Monday, December 12, 2016

James Bond Book vs Movie - Moonraker


Published: 1955
Main Characters: James Bond, Loelia Ponsonby, M, Sir Hugo Drax, Gaila Brand, Krebs, Dr. Walter
Setting: England

Basic Concept: Sir Hugo Drax, the hero of the common man and creator of the Moonraker rocket that is to keep England in peace for generations to come has had two somewhat fishy situations come up in just as many days and Bond is sent to go make sure everything is okay along with the help of a woman from the Special Branch of the Scotland Yard, Gaila Brand.  

My Thoughts: While I've enjoyed the previous 2 Bond books I didn't find them to be completely gripping.  Moonraker right from the beginning is completely different.  We start with Bond waking up in his flat and heading to work just like anyone else.  Seeing Bond at a desk like a regular office worker thinking about how much he makes a year and dealing with paperwork was fascinating and I adored getting this peek at the softer side of Bond.  Of course that doesn't last very long as things quickly go haywire but even at the height of adventure he's on his home turf and interacting with his boss and others that are part of his day-to-day non-adventure life.  I think because of this Bond himself is more relaxed and more introspective.  I also really enjoyed the women in this book.  While Fleming and the Bond franchise will never be considered feminists Miss Ponsonby and Gaila are both interesting characters and are more than just cardboard cutouts in the book for decorations.  There is a paragraph or so on Miss Ponsoby's career path and the choices that she will have to make was both sad and realistic.  Gaila is almost (but not quite - it is Bond in the 50s after all) an equal.  She's good at undercover work, cool under pressure, and quick on her feet.  She's good with figures and pays attention to detail and plays a major role in saving the day.  Plus, the end is kind of delightful - especially if you're used to the way Bond's relationships go in the movies. I absolutely loved her!  The plot itself is fast paced with some nail biting moments and kept me listening far longer than I intended because I HAD to find out what happens next.  If you're new to the James Bond books start with this one - you won't regret it. This is between 4 and 5 stars for me and I'm almost afraid to watch the movie as I love the book so much!  Rating: Loved It!

On a side note one of the proposed titles for this book was Mondays are Hell which might just have been the most perfect Bond title EVER.


Release Year: 1979
Main Characters: James Bond, M, Q, Hugo Drax, Holly Goodhead, Jaws, Corrine Dufour, Miss Moneypenny, and Chang
Setting: England, California, Brazil, Columbia, Space (because why not?)

Basic Concept: A shuttle is stolen and Bond is sent in to investigate in an investigation that takes him all over the world and beyond as he determines just what the mysterious Hugo Drax is up to.

My Thoughts: What fresh hell was that bit of nonsense??  If you were playing a drinking game where you took a drink every time something that was in the book happened in the movie by the end of the movie you'd be completely sober.  The good news is that if you have seen the movie you can go right ahead and read the book because there are absolutely no spoilers in the movie.  Other than Bond, M, and Hugo Drax there aren't even any of the same characters.

On the plus side was this one was actually kind of fun.  It was beyond absurd and bordered on slapstick but I did understand what the plot was which is way better than the last movie (Live and Let Die).  There were lots of moments that were so absurd that I couldn't help but laugh and I did want to see just how they wrapped everything up.  As long as you go in expecting a movie more like Airplane than Casino Royale I think you'll be entertained.

I can't even begin to describe how different the book and movie are.  It'd probably be easier to say how they ARE alike.  While this movie was entertaining the book was much better and completely different across the board.  I like that while Bond does usually manage to save the day in the end the path to get there is usually pretty bumpy and unlike the movies there isn't a gadget to be found.  The next movie in the order of the books is a Sean Connery and I'm super excited.  I'm looking forward to seeing how his Bond is different from Moore's almost comic book style Bond.


  1. Haha! They so should have kept the title "Mondays are Hell." That is awesome. It is also interesting when the movie and book are soooo different. I felt that way about Ella Enchanted. I mean, besides the title, and the fact that Ella is gifted with obedience, they are nothing a like. That said, I do still kind of like the movie. Book is better, but the movie is fun.

  2. It's amazing to me this was written in 1955, not sure why but I guess I didn't realize they went that far back. Then again the series (movies) did start in the early 60's... Glad these were good! I like how the book seems to depict a more realistic Bond, day job and all.
    I'm glad I never read the books as a kid because if I had they might have ruined the movies, especially in cases like this where the book is better. At the same time I'm kinda curious now to read some of them and see all the differences! And Moore's Bond was definitely a more humorous take- some of his were pretty bad although there are a few in the middle of his run that I actually like a lot.

  3. While I am not sure I'd read or watch the movie I did enjoy your comparison, and from it I'd favour the book way more. But love your idea of reading the book then watching the movie. I am about to do that with one of the romances I'm going to read so will be interesting.

  4. I really have been wanting to try the books as I like the movies, though my favorites are the ones with Sean Connery and Pierce Bronson(sp), not a fan of the new bond guy so haven't watched but one maybe two of his. It's always interesting how different the books and movies are.

  5. I do enjoy the movies, but not sure I'd like the books. Although it does sound good.

  6. Despite being a hardcore James Bond fan, I have yet to read one of the novels. That being said, Moonraker was definitely NOT one of my faves, but it's interesting to see the contrast between the novel and the book almost 30 years later. Great review!

  7. Isn't that funny how different they are. I have watched many Bond movies but never read any you have me curious. Love the cover!

  8. Good reviews, Katherine! I like the Moonraker movie but agree that the filmmakers went for the humor as much as for the thrills. I think that's partly because Roger Moore was able to pull off suave, debonair, and humorous at the same time. Most of his Bond movies have a lot of humor in them; there's less in the Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton movies. (I haven't seen the Daniel Craig movies yet.)

    I thought I had read all the James Bond books, but I'm not remembering Moonraker at all, so it's possible that I wasn't able to find a copy back when I was reading the Bond books. I've thought about going back and rereading them, but I remember them being so sexist that I think they would really annoy me at this point. Still, I might hunt down Moonraker since it appears I never read it.

  9. Your drinking game line is priceless.

    I like the idea of starting the book with a regular day in the protagonist's life. I'm going to have to pick it up, too.

  10. I was reading your description of the book thinking it didn't sound in the least familiar and I've seen the movie many times. Now I know why!