Shockingly, I love action and adventure films. Unsurprisingly, I’ve seen all the Bond films (repeatedly) but until recently I’d never really realised what a good model they can make for an adventure.
The Bond films have been spectacularly successful over the last four decades. This is no accident. The producers have crafted an excellent formula for a successful film. Luckily for us, the components of an exciting film are nearly identical to those of a good adventure.
So, according to the Bond films, what are the components of a good adventure?
- Sinister Villains: Every Bond villain has a unique appearance, scheme and personality. Even a villain’s main henchmen have unique appearances, weapons and personalities that set them apart from normal minions. Bond villains are larger than life and wholly intent on completing their evil schemes. Unless Bond stops them in a final showdown, there is every chance they will succeed.
- Diabolical Schemes: Villains have diabolical schemes. More importantly, each villain’s evil plan makes sense when viewed through the villain’s eyes. These villains aren’t just being evil because they liked being evil. Their schemes made perfect sense to the villain.
- Unique Lairs: Whether it was a secret underground lair, an orbiting space station or an isolated island, each villain had a personal lair. A villain’s lair suited his personality and was built with the intention of helping him achieve his goals. Bond almost always has to invade that lair to stymie the villain’s schemes.
- Exotic Locations: Bond adventures in amazing places ripe with flavour. In many cases, the location is a real part of the adventure and not just some humdrum backdrop. Of course, not all locations are amazing. During a typical adventure, though, Bond quickly moves through a variety of different locales, and many of them are exotic and different.
- Exciting Chases: Every Bond film I can recall has at least one set-piece chase. During the chase, Bond interacts with the environment, bystanders, various vehicles and more. They rarely end with a single fight. The villain might escape, or Bond has to defeat various minions before finally reaching his nemesis. Whatever the outcome, Bond has to use both his guile and physical skills to catch his quarry.
- Amazing Gadgets: Before he goes off on a mission, Bond almost always gets given some new, cool gadgets he invariably uses at some critical moment. In fact, many times these gadgets are the difference between life and death. Heroes clearly need the right equipment to defeat their enemies. These gadgets are often special in some way and are things the average person is extremely unlikely to possess.
Of course, you still need to craft an exciting adventure but if you add in the above components you should be well on your way!
Help Your Fellow GMs
So that’s what I’ve learnt from rewatching the Bond films. Did I miss anything, in your opinion? If I did, let me know what in the comments below and help your fellow GMs build better adventures today!