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James Bond and gadgets, six decades of technological madness

Job By Alexis LeBrun April 4, 2022

For a long time they remained inseparable from the self-respecting James Bond film. But after twenty films in which ever-crazier gadgets have helped Agent 007 save the world, the arrival of Daniel Craig in the role marks a major shift in terms of the franchise’s historical technology.

The birth of the golden age

Gadgets are not an invention of James Bond movies. We obviously have this idea from the protagonist and author of the novels, Ian Fleming, who imagined the most famous gadgets of the Saga’s first feature films. From 1963 and the release of Good Kiss From Russia (Terence Young) we find ideas that are completely cult today. How can we forget the poisoned knives that emerge from the changing shoes of SPECTER agents like Rosa Kleb or the bag of the perfect agent with the famous “license to kill”? From this second film, good old Q shows Bond the benefits and workings of these little gems of technology, a culture that becomes immediately important.

But when it comes to gadgets, we haven’t seen anything yet. In the classic Goldfinger (Guy Hamilton, 1964), Q’s inventions – made in this film’s own laboratory – really started to go strong, and Bond’s enemies were not left behind. Sure, Oddjob’s pointy-brimmed bowler hat, capable of slashing anyone or anything, but there are gadgets that still bring a smile today, such as the impossible seagull snorkel used by Sean Connery in the pre-credits scene. It’s from this film that we get the stunning modified version of the Aston Martin DB5, but Bond’s car gadgets deserve an article of their own.

Between creativity and absurdity

It is difficult not to be a fan of the public, and in front of the Goldfinger cartoon, in the following films, the choice is made to put the packaging on the equipment. Then we oscillate between creativity – like the primordial jet pack of Operation Thunder (Terence Young, 1965) – and sometimes, like Roger Moore’s crocodile submarine in OCTOPUSSY (John Glenn, 1983). Because this true festival of technology began in the days of Sean Connery and was even extended by his successor, who prefers to get his hands dirty and therefore rests even more. role than other performers On tools to defeat the bad guys.

Such is the extent of this excess – you only have to see the kitsch The Moon (Lewis Gilbert, 1979) to understand these excesses – that it will annoy fans. But in Roger Moore’s era, the humor and humor of the films is often found in the gadgets he uses, which means he’s associated with some of the saga’s greatest inventions, like the Golden Gun. With The Golden Gun (Guy Hamilton, 1974), it was assembled by a goldsmith from a pen, lighter, cigarette case and cuff link. fairy tale.

Time change

In the year With the arrival of the 1990s and a new interpreter (Pierce Brosnan), James Bond’s gadgets were also reinvented and followed the huge technological advances of the time. The new 007 has fun with the original laptops and computers like a bit of a lunatic, making for some downright hilarious scenes. All excesses – especially the unrealistic ones – are allowed: the car with a remote control phone will not die tomorrow (Roger Spottiswoode, 1997), glasses will not be enough to grab a scanner in our world (Michael Upted, 1999) and even an invisible car in DE another day (Lee Tamahori, 2002). Suffice it to say, it’s hard to go any further, and Daniel Craig in 2011. When he picked up the torch for Casino Royale (Martin Campbell) in 2006, the decision was made to end this period of absolutely unbridled creativity, to go along with the return. A more human and authentic James Bond who prefers to kill with his bare hands rather than with the help of technology.

The change could not be more radical: there is no trace of the serious gimmick of Q in Casino Royale and QUANTUM OF SOLACE (Marc Forster, 2008) and even in these two films. The latter makes the return of the excellent Ben Whishaw in a youthful form in SKYFALL (Sam Mendes, 2012), but the lack of gadgets to his name is more than ever imagined in a scene between Q and Bond, the former explaining the latter’s “exploding pen” in GOLDENYE (Martin (Campbell, 1995) is a reference to the memorable Parker Jotter. Although SPECTER (Sam Mendes, 2015) and DIE CAN WIT (Cary Joji Fukunaga, 2021) saw the shy return of the inventions used by 007, James Bond has certainly changed times, and the golden age of gadgets is over.

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