Moonraker (1979) (part 14 of 14)
Back in the station, gravity is restored and we get random fighting from Bond, Jaws, and Holly. They see the third globe launched and they all head for the main part of the station. We get more senseless action that’s just there for show as the Marines infiltrate the station. Drax gets away into a corridor and Bond follows in pursuit. I especially dig the way Bond walks down the corridor towards Drax as explosions are going off. Roger was generally a lighter 007 but he could bring the badass when he had to.
Drax is cornered, when suddenly he spies a gun on the floor. Grabbing it quickly, he orders Bond to surrender. Bond slowly raises his hands and Drax chuckles, “Desolated, Mr. Bond.” Bond sets off his wrist dart gun, plugging Drax in the chest. Bond replies, “Heartbroken, Mr. Drax.” He pushes Drax into an airlock, and with the line, “Take a giant step for mankind!” he dumps Drax into the dead of space.
Holly runs into Bond and overacts being relieved to see him, even though they were only apart for roughly a minute. Clingy, aren’t we, Dr. Goodhead? The station begins to break apart as the Marines take control. Bond sees Col. Scott and tells him to get his men off the station immediately, and heads off with Holly to stop the three globes. During this, Bond says that when the station blows up, all the remaining globes will be destroyed. Damn handy being a psychic, eh, James? See if you can guess what I’m thinking right now.
Bond and Holly head for Moonraker 5, which, conveniently enough, happens to have a laser attached to the nose. They get in, but the docking release system is jammed. Fortunately, a good caveman is easy to find, and they get Jaws to help. However, before that can happen, we get another puke-inducing moment in which Jaws and Dolly are reunited. As the station blows up around them, the two settle down with a bottle of champagne [!] which Jaws opens with his teeth. Hey, maybe Christopher Walken should try that next time he hosts Saturday Night Live. Can you imagine the Continental opening a bottle with his teeth?
Jaws and Dolly toast each other and a great moment in film occurs. This scene is significant, as it’s the only line of dialogue Richard Kiel speaks in his two appearances as Jaws. So, what mysteries will be unlocked by this line of dialogue? What intellectual treasures will be revealed as they pour out of the mouth of our favorite caveman? Will we find out who Jaws’ dentist is? Will we learn the details of his unknown until now basketball career? Will we learn if the myth about tall men with big shoes is true? Listen and learn, my friends. We are about to be enlightened.
Thank you, Richard. That was truly uplifting.
2012 Comments: On a personal note, about a year and a half after this went up, I had the pleasure of meeting Richard Kiel at a sci-fi convention. Pretty cool dude and a hell of a nice guy.
Following this intellectual revelation, Bond and Holly are still trying to get the shuttle free. They spy Jaws and Dolly through the window and ask Jaws to help them out. Jaws agrees and un-jams the docking system, tearing away a steel beam that’s wrapped itself around the mechanism. As he does this, the section that our two lovebirds are inside breaks away from the station and heads back for Earth. And thus ends the return of Jaws to the James Bond Universe. No great showdown, no cool moments, just a vomit-inducing love story and enough cheese to make Wisconsin jealous.
Bond observes them falling to earth and remarks to Holly, “Don’t worry, they’ll make it. It’s only 100 miles to Earth.” Uh, all right James. You can stop with the Carnac routine, oh great one. The character could have redeemed herself right here if she had glared over at him and replied, “Did I ask, genius?” but we’re robbed once again.
Moving right along, Bond and Holly spot the three globes. Holly informs Bond that the laser is on automatic, something which I’m surprised Bond didn’t already use his amazing psychic powers to deduce. Anyhow, 007 blows the first globe to smithereens, and then it’s on to #2. Holly has to get them into a downward angle, causing the shuttle to heat up a bit as it skips on the atmosphere. Bond manages to destroy Globe #2, but on #3, the laser misses the target due to all the heat. Hmm, wonder if Bond is used to—no, I won’t go there.
Bond switches to manual, and we get yet another thing in common with Superman III as part of the climax relies on a man essentially playing a damn video game.
Bond bears down on the globe as the music gets all dramatic. During this, Holly keeps Bond up to speed, with updates delivered in a dramatic, emotional tone that—oh, wait. She just uses the same wooden monotone she’s used throughout the whole film. My mistake.
Bond eventually manages to blow up Globe #3 as it enters the atmosphere. One thing, though: Seeing as one could assume that the globes would activate over the atmosphere for maximum effect, isn’t it plausible that some of the nerve gas might have been released? Hmm, Bond may have a bit of his ass chewed out if that’s the case.
Happily, we’re spared the cliché of a difficult re-entry as in Independence Day. Rather, we cut back to NASA HQ where M, Q, and the Minister of Defense have convened with the Americans. In the typical “humiliate the superiors” ending that would prevail in the film following and preceding this one, we learn of a TV hookup going straight from the shuttle to the White House so the President can personally congratulate Bond and Goodhead. This seems rather suspect, as I doubt Drax, for all his psychotic insanity, was into having people watch.
Naturally, when the screen activates, Bond and Holly are making love in zero gravity. Hmm, I guess in that situation you really don’t want to have one of those sloppy kisses that makes a Saint Bernard look like a walking desert.
The bosses are shocked and wonder what Bond is doing. Damn, I know the sex life slows down as you get older, but you’d think that they’d be able to figure out what’s going on, especially considering the dude on top. Q responds to the question with “I think he’s attempting re-entry, sir!”
Back on the shuttle, Bond says it’s time to go home, to which Holly replies, “Take me around the world one more time.” Finally, the film ends as the shuttle flies off to a disco version [!] of the title song. Game, set, match.
So, why didn’t it work? Well short of what we’ve already brought up, the film is essentially The Spy Who Loved Me Part 2. Yep, they literally made the same film twice in a row. The storylines are basically the same, as are the villains, aside from their names, and the conquest of space has replaced an obsession with the world beneath the sea. Also hurting the film is an over-reliance on special effects. The entire third act can basically be itemized by indicating which direction the shuttle is moving in.
In spite of all that I have said, this really is one of the better movies on the site. Rather than an incompetent fiasco like Night of Horror, it’s more along the lines of The Lost World, in that it’s an overly stuffed, incredibly dumb film that tries way too hard.
2012 Comments: Overall, as I said, not a bad debut for me, but chances are I wouldn’t have made this my first recap if I was starting today. Of all the stuff in the early phase of my tenure here (2003-2006), this is probably somewhere in the middle, along with the Mega Recap segments I contributed. It’s not as in your face as 3000 Miles to Graceland or as funny as Wild World of Batwoman, but it’s a damn sight better than the Submerged recap, which I may try to riff at some point.