Anthony's Film Review
Dr. No (1962)
An early Bond film that is more about suspense than action...
The 1962 release of Dr. No officially marks the start of one of the most successful film series of all time. It is clearly different from many of the more recent James Bond movies, but that's because the style of a Bond film that really works, defined as the Bond Formula, did not come into fruition until Goldfinger two years later. It is also less of an action film compared to later Bond films. Ian Fleming, the novelist who created 007, was in fact alive at the time this film was being produced.
Fans will differ in opinion regarding whether this film is good or not, because it depends a lot on what the first Bond film they ever saw was. I, however, will not judge Dr. No based on later Bond films, but rather for simply what it is: a spy thriller. It has moments that are suspenseful, including the scene with the tarantula. Also, this is a film that, to a certain extent, portrays the wit and ruthlessness that characterizes the character of James Bond. When he is aiming a gun at a driver taking him from the airport or questioning Professor Dent's integrity, you know this is a secret agent who is not to be messed with.
Although Dr. No does not fit the later Bond Formula, like the absence of a pre-credits sequence, there are still things that make it a Bond movie. For instance, the Bond girl. Without a beautiful woman like Honey Rider (Ursula Andress) in the film, would this movie be a Bond film, or just an ordinary spy movie? Speaking of characters, one must not forget M and Miss Moneypenny. These recurring characters will continue to be seen through the Bond films. The actors playing them, Bernard Lee and Lois Maxwell, respectively, are wonderful choices for these roles.
The character of Dr. No is also played well. He has the mind of a genius yet motivated by evil. One of the main reasons that I enjoy the Bond films are the villains. One spy encounters a variety of megalomaniacs, and the villain of the first film is just that. Besides the villain, I always like what kind of scheme he or she has in store, so for that reason, I think it still works as a Bond film.
Like many of the relatively younger Bond fans, I have seen this film after seeing many of the later ones, but like I said, I resist the temptation to dismiss the film as boring simply because it is not an action-packed film. It is a smart film that was considered a good one during its time. I like the characters and plot as well as its style. It's enough to lead to a long series of films for many years to come.
For more information about Dr. No, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my reviews of the following:
Official James Bond Films
Unofficial James Bond Films