back to article Inside the mind of a Bond supervillain: Psychotic, autistic - or neither?

Without villains there'd be no James Bond. SPECTRE, SMERSH, megalomaniacal industrialists and media tycoons have all contrived fiendish, intricate plots to take over the world, seize its wealth, provoke nuclear war, destroy London’s financial system, eliminate the human race etc etc. These people and their plots have needed to …

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  1. Andrew Moore
    Thumb Up

    Dalton's Bond...

    "Dalton's, particularly, tried to get closer to Fleming's idea of a darker, more conflicted man."

    One of the reasons I've always favoured him over the other Bonds. Dalton played the character a lot closer to how Fleming wrote him. I think License To Kill is the best example of Bond as written, fiercely loyal, cold blooded and willing to go to any lengths to achieve his objective.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Graham Bartlett

      Re: Dalton's Bond...

      Absolutely.

      And prepared to kill anyone with anything. The wait-the-whole-film payoff with the cigarette lighter was rather nifty. Or in "Living Daylights", instead of continuing to beat up on the guy hanging off his leg on the plane, he just cut the laces on his boot. That's the kind of style that Bond hadn't had since Connery, and didn't get again until Craig. Moore and Brosnan were only placeholders.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A better place to look for today's Bond villain?

    Try the House of Commons perhaps

    1. FartingHippo

      Re: A better place to look for today's Bond villain?

      The Daily Mail is thataway --->

      1. dogged

        Re: A better place to look for today's Bond villain?

        Paul Dacre is pretty villainous, true.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: A better place to look for today's Bond villain?

      There is something of the night about Michael Howard, though.

  3. Patry

    Vilain categories

    Just for the records, the generic terms for your categories of vilains are "Mook" (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Mooks), "Dragon" (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheDragon) and "Big Bad" (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BigBad).

    Health warning : TvTrope may cause serious perturbation in your time perception. You begin to look at it, and then 3 hours disapear. Its also addictive.

    1. Jedit
      Alert

      "TvTrope may cause serious perturbation in your time perception"

      Also, for the love of God don't venture into the forums. If you do, your time perception won't be the only thing that is perturbed.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please won't somebody think of the minions?

    Amongst my favourite moments in the Austin Powers films was the scene at the dead minion's home where they hear that Billy won't be coming home because they'd been run over by Austin. What is never covered in the Bond films is the social benefits of large scale secret organisations and the general admin issues. Do they pay tax and employee/employer NI? Are the benefits such as share options and healthcare any good? Are there other applications for sharks with frickin lasers? I'd wager there's an Ignobel in Economics for the first person to put together a proper economic cost benefit analysis on Super villains and their organisations.

    So where do Smersh , SPECTRE etc get their project managers, integrators etc from? They are pretty obviously better at bringing in large scale projects than the numpties that infest UK plc!

    1. Vulch
      Boffin

      Re: Please won't somebody think of the minions?

      > "So where do Smersh , SPECTRE etc get their project managers, integrators etc from? They are pretty obviously better at bringing in large scale projects than the numpties that infest UK plc!"

      It's all in the incentive package. Decent bonuses for on-time completion, and plenty of room in the shark tank for those missing a deadline.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Please won't somebody think of the minions?

        Though it was a pretty forgettable film, The Avengers (1998) featured two henchmen in a Mini, played by Eddie Izzard and Shaun Ryder. A nice touch, I thought!

      2. LesC
        Mushroom

        Re: Please won't somebody think of the minions?

        From Villainsource.com, natch

        http://villainsource.com/

        LC

        1. Lockwood

          Re: Please won't somebody think of the minions?

          CAPITA t/a Villain Source

          1. Thomas 4
            Trollface

            @Lockwood

            If they were sourced by G4S, it would make for a remarkably dull and short Bond movie.

        2. Mephistro
          Megaphone

          Re: Please won't somebody think of the minions?

          LesC, that link seems to be infected.

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: Please won't somebody think of the minions?

      Some of your questions were answered in the classic Simpsons episode "You Only Move Twice" where Homer gets hired by Hank Scorpio.

      "If you wanna kill someone on the way out. It would help me out a lot."

    3. Ru

      Re: Please won't somebody think of the minions?

      Certainly this is considered in very Bond-influenced productions. In computergameland, we have HARM in No One Lives Forever, and you get to overhear the staff talking about their jobs quite often. I'm pretty certain that private healthcare is one of the perks, and getting to exercise your murderous tendencies is another.

      The armed guards in Jennifer Morgue laugh at the protagonist's feeble attempts to dissuade them from their jobs, pointing out exactly how rich and powerful they're going to be folling the evil organisation's IPO.

      Both evil organisations seem to do a much better job of large scale construction projects than most real-world folk seem to. I guess when the penalty for late delivery is for the project managed to be shot or be eaten by a tentacled horror from the depths of time, there's a bit more incentive to bid sensibly and work hard?

    4. Marvin the Martian
      Unhappy

      Re: Please won't somebody think of the minions?

      My bet is the benefits and wages together sum up to below minimum wage. The reasons are along the Freakonomics analysis of the illegal drug trade (where most employees also earn below minimum wage, with no health insurance or compensation for incarceration).

      I'm waiting for Javier Bardem as baddie. That, and to see Bond once and for all stop Weyland-Yutani.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Please won't somebody think of the minions?

      "So where do Smersh , SPECTRE etc get their project managers, integrators etc from? They are pretty obviously better at bringing in large scale projects than the numpties that infest UK plc!"

      Again we go to Austin Powers (the second movie) where it is revealed that Dr Evils organisation actually own and developed Starbucks (quite believable).

      At one point when Dr Evil remarks they are going to ransom the world for several million his no2 remarks they already make more than that from legitimate business

      Funny enough in real life it seems to go the same way, crime organisations spring up because of poverty, but when they get enough power and money they go largely legit, as in the Mafia and the Yakuza in Japan.

      I read an article a little while ago which says that Japans Yakuza no longer kill people themselves these days, they subcontract to Chinese gangs

  5. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Murdoch and technology

    Though he didn't do the coding and wiring himself, he was quick to spot the impact on his business... he broke the print unions by relocating to Wapping where he had installed a computerised newsroom that required no typesetters.

  6. Nick G

    the repurposing of an airliner...

    "the repurposing of an airliner as a weapon would definitely have been seen as movie-plot stuff until it actually happened"

    IIRC, the Pilot episode of the X-Files spinoff, The Lone Gunmen had that very idea & had to be shelved for a while due to 9/11...

    1. SkippyBing

      Re: the repurposing of an airliner...

      It was in one of the Tom Clancy novels as well, the one where Japan tries to recreate the East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere by taking back Guam etc. after inevitable defeat at the hands of the US a JAL pilot flies his 747 into the Capitol where the US president is doing something in front of a big crowd.

      1. Dr Wadd

        Re: the repurposing of an airliner...

        I was rather amused by an interview I saw with Tom Clancy not long after 9/11 where he described an attack with a passenger jet as "unimaginable". I thought somewhat odd given that he had been able to imagine it perfectly well just a few years earlier.

        1. Mayhem

          Re: the repurposing of an airliner...

          To be fair, there is a difference between imagining an attack by a passenger jet, and imagining the same attack with a jet full of passengers.

          His scenario had the pilot taking off with an empty plane and killing his co-pilot first.

    2. David Neil

      Re: the repurposing of an airliner...

      Tom Clany's book Debt of Honor has this as the final action in a war between the US and Japan.

      First published in '94

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: the repurposing of an airliner...

        And the same book also featured a Japanese organisation gaming the US stock market by investing in the wrong places, then destroying the evidence with a virus. Curiously enough, the events in the book are set in motion by a safety fault in a Japanese made car (though admittedly a fault more serious than the ones Toyota are currently dealing with) thus prompting a trade war.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: the repurposing of an airliner...

      IIRC, the Pilot episode of the X-Files spinoff, The Lone Gunmen had that very idea

      Yes. Specifically it was based around a conspiracy to hijack a passenger jet and fly it into a prominent New York skyscraper. The hijacking was electronic (using the magic computer technology so beloved of TV shows) and the skyscraper was the Empire State Building, but the similarities to the actual 9/11 plot show just how unimaginative the latter was.[1]

      & had to be shelved for a while due to 9/11...

      It was broadcast in March 2011. The entire run of The Lone Gunmen was over by June of that year, months before the attacks.

      Incidentally, from the article:

      the repurposing of an airliner as a weapon would definitely have been seen as movie-plot stuff until it actually happened

      Yes, every event that hasn't happened yet would be fiction, until it does happen. That's how reality works.

      And before someone objects that not all fictitious events are suitable for movie plots: I submit the last several years of the film industry.

      [1] We hear a lot (at least in the US) about "terrorist masterminds"; but historically they've been largely unimaginative, not very smart, and hugely inefficient. Yes, 9/11 had a nasty body count and huge property damage, and the indirect costs were enormous. (And not always apparent; I've seen reports that the damage to US agriculture from redirecting resources away from pest control to terror defense is now over $100B.) But given his resources, OBL should have been able to achieve much more, particularly after 9/11. It's not like he lacked models - the "Beltway snipers" managed a good run of terror in the DC area with two guys, a rifle, and an old car (and they'd have done much better if they hadn't tried to extort money), and there's a ton of public research on potential security attacks. Terrorists get lucky sometimes because perfect vigilance is impossible, but all evidence suggests they mostly suck at their jobs.

      1. Psyx
        Holmes

        Re: the repurposing of an airliner...

        "Terrorists get lucky sometimes because perfect vigilance is impossible, but all evidence suggests they mostly suck at their jobs."

        Maybe thoughtful, intelligent people don't like the idea of spending their whole lives on the run from the wealthiest, most-trigger happy intelligence agencies in the world, in the name of an invisible sky-person, and bitterly plotting the murder of innocent people in the deranged belief that an entire culture will turn around and say "Well, gosh: With all those dead children you've totally convinced us to give up our way of life, leave y'all alone, stop buying oil and convert to your religion."

        Just a thought...

  7. Amazon Wageslave
    Headmaster

    Regarding Murdoch

    Rupert isn't the only choice for the real-life inspiration for Elliot Carver. There's Ted Turner for one, but more obviously Robert Maxwell. Tomorrow Never Dies even ends with M dictating a press release about Carver's death, saying that he fell from his luxury yacht.

    Factor that in with Maxwell's rumoured links with Israeli spooks, and his arseholish behaviour (ripping off the Mirror Group pensions etc) and you've got a very solid base for a Bond villain.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Regarding Murdoch

      Maxwell died while on his boat, just like Carver in the film.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Osama - Alive? Not remotely

    Have you seen any footage of him being shot dead or buried at sea ?

    Maybe he's in a US Army prison on a leased piece of land on Cuba ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Osama - Alive? Not remotely

      ...or never even existed. a la Emmanuel Goldstein.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Modern villains...

    Although I think some of the modern Bond movies lack the suspense which the old ones had, I also think some of their plots are pretty well carried out.

    What to think of Elliot Carver in 'Tomorrow never dies' ? The idea of a media tycoon who creates his own news in order to cover and sell it is IMO a good one because it could be true to some extend.

    Which is also where I think a possible next villain might be hiding: the government itself. Our governments aren't always acting on our (the peoples) behalf and in some cases have their own agendas to work out.

    1. Alister

      Re: Modern villains...

      >>The idea of a media tycoon who creates his own news in order to cover and sell it is IMO a good one because it could be true to some extend.

      Isn't this what William Randolph Hearst was supposed to have done?

      1. Enrico Vanni
        Big Brother

        Re: Modern villains...

        William Randolph Hearst is namechecked by the Elliot Carver character in the movie for that very reason!

        Oh, and Murdoch went one further than Maxwell in dabbling with Israeli spooks - he turned a group of them into a plc (NDS).

    2. Sean H
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Modern villains...

      I'm surprised the original article didn't mention Kim Dotcom. A Bond Villain if ever there was one, though perhaps more suited to Austin Powers or the David Niven spoof of Casino Royale. Though someone took him seriously enough to send in the helicopters. Don't know if they were black.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Miranda Frost

    Boring honeypot? Great eye-candy, though!

    Anyway. Ahem. Yes, the Bond series does lack strong female villains.

    1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

      Re: Miranda Frost

      the only truly villanous strong female I can remember in a Bond film is Fatima Blush from Never Say Never Again - the unofficial remake of Thunderball that was supposedly much closer to the book. Since Broccolli didn't make it, that one usually doesn't get a mention.

    2. Sean H

      Re: Miranda Frost

      Onatopp was a strong female villain, if ever there was one. Unless you have your own definitions of those 3 words.

  11. marlo

    Charles Stross...

    ...wrote a spoof interview with Blofeld. He claimed his crime was practising globalisation before it was cool. He also claimed, quite convincingly, that James Bond was serving world communism.

  12. unklehomered

    We searched in vain for any really good female Bond villain examples.

    Xenia Onatop surely...

    "She always did like a good squeeze" - so she was a linux fan too.. #IGMC.

  13. phuzz Silver badge
    Devil

    While we're on about possible real life Evil Villains, how about Elon Musk? Even his name sounds like a Bond villain's, and who knows what he's planning to do with those space rockets....

  14. Rukario
    Black Helicopters

    Assange in a hollowed-out volcano

    Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador, perhaps?

    Needs sharks with frickin laser beams though.

  15. Random Yayhoo

    On film and in flesh

    On film my vote goes easily to Blofeld. Which? The one in Thunderball, whose head is unseen but who cradles a white kitty while dispatching a thieving co-thief.

    In real life the honor should not go the the most obscenely violent of men: Mao, Hitler, Stalin, or Hirohito, but only to the fifth most prolific killer (5-15 million in the Congo) of modern history, Leopold II of Belgium. Mao enjoyed violence and did not object to it, even when it took the lives of his mother and son, but Leopold managed to remain rich to the end and was even honored on a Euro coin in 2007.

  16. Robert Baker
    Black Helicopters

    I like the idea...

    ...that "James Bond" isn't an actual name, but just a code name assigned to whichever agent is currently 007. It would explain a lot of things, such as 007's apparent infinite health; whenever a "James Bond" is killed or badly injured, he's quietly retired and replaced with another.

    I believe this idea was used in the 1967 Casino Royale.

  17. Leigh 5

    Murdoch

    If you think the worst Murdoch's done is to discreetly bribe a few police and politicians, you haven't seen Fox News or his incarnation of The Wall Street Journal.

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