James Bond's single trip into space at least has humorous action...
The James Bond film producers originally planned to have For Your Eyes Only follow The Spy Who Loved Me. In fact, the end of the credits in TSWLM mention that James Bond would return in FYEO. However, with the revolutionary success of George Lucas's Star Wars, it was time to put 007 into space for once. Of the first twenty Bond movies, Moonraker is the only one where Bond actually flies above the Earth's atmosphere as part of his mission.
This time, James Bond (Roger Moore) is assigned to investigate the disappearance of a space shuttle loaned to the British government. He begins with a meeting with Sir Hugo Drax, who owns the manufacturing facility for the shuttle. It is very clear that Drax is the villain, but what his evil plot will involve isn't revealed until late in the film. Drax is not one of the more menacing villains that Bond has faced. He seems too soft-spoken for someone who hates humanity.
The Bond girls, on the other hand, aren't too bad. Dr. Holly Goodhead is rather attractive and intelligent, although Lois Chiles's acting is about average. Holly Goodhead is also one of the few American women that Bond has an affair with, considering how many Bond girls are more exotic and from somewhere else in the world. Corinne Dufour and Manuela also have memorable appearances despite their short on-screen times.
Moonraker does feature Jaws as a returning character. It is not known how he came to meet Drax after working for Stromberg previously, but it's probably not important. Although he is still the same character, there is something about Jaws in this movie that is different from the previous Bond movie. In The Spy Who Loved Me, he appears as a towering giant with an ability to kill with a single bite, but in Moonraker, he is treated as the butt of some jokes. Consider the pre-credits sequence in which Bond and Jaws are skydiving and Jaws, whose parachute doesn't open, ultimately falls onto a circus tent. It's something that would make the audience laugh instead of sit on the edge of their seat. The humorous action also involves the other henchman of Drax named Chang, whose final fight with Bond shatters a glass museum.
Moonraker is another one of those Bond adventures with an emphasis on humor, but it is not overdone. There is still plenty of thrills to balance the comic element. The final part of the movie taking place in space is an exciting visual feat that doesn't rival the brilliant production design of Star Wars but was made possible thanks to that breakthrough 1977 sci-fi film. All in all, Moonraker is a Bond film with the package of usual elements and plenty of amusement for the audience.
For more information about Moonraker, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my reviews for the following:
Official James Bond Films