The Best (and Worst) Gadget Arsenals of James Bond

As we continue our celebration of everything 007 with our James Bond Fan Hub, it’s time to take a step into Q’s lab, and look at 007′s tools of trade.

In my mind, a spy is only as good as his full range of gear, and in honor of that I’m taking a looks at the Bond movies with the best collection of gadgets, and in the interest of perspective, the worst.

The Best

“GOLDFINGER”

The Gadget Report:

While “From Russia With Love” was the first movie to really include Bond gadgets, it wouldn’t be until the classic “Goldfinger” where we saw the idea really take off. I’ve heard it remarked before, but it’s great how Connery’s Bond always sounded impressed with the gadgets he was given, as even in his line of work you didn’t see these things every day. What I really like is how many of the gadgets would set a trend for future films. This was Bond’s first watch, the first defining villain device, and of course the first (and maybe best) Bond car. Even with some clunkers like the rubber duck topped stealth wetsuit, like so many other things in “Goldfinger,” the quality of gadgets here would be a real trendsetter for films to come.

Gadget Highlights:

The Aston Martin DB5

Bulletproof Windows, Revolving License Plate, Forward Machine Guns, and Guaranteed First Date Sex

Industrial Laser

I Love How Completely Un-Phased Those Scientists Are

“YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE”

The Gadget Report:

Does a freaking awesome ninja army count as a gadget? No? Well James Bond’s strange trip to the far East is still loaded with high quality tech. You could definitely tell the series was starting to rely more and more on its prop department by this point as the ideas were getting more and more elaborate, yet still oddly appropriate for this world. My favorite part of this movie is all of the things that weren’t technically Bond gadgets but still awesome. Things like Bond’s contact’s personal subway system, the helicopter with the industrial magnet attached, or the quintessential villain lair in the hollowed out volcano all helped to make this one of the most memorable of the Bond movies.

Oh, and of course the actual Bond gadgets were awesome as well.

Gadget Highlights:

Rocket Launcher Cigarette

First One to Make a “Those Things Will Kill You” Joke Gets It

Attack Gyrocopter, A.K.A. “Little Nellie”

Yeah, well…Sean Connery Probably Thinks You Look Ridiculous

“LIVE AND LET DIE”

The Gadget Report:

Officially recognized by Wikipedia as the most gadget filled of all of the Bond movies, “Live and Let Die” was trying to make people forget that Roger Moore was the new Bond by loading it up with awesome gizmos. It almost works too as we are treated to the full gamut of devices that range from voodoo dolls, flutes that double as communicators, bug sweepers, robotic voodoo priests, enhanced mechanical prosthetic arms, flamethrowers, coffee makers (that surprisingly just make coffee), and the greatest Bond watch of all time, the Rolex Submariner with bullet deflecting magnet and saw watchface. The theme of the movie may have been black magic, but it’s the technology that steals the show.

Gadget Highlights:

The Rolex Submariner with Magnet

Once You Accept You’ll Never Own a Watch This Cool, Life Gets Surprisingly Easier

Read the rest of this entry »

  

You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook for content updates. Also, sign up for our email list for weekly updates and check us out on Google+ as well.

007 One by One – Goldfinger

Bullz-Eye continues its look back at every James Bond film, 007 One by One, as part of our James Bond Fan Hub that we’ve created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Bond film.

The third Bond film is more than one of the most enduringly popular movies in the series and the final template for James Bond movies from that point forward. In many respects, it actually set the pattern for actions films in general. It was also perhaps the first modern-day blockbuster in that it was intended as an event as well a movie — complete with mega-bucks generating merchandizing opportunities. Sadly, it’s also the first movie in the series that Bond’s 56 year-old creator, Ian Fleming, didn’t live to see completed. He could not have conceived of how insanely popular his creation would become within months of his passing.

“Goldfinger” (1963)

The Plot

007 locks deadly horns with a mysterious millionaire known for cheating at gin rummy, golf, and the exportation of gold. That naturally turns out to be only the tip of the iceberg as James Bond discovers a diabolical plan aimed at destroying the economy of the free world and making portly Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe) the world’s richest man. The aptly named, gold-obsessed supervillain’s target is, of course, Fort Knox.

The Backstory

With the back-to-back success of “Dr. No” and “From Russia With Love,” the money conscious EON producing team of Harry Saltzman and Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli were ready to spend what was actually pretty big money in early 1960′s movie production terms — $3 million! (The 2008 Bond entry, “Quantum of Solace,” had a reported production budget of $200 million.)

Dashing director Terrence Young, who had launched the series so ably with “Dr. No” and “From Russia With Love,” smelled the cash and held out for more money. True to form, EON decided to go with a more thrifty option and brought in an accomplished journeyman director who was, nevertheless, a new hand when it came to staging elaborate action scenes, Guy Hamilton.

American writer Richard Maibum was back on board, this time with an assist from British screenwriter Paul Dehn. A very probable inspiration for the dashing English spy played by Michael Fassbender in “Inglourious Basterds,” Dehn was a former film critic and admitted World War II assassin. His next gig was, ironically, helping to adapt John le Carré’s specifically anti-Bondian espionage classic, “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.”

Most importantly to the financial bottom line, Sean Connery had made himself synonymous with 007 and was also on board for another go round, though he wouldn’t appear on set until he finished off his highly dramatic starring role in Alfred Hithcock’s “Marnie.” Connery was starting to worry a little about this whole business of being typecast as a veritable superhero; he would continue to go out of his way to remind the public he could be someone other than Bond.

In any case, everyone working on the film seems to have understood what kind of opportunity “Goldfinger” represented. That bigger budget meant one thing: more — more action, more gadgets, more violence, and an extremely fast pace by the standards of its day. It was just the kind of wretched excess that could lead to a film so enormous it could launch what has to be the longest lasting and most consistently successful franchise in movie history.

The Bond Girls (Rule of 3 + 2)

Bond keeps to his usual score of three sex partners per movie. However, as befits the more lavish “Goldfinger,” we actually have five legitimate “Bond girls” this go-round. It’s just that Bond respectfully keeps his hands off of one and apparently never quite reaches home plate with another. To be specific…

Bonita (Nadia Regan) — She gets kissed while naked at the end of the pre-credit sequence, but it appears that actually doing the deed with Bond was never in the treacherous beauty’s plans, and she ends up with only a nasty bump on the head for her trouble. The adorable, Serbian-born Nadia Regan was actually on her second Bond go-round, having played a very brief kittenish role in the just-prior, “From Russia With Love,” where she was the Turkish secretary/girlfriend of Ali Kerim Bey (Pedro Armendariz.)

Dink (Margaret Nolan) – This lovely bathing beauty and amateur masseuse appears to be Bond’s very temporary girlfriend during his very short vacation at Miami Beach’s ultra-lux Fontainebleau Hotel. In true super-sexist style, he dismisses her with jovial rudeness and a smart smack to the backside when his American colleague shows up. Actress and model Margaret Nolan would go on to appear in a Playboy pictorial and several entries in the “Carry On” series of British sex comedies.

Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton) – Bond wastes little time in seducing the bikini clad Masterson, who has unwisely taken a job helping a certain highly suspicious gold broker cheat at gin rummy. The superspy clearly takes a liking to the spunky, frankly sexual Masterson. He is devastated when he wakes up from a clubbing-induced slumber to find her suffocated to death by being painted completely gold from head to foot. It’s a tragic death, but it gave the movie its poster and one of the most creepily memorable and iconic images in the Bond lexicon. Shirley Eaton, already a busy working actress in the British film industry, would go on to star in a number of mostly not-so-distinguished films before retiring in favor of motherhood in 1969. She came out of retirement three decades later with a memoir, Golden Girl.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Bond Vehicles, in the Metallic Flesh, at Comic-Con

Imagine your humble writer as being like James Bond at the beginning of “From Russia With Love,” relaxing with a beverage and a special lady when suddenly the call came in from HQ. I was needed. There would be four vehicles featured in James Bond movies at Comic-Con and, as the guy who’s been working on an upcoming Bond movie series for these here pages at Bullz-Eye, I was just the man for the job.

Of course, this is completely misleading, but I thought I’d pump myself up a bit before we get started. Basically, what this is all about is promotion for the upcoming James Bond Blu-ray set of all 22 extent canonical Bond films (slobber, slobber!). With the help of the good people at the Ian Fleming Foundation, the folks at MGM/Fox were allowing Con-goers to line up for an opportunity to have their pictures taken with these various mean machines.

The only problem was, it’s not like a simple freelancer like me arrives at Comic-Con with a bevy of men’s magazine models and, alas, Bond Booth Babes weren’t in anyone’s budget, it appeared. The thought of forcing innocent readers to view repeated pictures of me in front of four of these machines seemed almost Blofeldian in its wrongness.

Instead, I did the natural thing at Comic-Con. With a little help from my photographin’ pal Rodney Reynaldo, I recruited some of the costumed denizens of the Con to provide the visual pizzazz that I thought I needed. Fortunately, we also have some additional photos.

And so we begin at the beginning….

The Q Boat — This number was featured in the Thames boat chase sequence from 1999′s “The World is Not Enough.” In the film, Bond (as portrayed by Pierce Brosnan) appropriates the boat to give chase to a bad guy who has committed a dastardly murder at a party, though the fact that the event was in honor of good ol’ Q’s retirement adds a slightly ironic note.

I’m not quite sure what kind of note our anime-inspired friends provided, but there they are, along with a shot from the movie, in our gallery. And, yes, you can’t see the front of the vehicle from the shot on the floor of the San Diego Convention Center, but get a load of this shot of the vehicle in action from the movie.

The Ground Parahawk — This snow vehicle also turned up in one of the action sequences in the 1999 Bond opus.

What, you don’t remember Fred and Wilma Flintstone posing in front of it? Well, here’s how it looked in its more natural state.

The Jaguar XKR

The coolness factor went up considerably with the first of two actual cars, this one from 2002′s “Die Another Day.” To be honest, as far as I can find out without having the movie handy, it appears that Mr. Bond never actually drove this car. Instead, he was nearly done in by it, as suave bad guy Zao (Rick Yune) tried his best to deprive 007 of his license to live.

Of course, if Spider-Man and Spider-Girl had been along for the ride, things might have gone a bit differently. Or not.

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante

It would have been way too much to expect the original and greatest James Bond supercar, the Aston Martin DB5 from 1964′s “Goldfinger” (AKA the most famous car in the world). Still, we got close enough for Comic-Con with the amazing Aston Martin V8 from 1977′s “The Living Daylights,” one of two Bond outings starring Timothy Dalton.

It might not have been as famous as the original Bond car with its built-in machine guns and ejector seat but, at least in terms of numbers, it out-gadgetted the original. The Volante in the film came come complete with, among other features, guided missiles, tire-slashing lasers, and a self-destruct capability in case everything went to hell in a hand basket.

It was our determination that only James Bond himself was cool enough to stand in front of an Aston Martin of this caliber. Since we didn’t happen to spot him wandering the convention floor, this one stands alone.

  

Related Posts