With 'Quantum of Solace' due to hit our screens soon, we take a daily look back at the 21 official Bond films. Day 11: ‘Moonraker’
Moonraker (1979, Lewis Gilbert)Villain: Hugo DraxAt stake: same as the last oneCandy: Lois Chiles as Holly Godhead
Gizmo: gondola/hovercraft prototypeTheme song: ‘Moonraker’ by Shirley BasseyQuote: ‘May I press you to a cucumber sandwich?’The same team that brought us the superior thrills of ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ here contrive to spluff out the most absurd, slapdash and slapstick Bond of them all with a dispiriting sci-fi farrago that never really gets off the launch pad. Fast-tracked into production in order to cash in on the post-‘Star Wars’ craze for all things space related, Bond finds himself catapulted into orbit by the withered elastic of a story that simply transplants the genocidal groove of his most recent outing from an undersea lair to outer-space lab. The opening minutes set out the stall, with some excellent skydiving stunts immediately undone by a super-goofy sight gag and capped by Shirley Bassey’s limp theme song droning over a ‘will-this-do?’ credit sequence. The rest of John Barry’s score is, to be fair, excellent, as are a bulk of the effects, but the risible laser guns, barmy gondola/ hovercraft hybrid (‘The Bondola’) and an altogether woeful attempt toward an interstellar laugh-a-rama feel about as comfortable as elective bowel surgery.Moore, for his part, is every bit the Dapper Dan – be it in an olive-drab safari suit or dun-yellow trackie – but he’s beginning to look a little creaky in both the action scenes and the amore department. He also appears increasingly bemused by the far-out flips and twists to which his character is subjected by Christopher Wood’s mercilessly stupid script.Like Disney’s ‘The Black Hole’, ‘Moonraker’ shows us how bad science fiction can be when it’s stapled to the flank of a horse of the wrong colour. It’s an undeniably low point in the franchise and is leavened only by Michel Lonsdale’s oleaginous turn as Hugo Drax, a louche villain given to such delicate turns of phrase as ‘Mr Bond, you appear with the tedious inevitability of an unloved season…’
James Bond will return in… ‘For Your Eyes Only’
Author: Adam Lee Davies
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