For Christmas, I received the first 20 "official" James Bond movies on DVD. These are the two disc sets and run from Dr. No through Die Another Day. One of the longest running franchises and despite its success, it always seems to be divisive amongst its fans. Who was the best Bond? Who was the best Bond girl? The best theme? And so on.
So, I figured I'd make an attempt to watch them all again in chronological order and after each viewing, I'd come back here and share some thoughts about all those things that make a James Bond movie a James Bond movie. In this series, I'm not going to do the full walrus review, but assign a "tusk" score. Two tusks means that component was great, one means it was fairly neutral and no tusk means I could do without ever seeing that again.
DR. NO Bond: Sean Connery - 2 tusks Great character from the get-go. Probably the most defining scene was when he killed the scientist in cold blood. Bond doesn't make the mistakes that his adversaries make. When he wants someone dead, he sees to it. Connery has a sophisticated ruggedness early on that not even he ever quite captures again.
Girl: Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder - 2 tusks Set the tone for the Bond girls to come. I learned on the special features that her voice was dubbed by someone else. Had the look, the exotic accent, and stayed cool under fire. Certainly one of the best in the entire series.
Gadgets: Walther PPK, Geiger Counter - 2 tusks The gadgets hadn't really made their appearance as of yet. Bond is given the Walther PPK gun to use early in the movie and is sent a Geiger counter to use. I do enjoy the gadgetless Bond much more than the one with gadgets.
Opening Theme: James Bond Theme followed by a Calypso medley - 2 tusks I could have done without the Calypso medley, but there wasn't a better way to start the series than to use the theme that would go on to become a classic.
Villain: Joseph Wiseman as Dr. No - 2 tusks Set the stage for all Bond villains to come. I love that we don't see him for much of the movie. It is simply the fear invoked in others that raises his coolness factor. When he does appear, there is payoff and he sets the tone for the calm and collected villain that should be respected.
Story: Watching this again, I came away with so much more respect for it than I had in the past. Really a simple story. More of a mystery and less of an action film. I wish more of the subsequent Bond films had been as good as this one.
Special Features: Disc Two has a behind the scenes thing that's about an hour long. Really good and goes into a lot of depth about getting the franchise going. Very interesting and thorough. Some extra features aren't all that great, but this one had a lot of meat to it. There was a great little insight into the creation of the theme song that I actually had to rewind and watch three or four times before moving on.
Great movie, let alone a great Bond movie. And the restoration on this film was great. Looked like a brand new movie.