Moonraker (1979) (part 11 of 14)

M meets up with Bond and tells him that there’s still no sign of Holly. From here, Bond is led to M’s office where Q exposits that Bond’s hunch about the vial was correct, because it’s actually a highly toxic nerve gas that has no effect on animals.

Bond asks to see the formula, and when M projects a slide of it on a screen, Bond immediately intuits that it’s the chemical formula for a plant. A slide of a flower comes up, which Bond instantly identifies as Orchideae Negra, a rare orchid.

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Q exposits that the orchid was thought to be extinct, until a missionary brought one back from the upper reaches of the Amazoco. Bond obnoxiously corrects him, stating that it was actually found in the area of the Tapirape River. Charming, James. Real nice. Why don’t you walk up to him and flick his nose while you’re at it? Maybe add a hard kick to the balls for good measure? M tells Bond to get down there fast, and Q graciously volunteers to give Bond a device to help, if he promises to return it intact for once.

A large boat moves through the Jungle Cruise ride at Disneyland. Oh wait, it’s Bond on the Tapirape River. Sorry, my mistake. Almost instantly, Bond is shot at. Man, some days you just wish you stayed at home, huh? Bond is chased by a boat that fires mortars and machine guns at him. Bond takes out one of the boats with some mines.

Moonraker (1979) (part 11 of 14)

Two more boats turn up, one carrying Jaws, and a nice chase scene ensues, accompanied by John Barry’s cool action music. During this, Bond takes out one more boat with a torpedo.

Just as he thinks he’s free and clear, the third boat rockets over the trees, Smokey and the Bandit-style. Naturally, we find Jaws standing there with a smile and a machine gun.

Caption contributed by Ed

There’s something you really don’t want to see in your rearview mirror!

Gee, I’d hate to be Dolly right now. You meet the love of your life and he turns out to be a violent killer. I think that was the plot of a Lifetime Original Movie. Which one, you ask? All of them!

Jaws keeps the pressure on, firing his machine gun at Bond. Bond sees he’s heading for a waterfall (he should have turned left at Albuquerque), and responding with characteristic calm, he freaks out and screams like a girl. Okay, okay, just kidding. Actually, he pulls open the roof of the boat and a hang-glider opens up. He takes off on the glider as his boat goes over the falls.

Jaws sees this and gets a really confused look on his face, sort of like when I first heard about a sequel to The Fugitive. He realizes what’s about to happen and tries to turn the boat, but unfortunately, like the parachute, Jaws yanks the wheel clean the hell out. Naturally, he goes over the falls.

The hang-glider lands in the jungle and Bond begins to stroll around. His eye is caught by—big surprise—a beautiful woman. He follows her to an Aztec temple where he finds several other beautiful women gathered around an indoor pond. The women that Drax introduced him to could be in this group, but I really don’t feel like going back and forth trying to find out.

[Editor’s Note: Yep, it’s all of them. The woman that Bond follows into the temple is the receptionist from Venini Glass, and when Bond enters the temple he sees the tour guide from the glass art museum. He also sees the two pairs of women he met in Drax’s drawing room and during the quail shoot, plus a couple of women that we saw doing “astronaut training” on Drax’s front lawn. And that’s the end of my Know-It-All Moment. —Albert]

2012 Comments: Not sure what’s worse. The movie expecting the audience to identify several random women from earlier in the movie when the film up until this point has been moving like shit through a goose, or the recapper who somehow missed this and also happens to be a huge James Bond fan.

Bond is lured to a platform, which promptly dumps him into the water. Bond’s predicament is made more perilous when a big python suddenly appears. Hey, if this movie is going to turn into an episode of Batman, I can start talking like Burgess Meredith’s Penguin.

Bond struggles with the snake, although it looks more like the struggle is to get the thing to go on him in any way, shape or form. At times, this scene feels like a mega-budget remake of Bride of the Monster, with Roger Moore subbing for Bela Lugosi, and a snake subbing for the inert rubber octopus. Geez, you just can’t find good animal actors these days. I hear that the snake in Anaconda asked for a bonus of fifty thousand mice before he would engulf and spit up Jon Voight. Damn prima donna reptiles.

2012 Comments: Okay, that one was pretty good. This isn’t a bad effort as far as recaps go, but to be frank, if I was starting over today, I wouldn’t start off with this particular film.

On another note, I think I would need a bonus just to be in the same room as Jon Voight, let alone engulf him and spit him up.

Hmm, I probably should rephrase that.

Jon Voight is an asshole. There, that’s much better!

Caption contributed by Albert

“They strike, wrap around you, hold you tighter than your true love…”

Bond actually manages to get the snake around his neck (sort of) and grabs the poison pen. Why yes, he does have that pen. You mean you didn’t catch him subtly pocketing it in Venice? Hmm, maybe if the filmmakers had taken the time to make that clear, we all might have noticed it. Bond kills the python, but his crappy day continues as he’s pulled out of the water by Jaws. He tries a punch to Jaws’ gut, but it works about as well as anything else he’s tried against the guy. Finally, Drax reenters the film to give us some actual good dialogue.

Drax: Mr. Bond, you defy all my attempts to plan an amusing death for you. You’re not a sportsman, Mr. Bond. Why did you break off the encounter with my pet python?
Bond: I discovered he had a crush on me.

Where’s the rim shot when you need one, eh?

Ed Harris

A fan of less than great cinema since childhood, Ed divides his time between writing scripts, working an actual paying job and subjecting himself willingly to some of the worst films society has produced.

Multi-Part Article: Moonraker (1979)

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