In For Your Eyes Only, a visit to Q’s workshop reveals his technicians working on a spiked umbrella that snaps closed when exposed to water and a spring- loaded plaster cast. Again Bond has a Seiko watch, this time equippedment with a two-way voice communicator. The plot revolves around the ATAC – Automated Targeting Attack Communicator – which was stolen from the British spy ship St Georges, disguised as a trawler and sunk by a mine.
Q’s 3D Visual Indentigraph is used to identify the villain Emile Locque. However, Llewelyn had difficulty saying his lines while operating a computer for the first times. So Roger Moore suggested that Bond take over as the computer expert, operating the machine while taking over Q’s lines as well. Later Q turns up disguised as a priest in a church in Greece complete with phoney beard. Bond appearsturns up in the confessional box and says,: “Forgive me, father, I have sinned …”
To which Q answers: “That’s putting it mildly, 007.”
Bond gets through two Lotus Espirits during the course of the film. The first self-destructs when Hector Gonzales’s men try to break into it, leaving Bond to embark on a car chase in a 2two-CV. When Q provides a second Espirit, Bond quips: “I see you’ve managed to get the Lotus back together again.”
Bond and Melina use the Neptune mini-submarine to hunt for the wreck of the St Georges. They are attacked by a one-man sub armed with robotic drills and pinchers. Melina, then Bond, isare pursued by enemy henchmen on motorbikes equipped with spiked tyres for use in the snow and machine guns mounted on their handlebars. Bond also takes a hair-raising ride on a helicopter after the pilot is electrocuted and control is taken over by Blofeld using a remote control pad attached to his wheelchair.
Q Branch sets up in Udaipur, India, for Octopussy, concealed behind a movie poster that is automatically replaced once Bond has driven through it. Here the relationship between Bond and Q is further developed. When a high-tech Indian rope tricktrip goes limp, Bond remarks: “Having problems keeping it up, Q?”
Later on board a hot-air balloon, Bond asks:: “Can you handle this contraption, Q?”
“It works by hot air,” replies Q.
“Oh, in that case you can,” says Bond.
Q even gets lucky with a number of Bond girls, after the balloon lands on Octopussy’s women-only island. He shrugs off their kisses, saying,; “Later, perhaps.” Indeed, later, Llewelyn got to undertake a publicity tour with two of them. He had to carry a letter from the producers explaining that the replica Walther PPK, stage daggers, replica piton gun, explosive tin of talc and finger trap he was carrying were props from movies.
In the pre-title sequence of Octopussy, Bond attempts to blow up an aircraft hangaer with a suitcase bomb. He escapes on an Acrostar mini-jet, concealed in a horse box. Bond has a watch with a radio direction finder in it. Then Q provides a Seiko watch with TV screen, a Mont Blanc pen containing acid and an earpiece that works with the bug he has placed inside the Fabergé egg.
Bond also has a mini-submarine disguised as a crocodile. On land, he conducts a car chase from the in back of a tuk-tuk in India and in a stolen car in Germany. Apart from a stolen nuclear bomb, the best the opposition can come up with is a spinning saw that operates like a yo-yo.
In Never Say Never Again, Kevin McClory’s remake of Thunderball, Q was played by Alec McCowen and is addressed by Bond as Algernon. But here Q Branch is depicted as chronically under-funded compared with the mainstream Eon movies.
Greeting the returning Sean Connery, Q says,: “Good to see you Mr. Bond. Things have been awfully dull around here. I hope we’re going to see some gratuitous sex and violence!” To which Bond replies: “I certainly hope so.”
Q provides Bond with a rocket-firing pen he uses to kill Fatima Blush and a watch equipped with a laser that he uses to cut his bonds in Largo’s castle.
Bond is seen driving a Bentley once again, as he does in the 1966 spoof Casino Royale. Later he takes to a motorbike for a high-speed chase, then to a bicycle pretending to bethe Leiter’s trainer.
The villains have the best equipment again, including a false eye used to fool the war-head loading system with a plug-in retinal scanner. FatimaFatmina has a device which she sticks on Bond’s air tanks tohat attracts sharks. The Flying Saucer is also suitably equipped with a wet-sub for carrying the bombs.
Q appears wearing a top hat and morning suit with Bond, M and Moneypenny at Ascot in the line of duty in A View to a To A Kill. Bond has a ring with a miniature camera in it. He uses his electric shaver to detect bugs. A credit card opens locks electronically. Polarizing sunglasses allow him to look through darkened windows and he has mini-photocopier that scans Zorin’s cheque, picking up the indentations left when he wrote the previous cheque to Stacey.
Zorin has a super-computer which establishes Bond’s identity. His secret laboratory produces implants that, when activated by a device in the jockey’s whip, administer performance-enhancing drugs directly into the muscles of the horse. Desk lamps in his château monitor the conversations of his guests. His sidekick May Day uses lethal butterflies to dispose of Achille Aubergine in the restaurant on the Eiffel Tower. The plot revolves around a microchips that withstands the electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear explosion. And Zorin travels by an air ship which has a retractable stairway that turns into slide to get rid of unwanted passengers.
Bond begins the film by returning to a luxurious submarine disguised as an iceberg. Then, while pursuing May Day, he is reduced to conducting a car crash cash in a commandeered Renault taxi, which keeps going even after it is shearedeer in half. After that he gets to ride in Sir Godfrey Tibbett’s Rolls- Royce with Sir Godfrey masquerading as his chauffeur. The film ends with Q operating a remote-controlled Snooper – a dog-shaped surveillance machine – that finds Bond in the shower with heroine Stacey Sutton.
Q branch came up with a host of new gadgets for The Living Daylights, though at the time Llewelyn himself found that he could not operate the automatic ticket barrier at the Lancaster Hotel in London without the help of the management. He demonstrates a portable boombox with a built-in bazooka, saying: “It’s something we’re making for the Americans … it’s called a ghetto blaster.” There’s also a revolving sofa that swallows anyone who sits on it. Q provides Bond with a modified keychain. Activated by the first notes of “Rule Britannica”, it emits gas that will stun anyone within five feet. Q says that it will disorientate any normal person for up to thirty seconds. To which, Bond replies,: “You don’t find too many normal people in this business, Q …” It also contains an explosive charge activated by a wolf whistle and a lock-pick that Q says will open ninety per cent of the world’s locks. Then there are miniature binoculars that fit in spectacle frames and the Walther sniper rifle with an infra-red scope.
Koskov is smuggled to the West using a special vehicle that fits inside a gas pipeline. Meanwhile Bond has upgraded to ana Aston Martin Vantage/Volante. The Vantage is a convertible which Q’s assistants are seen “winterizing” into a hardtop Volante. In reality, they are two different cars. In the car chase, it has bullet-proof windows, retractable ski outriggers for driving on snow, retractable tyre spikes for driving on ice, guided missiles behind the fog lamps with the target display projected on the windscreen, police-band radio and lasers in the hubcaps that cut a police car from itshis axles. Again it has a self-destruct.
In the enemy’s arsenal are explosive milk bottles used to free Koskov from the MI6 safe house, a watch with an alarm that Pushkin uses to summon the guard and a high-tech assault rifle that Whitaker uses along with a bullet-proof face mask that deflects Bond’s shots.
In Licence to Kill, Q turns up in the hotel suite in Isthmus City which Bond and CIA pilot Pam Bouvier are sharing – platonically – with a suitcase containing “everything for the man on holiday”, reminding a disgruntled Bond: “If it hadn’t been for Q Branch you would have been dead long ago.” After demonstrating the contents, Q heads off to bed in one bedroom, while Pam takes the other, leaving Bond to trot off disconsolately after Llewelyn, saying,: “I hope you don’t snore, Q.”
Bond is provided with a toothpaste tube full of plastic explosives which can be detonated by a cigarette packetage; he also has, a cCummerbund containing a rappelling rope that allows himing Bond to abseil down the front of Sanchez’s headquarters, a Polaroid camera that projects a high-powered laser, a signature gun disguised as a Hasselblad camera that can be reassembled as a sniper rifle with an optical palm reader allowing only the designated user to fire it, and an exploding alarm clock – “Guaranteed never to wake up anyone who uses it,” says Q.
Q also poses alternately as a chauffeur, a crew member on board a harbour patrol vessel and a gardener with a walkie-talkie in the handle of his rake. Meanwhile Bond swims undetected pastpassed the video camera on the bottom of the WaveKrest disguised as a manta ray. The WaveKrest is naturally replete with a fleet of high-tech vessels, including the three-man mini-sub Shark Hunter II, while Bond gets to drive a high-powered speed boat and a Kenilworth tanker full of petrol mixed with cocaine.
After his antics as a field agent, Q returns to the workshop in Goldeneye. He appears in a wheelchair with his leg in a cast that fires a missile. Also on test in the workshop are ana X-ray document scanner disguised as a tea tray, an office ejector seat and a phone box with a concealed air bag that traps the occupant when triggered.
When Bond makes a quip about an explosive pen, Q chides him: “Oh, do grown up, 007.” The pen contains a C4 grenade that is armed with three clicks of the pen, then disarmed by another three clicks. Q also introduces him to the latest BMW Z3 Roadster, some months before it was available to the general public. According to Q, it was equipped with an ejector seat, parachute braking, a radar system and Stinger missile. None of these are used and the car only makes one brief appearance on a Caribbean iIsland where he swaps it with Jack Wade for a light aircraft.
Q also reminds Bond, yet again, to return all the equipment in pristine condition. Then as Bond examines what he takes to be another new gadget, Q barks: “Don’t touch that … that’s my lunch.”
The pre-title sequence begins with Bond bungeey-jumping from the top of a dam. Before the bungeey cord recoils he uses a piton gun to attach himself to the top of a blockhouse. The piton gun also conceals a laser which he uses to cut through a steel plate to gain entry. With He then uses an electronic code-cracker he thento unlocks the door to the chemical storage area, wherehich he rigs the storage tanks with magnetic mines.
Bond also has a rappelling belt. The buckle fires a piton into the ceiling, then seventy-five feet of fine steel cable uncoil. His Omega watch contains a laser that can cut through armour plating to allow him and Natalya to escape from Trevelyan’s train that is about to blow up.
His DB5 has a complete communications centre in the dash board and a seduction kit comprising a chilled bottle of Bollinger (not Bond’s usual brand of champagne) and a rose. Bond also rides a Cagiva motorbike taken from a Soviet soldier during the pre-title sequence and a Russian T55 tank in a car chase through St Petersburg. Xenia Onatopp drives a Ferrari 355 and she and Ourumov make off with a state-of-the-art Tiger Eurocopter. Trevelyan also has satellite weapons that can knock out any electronic network on earth using electromagnetic shock waves.
In Tomorrow Never Dies, Q turnsed up at Hamburg aAirport as an Avis representative in a red jacket to deliver Bond’s latest car. Bond reminds him that he needs maximum insurance cover because “accidents do happen”. Q then introduces Bond to a BMW 750iL which features twelve STS missiles mounted under the sunroof, a security system that gives anyone tampering with the car an electric shock and dispenses tear gas, a cable cutter that emerges from the BMW bonnet logo, bullet-proof windows and bodywork, tyres that re-inflateable at the touch of a button, a metal spike dispenser under the rear bumper, magnetic flash grenades and a hidden safe that slides out from under the glove compartment. Most ingenious of all, it can be driven remotely from an Ericsson cellular phone which has a built-in TV front- and rear-view monitor. Unfortunately, Bond returns the BMW to Avis, not in pristine condition, but from the top of the building over the road. The DB5 is also in evidence in the film.
The Ericsson mobile phone also features a stun gun and a fingerprint scanner thatn allows Bond to open Carver’s safe. And iAnd it emits a laser beam that can cut through steel, plus and a detachable antenna that doubles as a lock- pick. Bond also has a cigarette lighter that doubles as a grenade.
Bond’s ally Wai Lin has her own array of high-tech gadgets hidden in her Saigon headquarters – computerized maps that pin point any location on earth, a statue of a dragon equipped with a flame-thrower, a fan that throws out spikes when opened, a a sliding walls that reveals an armoury of sophisticated weapons and an Omega watch that doubles as a detonator. Her ear-rings double as lock- picks. She also has a device attached to her wrists that fires a piton and cable, allowing her to walk vertically down walls, and she gives Bond a sleek Walther P99, which takes sixteen rounds of 9mm bullets, rather than six rounds of 7.65mm, not including the round in the chamber. It is thanks to Wai Lin that Bond abandons his old Walther PPK, first made in 1931, in favour of the new Walther P99 of 1997 vintage.
Together they ride through the streets of Saigon on a BMW R1200 motorbike. Along the way there is a booby-trapped rickshaw. The story revolves around a top -secret GPS encoder and, as well as his global satellite TV and media empire, Carver has a stealth ship, and a sea- drill that eventually kills him.
The timeIt finally came ftime for Q to retire, andin The World Is Not Enough and introduces his successor, played by John Cleese. Bond says to Q: “If you’re Q, does that make him R?.”
Cleese then demonstrates an inflatable ski jacket that blows up to form a protective sphere. This saves Bond and Elektra’s lives when they get caught in an avalanche. Bond’s latest Omega watch provides light inside. It also conceals a tiny grappling hook and fifty feet of high-tensile wire. Q’s technicians have also come up with a bagpipe that doubles as a flame-thrower.
Bond is again armed with a Walther P99, but this one is rigged with a “flash-bang” charge, remotely detonated by a button on his spectacles after he has been disarmed. He has another pair of glasses, whose X-ray vision capability allows him to see who is carrying concealed weapons in Zukovsky’s casino. It gives Bond the added advantage of seeing women in their underwear.
The boat Q says he has built for his retirement in commandeered by Bond for a high speed chase down the Thames. The jet-powered craft has a draughtdraft of only three inches, though it is seen travelling on dry land down a street in Docklands and through a restaurant using rocket propulsion. It is also submersible and is armed with torpedoes, so it is difficult to imagine how Q plans to spend his retirement. No matter. It bursts into flames after Bond is catapulted on to the mooring line of a hot-air balloon.
Q Branch also provided a BMW Z8. Again the car has a remote-control facility, a sonic device to overhear conversations in nearby buildings, titanium plating and armour, the very latest in intercepts, surveillance and countermeasures, and six beverage holders. Surface to air missiles hidden behind the headlamps bring down a helicopter armed with giant revolving tree-trimming saws. But a second helicopter uses its revolving saws to cut the car in half.
“Q’s not going to like this,” says Bond.
Bond and Elektra are also pursued by parahawks – propeller-driven snowmobiles suspended under paragliding canopies. This time Bond and Christmas Jones get shot through a pipeline and Bond has a new lock-picking credit card device. Again the baddies have the best weapons. This time it is the reactor of a nuclear submarine that will blow up if loaded with weapons-’s grade plutonium.
Although Bond does not get on with the new Q at first, in Die Another Day he refers to him as “Quartermaster” then finally as “Q”. They also swap quips.
“You’re cleverer than you look,” says Bond.
“Ah yes, the legendary 007 wit,” says the new Q. “Or at least half of it.”
He demonstrates a sonic ring that allows the wearer to break “unbreakable glass”. His Omega watch – Bond’s twentieth, Q remarks – features a detonator and a laser cutter. Q also provides a mini -breathing device like the one used in Thunderball. As the film marked the fortieth anniversary of the Bond series and the twentieth movie under the Eon franchise, there are numerous references to gadgets used in previous films.
The new Q proudly reveals Bond’s new car – only there doesn’t appear to be one. The Aston Martin Vanquish has the latest cloaking device that uses high-tech imaging to render the car virtually invisible. It has two auto-aiming machine guns mounted under the hood, front-firing rockets behind the main air intake grille, cannons under the chassis, a seat with a spring- loaded ejection system and central console to control all the gadgets. The Aston Martin is pitted against Zao’s Jaguar XKR which has rockets in the door panels, machine guns in the front grille, a rear- mounted Ggattling gun and mortars mounted in the trunktrunk. Jinx drives a Ford Thunderbird which has no special features. Perhaps the NSA don’t have the budget.
The film begins with Bond surfing into North Korea on a surfboard that stows C4 explosives, detonators, communications equipment and a Walther P99 and silencer in a hidden compartment. Bond also gets to ride on Graves’s jet-power skate car. Again the baddies have all the best gadgets. As well as an ice palace and a device to give respite to the sleepless, Graves has Icarus, a satellite that can beam down an intense ray of energy reflected from the sSun. This harks back to Diamonds Are Forever.
Q’s most fantastic device in Die Another Day is a virtual-reality combat simulator. Using special glasses, weapons and computers, Bond undergoes a realistic scenario inside the MI6 building. Moneypenny later uses it to simulate a romantic encounter with Bond. Q interrupts, only to say,: “Hard, isn’t it?”
In the brooding atmosphere of the Daniel Craig movies, there is no place for a quipping Q. But Bond still needs his gadgets. He has a microchip tracking device implanted in his arm and puts a similar device in Le Chiffre’s inhaler. He has a modified Sony Ericsson K800 cell phone with builtd-in GPS and a digital camera that can take pictures extra-fast. He drives an Aston Martin DBS with a glove compartment filled with assorted tools and weaponry, including a communications centre and high-tech first aid kit with a portable defibrillator. The vehicle itself appears not toto not have any special features apart from a bullet-proof windscreen. Bond also wears a standard issue Omega Seamaster wristwatch.
The enemy are also short of gadgets in the new Casino Royale. Carlos has an explosive key chain which he intends to use to blow up the fuel tanker and Skyfleet’s prototype airliner. But Bond hooks it over Carlo’s belt loop instead.
In Quantum of Solace, the Walther PPK, Aston Martin DBS and Omega Seamaster all make their return. This time Bond has a Sony Ericsson C902 mobile phone with a built-in identification imager, capable of compiling a composite facial image of a potential suspect even when the person being photographed is looking to the side. This phone can also receive information immediately regarding the suspect as it is also tied into the MI6 data mainframe. At At MI6 they havethey have the latest Microsoft Surface touch-screen computer interface. They use a similar device to compile information concerning possible suspects and relays them back to Bond via his cell phone.
Q also supplies Bond with an eye piece he uses to eaves drop on Dominic Greene, while Greene uses a hydrogen fuel cell to power his desert lair. It seems that technology is rapidly catching up with both Q and the Bond villains. Nothing they come up with these days seems even remotely outlandish.
Chapter 8 – The Girls
Along with the guns and the gadgets, the other staple of Bond is the girls. In the books Bond sleeps with just fourteen women; in the movies he has clocked up over sixty conquests – not an unusually high total for a man approaching middle age. They are all, of course, beautiful. But not flawless. The girls in the books are not pin-ups. They haved physical and emotional defects that make them real. Though sometimes vulnerable, they are strong, independent, assertive women who do not wait to be rescued by the macho hero. In several instances, it is the girl who rescues Bond rather than the other way around. They are usually drive faster than he does and are sexually experienced. Bond makes little effort to seduce themn. They go to bed with him on their own initiative, because they want to to, and they find him sexually attractive. Even if they try to keep him at arm’s length, they are drawn together by experiencing shared dangers. Bond girls are always part of the plot, not a mere adornment.
The first Bond girl is Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale. It is thought that she is based on Krystyna Skarbek, a yna Skarbek, Pole who worked for SOE during the war under the name Christine Granville. In the book, Vesper works for Section S, which deals with the Soviet Union, and is sent to Royale-les-Eaux under the guise of a radio sales person assisting René Mathis. Bond is annoyed, until he sets eyes on her. Then he is “excited by her beauty and intrigued by her composure”.
Vesper is the prototype Bond girl. She wears her black hair long and natural. She is suntanned and wears little make-up “except on her mouth which was wide and sensual”; her eyes are deep blue and wide apart. Her clothes are plain, but elegant. She wears little jewellery and her breasts are “fine”. Like Bond, she drinks and smokes.
She is named Vesper, she says, because she was born on a very stormy evening, which her parents wanted to remember. “Some people like it, others don’t,” she says. Bond promptly names his special Mmartini after it.
Having survived their run-in with Le Chiffre, Vesper visits Bond in hospital every day and, much to his surprise, he develops feelings fortowards her. They take a holiday together and become lovers. However, before meeting Bond, she was in love with a Polish officer in the RAF. When he rhad returned to Poland after the war, he washad been arrested by the Russians who said that they would keep him alive if she worked for them as a double agent. But then she became attracted todeveloped feelings for Bond and, when she decided to have an affair with him, she told them that she would not work for them any more, knowing her previous boyfriend would have to die. She hoped that she and Bond could escape together to South America and she would have his baby. However, SMERSH is are on her tailtale. Knowing she canwould never escape them, she commits suicide.
Although at the end of the Casino Royale, Bond says “The bitch is deadd…” he continues to hold a torch for her. In Diamonds Are Forever, he skips the track “La Vie en Rose” because it holds eld memories for him. In Goldfinger, when Bond is drugged and thinks that he and Tilly Masterton have died and gone to heaven, he wonders whether he would introduce her to Vesper there. Then On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – the tenth novel – begins with Bond making his annual pilgrimage to visit Vesper’s grave in Royale-les-Eaux.