Bond: Roger Moore
Classic, Cheese, or Crap?: CHEESE
Bond wrestles a huge, fake rubber snake. He gets in a tricked out gondola in Venice that’s part amphibious landing craft. Jaws survives a fall from about 15,000 feet, and a fall from a waterfall from about 150 feet. Bond goes to space. While there, he knocks out the cloaking device on the Villain’s Space Station, and the US responds with a contingent of like, 10 Space Shuttles, each loaded with lasergun equipped spacemarine astronauts, in 3 ½ minutes. In 1976.
Sounds like cheese to me.
Listen. If any of you want to advocate for “Crap” here, I’m not going to stand in your way. At all. Certainly there’s no way to advocate for the movie as being objectively good (“Classic”), so if you don’t enjoy it as cheesetastic, it certainly is pretty crappy. Moonraker is literally god-awful. You may find yourself saying “Oh God, that’s terrible” For fans of cheese, you’ll say it with a smile on your face. For those Bond fans who prefer that Bond films always be serious spy films, this movie is their worst nightmare.
A US Space Shuttle is stolen, and as Bond inquires of the manufacturer, Drax Industries, he’s attacked. He doggedly follows a trail of evidence to locate the missing shuttle and uncover Hugo Drax’s plans, a chase which leads him around the world and eventually into space. Once there, he discovers that Drax intends to wipe out the Earth’s population with toxic gas, and repopulate it with a master race of his choosing.
Unfortunately, aside from one of the greatest PTS (pre title sequence)s in the franchise (Jaws and Bond skydiving), this movie has little to nothing to offer on a straightforward level. The centrifuge sequence? Maybe…
But I have to say. Moonraker is where the concept of “Classic, Cheese, or Crap” began. It struck me that I actually enjoyed watching it, even though I would hope and pray that if a newbie was being introduced to Bond, this wouldn’t be their point of entry. So how could I explain that to people when I was writing it all up? I laugh when Drax is talking … his ultra droll delivery cracks me up. The projection screen technology during the fight atop the cable car sequence is some of the worst in film history. Jaws? When he sees Bond getting away as he’s about to go over the falls? That little look he gives? And then Bond with the snake! Marone!
It’s funny or else its pathetic. So you choose. I mean some of this stuff is borderline intolerable even when you’re rolling with the cheese of it. The Gondola scene bugs me no matter how I look at it. So… MI6 spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a militarily equipped gondola? That could only be used in Venice? And the surprised pigeon just tops the cake. Eesh. And of course, the fact that they turned Jaws “Good” is utterly indefensible. I don’t care what kind of circumstance they built up around it for justification.
But overall, I laugh. I smile, I laugh, I enjoy. I’m not even sure that they didn’t intend it to be that way. I mean, I get the feeling at this point in the Roger Moore run, they were creating these movies with tongue in cheek. You know?