Combustible Celluloid
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With: Roger Moore, Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale, Richard Kiel, Corinne Clˇry, Bernard Lee, Geoffrey Keen, Desmond Llewelyn, Lois Maxwell, Toshiro Suga, Emily Bolton
Written by: Christopher Wood, based on a novel by Ian Fleming
Directed by: Lewis Gilbert
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 126
Date: 06/26/1979

Moonraker (1979)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Bond in Space

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

After the massive success of Star Wars in 1977, Moonraker was chosen as the next James Bond movie, and blessed a fairly large budget for a Bond film. Ian Fleming's original novel, published in 1955, has nothing to do with outer space, but that was quickly changed.

In this movie, Bond (Roger Moore) battles evil villain Drax (Michael Lonsdale), who plans to kill everyone on earth with a deadly toxin made from orchids. CIA Agent and astronaut Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles) helps our hero. Evil henchman Jaws (Richard Kiel) returns from the previous movie, The Spy Who Loved Me, to terrorize Bond some more.

By the third act, both Bond and Holly are on board a space shuttle designed to save a select batch of humans from the virus, and the set design is still pretty spectacular. It goes a long way in counterbalancing the spotty writing and overall silliness, although, frankly, the presence of the lovely Miss Chiles helps a great deal as well.

The movie received an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects, but lost to Alien. The other nominees were The Black Hole, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and 1941. Thus was the influence of Star Wars.

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