For the second review today of Dr. No, here’s Cara from Silver Screen Serenade with her thoughts on the first “official” Bond movie.
Take it away Cara……..
“World domination. The same old dream. Our asylums are full of people who think they’re Naploeon. Or God.” – James Bond
Number of Times Seen – 1 (16 Nov 2014)
Brief Synopsis – “A suave and skilled government agent named James Bond looks for answers about a missing colleague and the disruption of the American space program.” (from IMDb)
My Take On It – First of all, thumbs up to Rob for deciding to tackle all the Bond films! What a fun idea! I’m a huge fan of the Daniel Craig Bond films—well, at list two out of three of them (I don’t love Quantum of Solace)—but until recently, I had never seen any of the other Bonds. Well, now I can at least say I’ve seen one other one! Because I just watched Dr. No to see the very first (and, many people argue, the best) Bond: Sir Sean Connery.
Well any of you who know me probably know this is coming, so let’s get it out of the way…Young Sean Connery? Total. Fox. I’ve always been kind of iffy about the slutty side of Bond. I mean, how many women has that man slept with since this franchise began?? It’s gross to think about. But, that said, I can definitely understand the appeal of Bond (Connery’s and Craig’s versions). He’s clever, suave, cool as a cucumber, and handsome as hell. What’s not to love? The smooth super spy is easy to root for in the Bond films I’ve seen, and there’s no exception with Dr. No.
What was really fun about seeing Dr. No was seeing the beginning of the franchise after starting at the end. I don’t know how things have worked with the other Bonds, but the Craig films seem to have rebooted the character, and it’s fun to see familiar faces pop up in different ways in an older film. For example, the first Miss Moneypenny that I was introduced to was played by the sassy Naomie Harris in Skyfall, yet in Dr. No I got to see an equally sassy Moneypenny in the form of Lois Maxwell. Same goes for the character of CIA agent Felix Leiter, whom I always associate with Jeffrey Wright because of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Dr. No introduces the character with Jack Lord in the role (who does a fine job, but I think I prefer Wright). Even seeing M’s office at the beginning of the film gave me a little thrill because the end of Skyfall clearly borrowed from the design. And the theme music! Ahh that music. I’m so glad that has lasted through the years. Is there anything more badass than the Bond theme? Well, okay, I can think of a few themes that are equally badass, but not more badass.
Overall, I just have to praise this film for the pure, unadulterated fun that it is. It may not be as hardcore action-wise as some of the more modern Bond films, but there’s still plenty to see—punching and gun fights and car chases and everything you’d expect from our buddy Bond. Also, a good chunk of it is set on a small Jamaican island, so there’s no shortage of pretty scenery. And, yes, pretty women for the boys to admire, too. I guess a Bond film isn’t complete without at least a few or those, huh? I do like Ursula Andress well enough as the leading lady in this one, even if Honey Ryder is one of the most ridiculous names ever…Oh! And I would be remiss if I did not share the below scene with you, as it is probably one of the most epic Bond moments ever.
So that’s the good. As you can see, there’s a lot of it. But if we’re picking on some things…Well, Honey is fairly useless, aside from the whole being pretty thing. I know a lot of people probably love her as the first Bond girl, but sharp-tongued, clever Vesper (Eva Green) was my first Bond girl, and I feel like she could wipe the floor with Honey (and I’m sure a lot of you boys would love to see that). Also, I feel like the end of this film is way too easy and way too rushed. All of the sudden, everything is just resolved, y’know? And that also ties in with treatment of the title villain, Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman). The bad guy doesn’t even show up until the last 20 minutes or so of the film, and I feel like that’s a real waste. In the Craig Bond films, the villains are a constant, creepy presence, and they feel like real characters. Dr. No is just some silly guy with an outrageous scheme who has probably less than 10 minutes of screen time. His weird hands are pretty much his only interesting feature—but I won’t spoil that part for those of you in the dark.
Bottom Line – For me, Dr. No doesn’t hold quite the appeal of the latest batch of Bond films, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a classic and a blast. Sean Connery makes an excellent Bond, and I can see how his performance helped spark an extremely successful franchise that has lasted 50+ years. Go, Bond, go!!!
Rating – Oscar Worthy