We all know Ernst Starvo Blofeld as one of the most iconic Bond bad guys out there. He was the head of the shady organisation SPECTRE, one of Bond’s greatest enemies, and he lasted three whole films as the main antagonist. Surely this proves that he is a man to be wary of; he survived Bond more than once. However, on the flip side of that coin, it also suggests that every single one of his mastermind schemes to take over the world fell flat on their ass. Maybe that is a little harsh as James Bond does foil plans to take over the world on a daily basis, but when I watched ‘Diamonds are Forever’ recently, I couldn’t help but notice several moments where Blofeld could have easily defeated Bond.
He does alright until the finale. Up until then, we have to respect the fact that this evil mastermind who murdered Bond’s wife in the last film and threatened the world on more than one occasion can manage to fake his own death and stay hidden for so long. The Willard White twist was a good one. Also, he has learnt from the last movie. He sends two henchmen after Bond instead of one and also makes sure that they aren’t the usual bulky henchman that can be spotted from a mile away. He kills off any loose ends to his plans and appears to be learning. This could be the Blofeld appearance that Bond might not be able to come back from.
And then his intelligence falls to pieces around his ears, as soon as the action moves to Baha. Blofeld as a remote station set up in the middle of the ocean, far from any authority. Bond only just manages to deduce where it is from clues left in Willard White’s office. He decides to try and deal with the situation without gunfire at first, because they want Blofeld alive. Therefore, Bond (in a pretty stupid move himself, in all honesty), rocks up at the oil rig and surrenders himself. And Blofeld just shrugs and goes along with it. Let’s recap. His greatest nemesis willingly surrenders himself in Blofeld’s secret base where no one should have any knowledge of and he does the obvious thing. There is no interrogation about who knows what nor does he decide to execute Bond there and then. But he was pushed for time and at the very least he searched the spy, so maybe we can kind of forgive this.
And then there is the evil villain monologue. This is a staple of the Bond genre. Most of the detective side of things gets cleared up when the villain captures Bond in the final act and reveals his plans. It is mostly for exposition. Bond films can be quite fast-paced and this final explanation of things gets everyone on the same page for the film’s climax. I appreciate a good villains’ monologue, but they need to be a bit more subtle here. It looks insanely out of place here for two reasons. One is pretty much the same as the above paragraph. Bond has shown up out of nowhere and allowed himself to get captured. If you are not going to question him or shoot him, at the very least do not tell him your evil plans, which include showing Bond where the ‘off’ button to the nuclear missile is. That is a little amateur hour. Which ties in directly to the next point. This is third time Blofeld has been in this situation. He has faced off against Bond twice before and it ended badly for him twice. Surely, when Bond turns up at his secret base, he must be a little more cautious about the information he divulges. There must be some thought deep inside him that is thinking “The last two times I told Bond my whole plan, he used that to defeat me. Maybe I should be a little bit more reserved with the details here.”
And then Bond proceeds to risk his life every two seconds. Most of his actions in this hostage situation really should get him shot. Remember there is no need for any form of hostage at this point in the movie. Bond ejects the tape that controls the entire satellite weapon in front of Blofeld. Blofeld does his best stern voice, but decides to not to shoot Bond on sight for attempting to foil his evil plan. He goes for the throwing Bond into the brig instead. While being escorted to the brig, Bond stops to tie his shoelaces (yeah, the guards are just as bad as Blofeld). While doing that, he unties a weather balloon, which is quite clearly a signal for the air force back-up to launch a strike. The men try to shoot it, but Bond pushes them to one side, spoiling their aim. Surely that is the final straw. They must shoot Bond now. But no, to the brig with you, sir! Part of me thinks Bond is stupid here, for even risking his life in such an obvious manner, but then again, maybe he has realised that Blofeld has no boundaries here and tried his luck. I would have gone one further. I would have taken the tape he smuggled into his pocket and thrown it into the ocean, destroying Blofeld’s plans once and for all. On the other hand, he probably would have had a nasty slap on the wrist.
However, the true moment I realised that Blofeld was the worst Bond villain to date was when Bond gets to the brig. The air strike starts and he is essentially trapped in a small room that could explode at any second. He looks frantically around for a way out, sure this is it for him and… oh no, there’s a trapdoor in the brig. There’s isn’t a lock on it or anything. It is simply a door out of the prison. I just started laughing at this point. This is probably Bond’s easiest mission to date.