During a recent visit to London, I was looking for something to do on a Thursday afternoon and came across the London Film Museum in Covent Garden, where the Bond in Motion exhibit is currently based. If you're a 007 fan, I'd highly recommend it. It's the official exhibit of the vehicles that have featured in films and is the largest of its kind in London. The latest James Bond film, Spectre, has started filming and will be released in November with Bond driving the new Aston Martin DB10. Only ten are being produced and it was designed especially for the new film to mark the recent fiftieth anniversary of the company's involvement in the franchise.
The day that I visited the exhibit coincided with the first on-location footage from Austria being released, revealing that Bond will once again battle villainous henchmen in the snow, as in On Her Majesty's Secret Service and For Your Eyes Only amongst others. As always, it's a globe-spanning mission with other filming locations including London, Mexico City and Rome. At this early stage, the premise for Spectre is still unsurprisingly vague: A cryptic message from an unlikely source sets James Bond navigating the layers of a sinister organisation known as SPECTRE. As M continues fighting political pressures that threaten the future of MI6 Bond draws closer to uncovering a hidden truth that threatens to destroy everything he has fought to protect. Of course, all of the key players from Skyfall are returning (Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomi Harris and Rory Kinnear) and new cast members include Two-Time Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz, Monica Bellucci, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista and Andrew Scott. It's too soon for news on who'll record the theme song, but my bet would be Adele returing to follow-up the award-winning Skyfall. With Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes also returning behind the camera, it's doubtful that it’s going to disappoint.
Anyway, back to the Bond in Motion exhibit at Covent Garden. Adult tickets are £14.50 each and, as I say, this is quite a treat if you've seen all of the Bond films with child and family tickets available. None of the items on display are replicas. Every vehicle is the original high performance one used in filming, most of which are on loan from EON productions' archives. Some of them have been restored whereas a couple of others are still in the write-off state that resulted from the chase at the start of Quantum of Solace. It's not just cars. There are loads of the gadgets, weapons, aircraft, aqua vehicles, motorbikes and other props from down the years, including passports and a driving licence (he had 4 penalty points on it). Most of the vehicles are accompanied by a large screen showing the scene for which it's most famous. I'd say that the BMWs featured in the Dalton years have dated, but the timelessly classic Aston Martin takes centre-stage and all of the glory. Some of these vehicles have provided some of the most memorable images in movie history, such as the speedboat from Live and Let Die, the submersible Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved me, Goldfinger's Rolls Royce and the Q Boat that raced along the Thames in The World is Not Enough.
The exhibit also gives you a glimpse of the creative process from pre-production and how the artistry on the storyboards has changed over the years with never-seen-before concept drawings, script pages and miniature models also on display.
It was highly enjoyable and fascinating to be in the presence of iconic items from movie history with plenty of photograph opportunities.