The 24th “official” James Bond movie, Spectre, comes out in the US this weekend, marking what could be the final chapter in Daniel Craig’s run as the famed British secret agent. Bond’s been a fixture in theatres for over 50 years and helped popularize the spy genre for movie and TV audiences alike. Like many other iconic figures, many have parodied Bond with their own super spy stories, some of whom have almost achieved the same level of popularity as the suave British agent. To celebrate the US release of Spectre, here’s five of our favorite James Bond parodies.
“Do I make you horny, baby?” With a host of raunchy sexual innuendos at his disposal and a love of crushed velvet suits, Austin Powers represented the very best (or worst) the 1960s had to offer. Powers roared into theatres just two years after Pierce Brosnan revitalized the franchise with Goldeneye. Whereas Bond was suave, competent and remained in touch in the times, Powers was goofy, raunchy and hopelessly stuck in the 1960s. The Austin Powers film trilogy spoofed many aspects of the James Bond franchise, poking fun at many of the Bond girls’ outlandish names (one character is named Alotta Fagina) to Bond’s stylish sports cars (Powers drives a “Shaguar). Even Powers’s nemesis Dr. Evil, also played by Mike Myers, is a clear parody of Blofeld. Despite the popularity of the Austin powers films (the movies grossed a total of $676 million in box offices), the franchise has been dormant for over a decade. With Bond more popular than ever, maybe it’s time for Austin Powers to swing back into action?
While Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen initially focused on characters from Victorian literature, the third volume of the series Black Dossier brought the comic into more modern times. One of the first “modern” characters seen in the book is a sleazy alcoholic MI5 agent named “Jimmy”. Jimmy was the grandson of Campion Bond, a government agent who served as the League’s handler during the Victorian era. While Moore couldn’t name Jimmy outright, the clues were all rather obvious. Jimmy had a taste for martinis, he had a Walter PPK, and he had a distinctive scar on his cheek (an identifying trait from Ian Fleming’s novels). Bond later appeared in a later volume of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, set in 1999. This time, he appeared as an old man, dying from a host of sexually transmitted diseases. Since Bond had become an inspiration and source of morale, MI5 replaced Bond with several younger stand-ins (each of whom look just like the six official Bond actors), playing on the fan theory that James Bond is a code name and not a single agent.
Maxwell Smart was the unholy lovechild of James Bond and Inspector Clouseau (from the popular Pink Panther comedies), a bungling secret agent with outlandish gadgets who somehow always manages to save the day. Played by Don Adams, Maxwell Smart was the star of Get Smart, a NBC/CBS series that ran for five years. Get Smart was the brainchild of famed comedy writers Mel Brooks and Buck Henry and Smart exhibited a unique blend of Henry’s dry humor and Brooks’s more slapstick style of comedy. Smart was an employee for CONTROL, a secret government intelligence agency, who principally fought the forces of KAOS, a spoof on SPECTRE. Many of Smart’s missions would go sideways due to his bumbling ways and rigid insistence on playing things “by the book”, but he had a perfect track record of success in the field. While most of his spying peers and superiors tended to look at him as an idiot, he had at least one ally: his partner Agent 99, who he married in Season 4. In 2008, Maxwell Smart returned to action in a Get Smart movie, this time played by Steve Carell.
Sterling Archer, the star of FX’s Archer cartoon series, is another James Bond parody who takes the super-spy’s many vices to absurd extremes. Archer shares Bond’s love of women, booze and himself, only to self-destructive levels. While Archer occasionally bungles his missions in the field (a common occurrence for James Bond parodies), he’s typically portrayed as a remarkably competent field agent, especially when it comes to fighting or killing opponents. Archer has a complicated relationship with his mother, Mallory, who acts as his boss and is the main cause of his deep and troublesome psychological issues. In fact, Archer had such a broken childhood, he’s usually seen as a sympathetic character despite acting, as his creators put it, like “a total douche”. Archer also has a deep love of pop culture, particularly the 1980s, which leads to plenty of goofy and almost nonsensical references in every Archer episode.
Mr. Bont only had about 30 seconds of screen time on The Simpsons, but he appeared in one of the best Simpson episodes of all time. Bont was the secret agent nemesis of Hank Scorpio, a supervillain-esque corporate CEO who recruited Homer to work in his new nuclear power plant. While Scorpio had plans of world domination, he also was a great boss, giving his employees perks over and beyond industry standards. Homer encountered Mr. Bont after the secret agent escaped from a laser trap (which was very similar to the one seen in Goldfinger). Homer, thinking Bont was a slacking employee, tackled Bont, allowing Scorpio to recapture the secret agent and immediately execute him. Thanks to Homer, Scorpio went on to take over most of the US’s eastern coast, although Homer had already quit Scorpio’s company and moved back to Springfield to appease his unhappy family.