Bond movie references/tropes in Tenet (spoilers)

An original action espionage film releasing in IMAX on August 12, 2020
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I decided to compile a list of all the "Bondian" elements that Tenet borrows (expanding on my post in the prologue thread about the "cold open" first shot). A lot of people have said that this IS Nolan's Bond movie, and it's easy to see many of the elements that make it that (the exotic locations, the fancy suits, the action, etc.). But if you watch a lot of older Bonds and then this film in close succession, you really see just how much Nolan pilfers - it's like Tarantino-level referentiality. You can actually pinpoint certain plot elements, set pieces, characters, etc. that seem inspired by specific Bond films. Inception of course pays homage to On Her Majesty's Secret Service in the snow dream level sequence, and The Dark Knight Rises lifts the cold open stunt of Licence to Kill for its plane hijacking set piece (just to name a couple previous examples of specific Bond movie references), but since Tenet is explicitly working within the spy genre, it stands to reason that there'd be a wealth of nods to a number of other Bond films.

Getting some obvious things out of the way that are not film-specific:

- Clémence Poésy's scientist character is basically Q (just as Morgan Freeman essentially played that role in TDK trilogy)
- Martin Donovan and Dimple Kapadia both sort of play M
- Kenneth Branagh is of course the archetypal Russian Bond villain
- The character of Volkov is the villain's main henchman that JDW has to defeat at the end of the film in the same way that Bond has to with Oddjob, Jaws, etc. Of course Volkov isn't a gimmicky henchman like those other guys.

More specific similarities:

1. Early in the film, JDW locates the arms dealer Priya by tracing the alloys in the inverted gun's metals to India. One of the early plot points in The Man with the Golden Gun involves Bond tracing a bullet to a weapons manufacturer. This kind of plot point can probably be found in a lot of action films, but it still stood out to me while rewatching TMWTGG especially since it's a plot point that occurs pretty early in both films.

2. The bungee jump UP the building and the iconic bungee jump in GoldenEye. And then when JDW jumps off the building, detaches himself from the bungee cord, lands on the ground, and walks casually back into the crowd, it reminded me of Spectre, when Bond parachutes out of his car, lands on the ground, nonchalantly detaches the parachute, and walks away casually.

3. The freeport heist where JDW and Pattinson have to steal the artwork while holding their breath to avoid halide gas - feels similar to the heist in From Russia with Love where Bond has to steal the lektor while avoiding tear gas.

4. This isn't really film-specific, but JDW going sailing with Sator while Sator isn't yet aware of JDW's true motive or his identity is a lot like how Bond often engages in some leisurely activity, game, or sport with the villain before the villain realizes who Bond is. Kind of like when Bond plays golf with Goldfinger early on in Goldfinger.

5. When JDW spies on Sator on his boat and sees him beat up a guy for stealing his gold, it reminds me a lot of the scene in Licence to Kill where Bond spies on the villain played by Robert Davi as he accuses a guy of stealing his money before killing him on his boat (the infamous decompression chamber scene).

6. The firetruck chase scene in Tallinn and the firetruck chase in A View to a Kill

7. The Spy Who Loved Me is one of Nolan's favorite Bond movies (along with OHMSS), and I think a big part of it is the massive set piece at the end. He's said that while making Tenet, he was influenced by TSWLM in particular, so I feel like the giant battle at the climax might have inspired the one at the end of Tenet. A funny visual coincidence between the battles in TSWLM and Tenet is the fact that both involve different groups of people wearing either red or blue (though in Tenet, they aren't fighting against each other).

8. Debicki is basically an updated version of Domino from Thunderball - sort of held captive by the villain, ends up helping Bond, and shoots the villain dead on a yacht at the end.

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Janky Sam wrote:
February 13th, 2021, 7:15 pm
I decided to compile a list of all the "Bondian" elements that Tenet borrows (expanding on my post in the prologue thread about the "cold open" first shot). A lot of people have said that this IS Nolan's Bond movie, and it's easy to see many of the elements that make it that (the exotic locations, the fancy suits, the action, etc.). But if you watch a lot of older Bonds and then this film in close succession, you really see just how much Nolan pilfers - it's like Tarantino-level referentiality. You can actually pinpoint certain plot elements, set pieces, characters, etc. that seem inspired by specific Bond films. Inception of course pays homage to On Her Majesty's Secret Service in the snow dream level sequence, and The Dark Knight Rises lifts the cold open stunt of Licence to Kill for its plane hijacking set piece (just to name a couple previous examples of specific Bond movie references), but since Tenet is explicitly working within the spy genre, it stands to reason that there'd be a wealth of nods to a number of other Bond films.

Getting some obvious things out of the way that are not film-specific:

- Clémence Poésy's scientist character is basically Q (just as Morgan Freeman essentially played that role in TDK trilogy)
- Martin Donovan and Dimple Kapadia both sort of play M
- Kenneth Branagh is of course the archetypal Russian Bond villain
- The character of Volkov is the villain's main henchman that JDW has to defeat at the end of the film in the same way that Bond has to with Oddjob, Jaws, etc. Of course Volkov isn't a gimmicky henchman like those other guys.

More specific similarities:

1. Early in the film, JDW locates the arms dealer Priya by tracing the alloys in the inverted gun's metals to India. One of the early plot points in The Man with the Golden Gun involves Bond tracing a bullet to a weapons manufacturer. This kind of plot point can probably be found in a lot of action films, but it still stood out to me while rewatching TMWTGG especially since it's a plot point that occurs pretty early in both films.

2. The bungee jump UP the building and the iconic bungee jump in GoldenEye. And then when JDW jumps off the building, detaches himself from the bungee cord, lands on the ground, and walks casually back into the crowd, it reminded me of Spectre, when Bond parachutes out of his car, lands on the ground, nonchalantly detaches the parachute, and walks away casually.

3. The freeport heist where JDW and Pattinson have to steal the artwork while holding their breath to avoid halide gas - feels similar to the heist in From Russia with Love where Bond has to steal the lektor while avoiding tear gas.

4. This isn't really film-specific, but JDW going sailing with Sator while Sator isn't yet aware of JDW's true motive or his identity is a lot like how Bond often engages in some leisurely activity, game, or sport with the villain before the villain realizes who Bond is. Kind of like when Bond plays golf with Goldfinger early on in Goldfinger.

5. When JDW spies on Sator on his boat and sees him beat up a guy for stealing his gold, it reminds me a lot of the scene in Licence to Kill where Bond spies on the villain played by Robert Davi as he accuses a guy of stealing his money before killing him on his boat (the infamous decompression chamber scene).

6. The firetruck chase scene in Tallinn and the firetruck chase in A View to a Kill

7. The Spy Who Loved Me is one of Nolan's favorite Bond movies (along with OHMSS), and I think a big part of it is the massive set piece at the end. He's said that while making Tenet, he was influenced by TSWLM in particular, so I feel like the giant battle at the climax might have inspired the one at the end of Tenet. A funny visual coincidence between the battles in TSWLM and Tenet is the fact that both involve different groups of people wearing either red or blue (though in Tenet, they aren't fighting against each other).

8. Debicki is basically an updated version of Domino from Thunderball - sort of held captive by the villain, ends up helping Bond, and shoots the villain dead on a yacht at the end.
Good work! Rewatched The Spy who loved me...it rocks! As I get older, I've grown to appreciate Roger Moore...more. The Spy Who Loved Me and For your Eyes Only are top 5 Bond for me. In the recent years I've dug Timothy Dalton's bond more as well...Both are underrated.

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Tracing a bullet: it's also how Bond finds the criminal in Skyfall.
The heist: this one feels more Mission Impossible than Bond. Hunt often plans a heist with the rest of his crew while Bond is more of a loner (and the few people he works with usually die quite fast).
-Sailing with Sator: definitely a Bond trope: the classic meeting with the villain. Nolan decided to make it action-heavy (like the race car at the beginning of Goldeneye) and not classy like in most Bond film. (Thunderball, Octopussy, Goldfinger...)
- Volkov: not very well done by Nolan: we never really get to see him beat the shit out of anybody so he's never scary/iconic as he should be. If it was a Bond film he would be one of the less iconic villain. The comparison with Oddjob, Jaws or Onatopp would be cruel, but he wouldn't even be in the same league as those of Octopussy, Tomorrow never dies, Living Daylights, Live and let die... In two scenes, Del Toro in Licence to kill is more iconic...
-Kat Barton: the woman in a prison who is close to the villain: definitely like Domino
(also she ends up killing him to free herself, and let's notice that while Domino has sex with Bond, Thunderball is one of the very few that doesn't end with Bond and the girl having sex, and is therefore closer to the platonic romance between Protag and Kat than any other in Bond films).
The violent relationship between Sator and Kat reminds us of Licence to kill, where the villain also beats his wife (and there is also a quick torture scene in Thunderball). However, I don't think any Bond girl had a child.


Also two other tropes:
-cold-open: this one is more like those of the Dalton/Brosnan/Craig era, in that it's a lot of action around the main character, and it introduces the plot. On the contrary, the great action sequences at the beginning of Octopussy/Moonraker/Thunderball/Goldfinger had nothing to do with the plot of the rest of the film. It lacks a crazy stunt to feel truly Bond. It's a very quick/effective sequence which distinguishes it from The world is not enough or Mendes' Bond, where the opening sequence is one of the longest action sequence of the film.
-the song even if it's at the end of the film.

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