James Bond Needs His Gadgets Back
Daniel Craig’s super spy may be totally badass, but he doesn’t do much actual spying
When the 25th James Bond movie arrives next February, it will be Daniel Craig’s last outing as the titular spy, and the end of an era — an era I’m not necessarily sad to see closed. Craig’s tenure transformed Bond from suave super-spy to a man’s man who relied on his fists and his physical durability to defeat the bad guys. But I miss James Bond actually spying on things. I miss him relying more on his cleverness than his ability to run through walls and parkour. And most of all, I miss his gadgets.
Super-spy gadgets were a hallmark of the Bond franchise for 40 years before they were almost completely dropped in 2006’s franchise reboot Casino Royale. It was quite an understandable decision: by Pierce Brosnan’s final outing in 2002’s Die Another Day, the Bond franchise had become ridiculous to the point of self-parody, and the gadgets (e.g. when Bond infiltrates North Korea on a surfboard containing a secret satellite dish and gun inside it, and drives an invisible car) had returned to the camp level of Roger Moore’s ’70s tenure (e.g. a Venetian gondola in Moonraker that turned into the world’s least practical hovercraft).
After fans complained that the series had gotten too goofy and unrealistic, owners Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of Eon Productions used 2006’s Casino Royale to reboot Bond and bring him back to the character’s more serious roots. This meant no fun spy-tech, nothing disguised as anything else, and very little you and I couldn’t own ourselves with enough money. (If you look at the James Bond gadget Wiki, the lists for the Craig movies’ gadgets are dire; they include Sony Ericsson phones and Omega Seamaster wristwatches, as if some desperate Bond fan is trying to compensate for their dearth.) The Daniel Craig era has concentrated primarily on epic, visceral action scenes, which are loosely tied together by a grim storyline that puts spying at a distant second priority.
That’s not the worst thing in the world, by any measure — these are action movies first and foremost, so visceral fights and death-defying stunts are in their DNA more than anything. A James Bond movie where James…