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007: Gadgets, guns, girls

DETAILS are sketchy about the new film's plot, characters, action sequences and even the composer of the score. But based on the previous 22 movies, we can identify a few likely constituents.

The title

Ian Fleming had a genius for portmanteau titles, in which two words were conjoined in a resonant trisyllable: Goldfinger, Thunderball, Moonraker. Since the Bond franchise ran out of Fleming titles (after Octopussy,) the movies have been stuck with tired variants on the words "Kill," "Die" and "Day". Skyfall is a return to the portmanteau.

The girls

There have been more than 100 "Bond Girls" in 22 films, of every nationality and every profession.

In the last six films, they've been in just two categories: the one who'll try to kill Bond (Xenia Onatopp in Goldeneye, Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale, Camille in Quantum of Solace) and the initially glacial/innocent cutie.

Bond girls have been all nationalities, but French and Russian have been popular recent choices. There's a touch of smoky Oriental cruelty in Ms Marlohe's eyes that reminds us of Eva Green in Casino Royale, the best Bond girl since the original (and ultimate) Ursula Andress.

The mad villain's lair

Every suave billionaire nutjob bent on world conquest needs an impressive home: Blofeld's volcano crater in You Only Live Twice, Dr No's Crab Key, Drax's space station in Moonraker, Kananga's under-graveyard cavern in Live And Let Die, Scaramanga's island hideaway in The Man With The Golden Gun. Sadly, there hasn't been a decent one since Sir Gustav Graves' Ice Palace in Die Another Day (2002).

Time to bring back the evil subterranean HQ.

The weird sidekick

Every villain needs a homicidal associate to intimidate our hero. Oddjob, the sinister Japanese butler with the decapitating bowler hat in Goldfinger; Nick Nack, the pint-sized henchman in Golden Gun; Jaws, the 7ft metal-toothed giant in The Spy Who Loved Me - these were nasty people who existed only to end your life as painfully as possible. How about a hugely obese dominatrix (like Miss Trunchbull in Roald Dahl's Matilda) with Tasers in her knickers?

The fancy techno stuff

Twenty minutes into every James Bond movie until Die Another Day (2002), the MI6 armourer, Q, would introduce Bond to new gadgets: ballpoint grenade pens, talcum-powder bombs, a watch that became a buzzsaw... it was like a teasing preview of a later perilous incident. Casino Royale jettisoned the gadgets. We need them back.

The chase sequence

There must be a protracted, headlong, wholly implausible chase - on skis down a mountainside and a Lotus submarine in The Spy Who Loved Me, by speedboat in Moonraker, by turbojet (pursued by heat-seeking missile,) across an icy lake in The Living Daylights (the best one ever) and, er, running around on cranes and buildings in Casino Royale.

Where will they chase 007 in Skyfall? Duh - through the sky, obviously...


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