"Take care of Mr.Bond. See that some harm comes to him!"10/10
Roger Moore's first two 007 films - 'Live & Let Die' and 'The Man With The Golden Gun' - clambered aboard whatever cinematic bandwagons were rolling at the time, such as blaxploitation and martial arts. By the end of the '70's, sci-fi was back in vogue thanks to 'Star Wars', hence 'Moonraker' replaced 'For Your Eyes Only' as the next Bond movie.
Until 'Die Another Day' in 2002, it was universally regarded as the nadir of the series. I disagree. One has to remember that around this time Kevin McClory was threatening a 'Thunderball' remake starring Sean Connery, and thus Cubby Broccoli could not afford to takes risk with the formula.
The film bears little resemblance to Fleming's book, which concerned a nuclear rocket attack on London. As 'The Spy Who Loved Me' had proved popular with audiences, it was decided to give them more of the same, hence Christopher Wood's script had the villain hijacking space shuttles instead of submarines, and Richard Kiel's 'Jaws' returned to menace Bond. Lewis Gilbert once more supervised the mayhem.
Bearded French actor Michael Lonsdale made an excellent 'Hugo Drax'. Like 'Stromberg', he is wealthy, and plans to create a new civilisation by destroying the old one. Ken Adam once again delivers some marvellous sets, such as the Pyramid control centre and Drax's Space City.
The action scenes were even wilder that those of 'Spy', including a magnificent free-fall pre-credits scene, Bond's gondola turning into a hovercraft, Jaws and Bond getting to grips on a cable car over Rio, a speedboat chase in South America, and a shoot-em-up finale in outer space. John Barry produced another fabulous score, particularly 'Flight Into Space'.
As a strapping young lad growing up in '70's Britain, I always made a point of seeing the latest Bond, usually with my friends in tow. We did not care if the films were faithful to Fleming, if there was too much humour, or if Moore was wooden, we went to have a good time and did.
No offence to Connery, but for us Moore was The Man. Suave, sophisticated and debonair. On leaving the theatre we would attempt to recreate Bond's fights, usually resulting in one of us being cautioned by the police.
And the gadgets! 'Moonraker' outdid them all. I once tried to build Bond's wrist-dart gun. I don't think anybody walked out of a Timothy Dalton Bond feeling like they could conquer the world, but with Roger's we did. And we saw them more than once in theatres.
I do wish that some of the gags had wound up on the cutting room floor, namely 'Jaws' flapping his arms after his parachute breaks, Alfie Bass' cameo as a drunken Italian, and a pigeon doing a double-take as Bond's gondola roars by. Take these out and you have a pretty decent Bond movie.
Sadly, 'Moonraker' marked the final appearance of Bernard Lee as 'M'.