Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012

James Bond's Toys

By David Luhrssen
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 As much as anything else, the toys James Bond plays with—those cars, boats and gizmos—drive the movies’ plots. The History Channel special “James Bond Gadgets” (out on DVD) examines a slew of fast, sexy, sleek and jaw-dropping devices from the movies and finds that many of them were real objects, albeit tricked out with unusual accessories. Take the rocket belt from Thunderball (1965), which actually worked, or the autogiro in You Only Live Twice (1967), a recent invention by the sort of British eccentric that might turn up in Bondland. Fact followed fiction when the British military purchased one for aerial reconnaissance. The Q Boat from The World is Not Enough (1999) was no CGI simulation but, at top speeds of 80 mph, can race three times faster than conventional speedboats. “James Bond Gadgets” reminds us, however, that virtually no one person could master the panoply of gadgets deployed by 007 in a single film. What’s next when Skyfall debuts on Nov. 9?

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