James Bond... in SPAAAAACE!
Warning: this review does contain a few vague spoilers.
Moonraker is the 11th James Bond movie and stars Roger Moore as 007, Lois Chiles, and Michael Lonsdale.
The 11th movie was supposed to be For Your Eyes Only, as per the post-credits of The Spy Who Loved Me, but this movie jumped in first. Why? Well, you can thank Star Wars for that. No, seriously. They wanted to capitalize on the science-fiction rush so they pushed this one out quickly. Look it up if you don't believe me.
For a movie that was a rushed cash-grab, Moonraker is actually pretty good. Yes, it certainly had its flaws, but it still felt like the action-packed Bond movie we've gotten used to. Plus, everything is better with lasers and space battles.
Okay, maybe the jump in technology was a little steep, but that still didn't make the story any less enjoyable.
My only real gripe would be the sudden drop in the quality of certain female characters. Actually, it's so bad that one in particular couldn't even scream for help when she was being attacked in a crowded alleyway. At least Holly Goodhead (really?) made up for all the others' shortcomings by being strong and intelligent... when the plot required it, anyway. I say that in the nicest way possible, since for most of the movie she was almost useless, at best convenient thanks to her intelligence, then suddenly she was an action hero. Just at bit of conflict, there.
The early reveal of Moonraker's villain was also a little annoying since it spoils any hope of a mystery, but his plan easily makes up for it. His goal could easily be reused in modern science-fiction without it feeling dated, with a few minor technological advances. Plus, he employed our favourite henchman from the last movie!
The return of Jaws was a fantastic idea, as well as his major character development in this movie. It takes real guts to make a silent villain into something more, but they did so perfectly. Sure, some fans aren't thrilled with the direction of his character, but I thought it was brilliant. I know if Jaws does return in the future movies, I want them to reintroduce Dolly, too. Just, for the love of all that is good, don't ruin them! It would be nice to give them larger roles in other movies, though. Two is just not enough.
Even Bond had a bit of a makeover. For once, it actually felt like he a man being hunted, while he hunted himself. He didn't look invincible any more! Really lucky? Sure, but there are certainly signs that his luck and charm are starting to wane. At least it gave him a chance to try out some new looks.
His gadgets were certainly a blast, too. A new, very advanced safe cracker, wrist dart gun, poison pen, super spy camera, laser guns... Sure, he didn't get anything as fancy as a submersible car, but at least he got a boat that works on land! Why does Bond always get the best toys?
Moonraker isn't going to be a movie for everyone, but for fans of the franchise, and for science-fiction fans, this is a fantastic addition to the 007 universe. Just don't expect it to be on par with The Spy Who Loved Me. It's just not that kind of movie.
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