One of the most modest in scale of Ian Fleming's James Bond books (no sexual conquests, not a foot set out of England) is buried deep, deep beneath unmotivated bed-hopping and globe-hopping from Mother England to California, to Venice, to Rio, and ultimately to outer space. The production values remain as high as ever, especially the set designs by the ever-present Ken Adam, but there is no evidence of a guiding intelligence or even of a respected tradition (this is, after all, the eleventh installment in the 007 series). The self-denigrating moviemakers seem to have no sense of either mission or decorum. They instead are irresistibly and fatally attracted to such sophomoricisms as naming the heroine Holly Goodhead (it's true that Fleming himself went in for this sort of thing -- e.g., Pussy Galore -- but he never hit a note so sour or so low), the doorbell that chimes the musical motif from Close Encounters, and the romantic interest between "Jaws," that tiresome supervillain from The Spy Who Loved Me, and a bashful blonde in glasses and pigtails (when their eyes first meet, Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet wells up on the soundtrack). With Roger Moore, Lois Chiles, Corinne Clery, Michel Lonsdale, and Richard Kiel; directed by Lewis Gilbert. 1979.

Duncan Shepherd

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Josh Board Sept. 29, 2009 @ 9:52 p.m.

I remember loving Moonraker as a kid, when it came out. I suspect it didn't hold up as well. Jaws (Richard Kiel) was a great villian, but the love story was a tad corny. At least with Holly Goodhead, that's an actual name. I always thought "Pussy Galore" wasn't the least bit clever, since nobody would ever be named that.


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