The other night Anto and I watched the 1985 Roger Moore Bond film A View to a Kill. Moore is my Bond, whereas Anto is a bit more partial to Pierce Brosnan—we don’t mention Sean Connery or Daniel Craig in our home. I forgot so much about this film, including the dominant plotline wherein the villian Max Zorin, played by Christopher Walken, is a psychopathic, Nazi created steroid baby that was raised by the KGB who wants to destroy Silicon Valley. He’s a villain’s villain. There’s a scene in the film, excerpted below, that takes place on a Zeppelin flying above San Francisco in which Zorin lays out his plan to end the domination of Silicon Valley. I couldn’t help but think Audrey Watters might be able to use this clip in a future talk 🙂
In fact, in a very lofi 80s way the film feels relevant to our technological moment in a number of rather campy ways. There’s another scene, featured below, wherein Zorin is talking to Bond while at the same time using a hidden camera, ostensibly connected to the internet and his computer, to establish Bond’s identity as 007 through facial recognition software that’s presumably being instantaneously checked against a database of such images. Inconceivable! The Galaxian-inspired graphics are awesome, as well. Technology which seemed insane in 1985 is pretty quotidian in 2014. Add the commentary about Silicon Valley’s cultural and market domination to the mix—and this film is 30 years ahead of its time.
One of the clips on YouTube I found that cracked me up is a recut of the back and forth between Zorin and Bond during the facial recognition software scene. Some fan cut it up to be truly bizarre and uncomfortable, I really love it. The one finger keyboard click is all the rage.
Another fun computer scene is the one wherein Bond’s sex kitteny collaborator Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts) accesses geological information about the earthquake that happened seconds ago on her shiny new Apple computer. Her nightgown makes it all the more palatable, I imagine.
And as an added bonus, though not Silicon Valley related, A View to a Kill was the first Hollywood movie to introduce the idea of snowboarding to a popular audience. The opening sequence of the film, included below, has Bond essentially inventing the art of snowboarding out of mortal necessity. This has got to be one of my favorite scenes from any Bond, and the fact I had an original Burton snowboard in the mid-1980s had a lot to do with this fact. A View to a Kill is some awesome 80s schlock, I can’t recommend it enough.
And to leave you with a final gem from this film, Zorin, played to a tee by Walken, is one of the classic psychotic Bond Villains of all times. In the following scene he is massacring workers in his own mine who are trying to escape a flood he created. All of which is a part of his merciless plot to manufacture an earthquake strong enough to submerge all of Silicon Valley.
“Good, right on shedule.”