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Moonraker [Blu-ray] 
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Lewis Gilbert directs the eleventh instalment of the James Bond franchise. When a space shuttle goes missing during a test flight, James Bond (Roger Moore) is the man who must track it down. His investigations take him to Venice, Rio de Janeiro and finally into outer space where he uncovers a ruthless plot to wipe out the human race and replace it with genetically engineered humanoids.
This was the first James Bond adventure produced after the success of Star Wars, so it jumped on the sci-fi bandwagon by combining the suave appeal of Agent 007 (once again played by Roger Moore) with enough high-tech hardware and special effects to make Luke Skywalker want to join Her Majesty's Secret Service. After the razzle-dazzle of The Spy Who Loved Me, this attempt to latch onto a trend proved to be a case of overkill, even though it brought back the steel-toothed villain Jaws (Richard Kiel) and scored a major hit at the box office. This time Bond is up against a criminal industrialist named Drax (Michel Lonsdale) who wants to control the world from his orbiting space station. In keeping with his well-groomed style, Bond thwarts this maniacal Neo-Hitler's scheme with the help of a beautiful, sleek-figured scientist (played by Lois Chiles with all the vitality of a department-store mannequin). There's a grand-scale climax involving space shuttles and ray guns, but despite the film's popular success, this is one Bond adventure that never quite gets off the launching pad. It's as if the caretakers of the James Bond franchise had forgotten that it's Bond--and not a barrage of gizmos and gadgets (including a land-worthy Venetian gondola)--that fuels the series' success. Despite Moore's passive performance (which Pauline Kael described as "like an office manager who is turning into dead wood but hanging on to collect his pension"), Moonraker had no problem attracting an appreciative audience, and there are even a few renegade Bond-philes who consider it one of their favourites. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an alternate Blu-ray edition.
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This is a Marmite film. You either love it or hate it.
The opening sequence is one of the very best and most thrilling. Bond is thrown out of an aeroplane without a parachute. How does he survive this calamity? Well, for those of you who haven't seen it I will not reveal the solution.
Once again we have an evil megalomaniac, Drax, who is intent on reshaping the world to his own liking and our hero, Bond, has to somehow stop him. He is helped and sometimes hindered by a CIA agent named, wait for it, Holly Goodhead.
There are the usual very witty exchanges between all the antagonists. The best comedic one liner is spoken by Q towards the end of the movie - quite possibly the best double-entendre of all time!
The worst and most embarrassing part in this entry is the Venice gondola sequence.
Film ratio is 2.35:1. Audio is DD 5.1. Both are excellent as usual.
Extras disc is brilliant.
Still it does entertain and that's all you can ask of any film.
This time round, the UK government is charged with the task of transporting (and therefore safe-guarding) a couple of American-built space shuttles. However, things do not go according to plan for her majesty’s minions when both shuttles disappear in mysterious circumstances. Enter one 007 to get to the bottom of this.
Now, as I’ve mentioned, I do love this film. Maybe because I grew up with it and it’s totally tainted with nostalgic memories of watching it round friends’ houses on Sunday afternoons. So, rather than saying what’s so great about it, I will acknowledge other people’s criticisms of what I consider ‘Bond’s finest hour.’ Firstly, people (even more cynical than I am) were taken up with the Star Wars cash-in I’ve already mentioned. Secondly, there was too much humour. Gone are the days of Sean Connery’s dry wit and darker take on Bond and they’re all replaced with a lot of tongue-in-cheek silliness involving pet dogs doing comedy double-takes when Bond drives a boat through a crowded market square. The last two major complaints about the film revolve around the casting of the villain ‘Drax’ and the latest Bond girl – Dr Goodhead (seriously – that’s her name!). Now, due to my love of this film as a child, I was more interested in armies of laser-wielding astronauts spinning off into the blackness of space than acting abilities. However, over thirty years later, I do tend to cringe a little when either character opens their mouth. Yes, they really are a little bit wooden. Perhaps I’m being unfair as I guess they do their best with the lines that are given to them. But, for every cloud there’s a silver lining – and that silver lining comes in the form of a giant with metal teeth. Yes, ‘Jaws’ is another baddie hell bent on creasing Bond’s tuxedo – and he is as awesome as ever.
I know I’m not alone in my appreciation for Moonraker, but I think most people who enjoy it as much as me are my age. I guess it might not hold up too well with the modern audience – it’s not the special effects which are the problem (correct me if I’m wrong, but a laser battle in zero-gravity space has never been attempted before on screen!). It’s the tone that may not sit well with today’s Bond fans. Currently, we have a much darker Daniel Craig Bond who rarely smiles or makes a witty (borderline innuendo) quip. However, if you can appreciate a Bond with a much lighter feel to it (and I know there are people out there who do – otherwise ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ wouldn’t be so successful!) then you could do worse than relaxing your brain for a couple of hours and letting it drift into deep space. If nothing else, the final line about ‘attempting re-entry’ is worth watching the whole film for. RIP Roger – you were always the best Bond (my opinion only!).
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