December 17, 2010


It's Space Camp week on Spy Vibe! As I busy myself with end-of-term grading and holiday plans, I thought it would be fun to look at quick and campy snapshots of some of the classic space-age moments in 1960s entertainment. Today Spy Vibe does a flash-forward into the 1970s with a preview for the James Bond film, Moonraker. When the movie came out in 1979, the world was still in Star Wars fever and the space theme seemed perfectly timed. Audiences were promised the usual thrills of boat and car chases, cool gadgets- and space ships! To top it off, Jaws- one of the most memorable villains in Bond history- was making a return visit! The story was basically the same as The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), but now the evil plan to recolonize humanity under the sea was relocated to outer space. The results? A campy high point in the Roger Moore series with wonderful moments of comedy and innuendo. Bond movies had long dealt with the space motif, of course, but the new edition offered epic laser gun battles that sent 007 silliness into orbit (Don't mention the Venice gondola scene unless you are really in the mood for cheese). This preview focuses on action and Ken Adam designs (his last Bond film), and makes the movie appear less campy than it really is. Trust me, it sometimes makes Lost in Space look like Spielberg. I haven't listened to the John Barry score in a while, but I believe we're hearing the much cooler cues lifted from Diamonds Are Forever (1971) here.

The original book is one of my favorites from Ian Fleming. The years that followed
Moonraker saw me yearning for the kind of serious spy film that On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) and From Russia With Love (1963) offered. Maybe Moonraker just went too far? The franchise would finally see a serious re-launch with Casino Royale in 2006. But as much as I respect the effort to tone down the humor of the series, I find that my tastes are currently back on the lighter side. In my serious, younger years, I never would have imaged that Moonraker would become the Bond film I watch most often. No, it's not my fave. It's not the best in the series, but somehow it is the most fun to put on at home during dinner for some 007 entertainment. I had the pleasure of meeting Richard "Jaws" Kiel about two years ago (below) and was pleased to find him a sweet and interesting guy. For his (and Moore's) best, see their first meeting from 1977. Spy Vibers who haven't seen Moonraker in a while, and are in the mood for "space camp", should definitely check it out. It is one of a handful of Bond films currently available on Blu-ray.

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