The eleventh Bond movie sees our hero take to outer space in an action-packed 007 adventure that also takes him to Venice and Rio de Janeiro.
When Bond investigates the hijacking of an American space shuttle, he and beautiful CIA agent Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles) are soon locked in a life-or-death struggle against Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale), a power-mad industrialist whose evil scheme involves the destruction of all human life on earth and the breeding of a super-race in space who will come back and repopulate the Earth at a later date.
Jaws – the main henchman from The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) – returns in Moonraker, but without either the menace or the light comedy that he contributed to the previous Bond excursion.
Meanwhile, Holly Goodhead is arguably one of the least charismatic and appealing Bond women of all time, despite being a CIA agent, scientist and fully trained astronaut.
Before Goldeneye (1995), Moonraker was the highest grossing Bond film, undoubtedly helped by its release at a time when blockbuster sci-fi was all the rage. Star Wars (1977) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) – a film referenced directly in Moonraker in a throwaway gag – had both been released two years previously.
Three major Parisian studios – Boulogne, Billancourt and Epinay – were used for the production. Special effects were photographed at Pinewood Studios on the giant 007 sound stage built originally for the tanker/submarine pen interiors in The Spy Who Loved Me.
Moonraker also stands as the most effects-intensive Bond film. but also as possibly the silliest and least coherent of all the Bonds. While each of the films is unrealistic (that’s one of the main attractions, after all), Moonraker goes so far over the top that it becomes absolutely ludicrous.
Oh . . . and viz a viz the laser fight in space . . . Even my seven-year-old nephew knows that there is no sound in space! It’s a vacuum (a bit like this film).
Dr Holly Goodhead