1. Reasonable Explanations

    By Luke Freeman on 2003-03-28

    It may not have been Winston Churchill, Mark Twain, Confusious, or Wile E. Coyote who said it, but it was someone very quotable indeed who first uttered the words “There’s a reasonable explanation for everything”. And how right that person was. There truly is a reasonable, logical, explanation for everything you can’t quite understand, from what was that UFO like thing you saw in the sky last night, to why comb-overs are always easy to spot. The same goes for plots and scenes of the Bond films that on the surface, appear to be a mistake or lacking in logic. In reality, there’s perfectly feasible reasons for what’s going on in all these cases, it’s just that the writers don’t choose to spell everything out for the benefit of those few unable work out what’s going on. Luckily for them, today’s article takes the time to spell out the answers, the explanations, to four of these so called “inconsistencies”.

    In You Only Live Twice Henderson incorrectly makes Bond a vodka martini “stirred, not shaken”, which Bond confirms as “perfect”. What’s the story?

    Well, some argue that in the old days, the vodka martini “shaken, not stirred” wasn’t featured as readily as it is in the newer films, Doctor No and Goldfinger being the only previous instances that Bond got a martini “shaken, not stirred”, and that a mistake had simply been made this time around. Not true. You see, Double-O agents generally have a short life span, so Bond had made up one of those “Things to do before I die” list, and had been trying to cross off as many of the things as he could. These lists usually feature experiences like “bungee jumping”, “singing in front of an audience” and ofcourse “ordering a drink in the reverse to your preference”. After his drink with Henderson, Bond was able to cross another impressive feat off his “must do” list. See, a reasonable explanation for everything.

    In Diamonds Are Forever, Why does Bond so such little anger and emotion towards Blofeld, who murdered Bonds wife in the previous film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service?

    Alot of people criticize Diamonds Are Forever, and it’s position as a follow up to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, where Blofeld gunned down Bond’s wife, Tracey, in the closing minutes of the film. Personally, I don’t see the problem. Look at the pretitle scene, Bond is clearly out for revenge on Blofeld, following all the leads, smashing his way though until he thinks that he has killed him, “Welcome to hell Blofeld” he says. A little later in the film Bond is hit on the back of the head with an urn by Wint and Kidd. The hit on the head causes selective amnesia, ie, Bond completely forgets the events of OHMSS. This explains the lack of emotion on Bonds part when he and Blofeld meet again in Whytes penthouse on the Whyte House, they seem to have quite a civilized conversation actually, well, except for the bit where Bond shoots the Blofeld double. After that, Bond donks his noggin again, this time on the aftershave bottle when Wint and Kidd put him in the trunk of their car. Everyone knows that a second hit on the head restores your memory. But when Bond wakes up in the underground pipeline, he again bumps his head when he tries to stand, once again getting selective amnesia. See, a reasonable explanation for everything.

    At the end of The Man with the Golden Gun, how does M know to ring Scaramanga’s junk to get in touch with Bond ? Infact, how does M know the phone number?

    Scaramanga is a rather elusive character. Apart from his weapon preference, his shooting ability and his third nipple, very little is known about the Man with the Golden Gun. Bond goes after him with a golden bullet being his only lead. So therefore, how does M know Scaramanga’s phone number? It’s not like he would have Scaramanga on speed dial or in his address book. And how did he know that Bond was aboard Scaramanga’s Junk? Many are of the opinion that these are two technical errors here, they couldn’t be more wrong if they tried. These two questions can doubtlessly be answered very easily, so easily infact that I don’t deem it worth putting here. See, a reasonable explanation for everything.

    How come Bond was able to defuse nuclear devices in The Spy who Loved Me and again in Octopussy, but seemed to lose this capability come The World is Not Enough, needing the assistance Dr. Christmas Jones?

    A character inconsistency? Un researched script writing? No, I don’t think so. If anything this contraction was almost certainly not un-deliberate. Bond has been saving the world since Doctor No back in 1962, in short, 007 isn’t getting any younger. Bond is pushing close to 70 by The World is Not Enough. Even if Pierce Brosnan looks a year or two younger than that, even if he’s still weaving the old magic on 20 year-old beauties, one can’t deny that Bond has pushed dinner time up to 5:00pm and is carrying a senior citizen card around with him these days. It’s a fact that when one advances in years, the memory is the first thing to go. Especially when one is frequently hit on the head (see question 2). Bond, in his old age, has merely forgotten one or two of his old skills. See, a reasonable explanation for everything.

    The Bond writers aren’t fools, they knew exactly what they were doing in each of these instances, and in the many others not mentioned here. Why didn’t the villians just shove Bond out of the plane in the opening of Moonraker? What was Zorin thinking advertising his name in big letters on the side of his “getaway” blimp? Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar? These oddities and all the rest also have reasonable explanations, but they’ll have to wait for another day.

    Until next time,