Dr. No (1962) – 4/5

No

Slow, but well paced and suspenseful Bond with an engaging, trademark confusing plot and a winning performance from Sean Connery who finally somewhat lives up to his reputation. It was the man’s first outing as Bond here and he had something to prove, and he pulls it off for the most part. He’s young(ish) and athletic(ish) and charming, yet believable as this trained killer not afraid to get down and dirty when circumstances require him to. He’s still not the best, in my opinion, but he’s certainly better here than he’s been in later films in the series.

The plot is okay, a bit confusing. Something about blowing up a space shuttle with a satellite? And there’s an island full of radiation for some reason that Bond and Co. are exposed to for several days yet don’t seem to suffer any long-term effects from as far as we know. Ah, ignorance of the dangers of long-term exposure to heavy radiation: the 60s were truly a magical time. But the plot is okay for the most part; nothing great or unique, but it kept my attention. The editing was a bit wonky at times, though, probably due to the filmmaking limitations of the time, and there were a few moments here and there that felt cheap, namely the **SPOILERS** way Bond escaped from his prison through a conveniently placed air duct that just happened to be with him in his cell. **END SPOILERS** But whatever; it’s a Bond film, not exactly the most realistic of movie series.

Overall, a solid Bond film; exciting and suspenseful and well acted by Connery, finally. And the women in this actually have personality traits that go beyond “dumb” and “easy,” though calling them fully fledged characters would be a stretch. I was impressed, though, with the fact that the main Bond girl here finally has a good, legitimate reason to be in a bikini for most of the second half of the picture. It’s gratuitous and silly, yes, but it makes sense in terms of who she is and what she’s doing at that particular moment in the story, and, frankly, she looks damn good in it. Can’t argue with results, I say.

So yeah, good movie, recommended.

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