Thursday, February 12, 2009

Saturday Is Bond Day, #1: Dr. No

My two sons -- whom I'm still calling Thing 1 and Thing 2 -- have been watching Mythbusters a lot, partially because they enjoy some science-y stuff, but mostly for the explosions. And Mythbusters had a James Bond special recently, which they've now watched several times...which led them, particularly the ten-year-old Thing 1, to decide that they wanted to see the Bond movies. We finally decided -- since Thing 1 and I are both that kind of person -- to begin at the beginning.

So this last Saturday (February 7th), we watched Dr. No. We're going to miss this next week, since I'll be flying back from the AUTM conference on Saturday morning, but the plan is to watch the Bond movies, in order, every week until we get tired (or they hit PG-13 and I call a halt to it).

I haven't seen these movies since I was a kid -- not much older than my boys, if at all -- so it's also something of an exercise in nostalgia. (And will be a good starting point if I do decide to read all of the Fleming books straight through this summer.)

And the first thing that surprised me about Dr. No was the abbreviation -- for some reason, it's filed in my head as Doctor No. A very tiny point, I'm sure, but it made it hard to look up the movie on Netflix at first.

Otherwise, it was pretty much the way I'd remembered the early Bond movies -- Connery's Bond is tough but not sadistic, the women have quirks and characteristics but don't quite become characters in their own right, and the plot was exactly what we all think of as the "Bond movie plot": Bond foils an evil genius with a plan to get rich and powerful by nefarious means.

I had forgotten that it all took place in the Caribbean, and how many black characters were in it. (The minor villains tend to come off the best; they can be tough and competent, while Bond's boat-driver gets to be superstitious and borderline cowardly.) And I'd forgotten how long it took for Ursula Andress to show up; this movie hits the half-way point, and she's still not jumped on. (I did remember the big difference between her first scene and the way that it plays out in the book, however -- that's a scene no teenage boy reading Dr. No will ever forget.)

It's not quite a Cold War artifact, as I was afraid, and my sons seemed perfectly happy to watch it. They liked the fighting -- didn't seem to notice, or care, the older fight-choreography style, all chops and throws, instead of the modern wire-fu -- and covered their eyes for the kissing scenes. And I was happy to watch it again; it may be nearly fifty years old, but it's a dependably entertaining adventure movie with some fine moments and the was-he-ever-so-young? Sean Connery at its core. This project is starting to look like a great idea.

1 comment:

Jvstin Tomorrow said...

There is dreck, but there is some real good stuff in older Bond movies.

I went back to the older Bonds after my disappointment with Quantum of Solace. I misremembered a lot about the older movies, often to my surprise.

I won't say which movie so as not to spoil it for you, but when Bond kicked a car off a cliff, I thought "Bad-a$$!"

Post a Comment