Daniel Craig is a distinctly modern James Bond. Brought in to refresh the franchise’s image after its fall from grace during the 1990s, Craig was an essential part of the overhaul that has come to define the new golden age of 007.
While Pierce Brosnan’s Bond was still the suave and sophisticated agent of Ian Fleming’s original novels, Craig bought something vulnerable and brutal to the role, opening up audiences to the possibility that James Bond – a man with a ‘license to kill’ – might, in fact, be a little bit screwed up. The actor’s taste in Bond gadgets, however, is markedly vintage. The writers of Spectre and, indeed, Craig’s most recent film, No Time To Die, have kept many of the founding principles of the series intact while dialling back the comedic elements and the reliance on gimmicky spy technology like jet packs and glass-shattering rings.
However, it would seem that Craig looks back on the days when Bond had all manner of trinkets at his disposal with a particular fondness. I can’t blame him; 007’s gadgets are an essential aspect of his character, as crucial as Aston Martin’s, secret organisations and Martinis; shaken, not stirred, of course. When Sean Connery took on the role of the secret agent for 1963 film Dr. No, jetpacks, knife shoes, hidden cameras, and submarine cars were half the joy of going to watch a Bond flick. However, those were all too grand in Craig’s eyes. No, for him, the best gadgets were simple, effective, and lethal.
In a recent video in which Craig describes his work on No Time to Die and his James bond tenure in general, the actor revealed that his favourite 007 gadget is, in fact, the safe-cracker box from 1967’s You Only Live Twice.
Craig explained that, for him, that era of Bond introduced some of the franchise’s most beguiling pieces of kit: “My favourite gadget is, I think Sean Connery used to use it, it was sort of like a silver box with a switch on it, and a red light went on,” Craig began. “I don’t know what it did, but it kind of opened doors, it kinda blew things up, and it was, you know, simple. Simple is best as far as gadgets are concerned.”
The safe-cracking device is certainly one of the most understated gadget’s Connery got his hands on. You Only Live Twice saw the actor play with a whole range of extravagant and ridiculously conspicuous gadgets, including a handbag communicator, rocket guns, spike umbrellas, lipstick gas, an X-ray desk and a one-person autogyro complete with guns, rockets, air mines, rear-mounted flamethrowers, and infrared-guided missiles.
Modern bond films like Spectre and Quantum of Solace have reigned in 007’s reliance on extravagant gear, but word has it that No Time To Die takes Bond back to his gadget-wielding roots. I wonder if he’ll have a toothpaste grenade in his back pocket.