Dr. No (1962)

DR. NO (1962)
Article #700 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-13-2003
Posting Date: 7-13-2003
Directed by Terence Young
Featuring Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman

James Bond investigates the murder of an associate in Jamaica who was investigating the causes of missile sabotage at Cape Canaveral.

Somehow, I find it serendipitous and quite fitting that Musing article #700 should be an 007 movie, though it is a coincidence. However, never really having been a James Bond devotee, I can’t really get excited about it. It’s not that I think the James Bond movies are poorly made or are not good examples of their type of entertainment; it’s just that I’ve always found them and their ilk to be just a little too ingratiatingly escapist for my taste, with their emphasis on violence, stunts and sex over plot seeming like an overly obvious and easy formula. Therefore, I think it’s vital that my opinions on these movies be taken with a grain of salt, perhaps discarded in their entirety; I can never quite turn my mind off to the extent that I would need to do to enjoy them fully.

Of course, this was the first of the series, and it takes itself a little more seriously. It does have a plot, but it’s easy to miss because it doesn’t dwell on plot points for any length of time (they’re in a hurry to get to the sex and violence). There are touches I like and touches I don’t like; as an example of the former, I do like how Dr. No’s physical handicap plays a subtle but marked impact on his ultimate fate near the end of the movie, and as an example of the latter, I’m always annoyed when supposedly intelligent characters mistake machines for living creatures (the “dragon” is so obviously a motor vehicle that I don’t see how anyone could possibly mistake it for a “real” dragon). All in all, it’s an entertaining time-killer, but for me, I’m afraid it will never be anything more than that.

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