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ďDr. No"-{Blu-ray}
Reviewer:
Taylor Carlson
Studio: MGM
Genre:
Action
Release Date:
10/21/08
Special Features:

All features from Ultimate Edition DVD

Review:

Dr. No is the first film in the EON James Bond film series. The film stars Sean Connery as James Bond, and co-stars Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, Ursula Andress, Jack Lord, and Joseph Wiseman. The musical score is by Monty Norman. ***

In James Bondís feature film debut, the secret agent heads down to the Caribbean. He is sent to investigate the mysterious death of two intelligence agents station there, and quickly finds himself hot on the trail of a deadly foe Ė Dr. No. An agent of the SPECTRE terrorist group, Dr. No operates from a mysterious island fortress, and is hatching a scheme to topple rockets launched by the American space program. Itís up to James Bond, allying himself with CIA agent Felix Leiter and the gorgeous Honey Rider, to infiltrate and put an end to the mad doctorís schemes. ***

Some film franchises get off to a rough start. Others have a great first film and everything that follows is hit-and-miss. So how does James Bondís first adventure on the big screen measure up? Pretty damn good, actually. ***

Sean Connery absolutely nailed the character of James Bond from day one. He gives the character as much depth as one possibly could. Conneryís Bond walks the line between sophisticated and deadly brilliantly Ė moreso than anyone since that has taken on the role. Heís right at home in a high-class British gambling establishment, or in the islands, battling a deadly wheeled contraption. Sean Connery is the greatest man to ever portray James Bond, No other actor even comes close (though Iím not saying his successors don t do a good job.) ***

As for the positives, there is a lot to appreciate about this film. The down-to-earth nature of the film stays considerably truer to the Fleming novels than most subsequent films (most viewers donít know that the emphasis on gadgetry in later films was largely a creation of the filmís crew/writers, and NOT Flemingís novels!) Every performance is top-notch. Ursula Andress is terrific as the original Bond Girl, and a pre-Hawaii-Five-O Jack Lord is probably the most memorable Felix Leiter in the series. Also appearing are Bernard Lee as M and Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny, roles they would play for roughly two decades. But the stand-out here (besides Connery) is Joseph Wiseman as the title villain. He absolutely steals every scene heís in, even though he doesnít appear (on camera) until the final half hour of the film. Heís the original Bond villain and difficult to top. Combine these great actors/characters with some memorable scenarios and exotic locales, and the end result is one hell20of a great movie. ***

As good a first film as this was for Agent 007, I wonít deny that it isnít perfect. First and foremost, it shows its age more than some Bond films. There is no opening credits song, instead just Monty Normanís theme music is played. Additionally, the credits donít feature the now classic silhouettes of nude women Ė and opt for a nauseating ďblinking lightsĒ sequence that perhaps shows its age more than any other aspect of the film. It also lacks a John Barry score and Desmond Llewelyn as Q, but these problems would be remedied in the next film. Likewise, as gorgeous as Honey Rider is (and Ursula Andress plays her very well), she just isnít given enough to do here. The lack of gadgetry can be seen as a flaw by some, though it doesnít bother this viewer much (I tend to prefer the films that stay true to the spirit of the Fleming novels, after all.) Flaws aside, though, this is still one of my favorite films in the series. ***

Dr. No is James Bondís first big-screen outing, and remains one of his finest nearly half a century later. Itís not the best Bond movie, and it shows its age, but itís still in the upper tier of the Bond franchise. 4 stars out of 5. ---

Image and Sound:

Several years ago, the James Bond movies (which had seen a ton of home video releases already) underwent an extensive, frame- by-frame restoration. A good deal of print damage and dirt were removed in an effort that took several years to complete. ***

The end result is, to put it simply, well worth it. ***

Lowry Digital Images knows how to restore movies. Their restoration of the James Bond back catalogue is, hands down, the greatest restoration job this reviewer has EVER seen. This film is no exception. They have taken movies, that are in some cases, nearly half a century old, and made them look as good as they day when they premiered in theatres, if not better. The image is clear throughout, without any sort of issue. From what I can tell, no DNR was used in these transfers, and there is a staggering amount of detain not noticeable in any standard-def release of the movie. Lowry did one hell of a job restoring this franchise. ***

As if the image restoration wasnít enough, the films now have lossless audio tracks. If youíve got a speaker set, youíll be able to experience these films (both audio and visual-wise) like you never have before.

Special Features:

When MGM put out the Ultimate Edition DVDs in late 2006, they contained not only excellent transfers for the movies, but a good wealth of bonus material as well. All of the bonus features from that excellent Ultimate Edition DVD package have been ported over to this release. Unfortunately, they are presented in standard definition. Still, with the wealth of material that each film has, itís hard to argue. ---

Final Words:

Say yes to Dr. No. Donít overlook Bondís cinematic debut, itís one of the best films in the series despite being dated in a few aspects. With a great film and a great Lowry digital images transfer, this package comes highly recommended to any fan of 007.

 

 
 
 
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