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STEPHEN'S MOVIE GUIDE

Dr No  

Review: written July 2007

A dated classic brought back to life



It was the first one - a low budget spy thriller based on a popular novel of the time. It has a spectacularly charismatic performance from a young and arguably the most believable Bond - Sean Connery. It is this performance above all else that carries this movie, and that subsequently made it so popular. The acting and delivery of lines from other characters including Ursula Andress' character Honey Ryder in contrast, appears stilted to a modern audience, and the action is ok but not spectacular. Joseph Wiseman makes a fine and inscrutable villain, but actually has relatively little screen time - in fact, it's quite a surprise how easily and fast the final denouement actually happens when it comes. Apart from Sean, what about the other ingredients that defined the Bond movies, and made them greater than just the actor that played him? Many but not all of them are present - inscrutable megalomaniac, cultured conversation between Bond and bad guy, beautiful Bond girl, Ken Adams spectacular interior set designs, the Bond theme, even the Martini shaken not stirred.. but a few have not arrived yet - spectacular stunts are absent, as is Q and the gadgets, as well as the Aston Martin or indeed any interesting car. Its fair to say there are a couple of things that were lost along the way too - Bond actually does some spy tradecraft in this movie - something that subsequently disappears as Bond became just another action hero, but here is part of the story as he is sent to be a detective in effect to find a missing operative. The other is pacing - although it might appear slightly slow paced to younger generations, this movie actually has far superior pacing than some more recent Bond movies where action scene segues into action scene and we lose the thrill and feeling of spectacle as a result.

For this version though, the main question is - how does a 1962 movie look freshened up with a 4K restoration? Spectacularly good as it turns out - the colour and contrast make this look as fresh as if it was a period movie made yesterday. It is bright, crisp and detailed, and without blemish that I could see.

Unmissable start of the legendary franchise.





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