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November 26, 2012 7:17 AM   Subscribe

Which James Bond villain has the most plausible schemes?
posted by Chrysostom (72 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm not surprised that Goldfinger was one of the more plausible plots. The more elaborate the plot (and, up until the Craig films, the more recent the Bond film), the more likely it seemed to me to be too elaborately silly for words.

(Also, my inner gamer is about to steal all these plots for rpgs now that I have them laid out in this form.)
posted by immlass at 7:23 AM on November 26, 2012


That's an easy one. The Bond villain with the most plausible schemes is James Bond.
posted by koeselitz at 7:24 AM on November 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


This is OK, but I liked the link to "Ask a Bespoke Tailor: How Can James Bond Fight in Those Suits?" better. People don't ask bespoke tailors nearly enough, I think. For the tl;dr crowd -- high armholes and fuller sleeves make up a bunch of it. Also, if you are going to be kicking, those pants need to ride high.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:26 AM on November 26, 2012 [12 favorites]


I clicked through to see if the Rupert Murdoch Takes Over The World one was plausible (since it already happened).
Ruthless Rupert Murdochlike media tycoon Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce) wants to provoke a war between the United Kingdom and China by misleading a British warship into Chinese territorial waters (by skewing his own GPS satellite to feed the British ship incorrect location data) and sinking it. Then, he and a Chinese general will stage a coup d’état in China by shooting a nuclear missile at Beijing. The result? The new leadership in China will make sure Carver has control over all the media in China.
I don't remember any of this Chinese stuff. Which reminds me: who watches James Bond films for the villianous schemes, plausible or not? They are always about the McGuffin anyway.
posted by DU at 7:34 AM on November 26, 2012


Wait, but what about Zorin (A View to a Kill, #1 Bond film forever) doping those horses? That seemed pretty doable.
posted by troika at 7:35 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Huh. I would've put my money on Drax in Moonraker.
posted by mazola at 7:37 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


“As far as I know, microchips aren’t actually manufactured in Silicon Valley,” says Dethier. “They’re made all over the world, in China and other places, though the guys who commission the work may be in Silicon Valley.” Therefore, while taking out Silicon Valley would obviously be cataclysmic for the tech industry, he notes, it also wouldn’t entirely remove your competitors, and wouldn’t ultimately affect manufacturing that much.

While that's true today, I think when A View To A Kill was filmed there was a lot less overseas semiconductor manufacturing and a lot more done right in the Valley.
posted by GuyZero at 7:41 AM on November 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


I recently caught a few minutes of Die Another Day (not even discussed in the linked article, not really involving an economic scheme but a military one) on TV. I had forgotten how extremely silly that movie was. I think it was the movie's extreme silliness that must have led to the Daniel Craig low-gadget reboot.
posted by adamrice at 7:43 AM on November 26, 2012


Frankly, the only Bond plot that ever seemed remotely plausible was From Russia With Love. That's also, imho, the only Bond that really feels like a "serious" espionage/spy movie.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:45 AM on November 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Aren't the most realistic Bond movies unquestionably the Timothy Dalton ones? The "schemes" are in both are basically "sell some drugs" and "kill some spies." Schemes so realistic that they have actually happened.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:48 AM on November 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Quantum of Solace seemed pretty straightforward.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:50 AM on November 26, 2012


I was just going to say that The Living Daylights was pretty plausible, but, yeah, what Bugaroktonos said.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:50 AM on November 26, 2012


Next they'll be saying it's implausible that the villain will sit down and tell Bond his whole plan before sending him out with a trying to kill him in some ridiculous and fairly easily avoidable manner instead of say, I don't know, shooting him as soon as he turns up at your secret base.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:54 AM on November 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


I really like that bespoke piece, too.
posted by oddman at 8:00 AM on November 26, 2012


Goldfinger has the most plausible plot? Which one? Not this one:

"Do you expect me to talk?" asks Bond as an industrial laser cuts across the table to which he is strapped.

"No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die" says Goldfinger.

Spolier alert: Bond doesn't die.
posted by three blind mice at 8:07 AM on November 26, 2012


I'd rather see "Which James Bond villains are based upon characters/companies aided by the real James Bond types?"
posted by jeffburdges at 8:08 AM on November 26, 2012


adamrice, the series has always had this tension between realism and goofiness, and several times they tried to redirect it back toward the former. What happened there was a steady decline as they attempted to compete with other special-effects-laden big-budget actioners without success, and then the Sony merger which finally brought under the same roof the rights to Casino Royale. It was too good an opportunity to pass up.

Anyway, much of the real issue here is that the movies, specifically, have concentrated their plots on non-state actors. While this proved prophetic in some ways (Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda are about the closest thing to Blofeld and SPECTRE), many of the actual plans relate more toward motivations that would serve a national interest. Ultimately this is because nations are who generally go to war. You know, the scary stuff involving people getting killed. Capitalists do things like attempt to profit off conflict by selling to both sides -- something like the Carver plot, or the Smedley Butler critique. Anyway, while Fleming could plausibly write about straight-up Cold War politics (e.g. the novel CR, where Le Chiffre was essentially a KGB proxy infiltrating Western European labor movement), the movies were always going to need to be more cautious. The template was really set by the screenplay collaboration Fleming did in the Fifties that became Thunderball. For story purposes it's much more dramatically effective to have an obviously evil villain; any attempt to demonize an entire nation would devolve into LOL Nazis cliches. One of the larger weaknesses of the storylines is the determination of the villain's henchmen; it's easy to believe patriots fighting for their country's interest would willingly lay down their lives, but harder to imagine why wage slaves would do so.
posted by dhartung at 8:11 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it's kind of awesome that the Bond plots that are least believable actually have clear historical precedents. "C'mon... no one does shit like that! It would never work... China? The British, 1859? Well, I'll be dipped..."
posted by fatbird at 8:12 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I liked Skyfall a lot, but I wouldn't say the villains plot was that great compared to previous films, relying heavily as it does on computers being magic.

Also if I didn't know Craig had suggested Hashima himself I'd suspect them of ripping off Atomic Robo a little, which would be a weird chain of events.
posted by Artw at 8:15 AM on November 26, 2012


Even though it's aggressively silly, For Your Eyes Only has a pretty believable and straightforward villainous plot. Recover/steal the missle transmitter and sell to the Ruskies. Foolproof, no?
posted by Ickster at 8:17 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


They forgot Casino Royale (1967), in which James's nephew Jimmy, played by Woody Allen, plots to release a bacillus which will leave all women beautiful and all men shorter than himself. Best Bond villain plot ever.
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:19 AM on November 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


A friend of mine in h.s. and I used to talk about the plots of the 1960s Batman TV show and wonder why a costumed master villain would hire legions of henchmen and spend hundreds of thousands (in 1960s dollars) to knock over a downtown jewelry store. The phrase we came up with was "It's hard to see the economic incentive."
posted by randomkeystrike at 8:23 AM on November 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


Batman villainy is all about the theming. It's actually a huge money sink.
posted by Artw at 8:24 AM on November 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


"No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die" says Goldfinger.

Spolier alert: Bond doesn't die.


Well, they figure out he might be valuable after all and decide not to kill him.

I'm actually quite find of another fix he gets himself into later in the movie where it turns out he has absolutely no idea how to defuse an atomic bomb because, really, why would he?

I love those firsr few Bonds, partially because of Connery, but also because in the first few they were still making movies rather than "Bond films" - Bond was not yet a superman.
posted by Artw at 8:30 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Next they'll be saying it's implausible that the villain will sit down and tell Bond his whole plan before sending him out with a trying to kill him in some ridiculous and fairly easily avoidable manner instead of say, I don't know, shooting him as soon as he turns up at your secret base.

Sh! Let me tell you a little story about a man named Sh! Sh! even before you start. That was a pre-emptive "sh!" Now, I have a whole bag of "sh!" with your name on it.
posted by litleozy at 8:33 AM on November 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Frankly, the only Bond plot that ever seemed remotely plausible was From Russia With Love. That's also, imho, the only Bond that really feels like a "serious" espionage/spy movie.

Really? Using a submarine periscope placed strategically beneath an armchair to spy on the Russian consulate strikes you as a plausible element in a "serious espionage/spy movie"? I think it may be a while since you saw the film.
posted by yoink at 8:33 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it may be a while since you saw the film.

Actually, I watched it again a couple of weeks ago. The periscope is hidden in a wall at floor-level.
Compared to the other Bonds, yes, FRWL is far more a "serious" espionage movie. It's no Spy Who Came in From the Cold, but it's not an implausible gadget-orgy like the later Roger Moore films, either.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:40 AM on November 26, 2012


adamrice, the series has always had this tension between realism and goofiness, and several times they tried to redirect it back toward the former.

Yeah, I was thinking about this when I saw Skyfall the other day:

1) The Bourne movies (and their copycats) seem to be the new version of realism for "secret agent" type films, one that even the new Bond films had to copy.

2) I can't see Bonds going back into goofiness, not because he can't, but because no matter how cool of a gadget you give Bond, he still can't out-gadget a guy in a Batsuit or a guy wearing red and yellow power armor.

Not to mention that Tom Cruise's Mission Impossible series seemed to have slipped into the role of pre-Craig Bond movies with a mix of gadgets, occasional lighthearted scenes, and a bit of over the top action.
posted by FJT at 8:41 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


spoiler

I thought that Skyfall's scheme of "I'm going to make that bitch of a boss pay for firing me" is pretty real-world plausible.
posted by jscott at 8:54 AM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Tom Cruise "Mission Impossible" instantaneously lost my interest with their utterly shameful handling of Jim Phelps.

So, back to bond - are we saying that using an "atomic-powered radio beam" to disrupt space missions is unrealistic?
posted by MysticMCJ at 8:54 AM on November 26, 2012


When assessing the plausibility of Bond plots it is always interesting to consider the many wildly unlikely sounding real-word schemes for British Naval Intelligence that formed the basis of Ian Flemming's own WW2 secret service work - and hence became the template for Bond.

If your desk job has had you planning to kidnap a German plane, crew it up with fluent German speakers, apparently crash it into the English channel, send out a distress signal, overcome the German rescuers and steal their Enigma machine so as to give it to Turing then a few shenanigans with Fort Knox gold seems almost passé.
posted by rongorongo at 9:14 AM on November 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


The phrase we came up with was "It's hard to see the economic incentive."

A plausible explanation for the Batman villains is that they are beneficiaries of a state funded program for incorrigible criminals and shovel-ready projects. Consider this: Penguin, the Riddler, and the Joker hire henchman and spend great sums on vehicles, interior decoration, and infernal devices. They make themselves as obvious as possible by wearing garish costumes. Then they attempt to knock over the local bank or jewelry store.

Meanwhile, Gotham has seen to it that these criminals have a vocation that keeps them from actually harming people (I'm talking canon here: Adam West batman, not the Tim Burton Frank Miller abomination). The city's tailors and decorators and infernal device makers all benefit, Bruce Wayne gets to revisit his issues in a safe and supportive environment, Catwoman has something to do besides mark every bar and alleyway, and the Police Union gets overtime.

Everyone wins.
posted by zippy at 9:24 AM on November 26, 2012 [18 favorites]


I liked Skyfall a lot, but I wouldn't say the villains plot was that great compared to previous films, relying heavily as it does on computers being magic.
Not to mention relying on the hero's IT department being completely incompetent.

(SPOILER: "Hoop de hoo... what? A possibly virus infected computer belonging to a criminal known for programming trojans? Let's plug it into our main (and apparently only) network, the one with no firewall and with full access to every single system we have, including the doors and fire suppression...")
posted by Karmakaze at 9:38 AM on November 26, 2012 [15 favorites]


all about the theming



Batman's villains are the result of a role playing group that spiraled wildly out of control.
posted by The Whelk at 9:39 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hoop de hoo... what?

I expected better of Moss from The IT Crowd.
posted by Artw at 9:55 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not to mention relying on the hero's IT department being completely incompetent.

Pardon me if I sound contrarian, but I'm not sure it's exactly implausible that a government IT department might be completely incompetent.
posted by The World Famous at 10:01 AM on November 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


(SPOILER: "Hoop de hoo... what? A possibly virus infected computer belonging to a criminal known for programming trojans? Let's plug it into our main (and apparently only) network, the one with no firewall and with full access to every single system we have, including the doors and fire suppression...")

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD.

From that moment onward, Skyfall had lost me. It could have recovered, except that literally the entire rising action and climax of the movie, and every beat of suspense, could be attributed to the foolish and ill-considered actions of our protagonists. Drive way the hell up to an abandoned Scottish valley? The Home Alone montage? That somehow misses the existence of two big canisters of propane? M. and the caretaker not staying in the goddam tunnel? The caretaker shining a flashlight through the dark after they have almost gotten away? Bond deciding to run across the frozen pond?

To be fair, the movie was about people creating their own problems and living with the consequences, so I suppose it was thematically appropriate, but at least in the main story, M creates the big problem for supposedly sound tactical reasons. I felt like the tactical decisions we watched onscreen were just stupid.
posted by gauche at 10:05 AM on November 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


EVEN MORE SPOILERS AHOY

Gauche, the thing with Skyfall that fascinates me is that the whole conceit of the movie is the internal existential threat of the Bond franchise. I'm sure some film criticism essay is waiting to be written on it, but:

This movie was begun when the entire Bond series was in question due to the MGM bankruptcy. The danger was that the series would miss putting out a movie on the 50th anniversary of Bond, a terrible situation for a family business that had brought out such a recognizable franchise. So the writers were working very specifically with that cloud hanging over everything. Other rumors I found were that not only was the script being worked on this way, but the other actual productions (procuring locations, getting commitments) went on as well, to make sure that critical 2012 wasn't missed.

Subsequently, the entire plot of Skyfall seems to address the issue of Bond as an aging, tired property whose best years may be behind him. And, in that way, the specific actions here and there, car chase and assassin and chicken-wire computers, are distractions from what was being attempted.

Now, we always have to be a little circumspect about 'logic" and "meaning" with a Bond film, because regardless of how much fads or changes in belief systems attack portions of the movies, the fact is the formula has been intensely profitable by sticking to The Formula, so that was never to be upended.

But here the movie starts with Bond feeling cast off and thrown away, aging notably (the balance of "tired" makeup and "cast from Bronze Daniel Craig" must have been a nightmare), and maybe never to return to his best years. M is going through the same situation, with her husband gone, her new superior demanding her retirement, and even her being forced to stand in front of a televised and intense scrutiny for the very government and people MI6 is supposed to be working for and protecting. Silva is an example of a Bond gone dark - thought to be dead, working in the shadows, wreaking havoc on the world to his own amusement and profit while hating M every single day of his life and planning her intense and public demise (and likely his own suicide along the way). There are at least a half-dozen cases of people being told or asking if they should quit or retire or get out of where they are. And everything is so personal - the villan's fight and drive, Bond's disillusionment, the link to his childhood home and ultimately making it another weapon in his ruthless drive to follow orders.

So I think there's that specific goal with this, the 50th Bond, to go "And you know what? We do it because we HAVE to, we MUST, and we DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE".

I would be willing to bet the next Bond film is going to be more hilarious and ludicrous, probably with a hanging-the-lantern supervillan going "I am RIDICULOUS, aren't I?".
posted by jscott at 10:28 AM on November 26, 2012 [16 favorites]


Okay, I find the economic arguments specious along with the physics. This sounds like an off-the-cuff commentary rather than someone who is an expert in crisis economics. Some examples: Using an atomic bomb blast does not make gold radioactive, neither the First nor Second Opium War started in 1859, you can't use an atomic blast to start an earthquake that will crack apart Silicon Valley, and destroying the Bank of England while keeping bank notes does work, you panic the country into chaos and allow buying up of... well England. Only if there was hyperinflation would you have to worry about the banknotes becoming useless.

This guy needs to take a course in Evil 101.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:29 AM on November 26, 2012


Batman villainy is all about the theming. It's actually a huge money sink.

Batman villains make sense from the perspective of the goons. They live in a city where Batman will catch any jewel thief or bank robber. A career in normal crime is basically impossible. Working with the Riddler buys them three things. First of all, the villains are generally good enough planners that the gang can get away with two or three jobs before Batman shows up. Second, the smart goons know to disappear after the second job, just leg it off to Los Angeles or Madrid with their share of the loot. Batman doesn't operate in Buenos Aries. He's certainly not going to let Two Face run wild in Gotham for a week while he tracks down Egghead's goon #4 in Istanbul. Third, for those goons who can't resist sticking around for the third job, the big score, the villains provide a fifteen minute head start. While Caesar Romero Joker's got Batman tied up in a ridiculous deathtrap they've got an opportunity to slip out the back door.

Batman villains get the chance to be king-for-a-day. Most of them are megalomaniacs, and for a few weeks they get to surround themselves with apparently fawning followers. "Sure thing Mr. Calender Man, anything you say."
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:30 AM on November 26, 2012 [12 favorites]


the most dangerous locations in Gotham City are, ballrooms, museum floors, and charity auctions, respectfully.
posted by The Whelk at 10:38 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Which reminds me: who watches James Bond films for the villianous schemes, plausible or not? They are always about the McGuffin anyway.

And by "McGuffin" I'm sure you mean "hot babes".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:40 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


While I'm in a writing mood:

The thing with supervillan goons is that in general they appear to be floating lost souls who find themselves interacting with a firm, brilliant leader far beyond their own planning.

An episode of The Simpsons, You Only Move Twice, addresses this nicely, showing how a supervillan seems, to a goon, to be a well-prepared, charismatic, caring individual (sociopathic, however), that is worth following to bring you to some level of fortune. Homer isn't promised fantastic riches, just a really nice lifestyle for himself and who he cares about.

As for the Joker, what I liked about the Dark Knight was that they covered this 1970s-1980s-era Joker really nicely - how he gets people to follow him, often to their own demise, in service of his insane plans. Knocking down a known mob bank, utilizing a huge crew, who are then to kill each other while he gets off scott free - and all just to annoy the mob. I thought the conversation he has with Harvey Dent at the end was also an excellent way to show how he could convince anyone in his path to follow his way, no matter how much it betrayed what they believe in.
posted by jscott at 10:43 AM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Tom Cruise "Mission Impossible" instantaneously lost my interest with their utterly shameful handling of Jim Phelps.

That's true. But it's probably the only worthwhile thing Tom Cruise does nowadays and I hope that in a few years he hands off the series to Renner, Pegg or someone else.

SPOILERS ABOUT SKYFALL

I thought it was weird that they posted MI6 identities on Youtube. I mean, Youtube loads millions of hours of video each day. How do terrorists sift through and find it? And not end up with a bunch of rickrolling or to find the right link but have Google take it down.
posted by FJT at 10:49 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


What always intrigued me with Goldfinger was not the plot, but how his car was made out of parts of massive gold and could drive on ordinary tires, on a real road.
posted by Namlit at 10:51 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Like Silva the Joker also pulls off one of those "everyone must react in exactly the right way" type plots, which are a bit annoying.
posted by Artw at 10:58 AM on November 26, 2012


A career in normal crime is basically impossible.

OK, yes, a career in normal crime is basically impossible in Gotham City. But, aside from dealing narcotics, isn't a career in "normal" crime basically impossible in the real world, as well? Organized crime can be a career for a limited number of people. But for everyone except the ring-leaders of organized crime groups, there's no such thing as a "career" in actually committing property crimes, is there? There are certainly people who are repeat offenders and who habitually commit such crimes, but to call it a "career" in the sense of a well-thought-out life plan is, I think, a bit of a fiction in and of itself.

Even in films, the only criminals who don't get put behind bars on a regular basis are the mythical master thieves. I mean even Charlie Croker did serious time, man.

the most dangerous locations in Gotham City are, ballrooms, museum floors, and charity auctions, respectfully.

I disagree. The ballrooms, museum floors, and charity auctions of Gotham City are very dangerous. But the most dangerous location in Gotham City is S Figueroa Street between Wilshire and 3rd. And the second most dangerous is the intersection of Grand & Kościuszko.

Finally, the fiendish plot of the supervillain in For Your Eyes Only was pretty good, and - Roger Moore notwithstanding - it's a pretty good spy film and possibly the least ridiculous Bond movie.
posted by The World Famous at 11:02 AM on November 26, 2012


But, aside from dealing narcotics, isn't a career in "normal" crime basically impossible in the real world, as well?

How about bicycle theft? It's easy money at street level and significant money for a wholesale fence. They never get arrested. They operate with impunity. I'd like to imagine that whenever Batman's not busy dealing with Killer Croc he's beating up bicycle thieves. It's a form of crime that the police apparently can't handle and one of the few crimes for which I can't condemn vigilante violence.

They steal something that sits between your legs. It's an intimate crime, a short step above stealing your underpants. Either batarangs or pitchforks and torches, I'm happy either way.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:25 AM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Hoop de hoo... what? A possibly virus infected computer belonging to a criminal known for programming trojans? Let's plug it into our main (and apparently only) network, the one with no firewall and with full access to every single system we have, including the doors and fire suppression..."

I know of an organization, I won't say which, that thought it took security Very Seriously. Tiered network architecture, and the management networks were segregated from payload networks, and those were tiered as well, and the very sensitive networks had their own segregated and locked down network inside the highest security tier network. There were firewalls and load balancers and switches with ACLs and IDS systems and compliance systems and...

OK, who's routing payload through the management network again? Oh, they have an exception from someone who can fire the CSO, they promise it's OK. What the hell is that Linksys hanging off the spare port of the ISP's router, and why is it bridging to an AP in the middle of the secure data center? Oh, you can't download vendor patches otherwise, because the security's too good. And the firewall we blew fifty grand on has the default password, and it's allowing super-user access through the payload ports. And The Widgets department decided to run their own DMZ without telling us, and stuck it on the secure backbone right along with their data warehouse, which we did know about. And...

Look. We're going to be here a while if I have to keep going. The audience is in no mood for this level of sausage making. Let's just say "magic laptop" and call it an afternoon. It's more plausible than the villain sneaking in a magic surge protector.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:31 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


MORE SKYFALL SPOILERS.

Subsequently, the entire plot of Skyfall seems to address the issue of Bond as an aging, tired property whose best years may be behind him. And, in that way, the specific actions here and there, car chase and assassin and chicken-wire computers, are distractions from what was being attempted.

IOW, when they talk in Skyfall about Bond getting too old, they are at another level talking about whether Bond is getting too old. Okay, I can buy that. Someone on twitter, possibly Alyssa Rosenberg, said that Skyfall was to Bond as Cabin in the Woods was to the slasher genre. I hadn't seen that angle of it & am re-considering.

But I still think that the internal logic of the film's final half-hour was wanting a re-write in a way that maybe doesn't support the metafictional aspects you bring up.

I also felt like the introduction of the knife in the film's second gadget scene (Craggy Albert Finney talking about doing it "the old-fashioned way") was a bit on-the-nose given all the other talk about whether Bond and MI6 were outdated or not, and Bond killing Silva with that very knife felt a lot like Bond dropping a ton of bricks on the villain with the word "Metaphor" painted on the side.

But I do like the idea that it's about Bond the franchise as much as it is about Bond the character or Bond the man, so I'll have to think on this some more.
posted by gauche at 11:35 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


The audience is in no mood for this level of sausage making.

I demand the sausage making! Or at least a more plausible level of handwaved sausage making.
posted by Artw at 11:49 AM on November 26, 2012


And that's not just Bond, that's pretty much every modern movie featuring a computer.
posted by Artw at 11:52 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


How about bicycle theft? It's easy money at street level and significant money for a wholesale fence. They never get arrested. They operate with impunity.

Are there people who actually make a career of bicycle theft?
posted by The World Famous at 12:17 PM on November 26, 2012


Are there people who actually make a career of bicycle theft?

Yes, Igor Kenk. Sort of.
posted by GuyZero at 1:00 PM on November 26, 2012


There are probably more than a few folks that make a career out of long-term drug use financed through serial bike-theft, shoplifting, and the occasional odd job. Not really the sort of folks the Puppetmaster is looking to recruit.
posted by pupdog at 1:08 PM on November 26, 2012


three blind ice - I've often considered the scheme in Goldfinger to be impossibly quaint. So you've irradiated the gold supply. Big deal, Auric. Your Fort Knox shenanigans are a minor irritation at best; LBJ won't blink before unilaterally taking the U.S. off the gold standard, beating Nixon to the punch by seven years. The man has a massively expensive, undeclared, quasi-illegal war ramping up; this will actually make his job easier in the long term.

...Unless that was part of your dastardly plan this whole time?!
posted by MarchHare at 1:11 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Like Silva the Joker also pulls off one of those "everyone must react in exactly the right way" type plots, which are a bit annoying.

Also, to no real point. The end step of Silva's crazy Rube Goldberg plan (that killed all sorts of innocent people) was to have a bunch of guys with guns storm a room. They could have just started with that step!
posted by painquale at 1:15 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


And that's not just Bond, that's pretty much every modern movie featuring a computer.

You just have to sit in front of those scenes and say, "Enhance," and they get better by about 10% each time.
posted by gladly at 1:17 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wonder how much more successful batman villains could be if they just went legit and held their own charity fundraises-that-are-infact-massive-scams.
posted by The Whelk at 1:55 PM on November 26, 2012


Yeah, but you need a gigantic diamond centerpiece for that.
posted by Artw at 2:02 PM on November 26, 2012


Imagine some of our 'favorite' 'little guy fights back against 'the man'' or 'lovable scamps' movies in these situations. Ocean's 11/12/13, but instead of Al Pacino or whoever, you're up against Bond - Gone in 60 Seconds, with the Flash - The Italian Job up against Batman...
posted by pupdog at 2:43 PM on November 26, 2012


says Dethier. “First of all, I think you can’t just grow opium poppies anywhere, which is why Afghanistan is considered such a high value location.
This isn't true. Opium poppies are popular ornamental flowers that will grow throughout North America and Europe. India, Turkey and Australia are major producers for medicinal purposes. Opium poppies are also the source for food grade poppy seeds.

In theory you need a DEA permit to grow them in the USA but pretty well no recreational gardener acquires one. Though that can bite you in the ass.

The World Famous writes " But, aside from dealing narcotics, isn't a career in "normal" crime basically impossible in the real world, as well? Organized crime can be a career for a limited number of people. But for everyone except the ring-leaders of organized crime groups, there's no such thing as a "career" in actually committing property crimes, is there? There are certainly people who are repeat offenders and who habitually commit such crimes, but to call it a "career" in the sense of a well-thought-out life plan is, I think, a bit of a fiction in and of itself."

There are quite a few career B&E burglars who manage a comfortable middle class income working a few days a month who have spent little or no time in jail (a slightly less successful thief). And of course there are all sorts of people boosting their annual incomes by being part time criminals. Plenty of white collar criminals never get caught. Also making and selling counterfeit goods though I imagine that starts slipping into real work territory.
posted by Mitheral at 5:34 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


oddman: "I really like that bespoke piece, too."
Of course, MI6 would totally understand the necessity of a $4,000 suit. The CIA? Not so much.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:49 PM on November 26, 2012


Also, to no real point. The end step of Silva's crazy Rube Goldberg plan (that killed all sorts of innocent people) was to have a bunch of guys with guns storm a room. They could have just started with that step!

He was trying to humiliate M and ruin her reputation. Shooting her right away doesn't accomplish that.
posted by crossoverman at 6:22 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really like that bespoke piece, too.

You may like The Suits of James Bond.

Aren't the most realistic Bond movies unquestionably the Timothy Dalton ones? The "schemes" are in both are basically "sell some drugs" and "kill some spies." Schemes so realistic that they have actually happened.

I think this is true. And for all of the supposed realism and harder edge of Daniel Craig's Bond, it was all already done by Dalton.

Two additional thoughts:

1. I find myself pretty easily suspending my disbelief when it comes to the crazy schemes by Bond's villians, but the thing that I find hard to swallow is that there is never any media scrutiny of Bond's actions. The closest the movies came to any kind of bad press was a headline after Bond blew up the Nambutu Embassy, but I don't recall anything else after that.

2. Was Patrice, the assassin supposed to be the uber-henchman in Skyfall? If so, that was quite disappointing. Not exactly an inspiring follow-up to Oddjob and Jaws.
posted by Bokmakierie at 7:36 PM on November 26, 2012


Not exactly an inspiring follow-up to Oddjob and Jaws.

Good. I never want to see a henchman like Oddjob or Jaws again.
posted by crossoverman at 8:13 PM on November 26, 2012


And while we're at it, I am pretty sure that Vesper Lynd was not a real accountant. There I said it. We were all thinking it.
posted by Sutekh at 6:48 AM on November 28, 2012


I never understood why making the gold radioactive matters, exactly. As it is, it just sits in vaults-these reserves very rarely physically move. It's not like people are going to try to spend radioactive bullion at the corner store. Everyone could just say, "Well, that's fine," and move forward as they were.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:20 PM on November 28, 2012


I never understood why making the gold radioactive matters, exactly. As it is, it just sits in vaults-these reserves very rarely physically move.

I've never understood why anyone during the gold standard years actually believed the government's representations as to how much gold it had or that the currency was in actual fact backed by actual gold. It baffles me that the same people who think you cannot trust anything the government says or does also advocate a currency system that depends entirely on people placing absolute trust and faith in the government to only issue currency that represents a corresponding amount of actual gold held in secure, secret government installations.
posted by The World Famous at 1:53 PM on November 28, 2012


Probably in part because you really could turn in a gold certificate note and get gold in return. That doesn't guarantee that the government really had the x million ounces they claimed, but you certainly could get YOUR dollars converted, if you wanted.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:15 PM on November 28, 2012


Probably in part because you really could turn in a gold certificate note and get gold in return.

Right, but how would you know whether that was actually true unless you actually went and traded in all of your money for gold? Since there was literally no chance of everyone in the economy turning in their certificates for gold at the same time, there was no reason for the government to actually have the gold to back up all the currency, or even any significant portion of it.

And anyway, if Goldfinger successfully detonated the nuclear device at Fort Knox, the government could have just released a press release telling everyone that the gold was never actually there in the first place, and that Fort Knox was just a decoy full of fake gold bars, with the real gold hidden in some undisclosed location. Or even just remind people that the gold is actually in New York, not Fort Knox.
posted by The World Famous at 2:21 PM on November 28, 2012


Who Stole My Volcano? Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Dematerialisation of Supervillain Architecture.
Frayling pointed out this repeating formula in the 60s and 70s Bond movies to the audience. A hidden fortress, that had to be discovered, infiltrated and destroyed with a girl/goddess as guide – but not to be destroyed before we could take in some of the fine lifestyle touches that supervillainy gave as rewards.

But then in an almost throw-away aside to Adam, he reflected that the modern Bond villain (and he might have added, villains in pop culture in general) is placeless, ubiquitous, mobile.

His hidden fortress is in the network, represented only by a briefcase, or perhaps even just a mobile phone.

Where’s the fun in that for a production designer?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:05 AM on November 29, 2012


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