Moonraker Reviewed | Podcast #049

Wheeeere aaaare you? Why do you hiiiide?

That’s right JBR army, it’s time for us to review that most misunderstood of James Bond films, 1979’s Moonraker.

Until 2002, this film tended to be the butt of many a joke. “Bond in space? Come oooon” and “That’s the crazy one that’s a bit like Star Wars, right?” have been common remarks throughout the years.

So it’s time for Tom & Chris, your intrepid Bond reporters to revisit what was once one of the most controversial among fans and see how it stands up today.

Sit down, strap in and see how many G’s you can take!

Enjoy 🙂

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  • Gert Waterink

    The themes from “Close Encounters Of The Third Kind” and “Magnificent Seven” ;-).

    By the way, I think what sets “Moonraker” apart from other Bond films, is that it really is the most family-friendly, especially kid-friendly, Bond-film. As a young kid this was a favourite of mine. Seeing Jaws in a less cruel, more kid-friendly way was simply awesome. As a kid it reminded me of Roald Dahl’s big friendly giant.

    The score then. An absolute stunner! It’s truly original, and it would have been an Oscar winner if it was used for Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”. The very slow paced score, mixed with very big female choirs makes it sound lush and spacey.

    Also, for that time it really had magnificent special effects. Using falling salt as rocket exhaust still looks bloody marvellous. Big cheer for the late Derek Meddings.

    Sadly, it’s part of the “Big Lair Trilogy”, which only Lewis Gilbert could create. And therefore it’s basically a space remake of “YOLT” and “TSWLM”.

    • Gert, I love that you refer to the three Lewis Bonds as the ‘Big Lair’ Trilogy. Your description makes me want to watch them back to back. For years and years I dissed Moonraker as the one where Bond jumped the shark (or jumped over the moon!). However, I watched it last year and fell in love all over again with its total ‘Phasers-Set-to-Ken-Adam-in-Full-Bonkers Mode’. If this movie didn’t exist, it would be discussed mythically as the great ‘My God! at one time they were going to send Bond into Space’ one. I’d love to see that!’. Well, as we all know, it really does exist – in all its white space-suited glory and I for one am glad.

  • GerardoValero

    Here’s a Bond trivia question that’s easier than it sounds: In which movies does the gunbarrell sequence have Bond wearing a tuxedo? in which ones does he wear a suit and tie?

    • Stephen Wadsworth

      Good question. Certainly suit and tie for Roger’s first two and tux for his last five. Tux I think for both Tim and Pierce. I’ll guess suit and tie for the Bob Simmons and Sean gunbarrels. Daniel suit and no tie?

      • GerardoValero

        Suit and tie, from Dr.No through The Man with the Golden Gun.
        Tuxedo from The Spy who loved me through Die another Day.
        Casual in Casino Royale.
        Suit and tie again in Quantum and Skyfall..

  • The cucumber sandwich is one thing Drax borrows from The Importance of Being Earnest. Here’s a line from The Importance of Being Earnest that is very similar to something Drax says: “To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose both looks like carelessness.”

  • Billy Bumbags

    The RAF were just giving the shuttle a lift “We’ll get you there on time, just trust the RAF!”

  • olufsphere

    Writing this while listening to the podcast, so I’m hoping you’re not discussing this in my headset in a few minutes. 😀

    There’s one thing I don’t get about Moonraker:

    Why steal the shuttle in the beginning at all??
    Drax has 6 shuttles. Surely his plan isn’t make or break on that one shuttle, which – if I remember correctly – was on it’s way back to him anyway.

    Why then? All he manages to do, is attract attention to himself and his devious plan. So if this is to make ANY sense, it wasn’t stolen by Drax, which basically leaves the plot of the film unresolved.

    Have I missed something, or did they lose it completely?

    That said, you can’t steal a Shuttle off the back of a 747, because …
    a) It would not be fueled during transport.
    b) Even if it WAS fueled under transport, the internal fuel system only powers the smalle control rockets. The 3 main engines are fueled directly from the large fueltank attached to the shuttle during launch. For the same reason, the shuttle works as a glider only, when returning to earth.
    3) The glide numbers – or Lift/Drag ratio – of the shuttle is close to 1, because it is designed to bleed huge amounts of speed during the decent (from over 15.000mph to 250mph at landing), so at normal 747 speeds, the shuttle would probably just fall out of the sky.

    But what the hell … Bond beats physics! 🙂