Tailgate No Time to Drive - Sam considers the choice of Bond Astons
As I write, it is the weekend after the unveiling of new James Bond film No Time To Die, and less than 24 hours ago I was sitting in my local Showcase De Luxe cinema enjoying what, for my money, is Daniel Craig’s best outing as the famous MI6 agent. I’m not going to issue any major spoilers in this column, so don’t be scared of reading on if you haven’t watched it yet. But its attitude toward Bond cars has somewhat bewildered me.
Things you’ll know if you’ve watched any trailers over the last 18 months; James Bond and SPECTRE Bond girl Madeleine Swann enjoy a life together after the fi lm for a period. James Bond gets into a scrape in Italy with his DB5. Once back in Blighty, James Bond is reunited with the V8 saloon he used in The Living Daylights. One spoiler that you won’t have seen in the trailers but might have picked up from Hans Zimmer’s excellent soundtrack album is that there’s a lot of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service referencing going on – while not in the primary plotline, certainly in the musical interludes and the concept of James Bond in love.
Spoilers over. Now, I’m a shade perplexed about Bond’s cars at this stage. The DB5 has already been destroyed and rebuilt so many times there’s a very real danger that the Q-developed car might be in need of a Q plate. Whether by private means or the public purse, that half-million pound antique has been salvaged into a roadgoing masterpiece at least three times now, to say nothing of the slightly shady retroactive continuity in Casino Royale where 007 wins the DB5 from a betting partner, only for Ben Whishaw’s Q in SPECTRE to reference Desmond Llewellyn’s line about bringing it back in one piece… It’s reaching the point where Bond props departments are having to build replicas to avoid destroying the real thing. Why can’t we put Bond in something else?
No Time to Die did, I’m glad to say, by bringing back what is easily my favourite 007 film car – the V8 with skis, rocket launchers and studded tyres that Bond used to destroy the Czech police force’s Ladas. But again, there’s a problem. I distinctly recall seeing that car self-destruct somewhere in the mountains above Austria, with Bond and his then beau riding a Stradivarius case through a border checkpoint. Even if we accept that Eon has thrown the idea of Daniel Craig’s Bond having his own story arc totally out of the window, it feels like too much to believe that Her Majesty’s Government would launch a rescue mission into the Eastern Bloc to salvage what was left of an exploded Aston Martin – and then to rebuild it at great expense, when they could have built a new example for far less.
Sorry, but as much as I adore that car, it was the wrong Bond Aston to bring back. I’d like to return to the musical score. With Louis Armstrong so prominent he may as well have been given top billing, and with Bond in love for the first time in half a century, this was the perfect time to make use of the forgotten Bond Aston. The Olive Green DBS used in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is barely remembered by anyone except the Bond diehards – no gadgets, no real fanfare, not much of a car chase, but it was the car in which Bond got married and went on his honeymoon. It might have been able to squeal its tyres on sand courtesy of an over-enthusiastic dubbing department, but it’s more plausible that Bond might have kept hold of a car which escaped on-screen destruction than one that might have been rebuilt from a few tiny pieces of shrapnel rebuilt.
And I don’t want to spoil the fi lm for those who haven’t yet seen it, but the car in which his beloved new wife was shot minutes after their wedding would have added extra poignancy to the final scenes of a very emotional new Bond film. It’s worth watching. Shame about the cars, though.
Sam favours the Aston V8 over the much-destroyed and oft-rebuilt DB5.