Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bond’s Tool Chest

Bond’s Tool Chest

Posted by Scott Roche

One thing that has stuck in the collective pop-culture subconscious concerning Britain’s greatest secret agent is the seemingly ever present Bond gadget. And while they are in fact not present in every movie, it’s worth looking at what he used to get the job done besides his charm, rapier wit, and dry martini.

The Walther PPK: While not a gadget per se, this is the tool that I most associate with Bond. He carries it from Dr. No to Goldeneye and only trades it in because it is a bit outdated. It’s an excellent pistol, being both very reliable and easy to conceal. This gun will be returned to Bond’s hand in the newest Bond flick Casino Royale. As a nod to the book, this may very be the only gadget of any sort that he carries.

The Watch: In several movies Q gives James a timepiece. In fact John Cleese’s version of Q indicates that he’s been given twenty, and there’s always more to it than meets the eye. My favorite wasn’t actually given to him by Q at all and it’s the only Bond gadget in the film. It’s the one that Moneypenny gives him in Live and Let Die and contains a very powerful mini-magnet and a buzzsaw. Many a day I’ve had that that would come in handy let me tell you. Other watches have included teletypes, mini televisions, and garrotes.

The Cigarette and Lighter: Drinking to excess, casual sex, and an abundance of smoking all speak to the era that the Bond films came from. Only in these movies would you see a spy using these innocuous items as weapons. You Only Live Twice gives him a cancer stick that shoots a mini-rocket. A car cigarette lighter has a built-in radio in Live and Let Die. Scaramanga’s titular golden gun breaks down into a lighter and cigarette case as does a micro-film reader in The Spy Who Loved Me.

The Mini-Camera: A spy couldn’t very well do his job without something to take pictures of maps, secret hideouts, and the really hot women he sleeps with. He is issued one in From Russia With Love where it also has a built in reel-to-reel tape recorder. He also has one in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Moonraker. The more modern Bonds use camera phones (Die Another Day).

"Cutting Edge" Stuff: There are a few instances were Bond and Q Branch used things that at the time seemed ultra-cool or amazing and are now commonplace. In From Russia with Love he has both a pager and a car phone. He uses a personal watercraft in The Spy Who Loved Me long before jet skis were widely known. Police and other forensic experts use software similar to the Identigraph seen in For Your Eyes Only to replace the police sketch artist in facial reconstruction. The one that hasn’t come to pass yet that seems realistic enough to come true just about any day now is the mini-rebreather from Thunderball.

Finally, we come to the Hall of Shame, reserved for the lamest Bond gadgets most of which we only saw in the Q Branch vignettes being demonstrated by lab assistants. The worst gadget on the list has to be the radioactive pocket lint from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. It would be used to track someone surreptitiously. Pocket lint. Wow. And while the last is certainly effectual, it does date the film with a horrible pun. Yes I’m referring to the ghetto blaster, a personal stereo/rocket launcher.

“Wait”, you say, “what about the cars? Chicks dig the cars.” Well fearless reader, that’s another can of worms and we’ll no doubt take a look at those as we lead up to the premier of Casino Royale.


erikko said...

i am still comparing this guy to Mac Guyver but i guess he's more on gadgets and Mac Guyver makes the most of the worst situations

hollywood men

regina said...

It's great to be Bond, James Bond.

clariceg said...

Bond's gadgets really are amazing but not all the time.