Moonraker- Why the hate?

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  • edited January 2018 Posts: 11,175
    As silly and dopey as Moonraker can be, I simply can't call it an all-round bad film. It's too well-made for that.

    If you go in with the mindset that it's Saturday matinee fun for the whole family then you may enjoy it more.

    Also, I don't understand how anyone can not think that music and imagery like this is sublime.



    I'd much rather watch this in fact than either MWTGG or AVTAK.
  • Posts: 4,302
    @DarthDimi your points re Flint are spot on. In a strange way, MR would have been better if it had been a different spy movie rather than Bond. As a standalone, fantasy, sci-fi adventure, it really is alot of fun. But, as part of the Bond series, that's when it comes unstuck as our expectations are relative to the Bond legacy.

    You have to have a clear mind as a Bond fan and enjoy the ride. If you can do that, it's great fun.
  • ClarkDevlinClarkDevlin Martinis, Girls and Guns
    Posts: 15,423
    Well said!

    If I'm honest, MR actually does enter my top ten list as it's the sort of Bond film I always crave for, even if it's more akin to a Derek Flint film rather than a James Bond thriller... And Moore's 70s films surely did have a lot of influence in build from the Flint films.
  • Posts: 3,052
    I agree @BAIN123. The cinematography for MR is excellent, as are the overall production values for the movie. I can't fault them and I won't. Though I think you have to try and view it from a longtime Bond fan's perspective at the time of its release. Just imagine that MR was Bond 25, if you will, and that you'd been waiting for the next Bond instalment with bated breath only to be served up with a rerun of the previous movie (with the exception of the climax being set in outer-space) and the action reduced to little more than cartoon Wile E. Coyote & The Road Runner Show tomfoolery... would you still be so generous about the cinematography? I think @Birdleson and @SirHenryLeeChaChing (God rest his soul) best served as to why MR is at the bottom of the pile for most Bond fan "Originals" so there's no need for me to go any further, except to concur with their astute observations. That doesn't mean to say that there aren't some good scenes in MR; it's just that the bad outweighs the good, sadly, rendering MR a huge misstep and one that haunted the series pretty much up until Craig's CR, despite attempts at trying to ground the series in a bit more reality. I can still recall Cubby Broccoli trumpeting that MR "wasn't science fiction... it was science fact" every time a microphone was placed in front of him in an interview. At the time, I didn't know what was funnier: Broccoli's proclamations or the actual movie itself.

    I still like the PTS, right up until the point when Jaws starts flapping his arms like wings as he pile-drives straight into a circus tent. In fact, it's pretty damn great up until then. Little did I know at the time but the introduction of the circus tent was a subliminal message that signalled that from now on Bond was about to become a three-ring circus act of spectacles and slapstick entertainment. Though the cinematography. music and sets were nice.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited January 2018 Posts: 23,883
    @bondsum, you raise good points regarding how MR must have been perceived by those who had the opportunity to view it in the theatre in 1979. I didn't have that privilege and saw the film much later. So my viewing experience was framed by it just being another film in the Bond pantheon and not the latest, on the shoulders of which much expectations must have rested (especially after TSWLM).

    In my case, I would think SP after SF is the closest comparison. TND after GE is another one. Both seriously deflating experiences after what came before.

    I guess what I'm saying is that those viewers who saw certain Bond films at the point of release will always look at them more critically perhaps, because their first impressions were impacted by the expectations of the time. Other viewers who come to the film later can view it without such pressures, and just enjoy it more casually in the context of the 24 film series. When viewed in that fashion, MR is a very enjoyable and lavish spectacle. Perhaps SP can be viewed similarly...in time.
  • Mendes4LyfeMendes4Lyfe "I need a year off" Craig
    Posts: 7,293
    EON stopped listening to little kids and started listening to hipsters instead.
  • Posts: 10,274
    @FoxRox - LALD and TMWTGG are trend-followers as well. As are the Brosnan movies with all their machine gunnery. Arguably even the Craig movies (post-CR, anyway). But I agree that it's hard to see Bond being a follower of trends. I don't think it's realistic to think Bond will set a whole lot of trends in the future though.

    I think Moore's acting was very good early on, particularly in the centrifuge scene but even the nuances in his interactions with Drax and Goodhead. It does steadily dip into autopilot later on but to me that's because he played Bond so naturally.

    Don't the sets or score or effects or anything impress?

    I don't mind the Bondola or space lasers anymore, really. But I still find Jaws' comedic love story quite jarring indeed.

    Some other Bond films are trend followers, yes, but none as bad as MR; they actually dropped FYEO at the time to do it, and I still don’t like the Bond in space idea.

    The sets and score are decent. Like I said, I didn’t think Moore was bad, but it was his most autopilot and least unique IMO. The film just gets to be a bit much too often, and has more issues than the average Bond film for my tastes, so I have to rank it low.
  • Posts: 11,175
    I can't argue with that at all @bondsum

    I suppose the biggest sin of MR is that it is a film that is seemingly aimed predominantly at schoolchildren. That goes against everything Bond stands for and I can understand why, from that perspective, older Bond fans really dislike it.

    At least other "family" orientated Bond films (like Goldfinger and Live and Let Die) had a rougher, more adult edge to them in places. Moonraker is a full-on cartoon in live action form.

  • Posts: 10,274
    @BAIN123 I agree, MR is also too cartoonish for Bond. It just becomes too much. Same with DAD for me.
  • edited January 2018 Posts: 3,052
    Not entirely, @bondjames. The only comparison I'm trying to make between Craig's movies and MR is trying picture yourself as a longtime Bond fan waiting for the next instalment and finding out that the next instalment is only a rerun of the previous movie and that it's pretty much a cartoon slapstick one at that, albeit a well-made cartoon slapstick. SP wasn't a retread of SF, so I'm not trying to draw that kind of comparison. I don't know, maybe I'm asking too much of some you of you to empathize with us oldies?

    But I get where you're coming from. I mean, there's a huge difference between plucking an old Bond title off the shelf that you haven't seen before and waiting all-of-how-many-seconds it takes you to slot in the next adventure you haven't seen, apposed to having to physically wait years to see the next one. Again, it's difficult to judge how a future fan will approach SP. If they've seen all the original Connery ones first then they're going to be a little nonplussed as to why Blofeld has suddenly become his step-brother in SP and that Q has become a total twerp, but I think that's a digression from the topic.

    PS. Sorry. I've just reread your post, and I agree with you about your comparisons of those being "deflating experiences". Sorry. I misread your original points.
  • ClarkDevlinClarkDevlin Martinis, Girls and Guns
    Posts: 15,423
    EON stopped listening to little kids and started listening to hipsters instead.
    Ain’t that the sad truth?
  • Posts: 11,175
    Moore also isn't Bond in the film. He's himself. A virtually industructable caracature that the kids back in the day probably all looked up to.

    As much as I liked that centrifuge scene - which Moore sold well - the effects quickly disappeared and he was back smirking and seducing Corrine in the very next scene.
  • Posts: 19,339
    Its 2nd bottom in my rankings and it aint gonna move upwards from there,ever.
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy N.Ireland
    Posts: 12,475
    Saw it in the cinema when it first came out.
    Loved it a huge epic event movie.
  • Posts: 10,274
    It’s just got too many issues. It all starts with the fact I have a preference for more serious Bond films. DAD and MR are the most extremely silly, and that’s a huge reason why they’re at the bottom of my list. They just go too far for me.
  • Posts: 3,052
    BAIN123 wrote: »
    I can't argue with that at all @bondsum

    I suppose the biggest sin of MR is that it is a film that is seemingly aimed predominantly at schoolchildren. That goes against everything Bond stands for and I can understand why, from that perspective, older Bond fans really dislike it.

    At least other "family" orientated Bond films (like Goldfinger and Live and Let Die) had a rougher, more adult edge to them in places. Moonraker is a full-on cartoon in live action form.
    I think you're probably right: that Cubby was probably trying to cynically capture the same audience of 1977's Star Wars and hoping the same crowd came to watch MR. Again, for me, the movie was a giant misstep and one that would tarnish the series for a very long time afterwards. Also, for a movie that was trying to pitch itself at a very young crowd I found it slightly bizarre that Cubby stuck with an ageing actor in the role. At least Star Wars had the fresh-faced Mark Hamill and young Carrie Fisher for the younger teen kids to identify with, not granddad Bond in outer-space. Still, the movie "did" make a lot of money despite a clearly getting-on-in-his-years Bond. The only reason I don't think Cubby gave us Moonraker 2 (or alternatively TSWLM3 or YOLT4 for that matter) was because United Artists instructed Cubby to scale back on the budget of FYEO due to their financial troubles with Heaven's Gate. Plus, Roger Moore wasn't entirely guaranteed to appear in FYEO, which was another reason why the story was also dramatically different to its predecessor.
  • Posts: 1,499
    If I could offer my own experience with MR as someone who saw it on original release:

    I grew up a Bond fan practically from birth. My uncle had all the novels and gum cards and the family would see each new film as they were released and the many rereleases. TMWTGG was the first I didn't see on original release and on the day I was supposed to see TSWLM I was instead given to chance to go to a Cincinnati Reds baseball game. As they were world champs at the time I opted for that and was kind of bummed I didn't go to the film and didn't see it until its ABC TV premiere in 1980.

    As such, MR felt totally fresh to me as I didn't see TSWLM before. I was one of the many kids blown away by Star Wars and Close Encounters and to see Bond go into space seemed like the coolest thing, especially since I was 12 then. The Bond films were often shown on network TV back then and I recall that spring FRWL was shown and I hardly cared. Yet it was that July 1979 matinee of MR that made me the Bond fan I am today. The gadgets, spectacle and locations all just clicked.

    My brother and I went home after that screening and assembled our own Bond gadgets out of GI Joe (original) accessories. I bought the fan magazine and later the Corgi die-casts and novel adaptations. Bond films became not just required buy mandatory for me when they were on cable or network.

    And to prove it wasn't just the gadgetry that appealed, when OHMSS was shown a Friday evening in March 1980 it immediately became one of my favorites in the series, showing you could have different variations of Bond films that could be enjoyed equally.

    I do remember a family friend the time complaining that MR was childish and nothing like the old films, which seemed like the attitude of the time. Once I finally saw TSWLM on TV I wasn't impressed and to this day it still doesn't qualify as one of my favorites. Makes me wonder if I had seen it on release if it would rank higher and MR would be lower. I was also less than excited by FYEO and it's polar opposite reaction to MR.

    It wasn't until then that a lot of people seemed to turn on MR. I was surprised in late '81 getting the updated James Bond in the Cinema by John Brosnan and The James Bond Films by Stephen Jay Ruben looked down on the film as slapstick and a bad mistake for the franchise. Moore was also looked down on and Connery elevated even higher.

    It felt like you needed to feel guilty in liking MR and I didn't pay a lot of attention to it for years, but with threads like this on Bond sites it was okay to say MR is fun and a worthy addition to the series again. You don't have to dislike it just because you think films like FRWL, SF, CR and OHMSS are the pinnacle. I personally like the diversity of films I'm able to enjoy in different ways.

  • Posts: 11,175
    I never knew that there was more than one Brosnan connected to James Bond.
  • Posts: 1,499
    BAIN123 wrote: »
    I never knew that there was more than one Brosnan connected to James Bond.

    John Brosnan was the first author to do a study on the Bond films through DAF with the first edition coming out in 1972 and the update through MR in '81. Not sure if there were any Bond sites that ever interviewed him, but I'm amazed he was not only licensed to use a lot of the official stills from the films but also level a lot of criticisms at the films. Especially in light of the hell Ruben went through in doing his book that Eon tried to block.

    For years Brosnan also had a regular column in Starburst Magazine. Sometimes he came off as very cranky and it seemed like readers either loved or hated him as evidenced by the letters page.

    I had always hoped he'd do an updated version of the book, but he passed away several years ago, not sure when. When you consider the tons of Bond books out there now it's probably hard to imagine how great James Bond in the Cinema was to have back in the day.
  • Posts: 11,175
    What did he think of the films starring his namesake?
  • Posts: 10,274
    For as much grief as I give MR, I absolutely love its title song. It has become one of my all-time favorites.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Digitalia
    Posts: 40,531
    FoxRox wrote: »
    For as much grief as I give MR, I absolutely love its title song. It has become one of my all-time favorites.
    It is a wonderful tune.
  • ForYourEyesOnlyForYourEyesOnly In the untained cradle of the heavens
    edited January 2018 Posts: 1,984
    FoxRox wrote: »
    Some other Bond films are trend followers, yes, but none as bad as MR; they actually dropped FYEO at the time to do it, and I still don’t like the Bond in space idea.

    The sets and score are decent. Like I said, I didn’t think Moore was bad, but it was his most autopilot and least unique IMO. The film just gets to be a bit much too often, and has more issues than the average Bond film for my tastes, so I have to rank it low.

    That's fair. With LALD, it's understandable that they made the film in the blaxpoitation era as that has relation to the source material. That said, I would say The Man With The Golden Gun is just as bad as MR. The trend might've been less overt, but they completely shoved in irrelevant film trends like Eastern martial arts — the entire scene was pointless and just there because it was big at the time. The solar energy subplot was also just taken from the times; both detracted from the actual premise of the story which was Bond being sent out to assassinate Scaramanga. At least MR actually set its plot around something in space.

    Can't disagree with the general silliness though. I guess I've just desensitised myself to most of it.
  • Posts: 10,274
    FoxRox wrote: »
    Some other Bond films are trend followers, yes, but none as bad as MR; they actually dropped FYEO at the time to do it, and I still don’t like the Bond in space idea.

    The sets and score are decent. Like I said, I didn’t think Moore was bad, but it was his most autopilot and least unique IMO. The film just gets to be a bit much too often, and has more issues than the average Bond film for my tastes, so I have to rank it low.

    That's fair. With LALD, it's understandable that they made the film in the blaxpoitation era as that has relation to the source material. That said, I would say The Man With The Golden Gun is just as bad as MR. The trend might've been less overt, but they completely shoved in irrelevant film trends like Eastern martial arts — the entire scene was pointless and just there because it was big at the time. The solar energy subplot was also just taken from the times; both detracted from the actual premise of the story which was Bond being sent out to assassinate Scaramanga. At least MR actually set its plot around something in space.

    TMWTGG and MR are both two of the series’ weakest IMO, and the worst of Moore’s tenure. They each have some good stuff, but against the others, must come lower.
  • ForYourEyesOnlyForYourEyesOnly In the untained cradle of the heavens
    Posts: 1,984
    @FoxRox I can understand that.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Digitalia
    Posts: 40,531
    For me, MR is the second weakest, after AVTAK.
  • Last_Rat_StandingLast_Rat_Standing South Florida
    Posts: 3,688
    I don't look at Moonraker in terms of quality. I look at it in terms of enjoyment and fun. That's why it my 5th favorite Bond film
  • edited January 2018 Posts: 10,274
    I’ve seen the same things said about DAD - that it’s “fun,” and that gives it the edge on other films. Fun can definitely be subjective, because to me the laser battle is cringey while to others it’s fun.
  • Last_Rat_StandingLast_Rat_Standing South Florida
    Posts: 3,688
    That's my favorite part.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited January 2018 Posts: 23,883
    I don't look at Moonraker in terms of quality. I look at it in terms of enjoyment and fun. That's why it my 5th favorite Bond film
    Same with me. I don't objectively rate it high but in terms of pure entertainment value, it's hard to beat. I feel the same way about the much maligned TMWTGG actually.
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