When I began showing Mel all the James Bond movies two years ago, I didn’t tell her that there would be a test afterwards. This month we take time to reflect when I challenge my wife to game of the Scene It? DVD Game: 007 Edition.
Mel is not optimistic about her chances: “I’m being led like a lamb to the slaughter with this, because I’m going to lose. I don’t like it. Normally when I play a game it’s about the anticipation of me beating everybody else. This is already a done deal. It’s like 3000-1 that I will win.”
It’s the taking part that counts, I reply.
“No it isn’t.”
I present that game counters. I take the little James Bond figure for myself and tell Mel she can have the Bond Girl one.
“Er, you can —- off.”
“I’m not being a Bond girl. No chance. I’m not being a dirty little tramp that is used for the sexualisation of women.”
I tell she can be an Aston Martin DB5 or a martini glass then.
“I’ll be the martini glass, thank you. How dare you assume that I would want to be a Bond girl? You’re not allowed to be James Bond. You can be the Aston Martin.”
“I choose to win,” she replies.
On this occasion it just means she can choose any category from the card. Mel chooses My Play, which means she gets to be only the one to answer the question from the DVD. The scene played is Bond having dinner with Scaramanga and Goodnight.
The question that follows is, ‘Who prepared the lunch for Bond and Scaramanga?’
“The chef,” answers Mel.
But what’s his name? I thought you might remember this one.
“Nick Nack!” she shouts. I laugh with disbelief. Yes! Now it’s Mel’s turn to laugh. The answer has appeared on the screen while I wasn’t looking. I tell her that doesn’t really count.
“Why did you look?! Aww, Mark.” She looks beseechingly at me. “I’m not going to get any of these right. Why did I have to watch all of that clip when the —-ing question wasn’t even about the —-ing clip? I was looking at all the stuff thinking, ‘is it going to be about the colour of her bikini or that’s a million dollars for a contract?’ But it’s not. Why did I have to watch all that?!”
Well, so that we could enjoy the clip and reminisce about The Man with the Golden Gun. I explain that getting the question wrong just means she doesn’t get another go, and she can still move the five spaces she rolled on the die. Play continues in a clockwise direction. I get a hangman-type question where the letters appear slowly to reveal the name of a character. It’s an All Play, so Mel has the chance to play as well, but I get Felix Leiter first, and roll again. I remember the dictum of the pros: ‘It’s never too early to start winning.’ This time I get a Q Card:
If you are asked a question and do not know the answer, simply reply in your best British accent:
“I’m not in the habit of giving answers to lackeys.”
Easy. I’m from the North, I already have the best British accent. I tuck the card just under the board for future use.
Mel rolls a 4 and she catches up to me. She gets a Brilliant Bond question: ‘Who owns WW Tectronics in Diamonds Are Forever?’ I prompt her with the clue that it is a character whose initials are WW.
“I don’t know.” She’s sounding pretty despondent now. I’m remembering now that Mel is ultra-competitive. We don’t even play Monopoly any more.
I tell her the answer is Willard White, and ask if she remembers now?
“No,” she replies sullenly.
It was Willard Whyte. I roll a one and another Brilliant Bond question from the dice.
Mel reads out, “In which 007 film does James Bond share a hot tub with KGB agent Pola Ivanova?”
A View to a Kill. I roll a four to get a My Play question. The clip shown is from the Tomorrow Never Dies pre-title sequence, with Bond flying the fighter plane and ejecting his murderous co-pilot into the enemy aircraft.
The question posed afterwards is, ‘What is visible behind the villain’s flight seat?’ I have no idea. I guess a family photo, but don’t really know. The answer is a fire extinguisher. I point out to Mel that there at least some observation questions on here, so she’ll get some of those. Mel rolls six and overtakes me. If there is one thing that sets me really moving in life it is being passed at speed by a pretty girl.
She lands on a My Play square, meaning another video question that only Mel gets to attempt to answer. The clip shows Bond being given the Aston Martin Vanquish by Q in Die Another Day.
The question which follows is ‘What underground station are they in?’
“Vauxhall Cross!” she shouts without hesitation. “—-ing BOOM!” Suddenly animated again, Mel gives herself a delighted little round of applause. She rolls another six, lengthening her lead. “Boom!” she exclaims again.
Mel gets a star on the second dice, so is able to choose her category. She chooses, “A My Play, in case it’s another observation question. It’s the only way I’m going to win this!”
This time we see Bond resigning to M in Licence to Kill, then fleeing as secret service gunmen fire at him.
The question is, ‘What is M holding in his left hand?’
“Can I watch it again?”
No. I tell Mel it’s something you can smoke.
The timer runs out.
The answer was pipe. I roll a three, taking me to five squares behind my wife, and get a Basic Bond question.
I answer A View to a Kill. He uses it to snoop on Bond at the end when he’s having a shower with Stacy doesn’t he?
I roll a six and get another Q card. It’s the Colonel Klebb card, basically another Get of Jail, but this time you must use a Russian accent. I stow it away with the other one.
Mel rolls a four and lands on a 007 space. This means if she gets the next question right she will move double the number of squares. As she’s on a star, Mel chooses another My Play in the hope that its another observation. But this time she is asked to put the following movies in their order of release: A View to a Kill, Goldfinger, Octopussy, Live and Let Die. Mel gets it wrong, listing them Goldfinger, Octopussy, A View to a Kill, Live and Let Die.
I roll a one, bringing me to one square behind, and get a My Play. It’s a video of Bond fighting Gobinda on top of the train in Octopussy, then falling off and fighting to the death. The question appears, ‘How many knives pin Bond to the door?’
“Aww, I know this one!” says Mel.
I answer four.
“Yeah. I would have got that. —-ing thing.”
I roll a four and get an All Play. This is a picture of a character with his face and hands edited out.
The golden gun is a dead giveaway. I answer Scaramanga. Next I roll a 2, taking a 5 space lead and receive a Brilliant Bond question.
“In what Bond movie does the Snow Leopard Brotherhood appear?” Mel reads from the card.
I answer The Living Daylights.
“You —-ing weirdo. How can you remember this shit?”
Next I roll 5 and get a Beyond Bond question.
Mel asks, “Caroline Monroe who plays Noamie in The Spy Who Loved Me later appeared in what Adam Ant music video?”
This is well before my time, and I know next to nothing about music. I don’t even like listening to music. I guess Stand and Deliver because I think I remember an old joke about it (I keep getting phone calls from someone who just says, ‘Stand and Deliver’. I tell him he’s got the wrong number but he’s adamant.”)
Mel tell me the answer: “Goody Two Shoes.” She gets the dice and rolls a six, so she’s now five behind me. She gets yet another star, so can choose her category.
“My Play. It’s the only hope I have.”
We watch the climax of A View to a Kill, with Zorin’s zeppelin exploding.
The question that appears is, ‘What bridge are they on?’
“Golden Gate Bridge.”
“Boom!” Mel rolls a 5 and gets yet another My Play. “Come on!”
This time we get From Russia with Love. Bond finds Tatiana in his bedroom.
Finally a Sean Connery clip, I say.
“Shhh!” Mel shushes me so that she can watch James Bond. This is quite a role-reversal.
The question that follows is, ‘What are the two places that Bond and Tatiana touch each other in this scene?’
“Literally no idea,” says Mel. “The mouth… and the arm?”
The answer that come up is ‘hands and lips’ so we count that as correct. Mel rolls a four and gets yet another star – and chooses My Play. We get the karate scene from The Man with the Golden Gun, where Bond is rescued by Lieutenant Hip and his two nieces.
‘In what year was this movie released?’
It’s a close guess, but the answer is 1974. Mel is now five squares ahead. I land on an All Play, so we can both attempt to answer. This time we hear John Cleese as Q describing a character. He says, “She has been around for all of 007’s adventures-”
“Moneypenny!” screams Mel. She claps with delight. “That is one of the only questions I could answer.”
Mel is now in the final section of the board. She can give me a Q card or move herself one space nearer the end.
“Move my own piece. I’m sorry, babe, but it’s happening.”
Mel gets a Beyond Bond question, ‘Besides the James Bond films Pierce Brosnan and Joe Don Baker co-starred in what 1996 Tim Burton film?’
“I’ve no idea.”
It was Mars Attacks. I roll a two and get an All Play – identify the movie. The clip is Bond’s Vanquish and Zao’s Jaguar.
I say Die Another Day and win the point.
“I should have got that because it’s the last one we watched,” Mel says. “I know the number plate of the car – KE02 EWW. I learned it from the clip earlier – Vauxhall Cross. I remember it because it’s like ‘eeww’ but also ‘keeww’ that sounds a bit like ‘Q’.”
I roll a two and get a Brilliant Bond question.
“Pedro Armendariz who played Kerim Bey in From Russia with Love has a son who appeared in what 007 film?” asks Mel.
I don’t know, so I guess The World is not Enough, because that’s back in Turkey. “No! Licence to Kill.” Mel makes a sound like on a game show klaxon where you get a question wrong.
I remember that I had two Q cards that could have got me out of the last question, but it’s too late now. Mel rolls a four and enters the Final Cut rings. I’m still six places from them. If Mel answers the next one correctly, she moves into the Winner’s Circle and has won the game.
The caption on the screen instructs us, ‘identify the movie from this alternate title’. The words ‘The Secret Agent that Adored Me’ appear. We both call out The Spy Who Loved Me in perfect unison, so we play another one.
This one says ‘identify the villain from the silhouette.’ Neither of us recognise the figure, who is revealed to be Hugo Drax. Mel moves ahead.
I roll a one and get a Basic Bond question. Mel read, “What 007 film features a British Secret Service office located in the wreck of an ocean liner?”
The Man with the Golden Gun, I answer. I roll another one, and an All Play on the second die. It says, ‘Decode the movie title from the following anagram.’ Then, “Unveil wily coyote” appears.
Mel shouts, “You Only Live Twice!” and halts my progress. As she is still in the winner’s circle we have an All Play to Win question, which will see Mel emerge victorious if she answers correctly.
‘Identify the Bond girl.’ An heavily-pixelated image slowly resolves itself into Miranda Frost, and I answer it.
I roll a six, and now I’m in the All Play to Win section too. If either of us answer this, we’ll have a winner.
“The stakes could not be higher,” says Mel.
The question that appears asks, ‘In which movie does Bond visit these locations?’ Siberia appears, then Paris.
I answer A View to a Kill, and win the game.
“I can’t answer questions like that. It’s ridiculous to know things like that.”
You were only one question away from winning that, I point out.
“Doesn’t matter. I was the loser,” she replies helplessly.
You came a close second, I protest. I ask if she would like to play again?
In that case, I suggest we try to see what Mel has taken away from the last two years. I want to ask a few questions about what, if anything, Mel has enjoyed about watching 20 ‘official’ and 2 unofficial James Bond films. My hope is that scientists in the future might use this information to help identify what causes unfortunate people to dislike 007.
First of all, I ask some of the same questions that I asked before we started, beginning with, What do you think of James Bond?
“I don’t like him. He’s a male chauvinistic pig.”
This is pretty close to what she said before sitting through 22 films, which is disappointing. Is there anything about him that you do like?
‘His confidence, in a way. But not the arrogance, that stops me from liking him much.
Have any of your opinions or
misconceptions preconceptions changed?
“Only slightly. Still think the way he treats women is abhorrent. But I hadn’t realised they all play him different. I like Timothy Dalton. He was nice and I like the way he played it. I had thought they were all given the brief, ‘play him like a twat.'”
You said before we started that you wouldn’t let our children watch them. Do you still feel the same?
“No. I’m going to let them watch with an edited version of this blog so they get good and evil messages”
At what age will you let the, start watching?
“At least 14. I would like to sit a son down and say if you turn out like James Bond I will adopt you out. I’ll tell him, ‘if you turn out the opposite you will have succeeded in life.'”
What has your favourite thing been about the films?
“The music. I really like the music.”
“Q. He’s my favourite character ever from anything.”
Any villains really memorable for you?
“The really tall one with the weird teeth.”
He’s really more of a henchman.
“well.. um…no then”
Any of the stories particularly stand out for you?
“I can’t remember any of them. They really don’t stay in my mind.”
Why? And this is important. Scientists in the future might be able to use this information to help identify the defective gene that makes some people not enjoy these films.
“My brain is saying, ‘don’t keep hold of this, it’s not important. Don’t use vital memory that could be used for something good.'”
Any Bond girls you particularly remember?
No…. That Halle Berry one really did my head in. She was a dirty little wench… And the way Pierce Brosnan bites women!”
Finally, when we move next month can I call the new house Skyfall?
“But never out loud.”
Mel will return… Watching Casino Royale.
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