By in Movies & TV

007 Movie Rewatch – Dr. No (1962)

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(Spoilers)

The basic story of Dr. No is that the British Intelligence station in Jamaica goes quiet. The chief and his secretary have been killed. Bond is sent to investigate. Apparently, NASA rockets have been interfered with using radio signals that may be coming from the area and this may be connected to the killings.

Bond arrives in Jamaica and after a bit of misunderstanding, makes contact with Felix Leiter from the CIA. The station chief had been looking into a nearby island owned by the secretive Dr. No with the help of a local fisherman. The locals don’t like to go near the island because it’s guarded by a “dragon.”

Bond slips onto the island with the fisherman, where they run into Honey Ryder, who is collecting shells. The fisherman is killed and Bond and Honey are captured. They are wined and dined by Dr. No. The reason he doesn’t just kill Bond is he thinks he might be convinced to join SPECTRE, but Bond turns him down.

Bond is locked up so that Dr. No can mess with another rocket. But Bond escapes and damages the reactor for Dr. No’s machine, and kills him. He and Honey then escape.

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In just about every video about James Bond, there is the scene of him sitting at a gaming table lighting a cigarette saying, “Bond, James Bond.” That’s the first time Bond appears on a movie screen, and it’s in this movie. There’s also M, and Miss Moneypenny, and Felix, so there are a lot of standard 007 things in this movie. But as someone who grew up watching the later movies – and most certainly not in the correct order – this doesn’t really feel like a Bond movie. Q shows up as “the armorer” who replaces Bond’s gun. That’s it, there are no cool gadgets. The only gadget Bond uses in the movie is a Geiger counter. It’s weird, but I like the newer Bond because it’s more realistic and less silly, but I like my classic Bond to be a tad silly. And there didn’t seem to be enough in this film.

Well, there isn’t enough of the good silly. There is one bad silly element – which is saying something when dealing with James Bond – and that’s the “ dragon .” Both the fisherman and Honey talk about the dragon as if it’s real. But it’s just a tank with a flamethrower. Now, if this was set in the 1700’s, or they were from a Stone Age tribe from the Amazon, then maybe we could understand adults talking about a dragon. But for people who grew up post World War II, you would think they would recognize a tank with a flamethrower and a dragon paint job.

I’m not sure how this movie was viewed by someone in 1962. It obviously started a franchise, but to someone viewing it now it seems a tad, lackluster. Almost like they weren’t entirely sure where they were going with this Bond character. Which is odd because about ten novels were out when the movie came out, and Dr. No was the sixth one. Still, it is the first Bond movie, so I’d recommend it, just don’t expect to be overwhelmed by it.


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Comments

Anja wrote on June 19, 2015, 2:58 PM

I agree that a classic Bond movie has to have gadgets, and has to be silly.

MegL wrote on June 19, 2015, 4:01 PM

I used to read all the Bond novels, as written by Ian Fleming but only saw a few of the films, however, Sean Connery really WAS James Bond. The books are not really about gadgets, though he did have suitcases with hidden compartments, the gadgets seem to have been added by the film people. I think this was the film where Ursula Andress got her big start, isn't it (Honey), isn't this the film with the classic Venus rising from the waves picture?

DWDavisRSL wrote on June 19, 2015, 7:26 PM

I enjoy the old Bond movies with Sean Connery and Roger Moore. The Roger Moore version of Bond was almost a comic book characterization of Ian Fleming's super-spy. While Pierce Brosnan made a good Bond I think Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig hit a little closer to the Bond in the novels.