The best thing (or, rather, the good thing) about the movie is the villain. Drax is given the best lines (by far), and Michael Lonsdale's pitch-perfect, smugly deadpan delivery squeezes every drop of juice from them. Like his predecessor, Karl Stromberg (Curt Jurgens, in TSWLM), Drax is a complete megalomaniac, who can't be bought off or swayed from his self-righteous certainty that he's doing the world a favour. He's just a better version of that type than Stromberg, with a more evil plot. Drax is my favourite Bond villain; it's just a shame the movie around him isn't better.
In this PG-rated spy adventure, James Bond (Moore) investigates the mid-air theft of a space shuttle and discovers a plot to commit global genocide.
The only best-forgotten chapter, Moonraker marks the lowest point of both Moore's tenure and the Bond series in general. It remains a horribly calculated attempt for this tiger to change its stripes. Just as it would have been franchise suicide for the producers to turn 007 into a jive-talking hippie in the late '60s to meet with the changing times, it is just as bad an idea to have this iconic character space-walk a mile in Han Solo's shoes. Even if you could toss the Space Shuttle Laser Tag scenes aside (and you can't-just try), the rest of the storyline is strictly standard-issue and redundant spy stuff.
Bottom line: The Empire Strikes Out
Often chastised by Bond aficionados, Moonraker's 1979 release hoped to capture the hearts of the same audience as Star Wars by riding on the latter's mammothly successful coattails. To do this, Director Lewis Gilbert introduces slapstick comedy and quirky characters (ie: Jaw's girlfriend, Dolly, to name but one) with the intention of appealing to an adolescent viewership. Yet all this is acceptable right up to the third act which is when things shift closer to the ridiculous. Still, this 00-Adventure may be zany and more than a little left field, but at the base of it, there's an interesting story, cool sets and exciting action scenes, not to mention one of the franchise's most fantastic opening sequences in a parachute-free midair fistfight. Whoo-whee Nelly!
The 4th and least interesting Roger Moore Bond film was fast tracked after the success of 1977's Star Wars. It's pretty crazy that the day after the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer releases I find out that Moonraker was made early due to capitalize on the success of the first film in the Star Wars franchise. They even had a scene in which an MI6 agent shoots a gun that resembles a stormtrooper's. Which is later shown at its full potential later on as each astronaut have these said guns. Most of the film doesn't take place in space at all, in fact, the opening sequence before the credits is nothing short of magnificent film making. I'm amazed they were able to pull off the stunts and special effects needed to make that plane scene work so well. I immediately thought of Mission Impossible when I saw what they were able to accomplish with what looked like minimal CGI.
Sadly, that's about as good as the film gets. We do however get another go around with a fan favorite villain, Jaws. If it wasn't clear in the first film, Jaws is virtually indestructible. He literally survives anything thrown at him. I'm honestly surprised they didn't drop him out of a spaceship at the end of Moonraker only to show up in For Your Eyes Only. But there comes a point when he's so unrealistic that you're taken out of the film by him. Although, I do like where his character ends up in this film. The villain we really focus on here is named Drax. He doesn't particularly standout at all. In fact, he's overshadowed by his own henchman, Jaws, for a good portion of this film. It's quite puzzling why a guy like Drax who wants to create a perfect race would target someones like Jaws to be one of it's members.
The film comes off as boring and dull which is surprisingly for a plot that includes Bond going to outer space. It's so outrageous of a plot on its own, but there is nothing special at all about its characters, plot, or execution. Lois Chiles' 'Holly Goodhead' seemed to be a rehash of Barbara Bach's Anya, and really a far less interesting or polished character I may add. I love Roger Moore's Bond and I love watching Jaws, but I'm getting tired of those Bond villains and girls that do nothing but spill exposition and give us eye candy respectively. Moonraker contains better special effects, better action, but a far less interesting story and characters. But I will say it was entertaining to watch actors try and exhibit zero gravity by moving in slow motion. So bad it's good.
+Jaws is back and better than ever
+Star Wars nods
-Same old same old villain
-Why Bond in space, why.
-For a different setting, everything plays out exactly the way you'd expect