James Bond would be nothing without his gadgets. It goes without saying that Bond would have died a thousand times over without a very specific gadget that Q gave him earlier in the movie (except for Daniel Craig's Bond, though he is more monster than man). That being said, due to the fact that the Bond film franchise has been continuing since 1962, there are bound to be some awful gadgets to counterbalance the good gadgets. While some gadgets may be simply outdated due to the advance of technology, such as Bond's 'smartwatch' in Octopussy, others were always and will always be lame and (kinda) useless.
This article will list the 5 best James Bond Gadgets, as well as the 5 worst.
10 Worst - Hovercraft Gondola (Moonraker)
This one is just plain weird. At first, the gondola just appears to be motorized, which may not appear to be too bad of an idea. Although Bond could have just used a speed boat as they are used in Venice too, there is even a speed boat chasing Bond in the motorized gondola.
However, while a motorized gondola is strange and kind of pointless, it only makes this list because the gondola also has the ability to travel on land. To escape some enemies, Bond sails the gondola towards some steps and then presses a button which causes a hovercraft-like set up to emerge underneath the boat. Bond, then, starts slowly driving his way through Venice in a hovercraft gondola. For a secret agent, this is not very subtle.
9 Best - Lotus Esprit (The Spy Who Loved Me)
Aside from the Aston Martin DB5, perhaps the Lotus Esprit is the most recognizable Bond car. While the Aston Martin DB5 is fantastic at battling enemies on land, the Lotus Esprit can battle enemies underwater.
It is a shame that there were no more amphibious Bond cars as the idea was fantastic. While an amphibious Aston Martin appeared in the video game Nightfire, it just isn't the same as seeing it on the big screen (plus the level was super difficult).
8 Worst - Crocodile Submarine (Octopussy)
This makes the list purely because of how terrible the disguise is. The conceit behind this idea is that Bond swims up a river in a crocodile submarine in order to avoid detection.
While this is great in theory (to an extent), the execution was not so great. Firstly, the crocodile looked incredibly fake and certainly wouldn't have fooled anyone. Secondly, if a henchman saw a crocodile swimming near the river they may have just shot it out of fear. Bond could have easily just packed scuba gear and swam up the river without making himself look like a terrifying predator.
7 Best - Laser Watch (Various)
This is another timeless addition to the list. Is there anything more effortlessly cool than a watch gadget? Generally, Bond's watch gadgets do a variety of different things depending on what he needs. However, the most iconic watches made their appearance in the Brosnan era.
During Brosnan's run, Bond's trusty Omega watch was equipped with a laser and even a grappling hook. Maybe one day the Apple Watch will feature something like this.
6 Worst - Invisible Aston Martin (Die Another Day)
There is always a suspension of disbelief with James Bond. We all accept that Bond can run faster than bullets and drink his weight in vodka martinis without dying, but the invisible Aston Martin in Die Another Day was pushing it too far.
The invisible car seemed to propel Bond away from the spy genre and into science fiction. While the Aston Martin was beautiful and the subject of a fantastic chase sequence, the invisible car was just too sci-fi for a James Bond movie.
5 Best - Jetpack ( Thunderball)
The jetpack was always going to make this list. While it may flirt with the science fiction genre, it isn't completely outside the realm of current possibility for Q-Branch to create a jetpack. Furthermore, there is something about the retro design of the jetpack that is endearing.
The jetpack looks very 'tin foily' and unsteady, which makes it even more entertaining to see Bond riding on this jetpack.
4 Worst - Pocket Rat Trap (Diamonds Are Forever)
The pocket rat trap is a fairly descriptive name for this gadget. In Diamonds are Forever, Bond is captured by Blofeld's henchman and is about to be searched for any weapons. However, for some reason, Bond decided to opt against taking his gun, instead choosing to place his pocket rat trap in his gun pocket. The nameless henchman is then left with a crushed hand and a sore jaw after Bond punches him in the face.
Although this raises some important questions, did Bond take the rat trap knowing he'd be captured and then search him for his gun? Or does he always have a rat trap in his pocket? If this is the case then where does he keep his gun?
3 Best - Cigarette Rockets (You Only Live Twice)
Is there any gadget that places Connery's Bond more firmly in the 1960s than a cigarette themed gadget? Back when smoking was cool, this would've been the quintessential gadget for James Bond. As smoking is so widespread, no one will suspect him carrying it. Further, as shown in the movie, captors may offer a cigarette and this will allow Bond to escape.
The only gadget that could capture the essence of Sean Connery's Bond more than cigarette rockets, would be some kind of explosive martini.
2 Worst - Invulnerable BMW (Tomorrow Never Dies)
Much like the invisible Aston Martin, the invulnerable BMW relies on the audience to suspend their disbelief to an untenable extent. In Tomorrow Never Dies, Bonds BMW is equipped with a feature that makes it impossible to break into if the car is locked. There is a scene in which some nameless goons try to smash a window with a sledgehammer, yet the window refuses to break.
The issue with this is that the feature only works when the car is parked. Immediately after the car begins to drive, the windows are smashed. This begs the question, why does the window not break when it's parked? Why couldn't this feature work all the time in the car?
1 Best - Remote Control BMW (Tomorrow Never Dies)
Yes, the same car has managed to make both a good and bad entry on this list.
While the invulnerability feature of the car is laughably stupid, the remote control feature is fantastic. Perhaps inspired by the rise in popularity of video games, the BMW also possesses a remote control feature that allows Bond to drive the car using his cell phone. The remote control feature also leads to one of the more entertaining scenes in the movie too, as Bond drives the car through a car park using his 90s cell phone.
Perhaps, one day, Tesla will move on from self-driving cars to an app that lets us drive our cars.