I’ve always been a big fan of the 007 series. From the old school days of Sean Connery to the current line of Daniel Craig movies (obviously I have high hopes for Quantum of Solace), there has always been something good out of a Bond movie, even if it is just to mock the film for pure ridiculousness.
So it should come as no surprise that when I was given the box set of all the James Bond movies made up until now, I was ecstatic. I was even more excited when our editor gave me the green light to review every single one of them. It may be agony for you readers, but it’ll be heaven for me.
I decided to go in chronological order, so the first movie on the agenda is Dr. No, directed by Terence Young and released in 1962. Sean Connery takes the reigns of James Bond, Britain’s Secret Service agent with a license to kill. In this film, Bond is sent to Jamaica to investigate the murder of agent John Strangeways, who was in turn investigating interrupted missile launching in Cape Canaveral of the United States. With the help of CIA operative Felix Leiter (played by Jack Lord, a giant among men) and Caribbean boatsman Quarrel (played by John Kitzmiller), Bond learns of Dr. No, a scientific genius hiding out in Crab Key who may be behind the missile failures. Bond and Quarrel go to Crab Key and accidentally stumble upon Honey Ryder (played by Ursula Andress), a blonde bombshell plotting revenge on Dr. No for the death of her father. In the midst of fire-breathing mechanical dragons, radioactive contamination, and a disagreement over which Dom Pérignon is best, Bond succeeds in killing Dr. No by kicking his ass and throwing him into a radioactive core, saving Honey, blowing up the nuclear base at Crab Key, and saving the day, and having sex in a boat. Obviously.
This Bond movie is a great introduction to the most suave secret agent to ever live. We first see the comedic sexual tension between James Bond and Miss Moneypenny (played by Lois Maxwell), M’s secretary. We don’t see a whole lot of special gadgetry. Q-Branch, instead of issuing Bond a state-of-the-art spatula that emits microwaves, is instead given a new pistol, the Walther PPK, which would become a staple in the Bond armory. Sean Connery, thought by most fans to be the best James Bond in the continual series, has a quick wit and sly charm that just has “brazen Englishman” written all over it. The lines that come out of Connery’s mouth are, for the most part, easily quotable, and fun to do so (except when you get the odd look from a woman who has never seen a James Bond movie before.) Of course, the coined phrase, “Bond…James Bond,” is introduced in the second scene of the movie, but considering it is said this way as an introduction to a woman who introduces herself “Trench…Sylvia Trench,” I think we can forgive him this.
The villain, Dr. No, is nothing spectacular. He has a metal hand that he can crush things with (things being a metal sculpture, and that’s about it.) He is also a criminal genius, except for the fact he goes on and on to Bond about his plans in stereotypical super-villain fashion. We do learn of SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, Extortion, quite a mouthful), the criminal organization that Bond will battle with many times to come. There are two cameos of some special villains, The Three Blind Mice assassins, who are interesting, but their appearances are too short. Also, action sequences are a bit lacking. There’s a lot of talking in comparison to other 007 movies,.
The Bond Girl, Honey Ryder, can be considered one of the most beautiful of all Bond Girls. Besides showing up out of the water in a swim-suit and carrying sea shells, Honey also has an extraordinary past that says “Don’t F*ck With Me.” Luckily, James has some charm to win her over.
Master Evil Plan:
Disrupt NASA’s rocket launches into space in a quest for world domination. The whole “world domination” is a bit vague, but space exploration was a big deal in the 60s when the United States and Russia were competing to toss as much junk into space as possible and, maybe someday, landing on the moon.
Randomly Awesome 007 Moments:
1) Sylvia Trench shows up at Bond’s apartment in only Bond’s shirt, practicing golf putts. Lucky bugger.
2) Bond drives up to Government House in a car with a dead body sitting up in the back seat, and tells the guardsman, “Sergeant, make sure he doesn’t get away.”
3) Bond beats a tarantula to death with his shoe.
4) Honey Ryder puts a shirt on over her bikini in her second scene. In her third scene, I can distinctly tell that the bikini has disappeared. Unfortunately, this movie is PG, so you don’t see too much in the wet T-shirt department.
5) Dr. No’s pimpin white loafers.
Randomly Horrible 007 Moments:
1) The silencers on these guns sound like a wet sock being thrown at a wall.
Randomly Awesome Quotes:
1) Bond: “Moneypenny, what gives?”
Moneypenny: “Me, given an ounce of encouragement! you never take me to dinner looking like this, James. You never take me to dinner, period.”
Bond: I would, you know, only M would have me court-marshaled for…illegal use of government property.”
Moneypenny: “Flattery will get you nowhere, but don’t stop trying!”
2) Bond: “Well, wherever he was from, news of my arrival leaked.”
Governor: “Well, we didn’t advertise it, I assure you.”
Bond: “Perhaps not. I got the impression someone had been selling tickets.”
-Women James Bond sleeps with: 3(Sylvia Trench, Miss Taro, Honey Ryder)
-Bond Kills: 9(includes assumed four in a car, not including whoever died when the whole Crab Key base blows up)
-Bond friends killed: 2, Strangeways and Quarrel.
-Bond assassination attempts:
1 car abduction
1 poisoned scotch
Three Blind Mice assassination attempt.
I give this film 4 our of 5 Sean Connerys. Pretty much because it was the first, and paved the way for all the others.