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MOONRAKER - UNDERRATED AND FINALLY IN WIDESCREEN
on July 30, 2000
I first saw Moonraker when I was in Junior High on television. At the time, I knew almost next to nothing about James Bond. The only thing about James Bond I saw up to that time was a scene in Thunderball where Sean Connery was being stalked by the tenacious Luciana Paluzzi and her hoodlums.
I knew nothing about the history of Bond, and which film came first or second, or third.... I knew nothing about the golden girl in Goldfinger, nothing about the sexual names of Bond's various mates...I didn't even know about the term "Bond girl". I know nothing about the gadgets, or M, Q, or Moneypenny.
Moonraker, which everybody seems to trashed, turned me on to the world of James Bond. I became a fan, and went on to see every movie that came before it (For You Eyes Only just came out in the theaters at the time)whenever it came on television.
If Moonraker is so BAD....as all the naysayers claimed, I would have not been a fan...and would never surrender myself to the world of 007. BUt instead, I loved this movie, and I became a 007 fan that day. And judging by the box office, Moonraker probably attracted thousands of new fans as well.
Moonraker has all the element of a classic Bond film: from the stunning midair pre-title sequence, to the ever reliable Shirley Bassey's Moonraker theme song, to the lunar titles by Maurice Binder, to the fantastic (okay, so it is a bit far fetch) plot to destroy mankind hatched by a megalomaniac villain, to the humour (Jaws flapping his arms to fly, and Goodhead saying: "Take me around the world one more time", the special effects, the beautiful women in the form of Lois Chiles, Corinne Clery, Emily Bolton and Leila Shenna (as well as Drax's bevy of evil lovelies), to John Barry's score, and to Richard Kiel's Jaws, and of course, the action.
Of course, if you have seen all the Bond films in chronologic order, Moonraker may seem silly, contrived, lacking in originality. But hey, not all of us were around in 1962!
One of the biggest gripe, it seems, is that Bond went into outer space. Hey, Bond had survived thousands of bullets shot at him, bedded dozens of women and have not sire one illegitimate child, now all of a sudden we are talking about reality?
Overall, Moonraker is an entertaining movie...and that is why I was so glad that the DVD came out. Now I can watch Moonraker the way it was supposed to be seen...on widescreen. And watching it on widescreen is like watching an entirely different movie. You never realize how much you lose with that hated pan and scan format.
Like all the Bond DvDs, it included the trailers for Moonraker...however, the trailer of Moonraker which is based on the scene where Corinne Dufour was being chased by Drax's dobermen was ommitted.
The background piece on Moonraker is very informative. Too bad they didn't interview Corinne Clery, who was one of the highlights in the film.