|BlogalongaBond: Moonraker (1979)|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Friday, 18 November 2011 10:52|
Moonraker. The film that actually manages to make less sense than its meaningless title song. No-one knows what a Moonraker is. Or what it does. Or how anything can go “like the Moonraker goes". And no-one really cares.
Following The Man with the Golden Gun – the Moonraker of 1974 – it fell to Lewis Gilbert to fart out this turd of unscientific cackwaffle. And so we got Moonraker – the Moonraker of 1979.
A film more concerned with sex, one-liners and lasers than anything resembling a plot, Christopher Wood spent his time shoehorning in references to The Magnificent Seven and Close Encounters of the Third Kind rather than writing a script. And it shows. Boy, does it show.
Jumping from one incoherent action sequence to the next, Richard Graydon and Jake Lombard’s stuntwork is astonishing stuff, but doesn’t offer any emotional pay-off. Every time Bond escapes a life-threatening situation, you’re not elated or even a little bit relieved. Instead, you end up stabbing yourself in the face with a plastic fork, shouting “WHY WON’T YOU DIE?”
It’s no surprise then, that the one redeeming aspect of Moonraker is the fact that it ends. After the introduction, in which Roger Moore falls out of a plane without a parachute and (spoiler) DOESN’T die, the 126 interminable minutes are begging for a decent finale. Or any finale at all. And Moonraker almost manages it – in many ways, it’s the most famous ending to a Bond film of all time.
Which is why I wasn’t surprised to find this informative leaflet in my special edition DVD box set. Right next to the rubber tube and canister of carbon monoxide.
How to End a Bond movie
Blow Up Ken Adam's set
You know what’s really satisfying after watching a set designing genius create some of the most spectacular and massive sets of all time? Watching a really tall person with metal teeth tear them to pieces. And Roger Moore blowing them up. Everyone loves an eyebrow-raising explosion, especially if it has the potential to permanently destroy all traces of Moonraker’s existence.
People love running away from explosions. Combine that chaos with even more explosions and you’ve got yourself an exciting climax. Unless you’re making Moonraker, in which case you should just order the whole crew to jump out the airlock as quickly as possible - like really annoying Lemmings who instead of becoming diggers or builders, chose the “ruin 007 for everybody” career path.
Get the henchman to do a Columbo
Just as you think you’re safe from danger, get the henchman to pop up for one last thing. A fight on a train is a good way to go (henchmen love fights on trains - it's in the job description) but you can also choose to screw up a character by getting him to fall in love with a girl with blonde pigtails and then toast their impending doom with champagne. (Warning: One of these ideas is excellent. The other is bilge.)
Laugh at the bad guy - and kill him
Do both at the same time and people will love the way you juxtapose cold-hearted killing with icy cool mirth. Or they’ll remember the way you trampled all over 007’s legacy with really stupid, camp one-liners that would feel more at home on the front page of The Sun.
Steal the bad guy’s escape pod
Now you’ve killed the bad guy, you might as well steal his escape pod. Whether it’s a space shuttle, a boat or a private airplane, he’s not going to be using it. Something stranded out at sea is best, if only because you get longer to have sex with your fellow escapee before the rescue party arrives. If you’re in luck, there might even be a bottle of Bollinger in there. Either way, you’re in a prime place for some serious lovemaking.
This is a crucial part of being a secret agent. Especially when you’re 52 years old and your face is made of sandpaper. If you don’t look like a decrepit vampire feasting on a young virgin when you're screwing a Bond girl, you’re not doing it right.
Get interrupted by politicians
Now you’re at it like a horny OAP rabbit, you need an audience. Who better than Her Majesty’s government? Cram as many officials into a room (or a rescue boat) as possible and expose your ageing torso. They’ll be thinking about it for weeks. Some may even require therapy.
Say something suggestive
Loads of men have sex with women half their age. But secret agents also make a contextually relevant innuendo at the same time. If you’re too busy bonking, get one of the onlookers to do it for you, but the important thing is to make it as naff and rude as possible. The kind of thing Radio 4 listeners would enjoy. “I think he’s attempting re-entry” is probably the one Bond innuendo that most people will remember in a few decades' time. Although that’s probably because it was said while Roger Moore had no clothes on.
Announce it’s the end
“The End of Moonraker”. The four sweetest words in the English language. Make sure every film ends with this immortal phrase – just in case people haven’t realised (despite the music and long list of names appearing on-screen) that the nonsensical story has actually come to a conclusion.
Promise to return
Whether people are sad it's over or are rejoicing that you've finally gone, you need to make sure that they await your return. Throw in the title of your next film and people will have the pleasure of knowing that they’ll experience your signature blend of eyebrows and espionage again soon. Then they can start praying that the next one might be marginally less pants.
Follow all these steps and you’ll have an ending that’s hard to beat. Especially if it has nothing to do with Roger Moore.