Just was thinking how no one can just agree what the best Bond movie is: is it frwl? ohmss? gf? cr? Or quintessential , dn? gf? tswlm? ge? Every Bond you tout as something someone else comes in saying why it's not quite the best…. this is where Moonraker comes in. The worst someone says about this one is that it is "over the top". Except when someone says this about another Bond movie, like Goldfinger being over the top, this is an apparent reaction against the more down to earth Dr. No or FRWL, or Goldeneye when it is compared to the "down to earth" Daltons, while those better movies face their own never-ending circle of which is better of them.
About the other over the top movies, they all also have something to "prove", Goldfinger was trying to top its predecessors as really only the 3rd Bond but now since everyone sees how those predecessors needed no topping, so it is currently mired in this Bond-swamp now amongst us (and also reactionary against being "Best Bond Movie ™" by the public). It was also coming on the heels of "it could do no wrong" as only the 3rd Bond, Thunderball suffers the same fate of an endless tug of war between whether it's as good as FRWL or just secretly GF in FRWL's clothing, and again "could do no wrong" as just the 4th movie. YOLT's critique is heavily reactionary-caused, as it is going against ALL the 60s Bonds as way too OTT and not quite like them, not falling in line with them.
Then you come to the struggle … of the Moores, TSWLM was the ONE that people agree he finally assumed something, and it was also acting a bit against the previous two as trying to make this actor call something its own. The movie is still trying to figure out things on its own, even though it succeeds. It is the obligatory movie that "cements" the actor that he is here to stay. Then comes Moonraker in probably the most unique moment in time for any Bond -- this is before the series got "serious" as a knee-jerk reaction against its excesses [the whole Dalton-Brosnan-Craig era which is like one long Arthurian epoch lol of trying to reach nobility] for 3 reasons:
1. It is not trying to live up to anything, not reacting against anything, at all.
I basically went through all of this in the previous posts, but Moore is given one movie time, right after he finally proved himself in TSWLM and now the series is in this zen state of mind, and before the series would react against itself. The series is now the late 70s, the series has found its foundation, went through born iconistry over a decade ago, went through its "new actor" hurdles already while it grew up, and now the latest actor had cemented himself with his previous movie, now the previous movies already showed it can be serious, it can be zany so there was no shock factor. I guess Star Wars that is merely the laser shootout. But then again Star Wars is credited with "making movies fun again" and Moonraker was the only Bond movie that prospered from this, literally they instantaneously left this with FYEO and that was in prime SW mania! There was topic here once that said "Is Octopussy the most fun Bond?" and many in there actually said Moonraker was the most fun, and they were right!
2. It achieves probably the only equilibrium and balance of over the top.
This movie cannot be called shamelessly OTT, it was so wholly OTT, and was so confident in its OTT, it believed in itself so much without 1 nanosecond of any second guessing or insecurity, that because of this everything about it just seems so true. It is in this self-made universe where a winking pigeon is treated as pretty normal even. That is how hiddenly strong the world is in this movie. When a talking pigeon was attempted in LTK - it felt as brutally out of place. DAF's craziness reaches parody levels, it is just winking and laughing at itself [yet Connery is owed one of these against his 60s seriousness], however it is not like Moonraker. Moonraker was never laughing at itself -- however unreal and insanely crazy some of the things in this movie were, they were sincere to the utmost of the word.
Now even the Moore movies after this one, firstly FYEO was extraordinarily reactionary against it; ultra serious, they became too insecure and thought "oh crap what were we thinking", then OP weirdly went off being OTT again but it didn't let go and still remained not quite knowing what was going on, and tried to reel it in.
3. Timing: this is purely luck factor but luck belongs in here too, before the series started to get revisionist against itself, and before other movies so strongly would react against it even, there was given one movie window of opportunity; Moore was the Bond in this time, the most unflappable -- what did Moore have that was SOOO beloved by the producers ? What was his hidden uniqueness? I cannot describe but only every moment of him in this movie is why, he is basically walking on top of the world in his form. Every other of his Bond movies, there are glimmers and figments of other Bond actors, you could say "oh this guy could have done this scene i see it", none in Moonraker, it his him in his most purest of essence, he goes "fuggit, this is just me guys". No other time could a movie like this be made, definitely not in this day and age. Even Die Another Day could not pull it off as it still lapsed into moments of seriousness and "drama". Moonraker was given free reign with itself -- there are moments in here that are surreal in a good way, the whole Cowboys arriving on horseback, the coffin attackers, even Moore accidentally killing the scientists and reacting by merely looking confused at the canister, Moore shooting Drax's henchman in front of him just driving off, the opening, the cable cars. And they're not treated as "this is us being serious" or "this is being zany and crazy", but just "this is just this". Only in the late 70s this could occur, before the cold war made things more serious in the 80s. Could the series still achieve a Moonraker? Yes actually! I am an optimist, even though we are currently mired in the "darkness is good" phase of movies -- there will be as perfect a movie as Moonraker, but the timing will be there when one will be wholly and truly over the top without pulling any stops.
Best movie of 1979, alien? apocalypse now? no i'll just take Moonraker thanks. Moonraker, an anomaly of the entire series and probably the best Bond movie because of this.
I leave just this, #9 18:04 on this person's top 25 Bond moments and leave it at that: