YMMV / Moonraker

The novel:

  • Complete Monster: Though his plan is smaller in scale than his film counterpart's, Ian Fleming's original version of Sir Hugo Drax is no less vile. Born "Hugo von der Drache" in Germany and an avid fan of Adolf Hitler, Drax ran undercover missions against Britain for the Reich until he was mistakenly wounded by his own side and nursed back to health by the British. Stealing the identity of a MIA soldier with a similar name and feigning amnesia, Drax murdered the first rich man he could find after leaving the hospital for startup money and began plotting to avenge Nazi Germany's defeat. Using his family's holdings in rare metals, Drax paid out of his own pocket to design the Moonraker, a state-of-the-art nuclear missile meant to defend Britain from the Russians, with Drax's philanthropy elevating him to a national hero. The only problem was, the missile was set to destroy London on its first test firing with a real atomic bomb. When Drax describes the intended death toll for this catastrophe to him, Bond (a hardened killer himself) is left almost catatonic. Other crimes include running a motorist off the road and over a cliff due to the mere possibility he might've been a spy, and having people tortured for information with welding torches. For Drax, the mere destruction of their greatest city was not enough; he made himself into the British people's greatest hero just so their collective spirits would be crushed when the nuke hit.

The film:

  • Asspull: The US military and Drax himself are able to launch fully-crewed and fully-fueled space shuttles into orbit in only a matter of hours. In truth, the space shuttle took an average six months of preparation before it could be launched, and even the most optimistic prospects for the program still called for several weeks of such work if multiple flights were to be worked into the span of a year.
  • Awesome Music:
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Jaws crashing into a circus tent.
  • Complete Monster: Hugo Drax is a cold, snobbish, understated Control Freak who wishes to exterminate the human race. He has enough of a God complex to engineer a plan to wipe out humanity, build a secret billion-dollar space station and claim that he alone can credit for it, and tell his crazy Nazi space-cult that future generations will look up and "know that there is order in the Heavens" after their insane Evil Plan is completed. Drax gives you plenty of reasons to hate him throughout; setting his dogs on his assistant Corinne is probably one of the nastier moments in the series. Indeed, the sheer scale and horror of his plans combined with his utter lack of redeeming features just might make Drax the single most evil villain in the entire Bond franchise; he certainly has the most terrifying scheme to date, and he is one of the least likeable bad guys overall, both for his cold Smug Snake attitude and for the fact that his explicit reason for not simply shooting the secret agent (and presumably, for every other person he has killed in gruesome ways) is that he wants Bond's death to amuse him. A truly nasty piece of work through and through.
  • Critical Dissonance/Critic-Proof: This movie is widely regarded as one of the worst Bond movies, if not the worst, but it was the highest grossing film in the franchise until GoldenEye was released. In fact, Moonraker tends to receive worse reviews now than it did at release, where some critics accustomed to the sci-fi craze marked it highly - The New York Times even called it the equal of Goldfinger!
  • Critical Research Failure: Bond is placed in a centrifuge that can test the durability of potential astronauts against a g-force of up to twenty gs, which Dr. Goodhead remarks would be fatal. In actuality, Air Force Colonel John Stapp had set the record for a human's sustainability against g-forces of up to 46 gs in 1954, twenty-five years before Moonraker was released.
  • Funny Moments: The Gondola chase scene, which has James piloting a hovercraft down the streets of Venice, to various Reaction Shots, including a dog (with a "you gotta be kidding" expression), a pigeon (which double-takes), and a waiter who pours his patron's drink down his back in shock. It also has two No More for Me gags, with a smoker and a wino tourist.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: One of the actors considered for Drax was James Mason. Had he taken the role, it would be just like playing Captain Nemo again, only IN SPACE AND WITH BOND!
  • Love It or Hate It: Depending on who you ask, it's either a fun, over-the-top amusement park ride of a movie, or the worst thing to ever happen to Bond (well, aside from the other worst thing to ever happen to Bond). Finding someone just neutral about the film is a rarity.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Drax redecorating a gas filled laboratory and turning it into a beautiful Venetian lounge in less than a day, then waiting for Bond, M and the Minister of Defence to show up with gas masks just so he can see the look on Bond's face, just plain reeks of this trope.
  • Narm: Jaws falling in love.
  • Sequelitis: It is widely considered one of the most ridiculous Bond films.
  • So Bad, It's Good: For all the problems this film has, it certainly isn't boring.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • Bluescreening for Jaws jumping between the cable cars.
    • Don't forget the ludicrously fake snake Roger Moore wrestles.
    • The US shuttle sent to intercept Drax's station is shown in one shot to be far too small for the multiple platoons of marines deployed into battle.
    • The doubletaking pigeon. Also qualifies at Stock Footage Failure.
    • We have a shot of Moonraker 6 on approach to the station, then docks, then a few seconds later we have a view of the station and the shuttle is not docked again from a recycled shot.
  • Villain Decay: Jaws, who was an unstoppable murder-machine in the The Spy Who Loved Me, while already being treated as a comic relief in that film due to Does Not Know His Own Strength and his ridiculous ability to survive; falls in love here and even pulls a Heel–Face Turn at the end. In the love interest part at least, the writers were reluctant to give Jaws a love interest in this film (or at least, a love interest like Dolly), but Richard Kiel fought for it. When people said it was silly that Jaws would have such a diminutive girlfriend, he retorted that his own wife was exactly the same height.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • Now that is a space station. Incidentally, it was the last set built for the Bond films by Ken Adam, who was production designer since Dr. No, and boy, did he leave on a high note.
    • All the shots of the astronauts floating in zero-g. This film is the record holder for the largest number of invisible hanging wires to be used in a single scene.
    • The laser battle aboard the space station. Not quite up there with Star Wars but it still makes for an impressive climax.
    • The opening sky-diving scene. Keep in mind that this was pre-CGI. It took some 70 jumps to accomplish, and it still looks great nearly forty years later.