On the Road

On the Road: 2002

The World is NOT Enough
18 October 2002

The new James Bond film, Die Another Day, is set for release in cinemas next month. It's been the talk of London for quite some time. In Leicester Square, one theatre even has a countdown clock ticking away at the days/hours/minutes/seconds before Bond hits the screen.

To boot, XXX, Vin Diesel's take on the action/adventure genre, has just now arrived in London. Many critics have blasted it as a shameless American rip-off of the Bond franchise. But in London it's always possible to find somebody who likes your movie, play, or album. The newspaper ads and theatre billboards are littered with quotes from hack critics. How else can you explain the tosser in the British rag News of the World declaring XXX as his all-time favorite action movie?

Such superlatives abound all over London. It's crazy to see reviews posted declaring "viewing this play should be compulsory," or "everyone should see it," or "... is a national treasure." It's shameless!

Anyway, helping to build the anticipation of the already over-excited British population is a new James Bond exhibit that opened this past Wednesday at the Science Museum. The idea behind it is fantastic: All visitors get an MI6 secret agent card and assume the role of an agent undergoing evaluation. You can select your entry level, either Trainee, General Agent, or Super Agent.

I know a thing or two about world domination, political intrigue, women (whoa! more on that in a sec), and gadgets, so I consider myself an already-certified Super Agent.

Well, the magic of the idea behind the exhibit faded for me rather quickly. I selected Super Agent, waited... and then the computer timed out on me and assigned me as a General Agent. Yeah. Right. Whatever.

A recreation of M's office is the first stop and then the exhibit is broken down into sections that are the basic ingredients of all Bond films: Q's Gadgets, Babes, Rogues, Action, and a Debriefing (no, I don't mean underwear, even in this Bond context).

At each section, you swipe your ID card at the PC and answer questions about the exhibit. The trick is, you really have to read every stinkin' thing in sight in order to answer some of the questions, unless you live and breathe Bondage.

My troubles continued at the first section: I was prompted to answer no questions. How can I be evaluated on nothing?

Then, I successfully answered all the questions on the Bond Women. Oh boy! I know jackshit about real women, but I know LOTS about them silver screen hotties! I did indeed seem to be the man with the golden touch. I know the difference between Octopussy and Pussy Galore. Oh yeah. I know.

Next, I attempted to answer questions on the gadgets, but the PCs were confused. They were installed with the same stuff on the Bond Women (the section I had already dominated, so to speak). More trouble!

I pulled off a neat trick at the Rogues section. I relied on this 10-year-old kid to answer one question for me regarding the name of Scaramanga's "pad" in The Man with the Golden Gun. I was waffling between Rumpus Room and Fun House. He steered me to the correct answer: Fun House. Hello! This movie is from the early '70s! How would this kid know that? Actually, it's downright scary he knew it! How do British parents raise their children?

Anyway, I go through and swipe my card at the cheesy "physical endurance" test, a green screen mockup of the Golden Gate Bridge scene in A View to a Kill. I save the world, blah blah blah...

Then, at my debriefing, I found out I'm rated as a... General Agent! Right where I started! For the love of all that's holy, what does it take for me to get a promotion in this world? I can't even climb the ladder in a flippin' museum! Boy, imagine if I had been demoted! It's another example of the "system" trying to keep me down, but I will prevail. After all, tomorrow never dies.

Come now, Mr. Bond. We both know the world is NOT enough. And it will all be mine.

After this portion of the exhibit, visitors can go upstairs and view a disappointingly small selection of Bond props and an assortment of vehicles from the new flick.

I don't know. Based on all the hype they were putting out for the exhibit, I was expecting more. The technical glitches were pretty embarrassing, all things considered. Ahh well... Live and let die.

By the way, just as an FYI: My all-time favorite Bond flick is The Living Daylights (the other Timothy Dalton Bond flick, License to Kill, sucked big time). I've been to most of the places where it was filmed: Gibraltar, Tangier, London, Vienna... I've even been to the amusement park in Vienna. It's simply smashing! The most exciting and romantic and outrageous Bond movie ever!! It even features the hottest Miss Moneypenny ever!!! You MUST see it!!!! Rent the Special Edition DVD RIGHT NOW!!!!!

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