Moonraker Reviewed (Part 2) | Podcast #050

Well, well, well we reached 50 episodes of James Bond Radio. What better way to celebrate than for us to conclude our review of that most polarizing of Bond films; Moonraker.

Along with the Roger action we run the usual gauntlet of Bond Trivia, Guess The Music Q, Complete The Lyric, Guess The Quote and the latest round of Bond Celebrity Deathmatch!

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13 Responses

  1. Here’s a trivia question for you, in which Bond film(s) does 007 have the most romantic encounters?. Clue: you don’t have to look very far.

  2. OK, guys, here goes….

    I actually broke the Moonraker out of its as-yet untouched compartment from the 50th anniversary Blu ray set I got for Christmas in 2012, just to give it a second chance. And along with my three sons, no less. And the verdict is…

    …sorry, I just can’t do it. Can’t get over the extreme silliness. Roger is super likable of course– and the fact that he’s such a great person in real life makes him even better. So I’m not hating on Rog, just the material. To be honest, it’s not even the shuttle/laser fight that was the worst, it was the gondola ride through St. Mark’s square, of course, that broke the camel’s back. 007 would climb aboard a shuttle if he had to, and he would pick up a laser pistol if he had to. He wouldn’t sashay across St. Mark’s as if he were the belle of an Easter parade float… Well, that’s my rant.

    On the good side: best opening movie stunt scene in history up to that point and maybe ever – although the skiing stunt in Spy is just as rad; awesome kendo fight; great villain in Drax and one of the best “henchmen” in Jaws (wouldn’t a fan made origin story be cool??); beautiful Bond girls.

    Thanks for all you’re doing for we Bond fans. It’s really incredible. My favorite part of the podcast is the big reveal of the Death Match participants by Chris, when he pulls two great ones and just starts howling… I smile every time!

    Your loyal listener,
    Langford

  3. At the end of Spy it declares James Bond will Return in ‘For your Eyes Only’. With the success of Star Wars EON went with Moonraker. I use to hate this movie so much I followed this succession Spy, skip Moonraker and move onto FYEO. I don’t anymore. I’ve grown to accept it and it slots 22 out of 25 [Including Never Say Never] just above TND & DAD.
    Diamonds has Connery and so I it wins for me. Moonraker’s & Spy are both point by point Roald Dahl’s YOLT.

  4. Great review, guys. I love the review episodes I think for three main reasons. Those being:

    1. There’ll usually be a couple of small moments that I’ve missed on the many times I’ve seen the film. In this case, I never noticed before that when Bond and Chang in their fight in Venice smash one of the wooden crates that you catch a glimpse of one of the globes. Also hadn’t noticed before that Holly has a handful of the villain’s hair when Bond punches him during the ambulance fight.

    2. I’m sure like all JBR listeners I’ve seen the films countless times and so my views about them are fairly entrenched and so these review episodes do at least offer some revisiting of those views. Can’t say I’ve changed my opinion of the film but I have of the character of Goodhead. I’ve always loved the character name and liked the actress but had trouble with the fact that the relationship between Holly and Bond is such a total retread of what they’d done in the previous film with XXX. However now I think perhaps the one-upmanship works better in Moonraker than in Spy… because Lois Chile’s is a better actress than Barbara Bach and so the dialogue sparks more this time and Chiles handles the doubled-edged lines with Roger really well.

    3. I love the way that you dig deep to try to find the logic in the plot holes and the more outlandish moments! I suspect you do so more than the film-makers did during shooting!

    I guess I’m in the majority camp on Moonraker – of the opinion that it’s silly but fun and, thanks largely to Roger, with some charm. I think it’s definitely one in which they played to the pre-teen audience more than before or since, which is probably why it can irk so many people. On the plus side: like all of the Roger films there are a couple of ground-breaking stunts which are great; John Barry’s back and on fantastic form; and the jokes are great and Roger’s the man to deliver them. I just wish they hadn’t taken it to slapstick extremes (such as the guy falling off the speedboat after the Gondola bullshit and Bond hurting his hand by hitting Jaws in the mouth AGAIN!, etc.). Unlike the one true stinker of the film series, I wouldn’t want to assign this movie to oblivion. There’ll always be one day in the year when you’re in a Moonraker mood.

    I stumbled across Christopher Wood’s book called ‘The Spy I Loved’ (basically an autobiography concentrating mainly on his two Bond films) a couple of years ago. In it he says he was never satisfied with how Bond escaped from Jaws at the carnival and in the book he describes how he’d write the scene differently today. I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read the book but it’s interesting at least, sticking to the outlandish tone (and involving superglue!).

  5. First off, what does Drax have against railings? That space station looks downright dangerous and I’d expect a little more from a man hell bent on creating a perfect master race.

    Second, it surprises me that someone hasn’t done a fan edit of Moonraker because it seems to me you could make it a lot better by losing just a handful of minutes.

    Get rid of the gondola ride and the pigeon. Have Bond float up to the shore and cut it right there.

    Get rid of the Americans leaving the space shuttle and the laser battle. Just cut it so the American shuttle docks and they’re on board the space station. At least it minimizes the use of the lasers, which don’t look good. And that said, trim up the scene where Bond meets Q in Brazil to remove the scene of the laser being tested. Show the ‘balls, Q?” and the rest, but not the laser display.
    Cut some of the final scene with Jaws and Dolly. Keep a minor amount of it intact, but it’s just too goofy in its full romanticism.

    Hell, cut a couple of Jaws’ reaction shots when his cable car is about to crash and some/all of his arm flapping in the pre titles when he’s falling into the circus tent. All too goofy.

    Another minor scene that should be removed is Manuela photographing Bond on his way to his hotel. What is the point of that her taking pictures of him? Makes no sense and should be cut.

    I hate that Bond has the deadly vial in his breast pocket while he fights Chang. The film makers should have shown him remove it and put it aside and then retrieve it later.

    I know at one point he removes the vial. I’m not sure but maybe the film could be cut to give the impression that he did put it aside. You wouldn’t even need to see him retrieve it, that would be obvious without being seen.

    Holly Goodhead is a killer character, completely holding her own with Bond and villains alike. None of this “JAMES” screaming a la A View To A Kill.

    You guys are a little too easy on the Bond films, but I get it. You love them dearly. That said, your attitude (Tom in particular) towards Die Another Day is confusing given your ability to forgive virtually anything in the Bond realm.

    1. There is a fanedit – it’s called The Moonraker Plot. Some of the cuts are a bit clumsy in that you can hear the jump in the soundtrack music, so i’m going to fix that at some point when I’ve finished my Diamonds are Forever fanedit.

  6. Moonraker was the first Bond movie I saw at the cinema…and the only one (other than Skyfall) that I went to see multiple times – I must have seen it probably 4 or 5 times in two weeks. It is cheesy and somewhat ridiculous, but when you’re an 8 year old kid, it’s not – it’s an adventure with 007 fighting Jaws in space with laser guns, a hang glider coming out of a boat and spaceships…what’s not to like?!

    Congratulations on reaching 50 podcasts…I’ve only been around for the more recent ones, but well done on keeping that torch lit!

  7. Great review as always guys! I absolutely love the podcast and look forward to the beginning of each week (or every other week back in the day). Wish I could catch the premiere of Spectre with you guys but unfortunately I’m stateside so it’d be a rather expensive movie night(not sure what a trip to London is from Denver these days but I’m sure it cost more than popcorn).

    Anyway, I wanted to add in to your review how underrated Roger’s delivery is of the line, “His name is Jaws, he kills people.” For some reason that line kills me every time I hear it and sticks with me. Every time I watch Moonraker I get excited for the cable car scene if only so I can hear it.

    One other thing I wanted to touch on, when I was a kid I always loved the scene when the gravity is turned off and everyone starts free-floating, and after watching it again for the first time in years, I’m actually still quite impressed with how well it stands up given it was made in 79. Sure the movie is campy, but it’s a very enjoyable campy.

    Cheers guys! Keep up the great work!

  8. I really like the first appx 1h20m of Moonraker. It’s very solid, the plot build-up is strange as I’ve mentioned in my comment on episode #049, but the writing, the images, the characters, Roger’s charm etc all sticks. It’s just the climax that turns into a pastiche.

    It wouldn’t take many changes … Remove the Jaws/Dolly subplot, change the spacewalk-laserwar to a regular knucklebusting raid inside the spacestation and cut it to keep the tension high … and there would be very little to dislike.

    Wow … I’m up to and past Moonraker in your podcasts, having started with the 30 days of SPECTRE series, and then going back to the beginning, enjoying the movies before listening to your reviews, and peeking into some of the side-topic podcasts as they related to the movies, so now I have the 2 FYEO podcasts, a couple of Villains of Bond podcasts, Allies of Bond podcasts and the last 2 bond girls podcasts and the 2015 Boxing Day quiz to go, before I have caught up with you. I should be ready to celebrate Episode #100, when you get there.
    Amazing … I don’t dare calculating how many hours of listening I have done, not to mention at all the enormous amount of hours you lads have put in planning, recording, editing etc.

    So here’s belated congratulations on Episode #50, and a huge Thank You for sharing your enthusiasm and re-kindling my love for Mr. Bond!

  9. Oh … regarding removing the background music, it should be possible using tools like Adobe Audition or the free (Open Source) Audacity software.

    It’s a bit of a fiddle, because you basically need to extract the vocal track(s) for both male and female voices, but it should be possible.

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