Dr. No (1962)


Secret Agent James Bond, designated 007, is sent to Jamaica to investigate the killing of another agent. Bond makes his first appearance and gets his familiar gun. He flirts with Moneypenny, the secretary, and he nails every broad with a pulse, including simple-minded, sea-shell collecting, island girl Honey Ryder. Bond is almost killed by a spider, and there's a secret island with some nasty nuclear material and a dragon.


...The sinister Dr. No, who basically wants to change the direction of some rockets and then take over the world. The doctor is also a member of the secret organisation know as SPECTRE - whose full name is so ridiculous, it can't be printed here.


I didn''t think I had seen Dr. No before, but halfway through the film I realized I had, so what does that tell you about the plot?

Needless to say Bond's first outing has little to do with the modern high-tech action-adventures of Mr. Double-O-Seven. It plays like a cosy little detective story, à la Agatha Cristie, especially because it's set in a picturesque tourist paradise, and because Bond looks like a spoiled rich kid, getting ready for a garden party, rather than a stone-cold killer. Bond strolls around casually, he does a bit of investigating, he drinks a drink, he flirts with a girl, and then stumbles over a clue every now and then.

Seriously, James Bond must be the most ineffective agent ever. It's a miracle he's still alive! Not only does he give his real name to everybody, he also walks into one obvious trap after another, and if you want to distract him, all you need to do is parade a beautiful woman in front of him, and his mission is instantly forgotten. There's even a scene in this film where an important witness manages to swallow a cyanide capsule, while a perplexed Bond merely looks on. With all the horror of a Brit who just saw someone pick the cappuccino instead of the Earl Grey tea, I might add.

Oddly enough the sinister plot of the film is not really revealed until the last half hour. The titular villain is mentioned a few times, but mostly Bond is concerned with the island, where the bad guy's lair is located, not the bad guy himself. Except for a scene where his disembodied voice orders a henchmen around Dr. No doesn't even show up until 20 minutes before the end! And by then all you can think about, when you see the archaic technology and the whole design of the bad guy's lair, is just how much Austin Powers owes to this film.

Finally we have to mention Ursula Andress. She's a knockout as Honey Ryder. The scene where she emerges from the water is a true classic. She's a 60's woman, with all the beautiful curves that follow. We'll have none of those bulimic sticks on this agent's watch, thank you very much. Appreciate that Mr. Bond.

Well of course Dr. No is a bit dated, why wouldn't it be? It's from 1962 after all. That's not the problem. The problem is that even by the standards of the '60s it's hard to imagine why anyone would think this guy needed another movie. License to kill? License to doze off in the midday sun, more like it.

This Double-O-Seven is as harmless as they come. Point in fact: He needs five hits with a shoe to kill the spider in his bed. Five.

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