Say what you like about being an evil genius, at least they’re proactive. A villainous mastermind of the Secret World Order (or, S.W.O.R.D. if you want to please them), for example, isn’t just going to be sitting around waiting for the world to change – NO! They will stand up and be counted alongside their colleagues. Yes, okay, so they also happen to be holding the world to ransom with a motherflipping nuclear doomsday weapon, but how are you supposed to forge your utopian paradise without breaking a few civilisations?
No Peace Enforcing Nation is going to be out there changing the world. These bureaucrats are nothing but a bunch of reactionary pencil-pushing spoilsports, right? Right, comrades?
While a ruddy great big bomb is enough to make people sit up and take notice, not every plan for world domination is quite so straight forward as Claymore’s in Spy Or Die Trying. Doomsday Weapon? Pah! These plots would swallow up a Doomsday Weapon for breakfast!
00:05. Incite Nuclear War
I thought about not including this particular plot, but it’s so prevalent, it almost seems crazy to leave it off. A central plot point of several of the James Bond film series, including many of its imitators, including the Austin Powers spiritual predecessor The Silencers (1966). The idea is simple, you get your hands on a nuclear warhead, or two, then you somehow launch this at one or two superpowers, make them believe the other has started a war and BOOM. You’ve just annihilated your competitors!
You Only Live Twice (1967) is probably what really set this in stone, and has been with us ever since. The bonus is, while the naughty men are launched up into space to hijack an American space capsule and launch a warhead at the USSR, Bond himself is leading an army of ninjas in a base inside a volcano. Yep. It had everything, alright.
00:04. Mass Sterilisation
The most ingenious idea a genius ever devised to populate the world… single handed. At least, that’s what the trailer boasts for Kiss The Girls And Make Them Die (1966). To put it as simply as possible, an insanely wealthy Brazilian industrialist has launched a satellite into orbit, and intends to use it to cause mass sterilisation of the human race.
The twist? He’s also kidnapped and frozen a selection of beautiful women in suspended animation, with whom he intends to repopulate the world. Sounds like an awful lot of work to me, but then, it’s no madder than Woody Allen’s Jimmy Bond in Casino Royale (1967) unleashing a virus that kills all men over 4 foot 6 and turns every woman in the world beautiful.
00:03. The Great Flood
Some people enjoy micro-managing. Others, however, prefer to wield the sledgehammer over the toffee hammer. Why fuss with manipulating a society, when you can just go ahead and wipe the slate clean and start over? Such is the plan of various madmen, including Karl Stromberg from The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Hugo Drax from Moonraker (1979) and, because no one talks about it enough, the sinister Noah from Star Trek Deep Space Nine S4E10: Our Man Bashir, released in 1995.
Look, if you’re going to do something stupid like melt the polar ice caps to flood the world, at least do it in style. Noah didn’t bother with an underwater base, no! He built his lair on the top of Mount Everest and watched the waters flood in – say what you like, this man had style.
00:02. Puppet Rulers
Human cloning is something that comes up again and again in spy-fi. Variants include actively cloning humans, such as in the Arnie action flick The 6th Day (2000), building robot avatars, such as in virtually ever comic book ever, or just using plain old fashioned surgical enhancements, such as the wonderfully silly In Like Flint (1967).
In this particular example, a group known as Fabulous Face are trying to depose the patriarchy with that of a feminist matriarchy. Naturally, it starts by bumping off the American President during a golf game and replacing him with an actor in order to gain control of a US space facility in the Virgin Islands. Soon, they are able to take control over a nuclear-armed space station thanks to their diabolical Operation: Smooch. Bonus points go to the brainwashing devices installed in every hair salon hairdryer in the United States to bolster the forces of their movement, because nothing says revolution like an army of non-consensual zombies.
Live forever, or die trying. Truly words to live by. But, let’s just imagine for a moment, that you are the sort of person who sits at home and tries to piece together exactly what you would do if you ruled your very own Empire. Looks good, huh? I love what you’ve done with the place. It’s just a shame that, at the end of it all, it’ll all be for nothing and the best you can hope for is your dying breath to confuse people enough to dedicate a film to uncovering the meaning behind the word.
Well, that is unless you work out how to live forever. Such is the plan of Jacob Crow from Timesplitters Future Perfect. A crazed scientist, Crow was obsessed with unlocking the power of immortality, experimenting in eugenics before he is greeted by a younger version of himself with a time machine, sending Crow into the past to inform his younger self of the plan revealed to-
Oh, you know what, it doesn’t matter. The moral of the story? Be careful what you wish for. You never know when a version of you from a parallel timeline might arrive to ruin your day.