Sean Connery as James Bond is charming, handsome and clever – three elements that will become defining characteristics for the character. There isn’t a lot of fancy gadgets at all. For instance, Bond just simply puts a hair where the doors of the wardrobe meet so he can later tell if someone’s rummaged through his things while he’s been away. I like that Bond relies more on his wits than the car or the gadgets and he’s also not afraid to kill or hurt people to get answers.
I liked that for the vast majority of the film the villain is unseen and is like a puppeteer pulling other characters strings. It makes the big reveal of who Dr. No is more tense and fascinating. Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman) is certainly an interesting villain, he is a very smart scientist working for SPECTRE but it’s the rumours and myths surrounding him before you meet him that make him seem that much more of a worthy adversary for Bond. Dr. No does not look very foreboding but (like many Bond villains) there is something that makes him different and potentially deadly.
Compared to what we as an audience is used to today (in both James Bond films and action/thrillers in general) Dr. No is quite slow paced in some parts. That being said, the action is still interesting and thrilling and there is plenty of humour courtesy of Connery’s wit.
Dr. No is the first James Bond film so while it may not be as polished as its predecessors, the starting formula of what makes James Bond, James Bond is all there. There’s the iconic first shot of the character as well as the first shot of Bond Girl Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) coming out of the ocean. There’s mentions of how Bond likes his drink (shaken, not stirred – obviously), about his gun of choice, and there’s the nice looking cars. It’s a great starting point for the franchise and (nearly) lives up to today’s expectations of the genre. 4/5