Assigned to investigate the mid-air hijacking of an American
space shuttle, James Bond uncovers an insane plan to wipe
out all human life on earth...
film is often criticised for being too outlandish, as if the
idea of James Bond going into space were just too much to
believe. Actually, it's more of a small step than a giant
leap for the Bond franchise, which had been heading in that
direction with a degree of inevitability. The very first Bond
movie, Dr. No, tied in the American space programme.
In You Only Live Twice, 007 donned a spacesuit, although
he didn't make it as far as the command module. Then Diamonds
are Forever featured the launch of a deadly satellite.
there are good reasons for disliking Moonraker, but
its outer-space setting is not one of them. Visual effects
supervisor Derek Meddings pulls out all the stops to create
illusions that stand up well against the best computer-generated
imagery of today. As the "making of" documentary reveals,
Meddings devised some elegantly simple solutions for achieving
convincing effects, such as pouring salt from a model shuttle
to simulate the craft's vapour trail. He also took more painstaking
measures to superimpose models over space backgrounds without
resorting to more expensive matte techniques (though to be
frank, the strategic absence of stars is apparent in places).
is perhaps most incredible about this film is that the director
(Lewis Gilbert) and co-writer (Christopher Wood) of such a
finely honed and sophisticated movie as The Spy Who Loved
Me could have created a follow-up that is so uneven in
style and tone. Elements that worked in moderation in the
previous movie are blown out of all proportion here. For instance,
in Spy Richard Kiel's Jaws cut a terrifying figure
who also exhibited brief flashes of comic potential. In Moonraker,
however, he becomes a figure of fun who, in between falling
onto circus tents and falling unconvincingly in love, provides
all-too-brief moments of danger. While a boozing tourist's
double take at Bond's latest amazing vehicle is funny, the
double take of a pigeon is not. And couldn't Wood have thought
up a new motive for his villain this time around? Whereas
Stromberg wished to destroy humankind and create a brave new
world under the sea, Drax (Michael Lonsdale) has the radically
different idea of destroying humankind and creating a brave
new world - in space. The film does offer some magic moments
and more than its fair share of classic lines, including most
of Lonsdale's deliciously deadpan delivery as Drax. Unfortunately,
there's usually something lurking just a scene or two away
to make you cringe.
surprisingly, this DVD is relatively low on extra features.
Aside from the usual pair of documentaries, a stills gallery,
and an audio commentary featuring Gilbert, Wood and executive
producer Michael G Wilson (making in-depth observations along
the lines of "Oh, that was good, wasn't it?" "What was?" "Oh,
we've missed it now"), there is only one theatrical trailer.
What, no TV or radio spots? I guess we've just been spoiled
rotten by the previous Bond releases!
exactly "out of this world".