Saturday, January 26, 2013

James Bond's Top Ten Gadgets

Gadgets Reached Their Peak in the Roger Moore Era of James Bond Films

James Bond in rocket belt Thunderball
Stylized portrayal of the jet pack
As most fans know, the James Bond gadgets for each Bond film came from Q and his lab, even if they weren't actually mentioned as the source.

Q Laboratory
Q Deadly Parking Meter in Q's Lab

Many of the best gadgets, it is true, are completely impossible given current technology of even today (giant space-capsule-capturing rockets?), but a surprising number are not only feasible but even surprisingly low-tech.

Q Laboratory
Q's men testing a bullet-proof vest

The best gadgets didn't come just from Q: they also came from the invariably wealthy villains themselves. The bad guys' gadgets are way cool anyway, and besides, Bond usually wound up using them himself. Herewith, the ten coolest gadgets portrayed in James Bond films.

Q Laboratory
A grenade flask is of interest to James Bond

10. The Pen Gun from Never Say Never Again

Fatima Blush found it highly amusing when James Bond fired his little pen weapon at her. She was still smiling when it finally exploded and blew her into a million pieces. The incident enabled Sean Connery to fire off one of his last Bond quips in "Never Say Never Again," noting the weapon "needs some work."
Fatima Blush in Never Say Never Again
Fatima Blush, laughing at being shot by the puny pen gun
Pen Gun Never Say Never Again
The deadly pen gun has a Union Jack emblazoned on it

9. Oddjob's Bowler Hat from Goldfinger

Oddjob was Goldfinger's driver and henchman. The bowler hat had a metal disc inside the brim which turned it into a sort of boomerang. It could slice through steel, and Oddjob used it to knock the head off of a statue at Goldfinger's golf course in order to impress James Bond. Oddjob's most menacing action in "Goldfinger," though, didn't involve the hat at all - it was when the smiling Oddjob drove one of Goldfinger's associates, not to the airport as the bad guy expected, but to a car wrecker.
Oddjob at Fort Knox in Goldfinger
Oddjob throwing his hat in Fort Knox
Oddjob, Bond, Goldfinger in Goldfinger
Oddjob demonstrating his hat-throwing skills for Bond and Goldfinger

8. The Moon Buggy from Diamonds Are Forever

Intruding on a fake Moon landing studio project (a sort of throwaway joke that was very timely and remarkably provocative, given that the actual Moon landings still were in full swing at that time), James Bond found just the thing to enable his escape from the bad guys in "Diamonds Are Forever"- a functional Moon buggy being used by the fake astronauts. Bond gets in and crashes it out out of the studio and into a real, not fake, desert setting. The weird vehicle's agility enables it to cross terrain that wrecks numerous police-style sedans. Sean Connery apparently liked driving the moon buggy in Diamonds are Forever so much that he bought it from a collector for $54,000 in late 2004. It must come in handy driving over the Scottish moors! The Moon buggy is described as the "ultimate souvenir."
Moon buggy Diamonds are Forever
Sean Connery as James Bond escaping in the moon buggy
Moon Buggy Diamonds are Forever
The moon buggy breaking out

7. The Flying AMC Matador from The Man with the Golden Gun

The AMC Matador in "The Man with the Golden Gun"seemed perfectly normal - until the dashboard converted from a normal speedometer to an avionics panel and the otherwise humdrum vehicle attached to wings and a jet. Scaramanga makes his flying escape in this contraption. And people complain that scientists never developed a flying car as predicted so long ago!
Flying AMC Matador The Man with the Golden Gun
Scaramanga making his big exit in the flying Matador
AMC Matador flying The Man with the Golden Gun
The Matador sure looks dangerous, but it worked

6. Little Nellie from You Only Live Twice

Q makes his only venture outside of headquarters in "You Only Live Twice" to bring the "Wallis WA-116 Series 1 gyroplane" aka "Little Nellie" to Japan. James Bond needed it to scout out an enemy installation, which wound up being in a huge cavern beneath a dead volcano crater. Transported in just a few manageable suitcases, the gyrocopter was fully functional and armed to the teeth with missiles. Instead of just flying about on reconnaissance, though, Bond wound up in a dogfight with an array of flying villains.
Q showing Little Nellie You Only Live Twice
Q showing Bond Little Nellie
Little Nellie flying You Only Live Twice
Bond flying Little Nellie over Japan

5. The Invisible Aston Martin Vanquish from Die Another Day

The Aston Martin Vanquish in "Die Another Day" was truly ingenious. It used tiny cameras all around to take video, and then routed the video to the opposite side of the car to make the vehicle invisible. The Aston Martin also had many other capabilities, including the usual ejector seat and machine guns and the like. Pierce Brosnan had his best moments as James Bond driving the Vanquish over the ice, window open, shirt fluttering in the breeze, maneuvering like a madman.
The invisible Aston Martin Vanquish
Aston Martin Vanquish Die Another Day
The Aston Martin could do a lot more than be invisible

4. Jaws' Metal Teeth from Moonraker and For Your Eyes Only

Jaws was one of the most popular villains in the entire James Bond franchise, appearing in "Moonraker" and "For Your Eyes Only." While Jaws could bite through just about anything, he never got close enough to James Bond to use his deadly teeth, though he quite impressively survived one gigantic fall after another without a scratch, the last one apparently from earth orbit.
Jaws showing teeth Moonraker
Jaws loved showing off his teeth
Jaws showing teeth Moonraker
Jaws used his metal teeth to bite people to death

3. The Bell Rocket Belt from Thunderball

The "Thunderball" Bell Rocket Belt was - and is - very real. Developed for the United States military in the few years before that film, it was cutting edge technology. It has experienced a revival in recent years for the military, though it remains extremely dangerous because of limited flight time. The Belt is used by James Bond to carry him to safety after killing Jaques Bouvar. The rocket belt also became an accessory (though used only a couple of times to stunning effect) on the United States TV series "Lost in Space," which premiered around the same time as "Thunderball." Robbie Williams paid a memorable homage to the Rocket Belt (and Sean Connery as Bond in general) in his music video for "Millenium."
Bell Rocket Belt in action Thunderball
James Bond escaping using a jet pack
James Bond landing in rocket belt Thunderball
The jet pack in action

2. Dagger Shoes Used By Rosa Klebb in From Russia with Love

The poison-tipped shoes used in From Russia with Love have been endlessly parodied over the years. This gadget is perhaps the most memorable weapon from the entire James Bond series, even though it also is quite possibly the lowest-tech gadget of any significance ever associated with James Bond. A blade would pop out of the front of the shoe, and then the wearer would kick his or her opponent to poison them. One pair is used early on by Morzeny to kill Kronsteen, but that only proved to be the appetizer for Rosa Klebb's climactic attempt to kick James Bond to death at the end of "From Russia with Love." What better way to show your utter contempt for someone than to casually kick them and then stand there triumphantly laughing as they crumple to the ground? Never make fun of a woman and her shoes again!
Rosa Klebb From Russia with Love
Rosa Klebb trying to get James Bond
Dagger Shoes From Russia with Love
Close-up of Rosa Klebb's killer shoes

1. The Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me

The Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me is most famous for its ability to convert at the touch of a button from a sleek automobile to a fully functional submarine. However, the vehicle also had been altered to include machine guns, missiles, torpedoes, and a cement blaster. Overall, this is the best looking and effective gadget of the entire James Bond series, and its surfacing on the beach in front of gawking beach-bunny onlookers is classic Roger Moore-era Bond.
Lotus Esprit The Spy Who Loved Me
The Lotus Esprit underwater
Lotus Esprit The Spy Who Loved Me
The Lotus Esprit surfacing


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