Now hear me out:
If you get REALLY high, then Moonraker can become a decent, but not a GREAT film instead of the cocaine-fueled nightmare that is now.
What I love about the James Bond franchise is that it’s pure spectacle. It doesn’t shy away from that. In fact, it full on embraces it…at least during the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
What people don’t realize about the Sean Connery through Timothy Dalton era is that the plot DOES NOT MATTER. At all. Not in the slightest. They’re all screenplays based on story beats: 1) Cold open 2) Titles 3) Moneypenny/Q/M 4)Intro to villain, etc etc. and it always ends with the villain lair exploding and Bond fucking the Bond Girl. The facade of a story is always in service to hitting those beats.
It’s like listening to a Phil Spector produced album where the sheer scale of the production covers up the limitations of the artist.
Now Moonraker crosses the line from being spectacle to straight up insanity. It’s obvious that the producers were just throwing shit up on the screen in a desperate attempt to compete with Star Wars. But underneath all that bullshit, there is a decent James Bond film.
The scene that is often cited as being the moment Bond jumps the shark is the gondola chase. But did you know that that scene is completely useless? It advances the plot in no way. Who’s chasing Bond? Why are they chasing him? It’s assumed to be the villain’s henchmen, but that’s never made clear. As far as Bond knows, it’s just random dudes. There are no consequences for the chase either. You can cut it out completely, and nothing in the story would have been missed. Not even a story beat. The very next scene is a fight with a henchmen where a shit ton of glass gets broken. There is literally no point in the gondola chase.
Honestly, half the shit that takes place in Venice could be cut. Only two important things happen there: you learn that the villain is using a chemical agent in his diabolical plot and the Bond girl is actually a CIA agent. The death of the first henchmen takes place there, which explains the appearance of Jaws later in the film, but I’d argue that this character could be cut completely and nothing would be missed.
Could Jaws be cut out? Probably not. Unlike most things in this film, Jaws actually advances the plot. But his character could be made less ridiculous by introducing him in the Rio Carnival sequence (who cares why he’s there? It should be obvious). Unfortunately that stupid ass love interest ends up becoming useful for Bond at a key point, so that shit has to stay in. BUT all that crap afterwards can be cut out.
Now the film goes completely off the rails after Bond escapes the ambulance, and not much can be done to fix that. 007 has to go into space 🤷♂️. But if roughly 1/4 of the movie gets edited out, you’d have a nice little spy film.
I wish someone would make a fan edit of this.