Moonraker is available in: English [Original] on Netflix USA
After Drax Industries' Moonraker space shuttle is hijacked, secret agent James Bond is assigned to investigate, traveling to California to meet the company's owner, the mysterious Hugo Drax. With the help of scientist Dr. Holly Goodhead, Bond soon uncovers Drax's nefarious plans for humanity, all the while fending off an old nemesis, Jaws, and venturing to Venice, Rio, the Amazon...and outer space.
Agent 007 blasts into orbit in this action-packed thriller as he investigates the hijacking of an American space shuttle by a power-mad industrialist.
Moonraker is a joy from beginning to end. Huge spectacle, stunning locations, lashings of humour, superb stunts, sexy ladies, a despicable and memorable villain, great special effects and of course, the legendary Sir Roger Moore as James Bond.
Elements of You Only Live Twice – spaceships swallowing spaceships – are expanded upon here and Moonraker fits right in with the classic silliness that the Bond franchise has always embraced.
It’s a shame that the 2006 reboot threw it all away and chose to run away from being Bond films.
I steered clear of “Moonraker” (1979) for years because critics almost unanimously said it was awful. So when I finally sat down to view it I fully expecting a dog. Wrong! “Moonraker” is thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end and is one of the best of Roger Moore’s 7-movie stint in the series.
The plot revolves around 007 investigating Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale) after a space shuttle on loan to the British is stolen. James slowly discovers that Drax has a mad scheme to recreate a race of perfect human specimens. The giant Jaws (Richard Kiel) returns from “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977) as Bond teams-up with the beautiful Dr. Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles). The story climaxes with a spectacular battle at Drax’ space station.
Everything in “Moonraker” is over the top: The locations, the action, the villainous scheme, the humor, the seriousness, Jaws and the space finale. This works fabulously because Bond films were never meant to be deep, thought-provoking pieces of art, but rather grandiose pieces of thrilling eye candy with an amusing sense of the absurd.
One thing that I demand in any Bond adventure is great globe-trotting and spectacular locations. This is one of the reasons I consider “License to Kill” (1989) weak, but “Moonraker” delivers in spades! The film starts out with breathtaking scenes high above Napa Valley, California, as Bond engages in a thrilling sky-diving duel. From there we get France, Venice, Rio De Janeiro, the jungles of Brazil & Guatemala and the spectacular Iguazu Waterfalls, Argentina.
Lois Chiles is one of the more beautiful and competent Bond “girls.” Of course her name, “Dr. Goodhead,” is ludicrous in the tradition of Pussy Galore and Chew Mee. Meanwhile Drax is a formidable, serious nemesis contrasted by the cartoonish villainy of Jaws.
The film works on every level in entertaining the viewer but, depending on one’s tastes, some people may have a cavil or two. For instance, many criticize the goofy humor associated with Jaws. The good thing is that it’s actually funny and you’ll likely bust out laughing a number of times. Regardless, the picture remains an essentially serious story, albeit totally outlandish, which is in keeping with the series, e.g. “Goldfinger” (1964) and “You Only Live Twice” (1967).
Others object to the notion of Bond in space. I don’t get this beef. He’s been all over the earth and in every ocean, why not an adventure in space for something new? Some have criticized that “Moonraker” was trying to go “Star Wars,” but this makes no sense; “Moonraker” has nothing in common with “Star Wars.” It would be like arguing that “Thunderball” (1965) ripped-off “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” because it has underwater scenes.
Something else I’d like to point out: One of the reasons I steered clear from “Moonraker” for so many years was because I thought most of the film took place in space, and space is not something I seek in a Bond flick, but this isn’t the case. Bond doesn’t go up in space until over an hour & a half into the story! Only like 23% of the film takes place in space. More importantly, the climax is actually interesting and exciting unlike the ending of, say, “The Spy Who Loved Me,” which isn’t as compelling.
Roger Moore has done more Bond films than any other actor (which is only matched by Sean Connery IF you include his unofficial 1983 entry “Never Say Never Again”). Roger started the role in 1972 when he was 44 and ended in 1985 at the age of 57 (!!). Regardless of his age he always looked great and perfectly convincing as 007; yes, even in “A View to a Kill” (1985). His movies contained more humor and action than the slightly-more-serious early 60’s Bond films, which were fantastical and absurd in their own way (e.g. Oddball’s killer hat, etc.), but Moore’s stint isn’t so different when you consider Connery’s later films, like “You Only Live Twice” and, especially, “Diamonds are Forever” (1971).
Many prefer the Connery era, and I certainly appreciate those films, but I find the Moore period to be the most consistently entertaining in the series. Every one of his films was successful at the box office and “Moonraker” was the most successful Bond film until Pierce Brosnan’s “Goldeneye” in 1995. There’s not a dud in the bunch. They’re colorful, vibrant and full of pizazz.
The film runs 2 hours, 6 minutes.