Greetings, Manic Fans. Les here to follow up a blog I did earlier on physically impossible objects/gadgets in film. Several of you commented that I should’ve included some Q gadgets from James Bond on that list, and it got me to thinking about it. There are a lot of awesome things in James Bond that simply wouldn’t work in the real world(or, at least, not the way they worked in the films they were in…). So, I’d like to list my top 12 gadgets/scenes in James Bond films that are completely impossible in the real world. Why 12? Because I like to go one step beyond on step beyond. This list isn’t ranked.

 

Warning: Spoilers and matter of fact explanations ahead…

 

Having a dry tuxedo under a wetsuit/jumpsuit(Goldfinger)

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This scene is quite ingenious, really…James Bond(Sean Connery), using a scuba rebreather with a seagull disguise swims up to an enemy lair. Discarding the headpiece/mask/seagull, he infiltrates the lair, plants a timebomb and leaves. Leaping down a wall, he removes his black coat and underneath he’s wearing a white tuxedo coat! Why is this impossible? THE COAT IS COMPLETELY DRY!!! I’m sorry, but I’m certified in scuba and those wetsuits aren’t waterproof, my friends. In fact, they’re designed to allow the water in the space between the fabric and your skin to warm the suit faster. This scene wouldn’t work in reality…but that didn’t stop it from being copied many times. Arnold Schwartzenegger did it in “True Lies,” and Nicholas Cage did it in “National Treasure: Book of Secrets.”

 

The supermagnet watch(Live and Let Die)

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In this one, Bond(Roger Moore) has a Q altered wristwatch that becomes a supermagnet when the face is twisted a certain way. Strong enough to deflect a bullet, or so Q claims. In the film, he uses it to “capture” M’s teaspoon from 20 feet away(not likely…), unzip a dress(that one could work…), attempt to bring a canoe over to an island attracting the metal oarhooks from about 70 feet away(not a chance…) and attract and capture a compressed gas pellet shotgun shell from 60 feet away(no way in Hell…) This gadget was conceived in 1970. In the 2000’s, Mythbusters attempted to build one and it didn’t work. ‘Nuff said.

 

Freefalling faster than an airplane in a nosedive(Goldeneye)

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It’s a magnificent action sequence, really. James Bond(Pierce Brosnan) kicks the pilot out and they fall together onto the snow…the plane is still going forward, pilotless…Bond then picks up a motorcycle and guns it toward the plane. Both go off the edge of the cliff and Bond manages to fall fast enough to catch up to the plane, board it and save it from crashing at the last minute. Brilliant, right?…well…it turns out, the plane in reality falls faster than a man. It’s revealed in the DVD extras that this scene was done with film edits and special effects.

 

Skiing down a bobsled run(For Your Eyes Only)

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Another great action sequence. James Bond(Roger Moore) is on skis being chased by 2 assassins on motorcycles with spikewheels and machine guns. He leaps onto the Olympic Bobsled track and one of the motorcycles follows him. He slowly begins catching up to the 4 Man Bobsled that’s on it’s run. From the brakeman to the driver, each sledder notices Bond and he waves to them and points forward so they don’t miss the next turn. Why is this ludicrous?….simple….a fast man skis at about 40 MPH…and an average 200 pound Bobsled runs at about 60 MPH. There’s no way that he could’ve skied fast enough to catch up to the bobsled. In the DVD extras, it’s revealed that they tied a cord around Willy Bogner(The stuntman) and tied the other end to the sled for the wide shots so he’d keep pace with the sled.

 

Using the torpedo tubes to escape(The World Is Not Enough)

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James Bond(Pierce Brosnan) sabotages the submarine and it dives straight down, crashing nose-first into the seabed. Later, after defeating the villain, he and the Bondgirl use the torpedo tubes to escape the sub before it explodes. OK!….big problem with this scenario. Submarine torpedo tubes are at the front of the submarine…which was buried in the seabed, remember?…so if they tried it…the tubes would’ve shot them into the seabed, and not the open water to escape. TOTAL FAIL!

 

The helicopter hovering at a 45 Degree angle(Tomorrow Never Dies)

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Yeah, Pierce Brosnan Bond films had more of these impossible things happen than the other Bond actors….In this sequence, the bad guys are chasing James Bond who’s handcuffed to Wai Ling(Michelle Yeoh) escaping on a motorcycle. The bad guys are in a helicopter. Bond ends up cornered and the helicopter leans forward at a 45 degree angle and slowly advances, chopping up lots of boxes along the way in an attempt to grind Bond up in the rotors….ABSOLUTELY, COMPLETELY, MOST DEFINITELY, AERODYNAMICALLY IMPOSSIBLE! A helicopter cannot hover in a tilted position. Wherever the chopper tilts that far….it veers rapidly towards. This couldn’t have happened in the real world.

 

The invisible Aston Martin(Die Another Day)

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The theory is using micro camera/projectors located throughout the entire surface of the car, they show what appears behind the car to create perfect camouflage….essentially a completely invisible car….I’m sorry, but WTF?!?!? Did they really expect us to buy this one? EVEN IF such a thing were feasible, micro-imperfections across the body of the car would render such a system with imperfect images and there would be a shimmer effect that looked fake. Additionally…what about the windows? Did they have the camera/projectors in them as well?…how does THAT work? Additionally, Additionally…this only works if the car stays completely clean!  As soon as dust, dirt, mud, pigeon shit gets on the car…it’s covering up the illusion.  Don’t get me wrong…if it could, this would be FREAKIN’ AWESOME!…but I’ll believe it when I don’t see it(see what I did there? LOL!)

 

The mini-rebreather(Thunderball)

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Mostly scuba gadgets in this Bond film. In this one, Q gives James Bond(Sean Connery) a small rebreather capable of short periods…say, about 7 minutes to be used only in emergency situations. Now, to the credit of the designers, it looks feasible. The problem is, it’s not possible to compress enough air into a device that small. The actual prop was completely empty! All those scenes were done with edits. They could only shoot for as long as Sean could hold his breath, and then cut the scenes together to make it look like he was breathing underwater with it. A masterpiece of film editing…but a completely impossible gadget in the real world.

 

The Lotus Esprit II/Submarine(The Spy Who Loved Me)

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Here’s another masterpiece of film editing. James Bond(Roger Moore) with Agent Anya Amasova(Barbara Bach) are fleeing a helicopter in this car while it’s shooting at them with machine guns. Bond drives it off the pier and the car sinks…and transforms into a little submarine. It looks great…but in reality, was done with 4 different cars(2 of them models, one, a mock up and the last one the actual submarine). The last version wasn’t pressurized, either. It was full of water and “driven” by scuba divers. I’m not sure if this could actually be built today…but I seriously doubt it.

 

The Aston Martin DB5(Thunderball)

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In the opening scene, James Bond(Sean Connery) uses a Bell-Jet rocket pack to escape the bad guys to reach this car made famous in the previous film, Goldfinger. He activates the bulletproof shield for the rear window and then powerful jets of water shoot out the rear lights to knock over the baddies trying to shoot them. Why is this ridiculous? Because the car is too small to have water tanks capable of producing firehose pressure in water streams. In actuality, they used firehoses connected to the car to achieve this sequence. It looks great…but not possible in the real world.

 

The Space Station(Moonraker)

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It’s a really cool design by Ken Adam, but there’s something very wrong about the way artificial gravity aboard is handled. Now, the theory is, the station uses jets to set it rotating to create the artificial gravity….so far so good, as that works to create centrifugal force on the station..ie, gravity. However, it wouldn’t make the gravity pull down towards the floors of the station, which were at 90 degrees away from the direction gravity would pull in the direction the station is spinning. For gravity to work the way it did on that station, the entire station would have to be on the end of another swinging arm looping the station in circles the sizes of mini-orbits of about 10-20,000 feet diameter. Plus, there’s a scene where one section of the station has zero G…and it’s one of the station arms…completely impossible if the rest of the station has gravity, unless it’s a stationary section that’s not moving(which it wasn’t). I love the film, but have to suspend serious disbelief once they go in space.

 

The Semi Truck(License to Kill)

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Yeah, gotta include one for Timothy Dalton…In this scene, James Bond, driving a Peterbuilt Semi Truck has to get through a barrier of fire. He guns the engine and speeds forward, causing the cab to do a “wheelie,” which gets him through the fire unscathed….SURE, it looks good, but Semi Trucks aren’t built that way…there’s no swivel joint on the axelframe to accomplish this maneuver. In fact, Peterbuilt had to build this special Semi Truck for the film, but Semi Trucks can’t do it in real life.

 

And that’s 12 gadgets/sequences in James Bond that are impossible in real life. Did I miss any of them that you noticed, my friends? I’d love to know what moments made you go WTF? Peace.

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