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11.12.08

Spoofing the Spy

As Quantum of Solace hits theaters, Bond parodies are flooding YouTube. Randi Zuckerberg picks her top five.

As Quantum of Solace hits theaters, Bond parodies are flooding YouTube. Randi Zuckerberg picks her top 5—and asks: Would Tom Hanks make a better Bond?

Before I met my husband, I couldn’t care less about James Bond. I didn’t understand the allure of the silhouette-strewn opening sequence, the formulaic plot line, the cars, the girls. But 22 movies later—and box sets in Japanese, Chinese, and German—I can now name almost every Bond movie by heart and sing (okay, caterwaul) just about every Bond song there is. My husband and I have already planned a black-tie event for November 14, the night Quantum of Solace finally arrives in theaters.

But you needn’t be the fanatic that I am to enjoy a good 007 spoof—even teetotalers are familiar with the martini-mixing procedure known as “shaken, not stirred.” Which is why the James Bond spoof is a parody warhorse, universally recognizable with its car chases in tricked-out vehicles, over-the-top fight sequences, and boilerplate opening titles. If you’re thinking, “That sounds an awful lot like the real Bond movies,” well, exactly.

In honor of Friday’s premiere of the latest installment, I present the top five YouTube videos that parody Bond. James Bond.

1. Tom Hanks Should Have Been the Next Bond

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Still can’t abide a blonde Bond? This incredibly well-researched montage of Tom Hanks scenes blows my mind. The Money Pit? Joe Versus the Volcano? Did all these films actually happen? Splicing several incongruous movie clips into a single YouTube trailer about an unrelated film has been done well before, but Tom Hanks as Bond is just crazy enough to feel true.

2. Quantum of Solace—Proposed Theme Song

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In this mock trailer, Joe Cornish pokes fun at the new Bond film’s typically cryptic title (Sauntum of Quolace?) and the franchise’s obsession with product placement. It’s a slick little production with an addictive chorus that I’ve found myself absurdly humming while waiting in line at the bank. Compare this to the actual theme song by Alicia Keys and Jack White, “ Another Way to Die”—I think the fake one might be superior.

3. Coke, Visa, Jissbon Condoms

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Bond is such a beloved, uncontroversial figure that major brands clamor to claim the masculine style icon to hawk everything from credit cards to contraceptives (see above) to carbonated beverages. Pierce Brosnan appears in many of these ads, begging the question: Do Bond movies pay that poorly? Or is Brosnan, Pierce Brosnan, just a huge sellout?

4. Actually, Clive Owen Should Have Been the Next Bond

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Remember the global debate that erupted around which hunky British actors should be on the Casino Royale shortlist? Many fans were skeptical of the fair-haired, aloof Daniel Craig, and were rooting for swarthy, stubbled, haunted Clive Owen to get the part. This faux trailer takes a motley assortment of clips from Owen’s filmography, including car chases, gunfights, and a veritable coup for BMW’s publicity department.

5. Bond Gets It On

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A soft-core porno shot in a 1980s Poconos motel room is profiled in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue—that’s how this parody could best be described. The fan-created tribute to James Bond’s playboy legacy includes more than 50 of the steamiest (cheesiest) Bond-on-Bond-Girl moments in 007 history. For a slightly different take, check out Snoop Dogg/50 Cent “ P.I.M.P” version.

A very special thanks to my James Bond-loving husband, Brent, who has broadened my horizons by introducing me to the world of 007…and helped research clips for this article.

Randi Zuckerberg works in marketing at Facebook, where she leads the company’s election strategy and has pioneered several large media partnerships. Included in The Hollywood Reporter’s 2008 Digital Power List, she is also a founder of The Dot Comix, an online video troupe that creates satirical videos about technology and geek culture.