Monthly Archives: December 2006

Review: Dr. No

drno_cov2.jpgYear: 1962
Director:
Terence Young
Starring: Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman
Kaboom Review Action Movie Rating: 61

Plot
Special Agent James Bond goes to Jamaica to investigate the
disappearance of a British agent who was working on a missile toppling case.

Quick Review
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.

Full Review
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 plaudrno1.jpgsible 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 drno3.jpgcrisp. 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. ursula_andress_dr-no2.jpgNo 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.

Fun Fact
Sean Connery wears a toupee in all the James Bond movies.

Score
Pace: 62
Plot: 64
Action: 31
Consistent Premise: 53
Script/Quotes: 72
Characters: 95
Acting: 84
Villain: 90
Body Count: 33
Time to First Dead Body: Very Fast
Babes: 78
Hunks: 93
Explosions: 8
Special Effects: 7
Stunts: 16
Ending: 30

Overall: 61 (Recommended)

Next Up: Dr. No

bondcollectorsedition.jpgI cracked open Volume 4 of the James Bond DVD sets last night and watched Dr. No, the first James Bond movie. I had seen parts of this movie several times previously, but had never watched it from start to finish. I’ll be posting the review sometime before Sunday.

I do want to make a comment at this time that these four newly released DVD sets of the entire James Bond collection are simply fantastic. Dr. No was released 44 years ago, but the crispness of the picture and the clarity of the sound in this newly digitized version of the film are brilliant. From a technical perspective, the film feels as if it were made this year.

Each of the four sets has five James Bond movies in it. In addition to the one DVD for each movie, each movie comes with a second DVD of extras and a small booklet explaining some of the background of the film. I’m not a big fan of Collector’s sets or extra DVDs, but in this case these are great enhancements to the films for any Bond fan. I read through the little information booklet for Dr. No before watching the movie; the content was well written, and set the stage nicely for watching the movie.

Get all four volumes and you’ve got outstanding versions of all the official James Bond movies, except of course for the currently running Casino Royale. If you’re looking for a place to buy the sets, I buy my online DVDs from these places:
Deep Discount DVD
Amazon

Update

Next review should go up before Sunday. I’ll likely be watching a DVD this evening, but I want to keep my options open. I’ve got all four of the new James Bond DVD sets sitting unopened on a shelf, and one of my goals is to review all 20 of those movies, in chronological order, starting with Dr. No. This evening might be a good time to get started on that.

More information tomorrow.

TVDVD Planet Blog

Edited on January 28, 2007:

This post was originally part of a link exchange between Kaboom Review and two other blogs, TV Addicts Review and TV Shows & Series Review on DVD. It has become apparent that these two blogs were connected with sites that sell bootleg DVDs.

Kaboom Review wishes in no way to be associated, however indirectly, with sites that sell or promote pirated or bootleg DVDs. I have removed these two blogs from our entertainment links section, and have removed all links to the blogs from our blog.

I apologize to anyone who may have been misled by our connection, however indirect, with those sites.

A full apology is here.

Sincerely,
Mike Blitz

Review: The Mummy

the_mummy_cov.jpgYear: 1999
Director:
Stephen Sommers
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah

Kaboom Review Action Movie Rating: 82

Plot
An adventurer, a librarian, and her treasure-seeking brother awaken a powerful mummy in the ancient Egyptian city of Hamunaptra.

Quick Review
This is a fun, fast-paced action movie, and a credit to the genre. We happily give it a Kaboom Review Bronze Explosion Award, and highly recommend it.

Full Review
The Mummy starts off with a campy, fast-paced bang and sweeps you along for more than two hours of escapist fun. There is simply a lot to like about this movie.

Good action movies should rivet you to the screen, and The Mummy opens in the_mummy1.jpgancient Egypt with a quick summary of the background to the mummy’s entombment, and then jumps forward to 1923AD to start the main story with a brisk skirmish at the ancient city of Hamunaptra. From start to finish, the movie does a fantastic job of keeping action scenes purposeful and entertaining. The pacing is outstanding, driven by a simple yet effective plot. No scene dawdles, and the special effects interjected in the movie all are tied to the story and action in such a way as to enhance the overall viewing experience. It’s rare to find a movie that has been edited with such attention to detail in terms of action and special effects.

The acting is corny at times, but convincing and entertaining. The Mummy’s decent script calls for numerous one-liners and a number of humorous facial reactions on the part of the actors. In such cases, timing and inflexion can make the difference between funny and stupid. In the majority of cases, the actors in the Mummy get the job done well enough to induce a chuckle, or at worst a sigh. Brendan Fraser, as the heroic Rick O’Connell, leads the way here, but the_mummy2.jpghe gets a lot of support from the rest of the cast. Rachel Weisz, as a clumsy librarian, and John Hannah, as her worthless brother, both do a solid job in their major roles. Arnold Vosloo plays a convincing mummy; with special effects enhancements, we get an awesome villain. Lastly, Kevin O’Connor, as a shifty scoundrel, and Oded Fehr, as a desert raider, deserve special mention in their supporting roles.

The movie also does a good job of staying within its premise. Within the first few minutes, The Mummy establishes an element of both tongue-in-cheek humor and makes it clear that this is a world of supernatural curses capable of animating the dead. The Mummy for the most part stays within these barriers, although the climax and a few minor scenes go beyond the established limits to a degree.

patricia_velasquez.jpgThe movie does have some weak spots, however, and the climax is clearly one of them. Although the culminating battle is satisfying with its great pacing and solid special effects, it fails in that the powerful mummy seems to become both stupid and relatively weak. The humor at the end goes overboard as well. This isn’t a movie-breaker, but it does put some chinks in an otherwise outstanding movie. Also, the movie kills off the stunning, scantily clad Patricia Velasquez in the first couple of minutes! What were they thinking? You’ve got a drop-dead gorgeous woman dressed in, well, nothing, and you only give her a minor role? Silly, silly, silly. Overall, from a babe perspective, the movie only gives us Rachel Weisz, who is passably cute but hardly stunning. From the female vantage point, we get a much better score: Brendan Fraser, Oded Fehr, and Arnold Vosloo make a nice trio of handsome actors.

Still, these weaknesses are minor compared to the overall quality of The Mummy. This is a fun, fast-paced action movie, and a credit to the genre. We happily give it a Kaboom Review Bronze Explosion Award, and highly recommend it.

Fun Fact
The mummy-possessed townsfolk chant “Ohwhatanarseyouare” instead of the correct Egyptian phrase.

Related Reviews
The Mummy Returns, Scorpion King

Purchasing Info
The most economical way to get this DVD is by purchasing it in the The Mummy Collector’s Set, which includes The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, and Scorpion King.

Score
Pace: 89
Plot: 81
Action: 94
Consistent Premise: 79
Script/Quotes: 50
Characters: 82
Acting: 70
Villain: 88
Body Count: 65
Time to First Dead Body: fast
Babes: 56
Hunks: 74
Explosions: 68
Special Effects: 91
Stunts: 25
Ending: 48

Overall: 84 (Bronze Explosion Award Winner)