Dr. No Reviews
It also gets a bit silly when Bond finally meets up with No, but the production design for his lair is awesome, and Joseph Wiseman is good if you can get past the yellowface.
No giant squid?! Pfft!
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: As the franchise grows, so does its confidence, and the simplicity here is undoubtedly built upon in far more exciting and engaging ways in the years to come.
VERDICT: 'Dr No' really did establish everything beautifully, and if it wasn't for this early success, Bond could never be what it is today.
I just started to explore the Bond movies and I wanted to see as many as I could. So, what better way to begin the franchise with the film that started it all? This movie came out during a decade that was pushing taboos and traditions of what could be shown in movies. Since filmmakers at the time were mostly still experimenting with their films, I thought it would be interesting to see how they handled "Dr. No".
First, let me start with the negatives. Some of the pacing, around 30-40 minutes in, felt dreadfully slow. Since the opening scene with the murder, I was drawn into the movie. But, the film felt like it was taking too long to continue developing the main story with the nuclear devices. Though, to be fair, it should introduce to the viewers the character of James Bond and his agency, since it's the first film in the series. Also, some of the special effects, especially some scenery, looked dated.
I have very mixed feelings about the main villain. I think there was good suspense built to his character, because we first hear only his voice and how he can control his operations and make his goons tremble (well, one of them). But the actual scene with actor Joseph Wiseman didn't show much to him other than being stern. I mean, it's cool to see the first James Bond villain, but I wish there was more to his character.
The overall plot, however, I thought was executed well with a big sense of fun. Particularly at the end of the second act, the dialogues felt like the writers were having a lot of fun doing their job. I felt like there was much enthusiasm (or at least, a sense of gravity) in a lot of the actors in them describing the conditions of their crisis to make the film sound fun. The climactic sequence is simple, but cool to watch.
The acting also helps the overall film. Sean Connery is so cool in this film, one often forgets he is Indiana Jones' dad, a character with very different attitudes. Ursula Andress was alright. This is one trope that will bother many viewers, and in other films it bothered me as well. The Bond girls usually do not have much to them other than bodies, which lets Bond take advantage of them. Here, Andress as Honey Ryder mostly just provides a damsel in distress situation for Bond, maybe having a trait or two.
Overall though, "Dr. No" is a good introduction to the James Bond franchise. Though it has pacing issues, viewers should be grateful that it takes time to introduce many important characters and tropes that will be common in the series (for better or worse). I do look forward to continuing the franchise for some fun.