Dr. No Movie Review
The lucrative James Bond franchise kicks off with "Dr. No," an entertaining and surprisingly gadget-free action film that is easily the most faithful of all the Bond adaptations. Whereas most of the other films simply took the titles of Ian Fleming's great novels, "Dr. No" is very similar to the book - except Honey Ryder wears a bikini instead of her birthday suit.
Though the movie shows a little bit of age in that it lacks some of the edginess of later Bond films, "Dr. No" is still a heavily entertaining and action-packed adventure full of sex (albeit heavily censored), murders and psychotic bad guys. Sean Connery, of course, is great as Bond, and Ursula Andress, though lacking much in the way of character development, makes for good eye candy. Joseph Wiseman is also good, but not great, as the insidious Doctor No.
Having just read the novel recently, I was amazed by how similar the two plots are. The movie does take its liberties, of course, and adds in a few more developments (and women) here and there, but all in all it is very faithful, which is great considering "Dr. No" is one of the most exciting books I've ever read. The movie does unfortunately take more liberties in the last twenty minutes, removing some of the tenser and exotic moments for a more straightforward ending, but it would have been pretty hard for Bond to fight a giant octopus (or was it a squid?). Doctor No does die a little too easily, which in turn makes the ending feel a bit rushed.
"Dr. No" is a fun James Bond and for the younger fans who have grown up with Pierce Brosnan and perhaps Timothy Dalton, they may want to check out the one that started it all. Connery is and always will be the best Bond, and this is easily one of the best Bond films.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.