Pay attention, 007
Let’s be honest, the only reason any of us wants to be a spy isn’t for the intrigue or the glory, it’s for the super-cool gadgets. And, sure, the likes of James Bond and Ethan Hunt seem to have the best ones around, but spying isn’t the only job that comes with gadgets.
The movies have shown us that everyone from an architect to a teenage skateboarder can get their hands on an outstanding gadget, but who got the best deal? To find out the answer, we decided to delve through cinematic history to pick out the 20 best movie gadgets, ones we definitely wish existed in real life.
20. Umbrella stun gun
Movie: Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)
Umbrellas can be used to shield the sun, yet more often than not, they signify misery as the skies have opened. Why not take a leaf from Harry Hart’s book in Kingsman: The Secret Service and jazz up your umbrella collection with one that’s bulletproof and a stun gun in one? After all, you never quite know when you’re going to be in the middle of a pub brawl and require a quick, painless (well, for you anyway) solution.
19. Omega 13
Movie: Galaxy Quest (1999)
OK, so this only allows you to go back in time 13 seconds to repair a mistake but as we saw in Galaxy Quest, that’s more than enough time to foil an assassination plot. In real life, perhaps its best use would be to undo a particularly cringeworthy pick-up line or an innocent faux-pas where you just said the wrong thing. And EVERYONE has at least one of those occasions in their life.
18. Paper laptop
Movie:: Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015)
Take the weight off your shoulders and leave your laptop bag at home. Thanks to Benji Dunn in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, all we now apparently need is an opera program that handily transforms into a functioning laptop and a touchscreen one at that. We’re not quite sure of its battery life though, so it’s perhaps best not to rely solely on it if you have an important deadline coming up. Not sure your boss would accept an opera program instead of that report on the financial year.
17. X-Ray glasses
Movie: The World is Not Enough (1999)
Pierce Brosnan didn’t have the best of luck during his time as Bond, but at least The World is Not Enough saw him wear one of 007’s coolest gadgets. What better gift to get for the womanising spy in your life than a pair of X-Ray glasses? Sure, the design could use a little sprucing up and it might look a little suspect to be wearing them indoors, yet there’s no denying their effectiveness, whether you’re using them to spot a concealed gun or an eye-catching set of undies.
Movie: Elysium (2013)
One of the more instantly useful gadgets on this list, this Med-Bay from Elysium is a lifesaver, literally. Its simple design belies its extraordinary powers that seem to be able to fix any ailment, and all you have to do is lie down on it and let it do its thing. Even if your face is mangled by a grenade like Agent Kruger’s, the Med-Bay can make you as good as new as long as your brain remains intact. If you think it can cure any inherent laziness though, it’s not THAT good.
15. Universal remote control
Movie: Click (2006)
The film might not be very good but, damn, it opened up a world of possibilities with its central premise: a universal remote that can control your life. No longer do you have to endure those awkward extended family reunions at Christmas; you can instead skip straight ahead to the turkey and alcohol, as well as making it last longer with slow motion. Be warned though, as well as a full stomach, you’ll miss out on some valuable life lessons. Such as never let Granny loose on the sherry.
14. Proton pack
Movie: Ghostbusters (1984)
Once the reboot comes out this year, it might get a bit confusing over who you call when you have a ghost problem. If only you could take matters into your own hands and handle those pesky ghosts with the use of your own proton pack. Make sure to bring along a trap as well or there’s little point in holding them in your stream of protons, it’d only get them mad. Just remember though, it is definitely NOT a toy.
13. Magnetic watch
Movie: Live and Let Die (1973)
James Bond has had many watches over the years, right up to last year’s exploding one in Spectre. However, he probably holds a special place in his heart for the magnetic watch from Live and Let Die. Putting the Apple Watch to shame, its primary function was to deflect bullets and cut through all sorts of cable and ropes, handy for when you find yourself over a shark pool. Of course, 007 found a different use for it: undoing a lady’s dress without having to use his hands. The scoundrel.
12. Invisibility cloak
Movie: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
Everyone knows what they’d do if they could be invisible, and probably a few of those wishes would be unsuitable for publication. However, if you could guarantee a smart use for invisibility, then Harry Potter’s cloak becomes one of the best gadgets around. Maybe you just want a moment of peace in this hectic world of ours, or you want to play an outstanding prank on your friends. If you start to mention the phrase “changing room” though, your cloak privileges will be revoked.
11. Spy contact lenses
Movie: I Spy (2002)
Like Click, I Spy certainly isn’t a particularly memorable movie, but it does showcase the potential of having contact lenses fitted with a camera and microphone. Wearing these, you could employ a suave friend to stealthily guide you through a tricky first date, or capture every moment of that special event without the need of a camera. Like Google Glass though, cinemas might have to start banning contact lenses which could get a bit awkward.
10. Sticky gloves
Movie: Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)
Even with a full set of ropes, it’s probably not recommended for any budding climbers to scale the world’s tallest building. So perhaps it’s best to use Ghost Protocol’s sticky gloves for other purposes, such as pretending to be your town’s friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man or, more practically, as an alternative to stairs for when the lift’s broken. Just make sure to remember the one vital piece of information: blue is glue. You don’t want to know what red means.
Movie: Thunderball (1965)
A jetpack isn’t a rare sight in movies, appearing in the likes of The Rocketeer and last year’s Tomorrowland: A World Beyond. 007 had the jump on them though back in 1965 with Thunderball and it remains one of the best Bond gadgets ever. In true Bond fashion, he nails both the take-off and the landing, all the while remembering to wear a helmet. After all, it only looks cool if you manage to survive in one piece.
8. Flying cars
Movie: Blade Runner (1982)
The easiest way to tell you’re watching a movie set in the future is if there are flying cars, but no matter how many times you see them, they always look like a terrific invention. Sure, humanity would find a way to screw them up if we ever see them in real life (hello, mid-air road rage) so, for now, just revel in the glorious creations of them in Blade Runner. Other takes on flying cars might be sleeker, but you’d definitely feel safer with Deckard in the sky alongside you.
7. Point-of-View gun
Movie: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)
Commissioned by intergalactic angry housewives, the Point-of-View gun dreamed up by Douglas Adams for the Hitchhiker’s Guide movie is the most unique gadget on this rundown. It does what it says on the tin: shoot someone with it and they’ll see the world from your perspective. If it existed, it would end most domestic arguments or, if used on newspaper editors, ensure that Katie Hopkins is never heard from again.
Movie: Men in Black (1997)
Forgotten an important birthday or anniversary? We’ve all been there. If only you could pick up the neuralyzer from the Men in Black series, and make them forget that you had forgotten. Perhaps a more useful purpose would be to use it on yourself to forget a particularly embarrassing moment or wipe the memory of that awful movie you’ve just seen. Even better, the neuralyzer can replace the memory with a false, happier one. No more drunken mistakes for you. Or at least any that you know of.
Movie: Back to the Future Part II (1989)
Engineers, inventors and scientists, you’ve let humanity down. The deadline has already been missed in terms of when we should all be hoverboarding to work. OK, so some prototypes exist, but it’s not like you can pop down your local Halfords (*other retailers are available) and pick one up. One glimpse of Marty McFly doing his thing in Back to the Future Part II and walking just seems like SO MUCH EFFORT.
Movie: Star Trek (2009)
No, not hiring Jason Statham to drive you around. We’re talking not needing to use cars, trains and all other types of transport ever again. Just imagine never having to tackle rush hour and being squashed up against other people in train carriages ever again. That’s what the crew of the Enterprise have been enjoying for years. One downside though: no more ready-made excuses for when you’re late “because of traffic” or “signal troubles”, when really you just turned off your alarm.
Movie: Iron Man (2008)
Things might be a tad trickier now that JARVIS (Just A Rather Very Intelligent System) has been merged with the Vision, but just imagine having one of them in your home. You might not need it to assemble new pieces of armour, rather you might use him to organise your life and everyone needs that. No longer would you have to frantically search around for a clean shirt as your version of JARVIS would have several dry cleaned and ready. Heaven.
2. Time machine
Movie: Back to the Future (1985)
Cinema’s best-ever take on the time machine (sorry, Bill & Ted) remains Back to the Future’s iconic DeLorean that can take you anywhere in history, as long as you’ve got plutonium for the flux capacitor, 1.21 Gigawatts of energy and hit 88mph. Luckily, cinema has also provided many different (and often contradicting) rules for time travel, meaning that you shouldn’t be finding yourself in any sticky situations, like having make your father seduce your mother to ensure that you exist.
Movie: Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)
Sorry, time travelling cars, there can only be one ultimate movie gadget, and it simply has to be the lightsaber. Why? Because everyone who has seen any Star Wars movie will likely have pretended that they’re wielding one in an epic battle. It’s been responsible for some of cinema’s greatest battles (even The Phantom Menace had a stand-out duel), and is a triumph of simplicity. After all, a lightsaber is just a laser sword and if you don’t think that sounds cool, then you need to live a little.