Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.5.
United Kingdom/Francee, 1979. Les Productions Artistes Associés, Eon Productions. Screenplay by Christopher Wood, based on the novel by Ian Fleming. Cinematography by Jean Tournier. Produced by Albert R. Broccoli. Music by John Barry. Production Design by Ken Adam. Costume Design by Jacques Fonteray. Film Editing by John Glen.
James Bond reaches for the stars and sinks to the very bottom of the heap. This ridiculous film is just about as bad as Bond films could possibly get; it has its moments of fun, but the overemphasis on technical wizardry and gizmo gadgets (including laser guns) make it too cheesy for words. Inspired by the success of Star Wars, producer Albert R. Broccoli scrapped plans to film For Your Eyes Only and created an original story inspired loosely by the plot of Ian Fleming’s Moonraker novel instead. In it, Bond travels to California, Venice, Brazil, and eventually outer space in an effort to thwart a zillionaire villain (Michael Lonsdale) who plans on killing the entire human race and starting his own community on a space station. Lois Chiles plays Dr. Holly Goodhead (who couldn’t possibly have fun with a name like that?) who is, on paper, one of the most impressive and independent Bond women the series ever saw (she pretty much never needs saving and she can fly a spaceship). Her colourless performance, however, is probably what is responsible for her not being more well known in the Bond film canon. The visual effects are terrific and John Barry’s score is among his most beautiful (particularly the theme song sung gorgeously by Shirley Bassey), but Moore’s performance is looking tired and the screenplay is choppy and free of momentum. Hard to believe that the same director who made The Spy Who Loved Me, one of the best Bond films ever, is also responsible for the very worst.
Academy Award Nomination: Best Visual Effects