Sorry, Bond fans, I’ve fallen behind with my Bondathon reviews recently. I’ve still been watching them so here’s the first of my overdue posts – expect the next one shortly!
A few weeks ago Richard E Grant presented a special report about Pinewood Studios for the BBC’s British Hidden Heritage TV show. It presented a fascinating insight into the history of the iconic studios and included footage from what was filmed there. Pinewood is, as surely everyone knows, the spiritual home of 007, with every Bond film having at least a couple of scenes filmed there.
In the footage shown it was revealed that one of the most impressive scenes from The Spy Who Loved Me was filmed on the 007 Stage at Pinewood, the scene where Karl Stromberg’s stolen booty is housed in his supertanker, Liparus. It really brought it home to me what a brilliant job the production crew do, turning a 334ft x 136ft stage in Buckinghamshire into the inside of a megalomaniac’s supertanker complete with two stolen submarines!
Anyway, back to the film. The Spy Who Loved Me is highly entertaining and pits 007 against one of my favourite Bond villains, Karl Stromberg. Stromberg dreams of establishing an Atlantean paradise by triggering a global nuclear war. In some respects, The Spy Who Loved Me feels like it was filmed on a much grander scale compared to some of the earlier films, with a larger cast, bigger set pieces and new, highly impressive gadgets. It’s not one of my ultimate favourites, but I think it definitely does hold its own.
In the history of Bond films, I’m sure Moonraker is one that will be remembered less favourably. It certainly is up there as one of the most extravagant Bond films where 007 goes, quite literally, out of this world.
Hugo Drax, Bond’s nemesis, has an ambitious plan that stretches further than the usual ‘I’m-going-to-blow-this-up’ terrorism strategy. He wants to wipe out every human on Earth and re-populate it with a hand-picked racial rainbow of superior humans. Bond, of course, has to stop this from happening.
When Moonraker was released in 1979 it undoubtedly impressed regarding special effects. From the safety of a studio, 007, Dr Holly Goodhead, Hugo Drax and, erm, Jaws were able to be transported to outer space to Drax’s secret space station. Unfortunately, these effects did little for me, especially when you consider that Ridley Scott’s Alien was also released in 1979, and I think it is for this reason that I didn’t enjoy this film that much.
Current order of preference: Goldfinger, Thunderball, The Man with the Golden Gun, You Only Live Twice, Dr. No, The Spy Who Loved Me, Live and Let Die, Diamonds Are Forever, From Russia With Love, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and, in last place, Moonraker.
You can read all my mini reviews and posts in my Bondathon series here.