Sunday, March 15, 2015

Dr. No (1962)

I read all of the James Bond novels in college, so I've never seen any of the movies.  I don't feel like I need to, because books are always better than movies.  But, most of the series is on the list, so I'm going to go ahead and just watch them all.  I'm going to compare them to the books a little bit.

Today's film is Dr. No, which is the first film, but not the first book.  All the books make references to the events and characters in the other books, but this one requires no previous knowledge.  Quarrel and Strangways met Bond in Live and Let die, but they simply meet in this film.  And, when M fusses at Bond to use a better gun because his Beretta jams on the last mission, he's referring to the mission in From Russia With Love (that's the first book I read).  Now if Q gives him all his weapons, wouldn't he have given him the Beretta too?  Yep! A fan wrote to Ian Fleming complaining about Bond's gun, so this complaint dealt with here.

There have been other films with action in them before, but none like this.  The others have had elements of mystery or suspense, and this is just straight up action.  It ushered in a new era of action movies and started an entire franchise lasting all the way to modern times.  We are still making and watching Bond films to this day.

The plot is simple.  Dr. No and his goons are bad; James Bond and the British people are good.  Also, the Americans are good, but we really don't need their help.  Also, space travel is good, radiation is bad.  We don't learn anything about Dr. No, or his metal hands, but we know he's using radiation to stop Americans from launching their space shuttle.

The book goes into more detail about Dr. No and why he has metal hands.  The film matches up to the book pretty well, it just leaves out a lot.  It's like reading the cliffnotes.  You just get what you need for the basic plot and nothing else.  This leads us to have nothing but excitement the whole time.

When Bond sees Honeychile (called Honey in the film) on the beach, she is butt naked, but is not attractive since she has a broken nose.  In the film, she's beautiful, not disfigured, and wearing a bathing suit.   Even though several different actors play Bond in the films, it's not really different than reading the books.  He dies in From Russia with Love, and in the next book, he's totally fine! He's like a Looney Tunes character!  In this sense it's okay for different people to play him. I will give this film a 6/10.

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