Sunday, November 1, 2020

Dr. No

Screw you 2020.

Yep, the new James Bond movie hits theaters next year (whee) and regarding the fact I have zero income and f*** all planned after that inevitable change, I figured it was time to review every James Bond movie by EON Productions, starting of course with the 1962 movie Dr. No. As first films go in the longest running film franchise in history, it's not half bad though of course not having it's fully realized identity as it will in about two movies time. I will admit the story is a bit basic, concerning James Bond investigating the disappearance of a government agent in Jamaica which soon leads to the discovery of a shadowy villain intent on further advancing the organization known as SPECTRE's agenda in destroying american space probes. This very much is the quintessential James Bond adventure, charming rogue-ish hero, gorgeous girl swept up in the adventure, megalomaniacal villain with lavish lair, it's everything you would ever expect from a Bond film. Not to say it's bad or basic though, Sean Connery practically cements his role as James Bond in just one movie let alone the superior films coming up, Ursula Andress could quite possibly still be the most famous Bond girl 50+ years later, though our villain Dr. No is in my opinion criminally underused and I found Joseph Wiseman to be excellent and sets the bar very nicely. There's not as much action in this one and what passes for suspense with a tarantula is laughable nowadays, but I kind of chalk that up to a less than big budget, though the assets they do have are handled very well with gorgeous location shooting in Jamaica, excellent set design by Ken Adam, and the effects are very 60s but they still do the job. Quite possibly most prevalent in the opening titles which start of strong with the Bond Theme blasting accompanied with epileptic visuals before strangely switching to rotoscoped dancers and conga music, it's so damn bizarre like they couldn't make up their minds so they did everything. It's still an enjoyable film with certain things that I still love to this day. I think John Kitzmiller is one of the absolute best allies in the entire series as Quarrel and I enjoy every second he's on screen, there's a good little scene where Bond essentially rigs his room to where he can tell if people have been there which I really kind of wish we had more of in the series and it really does show his character, he's not paranoid but he is cautious in his line of work. The only bad thing I could say about it is the fact we have no real time with our main villain, we don't see or hear anything from him until the 40 minute mark in this hour and fifty minute film and don't even see him until there's about half an hour left of screentime which is a real shame because I genuinely think Dr. No is one of the best villains and the performance is what sells it for me, though the metal hands certainly don't hurt. It is very dated I will give you that, but that was just the style of film at that point and you simply just had to use the tricks of the trade that you could but it is sort of a running theme in the early films where it feels very, well...60s in terms of filmmaking. Absolutely no disrespect to Terence Young, but it is something unavoidable to talk about and could potentially disrupt the enjoyment of the film for some but it honestly doesn't bother me. It's a simple no frills first outing into the spy world of 007 and does a decent job with it. 3 stars, 6.5/10, but don't let my rating fool you because this was a massive hit, but where do you go from there? Well after President Kennedy named From Russia With Love as one of his favorite books the choice was clear. Until next time.

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