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Friday, 5 December 2014

Aston Martin DB10 - Missiles Or GTFO

Aston Martin DB10
In case you've lacked any kind of internet signal for the past three days, you'll need me to tell you what this car is. This is the Aston Martin DB10, and despite the name it's NOT a replacement for the DB9 (although damn does that car need a replacement). Instead, this compact GT, which is based on the also-increasingly-antiquated V8 Vantage, has been specifically commissioned for SPECTRE, which is the new James Bond movie.

First of all, it's gorgeous. Finally we're seeing some evolution of Aston Martin's design language, something we all needed to see after they spent the last five years being lazier even than Audi's designers (who basically just photocopy an existing model and then change the shape of the lights). I think it's fair to say that the roof and the tail lights (see below) are borrowing rather a lot from the jaw-dropping Jaguar F-Type Coupé, but then Aston and Jaguar have always been following each other's fashions, so it's almost excusable on that basis... and for the fact that it makes for a stunning body.


Only 10 of these will ever be built, and all of them will be used in the upcoming 007 movie, SPECTRE. After celebrating 50 years of the world's most ostentatious and perverted spy with Skyfall, the 24th Bond film brings back the global terrorist organisation originally seen in Ian Fleming's novels (and the first movies) whose name is an acronym for SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion. Obviously.


Little is known about this film thus far, except that it won't be out for another 11 months and it features some actors. Also the story will link back to the end of Skyfall in some way. Based on the other Daniel Craig-era 007 movies thus far, it seems likely that rather than featuring a non-parody version of Dr. Evil based in a hollowed-out volcano full of rockets, it will be all gritty and realistic, and the bad guy - almost definitely called Ernst Stavro Blofeld - will probably be a corrupt business tycoon in a premium tuxedo who plans to hack into All The Computers and win at trendy cyber-terrorism to take over the world in a modern, cool way that's "more down-to-Earth" (or "less pie-in-the-sky," if you prefer). His evil base will probably be a hollowed-out block of brushed-aluminium, glass-edged architect's wet dream full of touch screens and classy, light blue or white strip lighting and not a single un-polished surface to be found. Just a row of crystal-clear shot glasses and lots of premium-branded premium products.

Speaking of premium-branded products, the previous (premium) Bond cars in Daniel Craig's (premium) movies have been just that and nothing more, which remains a bitter - and premium - disappointment. The only gadgets the Aston Martin DBS ever had were a custom (premium) glovebox and the ability to roll over spectacularly at high speed for no obvious reason. In Skyfall they brought back the old DB5 just to ram home that the new cars simply aren't as cool, not just because they aren't from the 1960s but because they don't have retractable missile launchers or oil slicks or a pop-up bullet shield or an invisibility cloak or a smoke screen. Do these people really think that the Goldfinger DB5 became the most famous movie car of all time purely based on British (premium) branding and Italian body styling? I get that they wanted to make it all gritty and realistic just like literally every big action movie this decade, but they've toned it down too much for too long. We need gadgets! That was always the coolest part! Gadgets and a crazy villain in a crazy evil base. The previous film at least had a proper villain, rather than a weepy guy who plays cards and then whips Bond's testicles for a bit, but the DBS was still a bit part, not a full character. All it did was appear for the sake of it and then crash.

Ask yourself: which makes for the better movie spy-car?

Right: The DBS from Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Left: The Van(qu)ish from Die Another Day
The correct answer is the one on the right, even if you think the DBS looks better than the Vanquish, which is a whole other debate. Even if you think Die Another Day was a worse movie, which is yet another other debate (at the very least I think we can agree Skyfall was the best Craig movie thus far). OK, it's hard to keep a 50+ year-old movie franchise fresh and sometimes the only way to refresh something so ridiculous is to pare it back a bit and focus on substance... are you listening, TopGear?

But therein lies the problem: James Bond is inherently ridiculous! A real spy would sneak around in a silver Mondeo with a camera and a smartphone, not powerslide an Aston Martin through a town with a gun in his hand and a Martini in the glovebox. He wouldn't single-handedly take down a terrorist organisation by shooting all the men and banging all the women before throwing the big boss into a shark/acid bath/jet engine/LASER shark/outer space/toothy munchy machine thing/miscellaneous crevasse. Now that the makers of Bond films have brought things down to Earth, they need to build things back up again. Embrace the crazy! If anything there's more of a challenge in finding ways to incorporate mad gadgets like grappling-hook watches and tranquiliser pens without it feeling like a parody than there is in finding ways to incorporate more classy innuendos and smoldering glances and new-money filming locations.

Personally I think Craig's Bond will get pretty boring if he keeps spending the movie sulking at things and punching guys in the dick. Lots of action movie heroes do that and always have. We get subtle references to old favourites, but little more. I want this DB10 to be an iconic Bond car, not a prop to make people look at Aston Martin. People already look at Aston Martin! The DB10 is a one-off (well, ten-off) just for this movie, so for it to be a pure 007 car through and through, it needs the side vents to fire missiles. It needs those blade-like wheel spokes to stab and/or slash at things. There needs to be an ejector seat, or a jet-powered Honda Motocompo escape bike in the boot, or an autonomous function that talks in John Cleese's voice. It needs something. Otherwise it will just be yet more premium nothing.

Your mission is clear, Eon Productions. Don't ruin the car.


























Premium.

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