Thursday, October 11, 2012
James Bond is 50 years old, has been portrayed by six different actors on screen, and shows no sign of slowing down in his old age. Skyfall, the 23rd Bond film, hits cinemas at the end of October, so it seemed like a good time to revisit one of the many cool aspects of the James Bond franchise. Not the girls, not the drinks, not the one liners… The cars!
Here are some of the greatest car moments from Bond’s 50 years on top:
The AMC Hornet Stunt
Long before CGI came along and made death-defying stunts less common on screen, 1974’s The Man With The Golden Gun, raised the car for car stunts in movies. In the scene, Bond (Roger Moore) is chasing Christopher Lee’s villain Scaramanga across Thailand, until he comes across a bridge that has been taken out. Scaramanga’s car turns into a small aeroplane (as it would) and the audience expects Bond to give up the chase. But no, the specially modified AMC takes a run and jump over the bridge, turning 360 degrees as it goes. The stunt was performed just once, by stuntman Bumps Willard. What was even more impressive is that he had never performed it before. Death defying, indeed. All in the name of Bond.
The Aston Martin
There is no single moment to highlight as the coolest Aston Martin moment in Bond’s 50 year history. Every moment involving Bond and the most famous car in the world is the coolest moment. From the DB5 used in Goldfinger in 1964 to the DBS used in Casino Royale in 2006, Bond and the Aston Martin is a match made in heaven. Who can forget the incredible car roll stunt in Casino Royale, where Bond is chasing the villains, only to be met by his girlfriend who has been placed in the middle of the road. Bond quickly swerves to miss her, and the Aston Martin DBS rolls 7 ¾ times. The stunt features in the Guinness Book of Records for that reason, and stuntman Adam Kirley was required to hit a specially-modified cannon at exactly the right time or he would have sent the car – travelling at over 80mph – into the trees. Who needs CGI when you have guys like that on hand?
It is one of the things that have helped Bond endure the test of time and will be remembered for generations: The gadgets. From the sublime to the ridiculous, James Bond’s gadgets have taken the cool car in the movies to the dizzy heights of fandom. Who can forget the gun headlights of the Aston Martin in Goldfinger, or the underwater antics of the Lotus Esprit S1 in The Spy Who Love Me? Bond’s BMW 750il in Tomorrow Never Dies is remote controlled, something every child who ever had a toy remote car would have dreamed of when they saw the film.
That is the beauty of Bond’s cars, they speak to the child in us, and the wish-fulfilment of the adult. Nothing is cooler than Bond, and that is why men want to be him, women want to be with him… and both sexes want his cars!