Dr. No Reviews
It's a bit small-scale compared to what future entries would offer, but I personally feel it adds to the charm of the movie. It's modesty allows the story to be more character-driven than some of the larger-scale 007 tales.
Offers consistent thrills throughout despite a very rushed anti-climactic ending and the title villain only being introduced within the last 15 minutes, thus robbing the character of development and depriving the story of a compelling hero-villain dynamic.
Despite having a limited budget, they make the most of it as we follow Bond to Jamaica where an investigation into the death of a fellow agent sees him trying to foil a nefarious plot to dismantle the U.S. space program, with said plot spearheaded by a mysterious scientific genius named Dr. Julius No- a mad villain with ties to SPECTRE- a group who are something of an arch nemesis for MI6 and 007.
Connery is solid, and he's joined by Joseph Wiseman and Ursula Andress, who are equally solid and memorable as No and Honey Ryder, the prototypical "Bond girl" love interest, respectively.
This film lays the groundwork for future films in the series, and it establishes most, but not all of the elements that would become series trademarks. Compared to later films it's rather low-key and pretty bare bones, but it's still fun, charming, and pretty thrilling.
It might be a bit rough around the edges, and it is disorienting to see it after having exposure to most all of the later films first, but problems aside, this is a really good yarn.
Old school! Finally I've decided that I'm interested in agent 007! So I kicked off my "James Bond Marathon" with the very first installment of the legendary franchise, 007.
It's 1962 so it's a bit of an historical feature in the hall of classical films when imagination was a skillful trade behind the cameras. The gadgets and ideas even though so primitive compared to today is still pretty awesome , funny, but awesome considering the year it was filmed and probably taboo since Bond didn't shy from promiscuity at a time when "taboo" actually meant something.
The dude is so charming I wanna be him. Loving this classical gem so its a great start to my Secret 007 Marathon!
Okay, I am not a fan of spy films unless they are beyond intelligent, have an original plot, and is able to keep my attention. Dr. No, for what it was when it came out, must have been. But, looking at it now, this film seems more like a celebration of all the cliches in cinema with spy films that we have all come to enjoy. Now, this is not a bad thing. Just, seems a bit tedious to me. But what makes me love how these cliches are done is how well it is all executed. So, yeah. This film is silly, kind of idiotic, and the dialogue, to me, is a little bit to be desired, but eh. It is what it is and it is entertaining, though the pacing is slow.
Now I need to talk about Sean Connery. With the idea of how Bond should be, he gets this nailed down. He is everything we look for, plus he is something I never really expected: a tad bit vulnerable. Mostly dealing with one scene with a spider. I mean, this is a guy that is almost killed on a daily basis, has beautiful women turn their backs on him, and yet he is afraid of a spider that is crawling on him. I am not trying to bash that part, but I just find it a bit funny that they show that Bond is afraid of a spider. But back to the acting wise, Connery did set the standard for Bond, and he does so with wonder. He is entertaining to watch, plus I do like how he is able to make any woman fall for him in a heart beat. Must be the martinis.
For Ursula Andress, I will admit that I am disappointed with her. Yes, I am aware of her first appearance in the film being her walking out of the ocean in her white bikini, but I felt like they underplayed her. Her character, while she was thrown into a situation she never wanted to be a part of, had some potential of being strong and powerful. But, they kind of play her off as being a damsel in distress. I don't know. Maybe it is due to my love of seeing strong women that makes me kind of not like her character.
Finally for Joseph Wiseman as the title character. The film buffs him up to be the giant, powerhouse villain. We see the damage he causes, hear his plans, see his dragon and underground layer, and he just appears and steals the show. In some aspects, his performance rivals Connery's in terms of him being the main actor. Only problem: he appears in the last thirty minutes of the film. I know that they spend about eighty minutes buffing him up, but I would of liked to see him a bit more, get to know him a bit more. A villain is only as good as the dimensions, and he only has one dimension. But for the dimension, it works
Back to what I have said, this film is the stereotypical spy thriller through and through: one dimensional characters, action here and there, beautiful women, and entertaining as hell. My only last complaint would have to be the pacing for the first hour. It just seemed slow to me. But, in the end, for what it is, it is not bad.
The foundations for the later Bond films are all here in Dr. No. Beautiful, dangerous women, car chases, exotic locations, and a suave James Bond who deftly maneuvers through it all with a cool head and an expensive suit.
Dr. No has a slower pace than modern Bond movies, but that just allows for more time to salivate over the gorgeous Honey Rider once she is introduced. The finale in the island base reminded me so much of an Austin Powers movie, which goes to show what a good job that series did in spoofing the early Bond movies.
Classic Bond can be quite an adjustment, if you were weaned on the more exciting and technologically advanced Brosnan movies like I was. However, if you watch Dr. No with an open mind, you will find it too has much of what makes the later movies appealing.