Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ten Statements About....MOONRAKER (1979)

"I feel like I should apologize for your name, Holly..."
“At least I shall have the pleasure of putting you out of my misery. Desolate, Mr. Bond?”
“Heartbroken Mr. Drax."

1) You know, Bond films have recycled plots in the past--but never have they done the same exact film twice in a row.

2) While I understand Michael Lonsdale’s choice in underplaying Hugo Drax as a counterpoint to the more vigorous Curt Jergens’ Stromborg, his subtle performance tends to contribute to the film’s lackadasial pace.  Which is kind of a pity, because he has some very good lines that aren’t given the impact they could have had.

3) It’s dismaying to see Richard Keil’s Jaws--who is treated as a serious threat throughout The Spy Who Loved Me--being frequently treated as a goof in this film.  From his first appearance falling through a circus big top to the running gag of his romance with a tiny pigtailed blonde, Jaws’ fearsomeness is blunted.  And his face turn is...kinda sketchy.  In short, it’s a disappointing treatment for the only henchman to appear twice in the series.
"For the last time, I'm not asleep!
I'm being subtle!"

4) In retrospective, Lois Chiles is very good as Dr. Holly Goodhead.  There is a certain charm to her straightforwardness and she does have a pretty good chemistry with Moore.  Plus she is able to handle some of the expositional heavy lifting a scientist character should.  I have to assume her lack of favor in the realm of Bond girls has to come from appearing in this movie...and having the single most embarrassing name in the series history.

5) Here is where the comedy goes out of control in the Moore era.  Not only do we get Moore’s overobvious punning, we get endless sight gags, double takes (especially during that awful gondola chase) and goofy musical cues that ape Close Encounters, The Magnificent Seven and 2001.  Every time one of these comic moments happen, the film stops so we can appreciate the humor...except for the fact they all fall with a thud.

6) Even for an unrealistic spy series like this, the presence of laser gun wielding Space Marines propelling themselves on their own power through space to invade Drax’s spaceborn HQ officially breaks the suspension of disbelief.

7) One of the reasons I think this film ultimately fails as a Bond film is how, once Bond arrives in Rio the pace slows to an absolute crawl until the end.  Even the climax is kept from moving forward thanks to the endless model shots of Drax’s space station.  And speaking of these model shots....

8) It is obvious that this is a film that wants to be science fiction shot by a crew that doesn’t understand how to shoot science fiction.  The space element actually interferes with the natural flow and feel of a Bond film, and makes the film seem less than what it could be.
"So what was that you were saying about me being a big
goof before?"

9)  This is probably the last Bond film to feature great stylized sets.  As bad as the space elements are, the actual space station set is excellent--and it pales next to the absolutely gorgeous headquarters hidden in a Mayan temple.  It’s no surprise that this is Ken Adams’ last Bond film.

10) I have always contended that any Moore Bond film that ventures into California suffers....and while this one’s Drax Estate sequence does have its charm, the other fiddly bits around the edges help sink this movie.

Overall...a terrible, terrible film that is representative of the bottom of the barrel of the franchise--although, as we’ll find out, it actually isn’t as bad as From A View To A Kill and Die Another Day.

No comments:

Post a Comment