Picks and Pans Review: Moonraker

updated 07/30/1979 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/30/1979 AT 01:00 AM EDT

No James Bond film has ever won a major Oscar. (Thunderball and Goldfinger were honored for effects.) But producer Albert Broccoli, who has turned out all 11 of the Connery-Moore 007s, deserves one for maintaining such a high level of entertainment in the face of predictability. This one is a little long. Richard ("Jaws") Kiel, surviving villain from The Spy Who Loved Me, is onscreen too much. The women don't quite live up to the aesthetic standards set by such earlier Bond beauties as Ursula Andress, Britt Ekland and Barbara Bach. (The main heroine is Lois Chiles, playing a CIA agent.) But the series' spectacular photography, gimmickry, verve and wry wit are still abundant. The opening sky-diving sequence is magnificent, both visually and dramatically. Michael Lonsdale is perfectly droll as the latest nasty trying to conquer Earth. There's a brilliantly choreographed laser battle between two space-walking armies. And Roger Moore, a trifle old for the part at 51, can still be vigorous and funny when he needs to. As both bad guys and audiences learned long ago, you can't beat James Bond. (PG)

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