Moonraker

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Hoo boy, here we are: at what I have been warned is possibly the worst Bond movie ever made. Considering the yo-yo dynamics of the Bond franchise, I guess I should be expecting this one to be a stinker since the last one was so excellent. So I take a deep breath, say a little prayer, and push play on Moonraker.

We open on a jumbo jet giving the space shuttle a piggyback ride, which is something that actually used to happen back when we had a viable space program. But dun-dun-dun! Sinister music’s on the soundtrack, and we have a couple of characters from Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels crawling out of some storage bins and monkeying with the equipment. They climb into the space shuttle and initiate blast-off, which fries the plane. and they zoom off.

CUT TO M, who’s shocked to hear on the telephone that the shuttle (AKA Moonraker, because we’re getting right to the title drop immediately in case of mass walk-outs in the theater) has disappeared. M gets up and goes to Moneypenny, asking if Bond is back from his mission in Africa. Moneypenny says, “He’s on his last leg, sir,” and CUT TO Bond’s hand caressing a woman’s leg. It seems that they’re in Makeout City while flying in a private jet, but she pulls a gun on him. She and the pilot intend to leave him in the jet and shoot out the instruments, preparing to jump out with parachutes, but Bond starts fistcuffs with the pilot and the door is blown. He gets a few socks in,  but Bond tosses him out. Then Bond is pushed out by Jaws(!). Say, movie, that’s an awfully small plane—how the hell did Jaws hide in that thing so that James Bond, the world’s greatest secret agent spy, not figure out he was there? Anyway.

Bond is free-falling without a parachute, so he zeroes in on the pilot, who’s apparently a professional skydiver. He zooms towards him in an admittedly cool visual and wrestles the parachute off of him. This is all actually a really great sequence, watching Bond plummet to the Earth in a life-or-death struggle, and he gets the parachute while the pilot’s left to pound sand with his face.

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“Mind if I borrow this?”

But Jaws is on his trail, so they both dive through the air in more cool stunt work. Just as Jaws is about to chomp down on Bond’s leg, he pulls the ripcord, shooting skyward; Jaws attempts the same, but being an actual Frankenstein’s Monster, he just rips the ripcord right off. So he flaps his arms like a dummy until he lands in a circus tent. And…the opening credit sequence starts? OK.

Holy shit, this is a terrible song. It’s like a song that’s being improvised on Whose Line Is It, Anyway? It’s a song that accompanies a suicide. The Chroma key effects in the title sequence are also shitty and it looks like somebody didn’t fully smooth out the outlines of the silhouettes. Again: every other Bond movie seems to be crap, and you can tell its quality based on whether the theme song is any good. Well this theme song sucks, so I guess I have two hours to suffer through. The things I do for a free movie blog with so-so daily traffic. (Speaking of which: if you enjoy these recaps, please share on Facebook! Please! I beg of you.)

So Q is pacing the room waiting for Bond, who pops in without any flirting with Moneypenny (uh oh), and the Minister of Defense is also there. They talk about Moonraker, which was being flown to Britain via the Yukon (why? That’s literally the longest possible route they could have taken.), and they say the shuttle was hijacked in mid-air. The English are responsible for this damn thing, and “the situation is critical,” hiccups M through his booze haze. Q gives him a wrist gun, which is apparently being issued as standard equipment and is activated by nerve impulses and also has 5 cyanide darts and 5 exploding darts, which is completely nuts as a concept but OK, I’m still with you, Bond movie.

Then Bond is in California, where he’s flown via helicopter and sexy lady. There’s something about the Drax corporation, which I guess is the Big Bad in the movie, and she spews exposition like a broken exposition pipe. They fly over the Moonraker center, where they construct what’s apparently not the space shuttle (but it’s just the space shuttle, which I think is the pinnacle of American aerospace engineering, but enough about that—back to the movie). More exposition from lady helicopter pilot, and they land at a place that approximates Versailles by way of Orange County. Bond tries to flirt with the pilot but his heart’s not in it.

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“How long until this movie’s over, again?”

He lands and walks up to this mammoth structure where Drax is waiting for him. Drax plays some tinkly piano, but psych! He’s not really playing. I don’t know if this was an intended psych-out, but he’s visually obviously not playing the piano that we hear.

Some fine-looking ladies greet him and walk out, but I’m sure we’ll see them later. Or not. Who knows with this movie. Drax says please apologize for losing my spacecraft you stupid English fool, but Bond says let’s see how this plays out, beard-o. Drax has a manservant that’s dressed like a kung fu master, so I bet that will come into play eventually, as well.

I feel like Drax should have been played by Orson Welles, and I really wish it was, because this guy is just coming across like Brain from Pinky and the Brain. He has two Doberman pincers and Bond gets a tour of the facility, being a representative of England in this dust-up. But Drax tells his assistant to, “look after Mr. Bond,” and “see that some harms comes to him,” because subtle. He goes to meet…goddammit, Bond franchise…Dr. Goodhead, who of course is a pretty lady. He’s surprised that she’s a woman because he’s a dick like that, and her full name is Holly Goodhead, and they let us know that she’s a fully trained astronaut because FORESHADOWING.

They look about and keep calling the space shuttle the Moonraker, which annoys me for some reason. Maybe because I’ve been a space nerd since I was a kid, even having a wall-sized mural of the space shuttle on my wall when I was young. Bond gets into the G-force simulator because he’s permanently on vacation and this is just Space Camp to him. She drops that most people pass out at 7 G’s and 10 G’s is fatal, just in case we get confused. Bond has terrible chemistry/dialogue with Goodhead, and the kung fu assistant shoos her away so he can kill Bond. So that’s what he starts trying to do, by pushing the G’s up to maximum power (why would they even have that feature if it will definitely kill anybody in the simulator?).

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“Psst. Let me take the controls over and I’ll be your best friend!”

Indeed, Bond is tossed salad and scrambled eggs in the simulator, and he goes around and around and around and look out because I’m gonna be sick! He tries to disengage but that’s been shut off, so we see him getting crushed by the gravitational force. Kung Fu guy looks really pleased by his work. Bond uses his nerve-controlled wrist rocket to destroy the control panel in the simulator, though, and stops this crazy thing. Goodhead shows back up and blandly says “I don’t know what could have happened” like she’s being fed her lines via peanut butter stuck to the roof of her mouth. Bond is shaken, not stirred, from this ordeal, and tries to find a quiet place to throw up.

LATER, he enters the helicopter pilot’s room (wait, she lives here?) and is looking to shake her down for information. But he also kisses her to get her on his side, like usual. Was this tactic in his spy training? It must have been. He asks what else is going on besides Moonraker around here, and she says secret stuff, but it’s been moved. He asks where but she doesn’t know and lays back for the sexing. She also says she never learned to read. SO HOW DOES SHE HAVE A PILOT’S LICENSE?!?

Anyway, Kung Fu Man is skulking around looking for murder, and Bond splits once his job is done there (does that make him a prostitute?). He then snoops around some desk drawers when Helicopter Lady (I haven’t gotten the name; does it matter?) shows up and asks what the fuck he’s doing. Completely at random, James finds a hidden safe under a clock and goes to open it with some spy tech that snoops out the tumblers. He opens it, peeks inside, and finds some documents. He takes pictures (with a small spy camera emblazoned with 007, I guess so it can be sent back to him if he loses it) and says thanks again, random lady I had sex with whose name I didn’t catch.

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The 007 Camera now comes with every Happy Meal!

In her room, Kung Fu Assistant is waiting in the shadows while James strolls back to his room. The next day, pheasants are being shot at (what an awful “sport”; give the birds guns—then it’ll be a real sport!), and Drax gets some whispered information. Bond shows up in a swanky chauffeured car and the dogs growl while those two ladies from earlier are introduced yet again. Their names are in French so I just let them glide over me. Bond is handed a shotgun for shooting pheasant in a barrel while a dude takes aim at him from a tree. The guy takes aim while Bond shoots at pheasant, but of course he shoots the assassin in the tree. Then he hands the shotgun back to Drax and gets back in the car. What was this scene’s purpose, again? We know that Drax is trying to kill him; that’s what Kung Fu Assistant is here to signify. Anyway, Helicopter Lady shows up in a golf cart and Drax fires her. But then Kung Fu Assistant sics the dogs on her, so she’s Chop Suey. Side note: Drax sounds and looks like what Peter Dinklage would look like if he were full-size. The chase music for the dogs after Helicopter Lady similarly sounds like the theme to Game of Thrones. And this scene looks like something out of that show because it’s a brutal murder of an innocent.

CUT TO Bond in Italy(?). Thanks for letting us know, movie! He goes into a glassworks store, where a model-beautiful clerk gives sex eyes to Bond, but the camera zooms in on her face so we know she’s evil. Bond walks into the back room, where glass is being blown and shaped and etc., comparing beakers to a drawing he has. Then another model is giving a tour of the place. Is glass this popular and important that a glass works would have its own museum on-site? Bond follows the tour around from a distance, which is kind of funny, and he follows Dr. Goodhead around, who’s there for some reason, and I’d really like it if the movie let me know what was going on.

Anyway, Bond stalker-introduces himself again to Goodhead, where he asks what she’s doing in Venice. She’s giving a lecture about something or other, and Goodhead puts up her flirt shield, but whatever, she’s going to have a drink with him after her lecture because I think Bond’s learned how to hypnotize women. James takes a leisurely gondola ride because why work when you can just goof off, right? But a motor boat covered in flowers with a casket on top (what?) floats by, the casket opens up, and an assassin throws a knife into the chest of the gondola operator. He takes a backwards dive into the filthy water while Bond daydreams about that gum he likes and wonders if it’s going to come back in style.

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“Oh dear, it seems the gondolier has perished. I wonder when tea’s served?”

But Bond picks up a knife that missed him and just kills the assassin immediately, and then uses the gondola’s motor (gondolas don’t usually have motors, do they? Is this like a special spy gondola?) to zip away while ducking from machine gun fire. The film is sped up here and it looks cheap and stupid. Then a power boat (Bond Bingo!) chases after him through the canals of Venice. Because this movie’s called Moonraker so of course I should have expected a gondola power boat chase.

Venice looks nice and all, but this action stinks. Oh, so I guess it was a special spy gondola because Bond pushes a few buttons and it becomes a hovercraft that he drives around the piazza. Hey! Another guy looks at his bottle of booze in disbelief after seeing this! Is this movie just a beat-for-beat retread of the last movie, only shitty? My spidey senses are tingling. Or it’s just the Bond-shaped tumor growing in my brain from watching this movie. Anyway, this is all very stupid and Bond looks ridiculous driving a gondola around in the Venice streets.

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An Aston Martin this is not.

James parks his gondola and put on a gondolier’s hat for the occasion because this movie’s very silly, then breaks into…somewhere. This movie’s not very good at letting the audience know what the hell’s ever going on. I guess he’s breaking into Goodhead’s hotel room. Or this is a secret lab. I don’t know. But the tune from Close Encounters of the Third Kind is the musical key to open the door, and I like that movie, so that’s one point for this movie. Just one.

Anyway, these scientists are doing science stuff with the glass beakers that he was eyeing in the glassworks factory/museum, and they’re inserting weird looking machinery filled with liquid in these tubes along with other shit that I couldn’t possibly care about. Bond takes one of these thingys and examines it, as much at looking at clear liquid in a glass container can tell you about its contents or purpose. He keeps sneaking around and it reminds me of a lesser Bond video game. Anyway, one of the glass beakers breaks open when it falls on the ground, which kills the two scientists. I guess that’s how James figures out what mysterious things are: by testing them out on people.

He goes back outside and some guy in karate battle gear starts attacking him with a bamboo stick. He runs into the glass museum (again: what?), and the guy with the stick just breaks everything in this place. Like, every single piece of glass. James picks up a glass foil and starts fencing with him. Good thing that glass foil was set up during the museum tour earlier! It doesn’t matter because he pushes James into a glass cabinet, which doesn’t cut him up in a million pieces because he’s immune to the effects of glass(?).

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“Glass fight!”

Smashy smashy goes these two dopes, and Bond pulls one of those poison glass containers from the lab out of his pocket. He looks for this dude upstairs, who drops from the ceiling and starts choking him with a chain. Then more fighting (in the dark. Goddammit, Bond movie, get it together), and outside below a dude’s singing opera in case we forgot we’re in Italy. Bond tosses him out of the glass clockface and the kung fu assistant breaks through the piano head-first. Bond says, “Play it again, Sam,” which is a terrible quip from Bond.

CUT TO Bond hanging out in Goodhead’s hotel room because he’s a fucking creep and starts interrogating her. But is he going to hit her? I sure hope not. He looks through her stuff, but everything is a secret spy weapon like he usually has. Turns out she’s a CIA agent undercover to investigate Drax. So they just get right to it with no motivation or reason whatsoever. He sees that she has a plane ticket to somewhere and they spy-flirt, but not in the good way. They still have sex though, because he’s already there and why not? Bond dresses and leaves afterwards, while Goodhead calls for the night porter so she can split toot sweet.

Bond meets with M and another mucky muck to show them the secret lab that he indirectly killed two scientists in the night before. They put on gas masks and enter, only to find the place to be a well-appointed room with Drax standing there waiting. Drax mocks their stupidity and Bond humiliates everyone involved. M says you’re off the case, but Bond’s like nah, have Q look at this clear liquid. M says James, take a few weeks off, and Bond’s like cool, I’m going to Rio to totally not do more spy stuff, wink wink. Meanwhile, Drax is on the phone making arrangements to hire somebody to kill Bond.

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“Everything is according to plan. Wait, what was the plan again?”

Hey! It’s Jaws! He’s going to Rio too, probably. We see the Concorde touch down (RIP Concorde), and we get some beautiful scenes of Rio as Bond is taxied through the city. Someone’s following him, taking pictures, and of course Bond also speaks fluent Portuguese, as well.

He gets to his incredible hotel suite where he’s mildly annoyed at how big it is, and the lady that was taking his picture the scene before is making him a martini. He says, “Do you come with the suite?” which reminds me of that gag from The Simpsons where a model is standing next to a car and every guy that comes up says, “Do you come with the car?” and she says to each one identically, “Oh you! Tee hee hee!” He’s like, why are you following me? Manuela (that’s her name) says I’m from the local new station(?) and I’ m here to assist you, which OK. I mean, Bond’s a secret agent not technically on assignment, but I’m sure she’s not a spy or working for Drax, right? Bond says he wants to visit Drax’s stupid import warehouse, then starts taking off her clothes because he’s out of control.

Then we see Bond struggling to walk through Carnivàle , where he looks insanely out of place in his tuxedo. As a side note: I really enjoyed the Rio Olympics this past summer. That opening ceremony was one of the most fun things I’ve ever watched. Unlike this. This is shit. Anyway, Bond and Manula get to the import warehouse, and why are they in evening wear? Shouldn’t they be dressed for Carnivàle to blend in with what’s going on? Jaws has the right idea: he’s dressed like a giant clown with a paper mache head.

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Am I back to recapping horror movies?

Bond walks through the warehouse, which is empty, and the movie cuts back to scenes from Carnivàle because the actual movie is boring as hell. Bond finds one case that has the Drax symbol on it while Clown Jaws (as if clowns couldn’t be more terrifying) goes to kill Manuela. But before he can get his chomp on, some festival-goers conga through the alleyway. Once they pass, though, it’s back to Chomp City. Bond spots this, though, and jumps down to have another unsuccessful fight with Jaws.

More Carnivàle festival-goers dance down this alleyway and start sweeping Jaws into the party. He tries to fight against the tide but then says aw fuck it and joins in on the festival. What the hell is this movie doing? It’s not even treading water; it’s a weight sinking to the bottom of the ocean. We’re halfway through and nothing involving Moonraker has happened, just trips to California, Venice, and Rio. Are these just Roger Moore’s vacation films?

Bond goes to a high point and looks out a telescope, spotting an airplane taking off that says “Drax Air Freight.” But he sees Goodhead looking through the telescope next to his! Are people teleporting in this movie? I understand the law of conservation in fiction, but this is ridiculous. Bond asks Goodhead, shouldn’t we be working together or something? Goodhead says I don’t know if I can trust you, despite having had sex with you, and Jaws is on-hand while they take a cable car down off the high point.

Jaws uses his ungodly strength to stop the cable car’s forward motion and Bond says I don’t know what’s going on, but let’s stand on top of the cable car, eh? And grab that chain. Jaws just says oh to hell with this, I’ll just bite the cable in half and send them plunging to their deaths. Another goon knocks out the cable car operator inside and James is hanging off the side of the cable car while Jaws climbs down to them. Then the goon inside starts the cable car back up and Jaws is on the top of the cable car next to them. Bond sums up Jaws’ raison d’etre with, “His name’s Jaws. He kills people.”

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He should put that quote on his business card.

So it’s a fight on top of a cable car suspended way high up in the air between Jaws and Bond. Goodhead and Bond shovel Jaws into the interior of the cable car while Bond throws the chain around the cable. Bond and Goodhead slide down the cable while Jaws’ car comes after them. Somehow Bond and Goodhead don’t immediately die from jumping down from the cable car, while Jaws survives yet another crazy crash. A woman helps him up, and she looks like Tori Spelling’s character from Saved By the Bell. They immediately fall in love(?), and wait, what? Jaws gets a romance in this movie? That’s stupid. This movie’s stupid. Bond and Goodhead immediately start making out for no reason, and are then knocked out and brought to Drax. Secret agents, everybody!

While tied to gurneys in an ambulance, Bond signals to Goodhead to make eyes at their guard while he…does something. It works, and they have a fight in the back of the ambulance. This fight scene stinks until Bond stupidly falls out of the back of the ambulance and the guy he was fighting flies down the hill on the gurney into the mouth of a woman in a cigarette billboard. Then the theme music from The Magnificent Seven plays, and Bond is in a poncho on the back of a horse. What the fuck are you doing, movie? I should say here that I’ve had to take several breaks from this movie while writing this because it’s just so stupid. Anyway.

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Pictured: Stupid. Is this even a Bond film?

He walks around a monastery, where he comes across Moneypenny sitting at a desk (what the actual fuck, movie? Are you going to let any of the audience know what’s happening ever?), and she points him towards Q. A monk is testing a laser gun, and this movie is just randomly doing whatever at this point. M has Q let Bond know what’s going on with that clear liquid, and it’s apparently a highly toxic nerve gas that has no effect on animals. Except humans, who are—last I checked—animals. But I guess the British don’t think of themselves as part of the natural world, so fair point.

Bond’s off to the Brazilian rainforest to find this toxin or something, I don’t know. I really don’t know. He’s in a power boat because it seems like the Roger Moore films were sponsored by the power boat industry when another boat starts firing charges at him. He zips around in the water and it’s another (ANOTHER!) boat chase. Fuck this, I’m not writing a description of this chase sequence. See you in a bit. OK, I will say this: Jaws is there. Or at least in front of a blue screen that approximates the rainforest. Bond gets to a waterfall and ejects from the boat via hang glider (WHAT?) while Jaws and co. go over the falls. But I bet Jaws still doesn’t die because he might actually be the return of Christ given how he is immortal (and the Light, the Truth, and the Way; anno Domini Jaws.).

Bond comes across an enchanted grotto where he spots a woman walking around unaccompanied, so his Sexdar starts ringing off the hook. She heads into a Mayan temple and he follows because this is in no way a trap, James Bond super spy. She beckons for him to follow her further, and even though he looks suspicious, he keeps going for it. And more lovely ladies start showing up, all wearing Drax uniforms by way of Logan’s Run. But d’oh! He’s launched into the grotto, where a python is coming for him. He wrestles with an obvious  puppet of a snake and jabs it with his poison pen. When he comes up to surface, Jaws is waiting for him and picks him up out of the water by his head. Ouch! Then there’s Drax with his goofy-looking henchmen.

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“Everything is still going according to plan. Which is…can someone help me here?”

So here’s Drax’s secret headquarters, which looks cool, I guess, and they’re about to launch something into orbit. Bond asks what Drax is up to, and we finally get to some Moonraker content. He launches a bunch of Moonrakers/space shuttles into space simultaneously and explains that he stole back the Moonraker he sold to the US because he needed it. OK. Then he says hey Jaws, take care of Bond, will you? and leaves.

Jaws accompanies Bond into a holding cell, where Goodhead is also kept. This is a pretty crazy looking room that they’re in. The giant conference table retracts, the roof opens, and it turns out they’re directly underneath the rockets of a Moonraker that will cook them. Drax takes the time to bid them farewell before slinking off to…I don’t know, get a smoothie? So Bond uses some random gadgets in his watch, and it turns out that after Drax’s smoothie run he got into the Moonraker rocket to launch into space. Bond blows the air vent open…somehow…and escapes the fireball of death from the rocket launch.

Back in the facility, Bond and Goodhead slink and snoop their way around, hitching a ride in the back of one of the goofy vehicles they’re using in this facility. Dammit, more shades of Austin Powers ripoff here, but since this movie sucks I can’t get too mad. Anyway, Bond and Goodhead beat the snot out of some henchmen and steal their goofy vehicle to get to another Moonraker. They just stroll right onto this spacecraft and take their seats in the cockpit. What? How would any of this be possible? They just randomly picked the two henchmen that happened to also be the flight crew for this rocket? That’s ri-goddamn-diculous.

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“How about it, audience? Are you ready for this action/adventure movie to become silly science fiction? No? Too  bad.”

Anyway, the launch into space, and now with a half hour of movie left we’re finally at the titular Moonraker action. The special effects in this part look like something out of Spaceballs. They’re flying to rendezvous in orbit with the other Moonrakers. The weightless effects are cheesy, and when they jettison the main rocket, it just drops like a stone because in Bond’s universe there’s a lot of gravity in space. They find that their cargo are beautiful young people to carry on the human race after Drax kills everybody on the planet with that fantastical toxin that kills only humans but not any other biological creature. Oh, also: Drax has somehow assembled a gigantic space station in orbit without anybody anywhere on the planet noticing because of radar jam(?)

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Quick! Jam the radar!

The Moonrakers dock on this impossible space station that even in 2016 we’re a century away from building. Everyone walks around really slow because they’re “in space” and definately not on a set somewhere in England. Again: the zero gravity effects suck. Are they going to turn some bullshit “artificial gravity” on? Of course they are. Did anybody working on this film understand how physics or gravity even works? My guess is no.

So all of the young, sexy people in the Logan’s Run outfits are to be the ones carrying on the human race, and also Jaws and his girlfriend, Violet Ann Bickerstaff, will be helping this cause because the future needs monsters too! Bond and Goodhead mix in with the staff, and I’ll give Drax this: he runs a tight organization. The space station set is also pretty good. Bond spots the nerve gas globes and Drax gives a crazy, ego-maniacal speech about creating “the perfect race.” So everyone goes about the business of killing every human being on the planet, and Drax is coming across as The Brain more and more as this movie blunders forth.

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Pictured: Drax in real life.

Bond and Goodhead walk slowly because of “zero gravity” in the sector they’re investigating, and that’s just what we need, movie: for things to go slower and slower. They’re looking to destroy the radar jamming system so the folks back on Earth can see this space station. I’m getting antsy for this movie to end. Goodhead kicks a couple of henchmen’s asses and they get down to the business of fucking up Drax’s crazy plan. Goodhead gets a pretty good line in here: Bond asks, “Where did you learn to fight like that, NASA?” “No: Vassar.” Well, I thought it was pretty funny.

Bond ties up the henchmen while Goodhead destroys the radar jamming system, and back on Earth both the US and Russia have spotted the space station and are somehow going to get a spacecraft up there ASAP. I wish our space program and technology was as good as this movie purports it to be.

So Drax starts launching certain death towards the planet while Jaws strolls up behind Bond and Goodhead. Goodhead’s taken by a henchman while Bond tries to fight Jaws but fails because he’s, you know, indestructible and all. Bond’s brought to Drax and they have the classic “Bond and Villain have a tête-à-tête right before the climax battle” scene. Drax says the globes filled with the nerve gas are each able to kill 100 million people while being notified that a US spacecraft is on its way to the space station. But they have a laser that’s going to destroy it. Can someone just fire a gun wildly into the air just so something happens on-screen?

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“Soooo….is something going to happen soon, or…?”

Bond and Goodhead are going to be shoved out the airlock, but Bond uses Jaws’ monstrous reality to his advantage, since a freakjob like Jaws would never be allowed to have children in his new world. WELL THEN WHY DID YOU BRING HIM UP THERE, DRAX? Idiot. Jaws does a heel-face turn and starts smashing henchmen along with Bond. But they’re stopped almost immediately, so….come on, movie! Do something!

There’s an emergency stop button right in front of Bond (why is that there?), and he dives to push the button, which stops the rotation of the spacecraft, hurling everybody all over the place Star Trek-style. The artificial gravity’s off so everybody floats around on invisible wire strings.

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“Whee! I mean, oh no!”

The guys in the space shuttle open the cargo doors and they have a space platoon to battle Drax’s henchmen in space. What insane, alternate 1979 reality does this movie take place in, where we have laser guns and space suits for extraterrestrial battle? I can only imagine that the popularity of Star Wars in 1977 is responsible for this insanity. It’s such crazy, absurd, over-the-top nonsense that it’s gone far past camp and right into incredulity. Also, the laser guns sound stupid when they fire, with little whup sounds accompanying their discharge.

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Ah, classic Bond: a space fight with lasers. Is this Moonraker or Dr. No? I can’t tell.

Jaws is now hanging out with Bond and Goodhead, so he’s a good guy now? They come across the good guys and help them infiltrate the main control room of the space station. There’s a bunch of explosions (which you wouldn’t want in a space station), and this is just far-flung absurdity. Drax runs to escape but Bond catches up with him. He backs Drax up down a long corridor, but Drax picks up a laser gun and says well at least I get to kill you. But hey, remember that stupid wrist gun Bond has? He shoots Drax in the heart with it and pushes him into the airlock, where he goes whoosh out into the inky void.

So blah blah blah, who gives a shit about any of this, Bond has to destroy the three globes that got launched before they kill 300 million people. More wild idiocy occurs, including the space station starting to explode in a way that would be impossible in outer space. Bond says let’s get to Drax’s stupid Moonraker shuttle because we can track the nerve gas globes from there. Just reporting all of this has made me dumber. Maybe it’s that Bond-shaped tumor in my brain acting up again.

Jaws looks around for his ladyfriend, who is alive, and they find each other. Who gives a shit about Jaws finding love? Was that one of the main complaints from moviegoers about the last movie, that there was no Jaws-centered romance? They find champagne and have a glass as they wait for death. Jaws speaks for the only time out of all of his appearances and waves goodbye to Bond and his girl. He helps Bond out by manually releasing their shuttle, and Jaws and his girlfriend seem mighty happy that they’re about to die. Bond says they’re going to make it (HOW?), and immediately afterwards they explode.

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“Bye! I have no idea why we were in this movie in the first place!”

Whatever, who cares? Now they’re tracking those three nerve gas globes. He uses the magical laser to shoot them down, and it just irks me when explosions and flames occur in outer space. It’s so stupid. Even back then they knew combustion couldn’t occur in the vacuum of space, but they insist on doing it, even up to today’s depictions of “explosions” in space. I’m harping on this point because I can’t care about this movie anymore; they’re trying to interject some “tension” in this part as they chase these nerve gas globes around, but I know that Bond’s going to save the day, but unlike other Bond adventures I don’t care about what’s happening on-screen in the slightest.

Oh, look! Bond shot the last globe after all! How completely unexpected! Also, Exposition Control lets us know that “a tall man and a blonde woman” have somehow survived the space shuttle explosion (HOW?!?), and Bond and Goodhead are having some zero gravity sex. Which would be incredibly difficult, by the way. Here, Q gets one of the worst lines I’ve ever heard: Mission Control Guy: “What’s Bond doing?” Q: “I think he’s attempting re-entry, sir.” Goddammit, Q, you’re supposed to be the classy one around here!

Bond spots the camera, smiles at it, and turns it off. Goodhead says hey, let’s have more sex in this unbelievably dangerous situation we find ourselves in because I think I got too much oxygen in my brain and now I’m a functional idiot. Bond says sure, the Moonraker zooms around orbit, the terrible theme song starts up, AND THAT’S THE GODDAMN END OF THIS ABOMINATION, THANK GOD.

Conclusions

What. The fuck. Was that? It took an hour and a goddamn half to get into space, and once there, it took another fifteen minutes for anything to actually happen. Why does Jaws have a girlfriend in this movie? Why was there a spy gondola in Venice? How did nobody notice the (presumably years-long) construction of a space station and the simultaneous launch of six space shuttles? What would have been in it for nearly everybody that worked for Drax, aside from the few people he was going to let live? Also, a glass museum?

This was one of the stupidest movies I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen literally thousands of movies so far in my life—good, bad, funny, campy, low-budget, blockbusters, etc.—and none of them are the colossal waste of time and money spent as this movie was. I use a sliding scale of how awful a movie can be based on how much money was spent on it, the overall concept, execution, direction, script, acting, and resources available for its creation, and this movie ranks up there with Battlefield Earth in terribleness on that matrix. Considering it’s the eleventh Bond film, the franchise should be running like a Swiss clock in efficiency and pacing. Instead, this one was leaden. The “acting” was sub par, the script was out-of-control bonkers, and the whole concept would work better as a sci-fi flick than a Bond spy adventure. What a waste of time.

As I mentioned in the recap, I had to turn this movie off several times to give myself a break. My first attempt stopped after the first half-hour, when I got tired of struggling to make the recap interesting because nothing interesting was happening on-screen to work off of. I went to sleep for the night, drank several cups of tea, and then started watching it again. Then I stopped it and went for a bike ride. Then I went back to it again and stopped it to have lunch. Finally, I gritted my teeth and just endured the rest of it for the sake of getting this recap done.

It’s just a terrible, terrible movie. It’s big, stupid nonsense, and the only reason it was made was because Star Wars was such a big hit a few years before. It also shocked me to find out that this was the highest-grossing Bond film in the franchise until Goldeneye. I guess the drugs were really powerful back in 1979 for people to pay money and sit through two hours of this claptrap. Why did Jaws have a girlfriend?

Rating

You can guess where this rating is going to fall. There were two good things in this whole movie: the opening sequence, which still holds up today as an incredible action setpiece, and the design of the space station. Outside of that, zilch. There are 25 Bond films to pick from to watch; don’t pick this one. A half out of four Bonds.

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Categories: action, film, humor, James Bond

Tags: , , , , ,

4 replies

Trackbacks

  1. A View to a Kill – Breaking the Bonds
  2. Breaking the Bonds: Conclusion – Breaking the Bonds
  3. Tomorrow Never Dies – Gray Matter
  4. Breaking the Bonds 2: Franchise Conclusion – Gray Matter

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