kind of ill. As Bond rolls down a hill on a stretcher in Rio De Janeiro he passes about five or more in your face billboards that you forget the silly action scene that is going on at the moment. The fact Bond goes to space and has a Star Wars type battle just screams of unoriginal production and story ideas and the worst of all we don't get to see Bond and Jaws fight to the end, instead Jaws decides to become good. This is a man who ate a shark for Gods sake in the last movie. Jaws is a henchman we love to be scared for. The 360 turn to the good side is really a downer. Granted the director did it for the kids who wrote him and wanted Jaws to be good, but it does not fly.
The movie has some great action scenes though with a great boat chase with Bond's boat supporting all of Q's gadgets. The opening sky jumping sequence is the best and most exciting stunt in the film and one of the best opening sequences in any Bond film. It was so exciting that the rest of the movie doesn't quite live up to it unfortunately.
If you like sci-fi and James Bond then this is your bag, if you think the two should never be combined then this is not for you. It is entertaining in the safe Roger Moore James Bond way and it is fun to laugh at most of the unintentional humor and the intentional humorous lines that spew out of Moore's mouth, and as I mentioned in an early review his kissing techniques are always fun to show your girlfriend just to see her facial expressions. Most of the time women are creeped out or just plain grossed out, but that doesn't stop me from respecting the man. Rest in Peace Bernard Lee, you played an amazing M.