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Monday, May 01, 2006

MOONRAKER – Proof that Ian Fleming could write a good book! 

I don't want to say too much about the book version of Moonraker. When I started reviewing the James Bond novels, it was not my intention to provide detailed summaries, exhaustive analysis, or mounds of trivia. I started reading the novels for fun, just to see what they were like, and I started reading them in the order they were published because it seemed a natural thing to do.

I reviewed the book version of Casino Royale because I had already reviewed Casino Royale twice (two movie reviews), and the book had some sections that interested me and seemed worthy of comment. Parts of Live and Let Die read much like a Bond film, and I also had to comment on the book’s, shall we say, racial insensitivity, as well as Fleming’s obsessive distaste for old people and retirement villages.

Moonraker, on the other hand, was just a darn good read! It is much like Casino Royale in that it has few action sequences. The best scene is a card game - bridge, no less. The villain, Hugo Drax, is subtly villainous, his scheme is diabolically clever, and his motives are completely believable.

I was completely hooked from the end of the second chapter and I read the whole book in two days. I think it would be wrong of me to deprive interested readers of the same joy by giving away too much. I will say no more about Moonraker – the book.

But I am really curious about the movie now. Moonraker – the movie – is one of the few Bond films I haven't seen. And when I mention that I read the book and really liked it, my friends all say something like, "It must be better than the movie. The movie sucked!!" or other colorful descriptions, all negative.

How could the filmmakers have messed it up THAT bad? This is what I ask myself when I consider how much I liked the book. Well, as I haven't seen it, I shouldn't say too much against it. I might like it. Like Die Another Day.

So that's probably next, a few words on Moonraker – the movie.

And after that, the next book is Diamonds Are Forever, which they made into a really good film. This will be the first book where I know the movie pretty well, so maybe I can talk a little bit about exactly what happens when Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels get thrown up on the screen.

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