I’m tapping the keyboard with the film world still aglow in the warmth of the latest James Bond romp, Skyfall. Ian Fleming’s eponymous hero is now an extraordinary 23 films into his screen career, making it the longest running film franchise ever.
But you may ask why am I telling you this, what on earth has this got to do with technology and Comms Express? Well each new Bond film has always been at the forefront of technology and as you know we at Comms Express like to be at the cutting edge of things! And who didn’t want to have a flying backpack (perhaps not the helmet as worn by Sean Connery) as used by Bond in Thunderball; I know I did! Of course seen today it’s apparent that this and a few other Bond/Q’s gadgets haven’t aged that well yet the Bond franchise has introduced to us many technologies quickly taken up by quick thinking companies.
“Choose your next witticism carefully, Mr. Bond, it may be your last" Auric Goldfinger
“Do you expect me to talk?" Bond
"No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die." Goldfinger
It was in this classic scene with our hero tied to the bench with a laser ready to make hay with his manhood that perhaps the public at large had ever heard of such thing as a laser. Producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman gave their special effects team great licence to think outside of the box, and it is this forward thinking that still permeates Cubby’s children, Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson, entrusted with the franchise.
Some of my favourites include: Video conferencing as seen in Never Say Never Again; the mobile phone as used by Pierce Bronson to take and send a picture in Die Another Day; the beeper in From Russia with Love quickly seized upon by Motorola; the videophone in You Only Live Twice; video surveillance in Diamonds are Forever and the electronic money transfer used in Goldeneye.
But as great as they are they pale into insignificance because for me when I think of Bond I think: cars! Think Bond and instantly I’m driving an Aston Martin or a Ferrari. Now these wonderful beasts are taken to a whole new level when the Bond team get hold of them, guns and all manner of things appear. We saw a transmitter being tracked by 007 in Goldfinger on his in car screen; cruise control in the tanker in Licence to Kill; and of course the navigation system in the speedboat that Bond used for his escape in The World is not Enough.
So while we may have taken the Bond films on face value as being fantasy much of the technology we either marvelled or laughed at is now comonmplace. We’ve all used pagers, mobile phones, tracking devices and miniature voice-recorders, although I’ve yet to get my hands on the Rolex wristwatch that produces a magnetic field powerful enough to deflect a bullet in Live and Let Die: I’ll give Rolex a quick call to see how the development on that is coming along!
Until next timeSteve Wilkin