It ranks up there among the silliest, funniest and most entertaining of pre-resurgence Bond films. A far cry from the current crop in terms of stylistic finesse, but it does have something the Daniel Craig offerings sorely lack: the irresistible sense of the absurd inherent to the machinations of the preposterous plot and the colorful characters.
Perhaps the least of the Moore films, 'Moonraker' found the producers trying to capitalize on 'Star Wars' and finding a way of making 'Bond in space'. Before that we have some of the most lackluster action in the series with Moore giving Lugosi a run for the money when he's wrestling with that fake snake. Villain lacked threat and Chiles represents one of the least appealing Bond girls. Just treading water.
Bond jumps on the Star Wars bandwagon, delaying For Yours Eyes Only to take a trip in to outer space. It’s the biggest ‘pushing of the boundaries’ of the whole Bond concept but visits to Venice and Rio de Janiero provide nice backdrops for memorable scenes. It all gets a bit too Stormtrooper in the ill-conceived final scene, but I’ve seen worse Bonds.
Though the second half of the film does fall apart, Moonraker is hardly the "worst Bond film ever" that so many are quick to label it. By expanding upon the original source material, and the inspired direction of Lewis Gilbert, Moonraker is an exhilarating Bond epic that pushes the medium as far as it can go, far-fetched and silly as it might have been.
I used to loathe this film but I've come around and learned to appreciate it now. This is due in large part to John Barry's score - some of the most swooning and romantic music I've ever heard in a film, and certainly one of the best soundtracks of his career. He will be missed.
The thing is, Moore actually gives a good and relatively serious performance. The story goes over the top to match Star Wars. Modern audiences ridicule it beyond anything, but it is still one of the most successful Bond films. It doesn't get ridiculous until we actually go into space. This film deserves watching if only for Bond getting thrown out of a plane without a parachute. At least 007 isn't in a clown outfit.