Bond's gone off his rocker ...



Distributed by MGM/UA Home Video

Video - Moonraker

Following his success with The Spy Who Loved Me, director Lewis Gilbert gets his 3rd outing with this space adventure for our British hero James Bond. The plot has 007 "on his last legs" sent to investigate the disappearance of a 'Moonraker' space shuttle. Before the opening titles he is reacquainted with The Spy's Jaws - hiding somewhere on an exec jet ? This leads to Bond free-falling without a parachute ( copied later by Arnie in Eraser ) and pursued mid-air by the big guy. The opening titles has singer Shirley Goldfinger & Diamonds .. Bassey also on a 'Bond Treble' with the least popular of her songs which is used better instrumentally as part of the Mr. Barry's score. This is his least inspiring composition with the re-introduction of his 007 theme during a boat chase and choir-like backings for the trip into space. Enter Q with another new gadget for 007, a wrist bracelet that shoots darts which disappears during the movie & magically reappears for the baddie's finale but allows Moore's Bond to deliver his acceptance speech - "Very novel Q you must get them in the stores for Christmas".

James jets off to California where he finds a French château belonging to our villain Hugo Drax ( Michael Lonsdale ). On meeting our secret agent, Drax joins a long list of "your reputation proceeds you !" - so secret ! He is introduced to Dr. Holly Goodhead - "A Woman ?" Bond notices - who is a fully trained NASA astronaut and later we discover a CIA agent. Goodhead lets 007 try out the centrifugal machine which goes wrong - an updated version of the traction machine in Thunderball. Later he 'beds' his helicopter pilot, Corinne with a "heart of gold" who helps him discover a safe where Bond uses another safe-cracking gadget - an update on the ones used in You Only.. & OHMSS. A shame that the lovely Corinne is "terminated" by Hugo's dogs.

Another visit to Venice ( see end of From Russia .. ) and another excuse for a boat chase, this one in a gondola with amazing speed - it even copies The Man .. and chops another boat in half. When it reaches St Mark's Square, it transforms into a hovercraft and does a lap of honour - very undercover 007 ! Later he enters a laboratory with the aid of Spielberg's Close Encounters where he steals a deadly phial. Despite a glass smashing fight with Hugo's henchman Chang it somehow remains intact - amazing !!Discovering her CIA origins and more stupid gadgets ( a pen & deadly diary ) he 'beds' Goodhead ( Lois Chiles ). Both leave separately for Rio De Janeiro - just think of James' Air-Miles ! After arriving casually dressed, he gets 'acquainted' with local contact Manuela and changes into black suit & tie for a carnival ( !! ) and an inspection of Drax's factory. While waiting Manuela meets up in an alleyway with Jaws but is rescued by Bond.

The following morning, a hot Brazilian day, Bond ( still in suit ? ) goes site-seeing but joins forces with Goodhead only having to fight a 'leaping' Jaws again on a swinging cable car. This ends with a big bang and romance for our steel jawed baddie - get out the chocs - hey who writes this ?

I'll let you watch the rest ( another boat chase and 007 goes into outer space ) but watch out for another appearance by Walter Gotell as General Gogol and Geoffrey Keen as Freddie Gray.

The finale with the rescuing space shuttle ( how many soldiers in one shuttle ? ) and the re-appearing wrist gadget to help dispose of Drax proves, as much as I like space & sci-fi films, it's my least liked Bond adventure with too many stunts and gadgets played out for laughs.

Smile - Moonraker
Boo the baddie ! - Moonraker
DVD - Moonraker

In 2006 MGM Home Entertainment released the James Bond Ultimate Edition 2-Disc DVD set of each of the 20 movies. The format remains the same with disc one having the digitally restored movie and disc two with the extras - Declassified: MI6 Vault, 007 Mission Control, Mission Dossier, Ministry of Propaganda & Image Database. Each menu has a Bond lookalike silhouette, shooting girls, casino chips & cards and gun barrels incorporating photos & music from the movie. A regular feature tucked away in 007 Mission Control with movie snips is a section called Exotic Locations narrated by Maud Octopussy Adams about the filming locations & their history.

Purchased as part of a Roger Moore Ultimate Edition set, each movie comes within smaller disc folders and alas no eight page booklet. For this disc, new audio commentary comes from Sir Roger Moore along with director Lewis Gilbert and cast & crew. Documentaries include looking at the Bond Special Effects team over the years and the usual Inside .. doc narrated by Patrick Macnee. Propaganda section has only one trailer, nothing else. Meanwhile designer Ken Adam's old home movies again show location scouting this time in Rio & Venice. Other short specials include the opening skydiving stunt suggested by Wilson with storyboards and an alternative circus landing for Jaws. Good interview with Broccoli & Moore while filming in Brazil.

So another for the Bond archives.

A woman ? - Moonraker