For some reason I never have been a big thing on Bond. I’ve read on the books and the movies and of course, like most people I can quote Austin Powers chapter and verse, but I’ve never sat down and watched the source material.
Of course there is a TON of source material, and they range from cruddy to classic.
So I do have Skyfall up already, and one of my movie channels has been playing a bunch of Bond movies, so during my vacation, I watched a few of them, trying to catch at least one of each Bond.
Here we go.
We are going to start with Dr No.
Ok, we start off in Jamaica where three men, the “Three Blind Mice” complete with “Three Blind Mice” music, knock-off the head British Agent in Jamaica, John Strangeways. They throw him in the back of a car and take off, then go kill his secretary while she is doing a transmission to “headquarters”.
So Mi-6 calls in Bond, James Bond to investigate the disappearance of the pair and find out whats going on. We get to meet M for the first time, and yes, Bond is 007- with a license to kill. I wonder how that works. You shoot someone, cops grab you, run your license then let you go?
Bond arrives to the island, and there is a driver there for him, but no one should know that he’s here! So he outsmarts the driver, and beats the SNOT out of him to get info, the driver asks for a smoke, and Bond lets him have one- but oh no! Its laced with Cyanide, so he’s dead. Better than a tooth I guess. The scene where Bond pulls up with the dead guy in the backseat is funny, but I won’t spoil the quip.
Bond meets up with Quarrel, the boat guy, in a really convoluted way, and its fun, but only because its Sean Connery kicking all kinds of ass. We also get to meet the CIA Agent in charge. The CIA thinks that there is some kind of jamming going on the American Rocket tests. Keep in mind, that this is during the SPACE RACE. The CIA knows that its something near Jamaica is causing it, but can’t find it. Quarrel admits to taking the British agent to a bunch of islands trying to find- uh background radiation on rocks to figure out where the signal is coming from. We also get a mention of Dr No, but that’s just kinda dropped.
Bond plays Batman for a minute and finds a paper about some rock samples that were dropped off at the Local University of Jamaica. Professor Dent says that he did test the rocks, but they were all just normal. Bond leaves and Prof Dent takes off to meet Dr No who gives him a tarantula (seriously) to kill Bond. That night, Bond uses a handy piece of glass to protect himself from the dangerous spider, no wait, the glass isn’t there on purpose, forget I said that. Bond is able to squish the spider- in a REALLY funny bit, then pops the Prof when he comes in to finish the job. Bond-1, attack Trantula-0. I’m skipping the whole Sylvia sub-plot, since it really doesn’t do a ton for the movie as a whole but a bit of Bond being Bond.
So figuring out that the prof might not be on the level, Bond finds radiation on the boat, so he gets Quarrel to take him to Dr No Island. As Bond is . . .looking in the sand, up walks.
Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Yes. That is what we are waiting for right? Right? Of course being the 60’s this explodes the world and makes James Bond a star. She is there to get seashells, that she can sell for up to 50 bucks back in Miami.
After dodging a boat with a machine gun, the trio make their way inland, using the old Reed-as-a-breathing-tube trick to get past patrols. They finally meet up with the famous Dragon of the island, nothing more than a half-track with a flame thrower with a paint job. Quarrel gets burned, cause the character is in the way, and yes, Quarrel is WEARING A RED SHIRT, then Bond and Ryder are taken captive. Again, this is the 60s so people that are in a radiated zone can just be scrubbed, Silkwood-style, and then come out completely clean. They try and really make an effort here- doing the nails and things like that, and I’m sure when the movie came out this scene was watched on Super-Slow-Mo just in case. After cleaning, and drugged coffee, Bond and Dr No meet face to face. Dr No shows that he’s a bad ass with a really cool aquarium, and crushes a Budda sculpture with his metal hands. Bond is unimpressed, and Dr No offers Bond a position with SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion). Bond refuses, and gets the snot beaten out of him and Honey is taken away.
Bond is in a cell, but when he tries to get into the HUGE pipe going into his cell, its electrocuted. Bond is able to beat the grate off with HIS SHOE. He goes crawling through the pipe- that is heated! He burns his hands, but wraps his shirt around his hands and keeps crawling. Hey Ladies! All of a sudden a huge torrent of water rushes over him, so Bond is not only shirtless, but soaking wet. Gotta have something for the ladies.
Bond KOs a worker and takes his suit. He makes his way into the center of the operation, and as Dr No, in radiation suit, is directing screwing with the Rocket Program. Bond gets the reactor to overheat, and starts the fight scene. Dr No tries to stop him in hand to hand combat, but falls into the water, and can’t climb out, so that’s a lame death for our first Bond Villain. Bond punches out a few people, and finds Honey tied down in a, uh, drain for the place? They make their way outside, and take over a boat, and take off.
The island explodes, and the CIA show up to give the pair a tow back to Jamaica. Bond has a change of heart, and lets the tow-rope go, so he and Honey can take their time getting back.
Ok, Whoa there is a lot going on here, but you can’t really tell, looking at all this, you would think there is a ton of stuff going on, since almost everytime I watched it I had to add some, chance something, I think I watched this movie a half-dozen times, trying to see what I was missing.
ok, lets get the biggie out of the way.
Parts of this movie looks REALLY good, the sets are really well done, and parts of this movie look CHEAP AND HORRIBLE, of note the glass in the Tarantula scene and the car “chase” oh my goodness- this is worse than Toho TV here. Some of this I have seen better on MST3K episodes. The production here is really hit or miss, and when it misses, I mean its a miss by a MILE. Hoo-Boy!
Next up, lets look at the whole Bond as a spy character, he kills pretty randomly, putting Sylvia in jail post-coitus, but popping the Prof without a second thought, also all the men he kills in the island by knocking them out so they have no chance to escape- and also drops people out of the escape boat, so people are going to die in the explosion, when Bond could have saved them. Such a nice guy, but I guess that would get in the way of the ride with Honey, so I can see that.
There is a lot of logic leaps here, something you would not expect with something from a book. The whole Dr No character we don’t get a ton about, and he dies like a third tier baddie, not a major villain, much less a cornerstone villain in the franchise. Its a major knock on the movie, Bond kind of just shoves him in the water, climbs out and there goes the dangerous man. I’ll give a pass on the radiation, Lord knows I wish it was that easy.
Is the movie worth it? Maybe. I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it, and its not exactly high cinema, but I think its worth seeing if there is nothing else on, and just to hit the mark for the Bond series. Its a solid 5. I have no doubt this movie has its fans, and I personally miss Quarrel and hate the way he was bum-rushed off the movie. We will see if the series gets any better, but I liked Skyfall more than this one.
Tiny URL for this post: