Plots by James Bond villains all inherently have the same elements: a maniacal scheme, unlimited resources to accomplish it, with layers of needless complexity, henchmen in identical uniforms, delusions of grandeur, and of course, the inability to kill James Bond. But beyond all that, a good Bond villain plot needs to be insane. It should involve world domination, genocide, vast sums of money, and being so over-the-top that the viewer buys it not in spite of it being crazy, but precisely because it's crazy.
Every Bond villain has a scheme, and they're all crazy. But some are much crazier than others. Sure, SPECTRE wants to extort vast sums of money from the world, but is that crazier than Moonraker's Drax wanting to wipe out the population and start over with a master race? And Goldfinger loves gold, but does he love random killing as much as A View to a Kill's Max Zorin?
With the 25th official Bond film, No Time To Die, around the corner, here's your chance to rank every Bond villain's insane scheme by how insane it really is.
The Plan: From his giant space station orbiting high above the earth, industrial tycoon and eugenicist Hugo Drax seeks to wipe out the entire human race using a deadly toxin engineered from a rare orchid. Once the planet is cleansed of inferiors, Drax and his master race will return and repopulate the world.How Crazy Is It? It's beyond crazy. A truly ridiculous movie like Moonraker needs a truly ridiculous plot powering it, or the whole thing is just a slog. Drax's neo-Nazi genocide scheme makes the grade. Oh, it makes no sense at all, and is totally unfeasible. But since when has anything related to James Bond, particularly Bond in the '70s, needed plausibility to be good?
The Plan: Genetically engineered by the Nazis and employed by the KGB, super-rich industrial guy Zorin plots to detonate a huge bomb under a key junction in California's fault lines, flooding Silicon Valley and leaving him as the world's sole manufacturer of microchips.
How Crazy Is It? Strip away the trappings and Zorin's scheme is really just the same "rich guy makes more money" plot that other Bond baddies employ. But it's those ludicrous trappings that make Zorin's scheme a Hall of Fame Bond villain plot in terms of insanity.
Zorin is certifiably nuts, killing his henchmen in droves and spouting quips like a madman. His scheme doesn't just involve destroying one fault with a bomb, it involves destroying the biggest fault with a nuke. It's got an Amazonian hit-woman, a mad Nazi scientist, rigged horse races, international assassins, and a fight above the Golden Gate Bridge. Evil plans don't get much crazier.Of course, in the real world, Zorin's scheme would actually have zero chance of success, because microchips aren't actually made in Silicon Valley, they're made overseas using cheap sweatshop labor. But in the Bond world, it's cracking mad.
The Plan: Anarchist shipping kingpin Karl Stromberg steals two nuclear submarines from the UK and Soviet Union. He plans to use their missiles to nuke the superpowers, who will blame each other and finish the job. He's also constructed a massive underwater city to house the new society that will arise from the ashes of the world he's destroyed, riding out World War III safely under the sea.How Crazy Is It? A total rehash of the "get the superpowers to nuke each other" plot of You Only Live Twice, Stromberg's genocidal scheme falls apart not because of Bond (well, there's that), but because of one simple bit of science: water isn't fallout-proof. The radiation from thousands of nukes would almost certainly poison the oceans and make his undersea city uninhabitable. Oops.
The Plan: Former MI6 agent Silva hatches a complicated scheme to steal a confidential list and get James Bond into his orbit, leading Bond to bed his sex worker girlfriend, and then end up captured by Bond - all so he can break out, have Bond chase him through London, dress like a cop, and kill Bond's boss M for betraying him years earlier.How Crazy Is It? The revenge aspect of the scheme isn't crazy, but Silva's plan is almost entirely dependent on coincidence and characters improbably doing exactly what they need to do at exactly the right time. This makes it skip crazy and go straight to ludicrous. Possibly the craziest part of the plan is that it has no reason for existing, as Silva could have killed M with the gas explosion he detonated at MI6 early in the movie. Instead, he adds layers of needless complexity, expense, and risk - all for the sake of achieving what he could have achieved more cleanly with little cost and virtually no danger.