Plot: A high level British operative has just been killed, in a flawless assassination that has MI6 quite concerned. In an effort to find out what happened, the agency assigns James Bond (Sean Connery) to the case and so he ventures to Kingston, Jamaica to uncover some answers. Before he can even begin his investigation, Bond is targeted by devious enemies, but he handles them with ease and doesn’t fall for their attempted ruses. He soon meets up with CIA agent Felix Leiter (Jack Lord) to be brought up to speed, as the Americans also have an interest in Kingston. It seems some kind of interference is being detected in some rocket launches and it has been tracked to the area, so there’s clearly a situation here. The deeper Bond delves into the mysteries of the area, the more pressure he faces from those who wish to keep things hidden, but of course, he doesn’t scare that easily. But when it becomes clear the dangers involved could threaten the entire world, is even an elite level operative like Bond up to that kind of challenge?
Entertainment Value: This first installment in the 007 cinema realm is a unique entry in the franchise, as it seems so simple and pared down compared to later entries, with an emphasis on the narrative and of course, Bond himself. Dr. No establishes Bond as a vision of cool, a bad ass who smokes, drinks, kicks ass, and gambles, not to mention rarely sleeps alone. His presence as a smooth talking, cool under pressure agent who goes through women like water helped turn Bond into a movie franchise kingpin with countless sequels to follow. The narrative here is well crafted and allows for all the twists and turns a spy movie should have, as well as a fantastic villain in Dr. No, the kind of mad, outlandish opponent a larger than life hero like Bond needs. A lot of the signature Bond elements are in place right from the start here, but this movie does have less action and gadgets than the sequels that would follow. Such a lean, character driven Bond movie seems almost antiquated now, but to me, Dr. No is still one of the best in the series and holds up quite well. Connery is an excellent Bond, with charisma, charm, and tough guy presence, which is good, since he doesn’t have as many big, loud distractions around him in this one. Joseph Wiseman is fantastic as the eerie Dr. No, while Ursula Andress is beyond iconic as Honey Ryder. A lot of Bond adventures would follow, but to me, Dr. No is still one of the best of the lot.
No nakedness. As always, Bond might sample the local female population, but he is discrete and no untoward sleaze is present. His womanizing ways and cavalier attitude toward women still draws negative feedback, but that is just part of the Bond mystique and isn’t out of place in the 60s realm it was made in. No blood. Some fisticuffs and shoot outs go down, but it is non graphic and happens fast. As I’ve said above, this movie doesn’t have the focus on action and set pieces that the franchise would become known for, but it does have some fun spy movie elements. Dr. No’s compound is a real sight to behold, some brisk chases break out, and we get to see Bond fares with minimal tech or gadgets to assist him. As always, Bond is quick with a quip or retort and that leads to some fun lines, but Dr. No manages to upstage him at times. He is such an oddball and played to perfection, so his villainous remarks and pointed threats add to the movie’s charm and fun. And of course, the usual innuendos and sharp wordplay are on full showcase here. As for craziness, aside from Dr. No and his over the top super villain persona, this one is fairly grounded.
Overall Insanity: 1/10