Table of Contents
The Daniel Craig era of James Bond has been hailed as one of the best featuring Ian Fleming’s super spy thanks to its gritty authenticity, and there are certain Bond gadgets from prior movies in the franchise that wouldn’t have worked in it. The point of Bond’s gadgets has always been to get Bond out of some sort of trouble, with each one tailored specifically to whatever threat he’s facing, but for every suitcase gun in Dr. No or pen grenade in Goldeneye, Q has given 007 something silly and in if it had appeared in the Craig era, it would have felt very dated.
With his chiseled body and brutish style, Craig provided a Bond anathema to those who had come before him, and screenwriters understood that his skills shouldn’t be reliant on using silly gadgets against his foes, but outsmarting them. In one memorable scene in Spectre, Craig’s Bond commandeers a customized spy car while being chased by Hinx, but finds that all the gadgets which would ordinarily get him out of the jam don’t work, forcing him to use his wits and resourcefulness to stay alive. This example is far more satisfying and shows that Bond has always been more than the sum of his gadgets.
10 The Cigarette Gun From You Only Live Twice
In Fleming’s novels, Bond smokes like a chimney, capping out at sometimes 70 Morland cigarettes a day, making the cigarette gun from You Only Live Twice pretty practical. Craig’s was not the typical Bond and chose to never be seen smoking on screen because he felt that there was no way Bond was capable of doing all the action-packed missions he did with the lungs of a heavy smoker (perhaps attributed to the extra nicotine from the Balkan-Turkish tobacco blend). With the outrage of smoking on screen, combined with Craig’s nonsmoking 007, a cigarette gun was just one of the many gadgets that wouldn’t have worked in Craig’s era.
9 Laser Polaroid From License To Kill
While a laser camera might seem advantageous in a Bond movie, Craig’s era would have put it in something light and handy like his smartphone, not something as cumbersome as a polaroid camera. In Licence to Kill, it’s used by one of Bond’s bedfellows, and given that the movie also features an alarm clock bomb, it’s not hard to imagine an innocuous object causing destruction if it weren’t so awkward to use. A hint of Benoit Blanc in Craig’s Bond would have seen a seasoned professional like 007 posing as a camera-lugging tourist to stop a killer, but Craig’s era didn’t go for the same tongue-in-cheek humor as earlier installments.
8 Cigar Tube Mini Scuba Tank From Thunderball
Q called it the “debreather,” and the mini scuba tank in Bond’s cigar holder was every bit the mouthful that its name implied. Featured in Thunderball, which had many Bond gadget misfires, it disguised a means for Bond to maneuver underwater with a four-minute air supply. While not a bad device on its own, since Craig’s era didn’t feature Bond smoking whatsoever, it would be conspicuous of him to carry around a cigar holder no matter what it transformed into. It would make him look instantly suspicious to any enemy who had been following his habits and movements in order to spot a weakness.
7 Alligator Submarine From Octopussy
The ’70s was a time when Bond found himself requiring increasingly ingenious methods of disguise, and nothing quite beat the alligator submarine that he used in Octopussy. It wasn’t considered particularly sleek at the time, but if Craig’s Bond used something similar in Casino Royale to save Vesper Lynd from a watery grave, it would have changed the entire tone of their relationship. Even with Roger Moore’s commitment to the craft, the scenes where he pops out of the alligator’s head now have more in common with Jim Carrey’s antics as Ace Ventura in an animatronic rhinoceros spy mobile.
6 Jetpack From Thunderball
The infamous jetpack from Thunderball, a movie that actually focused on technological advancements, was an interesting attempt to get Bond airborne in times of crisis, even if did jeopardize Connery’s sense of debonair. Unfortunately, unless it was severally updated, the jetpack combined with the helmet would make Craig’s Bond look too much like an errant member of a rugby team suddenly sent shooting down the green. While Craig’s Bond era was bleak, and he was considered much more of a bruiser than a sophisticate, it would have made him look a little too ridiculous and outside the realm of reality.
5 Invisible Car From Tomorrow Never Dies
Pierce Brosnan’s Bond movies became more and more epic and bombastic as they progressed, until Tomorrow Never Dies, his last outing as 007, boasted an invisible car. It was difficult to take Brosnan seriously in something that resembled Wonder Woman’s invisible jet, and Craig’s Bond gadgets were few, so seeing him cruise around in the same thing would have made his movies seem more like they belonged in the MCU than his own universe. The invisible car was the perfect example of screenwriters pushing the boundaries of belief with Bond’s gadgets so far that they went beyond pure escapism and into the realm of fantasy.
4 Underwater Car From The Spy Who Loved Me
The Spy Who Loved Me featured a Lotus Esprit S1 sports car that turned into a submersible, a gadget that looked like the sort of modification Doc Brown would have made for Marty McFly’s Dolorean from the Back to the Future franchise. Brosnan’s Bond movies featured amphibious vehicles in certain portions, but most of the movie-going public was familiar with that sort of military tech, so having 007 in Craig’s era operate an amphibian would have made sense. While “Wet Nellie” might have fooled audiences back then, Bond’s stylish ride transforming into an underwater vehicle wouldn’t have made sense to modern audiences today.
3 Flamethrower Bagpipe From The World Is Not Enough
Q often walked Bond through a number of gadgets before any mission, some of which he never actually ended up using, and The World Is Not Enough featured a particularly strange one – a flamethrower bagpipe. It facilitates a joke from Brosnan’s Bond in the form of, “I suppose we’ve all got to pay the piper, right Q?” but could never seriously be considered when Craig’s era changed 007 to be more realistic, particularly when it also turned into a machine gun. One needs to look no further than Craig’s Bond movie Skyfall, when Q remarks sharply, “Were you expecting an exploding pen? We don’t really go in for that any more.”
2 The Boom Box From The Living Daylights
Just like the name implies, the “Boom” box from The Living Daylights was a grenade launcher tucked inside a portable music player, which didn’t even really make sense at the time. Even were Bond to crash a block party, it’s difficult to imagine him making use of the distinctly ’80s gadget on his shoulder, never mind Craig’s Bond. Fleming’s novels started off with fairly routine spy gadgets and then increased to match the ridiculousness of the screenwriter’s insertions into the plots of his books once they were adapted, creating a vicious cycle that left Bond using tools like this in the field that didn’t fit with his character.
1 Underwater Jetpack From Thunderball
The final gadget from Thunderball to strain credulity was the underwater jetpack, because where one jetpack was good, two were better. From its first appearance, it seemed bizarre to feature Bond in full scuba gear, right down to flippers, when the gadget propelled him through the water at such high speeds. Craig’s James Bond spent plenty of time in the water, but he never endured looking like at any moment he’d go skipping over the Atlantic if his propulsion system decided to misfire due to a water leak.