The first in the most successful movie franchise of all time, and the perfect introduction to Bond- one of the most loved characters in movie history. Sean Connery is perfect in the role he made his own, able to be tough and cold in the face of the enemy, charming with women, and capable of delivering witty one liners without them sounding cheesy. Dr. No was a worldwide hit upon release, and now almost half a century later thanks to this Ultimate Edition the film looks and sounds as if it was filmed yesterday- and a whole new legion of fans can become entwined in the world of 007.
Bond travels to America to find the bad guy who the Americans could not, follows the clues which lead him to a Caribbean island, and encounters two important characters-Honey Ryder, his love interest, and Quarrel, a guide. As with every Bond film following, the secret agent comes in contact with one or two ‘Bond Girls’, and a friend who helps him complete his mission. The famous shot of Ursula Andress coming out of the sea may well have been outrageously sexy in the 60’s, but has become extremely dated, or rather the audience has since become de-sensitised to images of a sexual nature. However, it remains the benchmark for the Bond Girl entrance, and Ryder is still one of the most famous women to grace Bond’s world. She was certainly a strong female character for the era, but there is a definite sexist attitude towards her throughout the film, mainly because Bond’s real sole purpose is to catch or kill the bad guy, complete the mission, and stay alive.
Quarrel is played brilliantly by John Kitzmiller, and although there are slight racist undertones, unfortunate but unsurprising for the time, he is a strong character and Bond is genuinely hurt when he is killed. We see that Bond is a haunted character, and that people who come into his life will inevitably die or not stay around. This is what makes him cold, why is must be mysogynistic, and why he cannot afford to get close to anyone. We are introduced to Moneypenny, whose relationship with Bond has always been intriguing over the years, and his superior M, who constantly annoy each other but have a great mutual respect. Dr. No himself is a slightly weak character, partly because of his lack of screen time, and partly because he is not as charismatic or memorable as later bad guys. However, he is ruthless and has the traits of most villains-pride, and an eye on world domination. His death scene is also weak, but perhaps this is because we are used to more elaborate scenes in later films.
Overall the film is high quality entertainment, the script is sharp and tense, the tone is darker than other movies of the time, the music is memorable, and the stunts are good, leading the way for its sequels. The features on the dvd are excellent, with deleted scenes, a good commentary, and interesting documentaries.
Feel free to leave any comments on the movie- does this still stand up to today’s standards of action and Bond movies? Also check out my other Bond reviews in the DVD section.