Director: Terence Young
Starring: Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman
Kaboom Review Action Movie Rating: 61
Special Agent James Bond goes to Jamaica to investigate the disappearance of a British agent who was working on a missile toppling case.
The cast, acting, drama, and nostalgia factor of Dr. No are sky-high. They overcome the plot weaknesses, the premise-breaking ending, and the Jurassic era action. This movie still makes for a satisfying evening of classic entertainment.
The action movie genre has made incredible strides in the 44 years since the release of Dr. No, the first James Bond film. The antique special effects in this movie stand out like a mole on grandpa’s nose, the action scenes are generic, and the one-punch knockouts are reminiscent of spaghetti Westerns. Still, despite its age, Dr. No makes for a good evening’s entertainment. Time does not fade the charisma of the outstanding cast. The story is sufficiently plausible and the pace sufficiently brisk. It’s also a heck of a lot of fun to go back in time and see the original James Bond film.
The cast in this movie shines, and it’s this element more than anything that keeps the movie entertaining after all this time. Sean Connery crackles charisma in his role as James Bond: his wit, toughness, and elegance make Bond larger than life and set the standard for the James Bond icon. Joseph Wiseman does a phenomenal job in his limited role as Dr. No: the dinner scene with Bond and Dr. No is convincing and brilliantly acted. Ursula Andress, as Honey Ryder, has a classically beautiful body and a timelessly beautiful face. With looks like that, she doesn’t have to act well, but even she does a respectably good job in her role at James Bond’s side.
A good cast needs good material to work with, and Dr. No has both a fitting, solid script and a reasonably good story. This is simply a well-constructed movie. Connery does a particularly good job at bringing the wit in the script to life. Pacing and dialog are crisp. Little time is wasted. Everything moves the story along.
All is not a yes, however, with Dr. No. Father Time wreaks havoc with the action elements in the movie. The car chase scenes are hilariously dated. Some of the fights are almost slapstick in their absurdity. Furthermore, there is a general lack of action in the movie, and the action that exists is pure vanilla compared to some of the creative wizardry in today’s better movies.
Also—setting aside the movie’s age—there is some glaring clumsiness in the back half of the movie. Without giving away too much, would the genius Dr. No really build an island fortress with such a fatal weakness? The ending suffers because of this. And in another scene on Dr. No’s island, Bond’s accomplice, Quarrel, says that he sees something and tells Bond to hurry to take a look. This happens in daylight, presumably the late afternoon. Bond, Quarrel, and Honey then inexplicably walk around for hours until they end up in a swamp at night. Huh? The subsequent night battle in the swamp is another head shaker in terms of stupidity. Bond is supposed to be intelligent.
In the end, though, the cast, acting, drama, and nostalgia factor of Dr. No are sky-high. They overcome the plot weaknesses, the premise-breaking ending, and the Jurassic era action. This movie still makes for a satisfying evening of classic entertainment.
Sean Connery wears a toupee in all the James Bond movies.
Consistent Premise: 53
Body Count: 33
Time to First Dead Body: Very Fast
Special Effects: 7
Overall: 61 (Recommended)