James Bond: SPECTRE?
Dr. No: SPECTRE. Special Executive for Counter Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, Extortion. The four great cornerstones of power headed by the greatest brains in the world.
James Bond: Correction. Criminal brains.
Dr. No: The successful criminal brain is always superior. It has to be.
|"East, West, just points of the compass, each as stupid as the other."|
|"Unfortunately I misjudged you, you are just a stupid police man..."|
Make no mistake of it, No is a tragic character. He sits with Bond, both orphans, both unwanted, both are being used by a secretive organization for their own devices, and yet only one of them is ruined because of it. Dr. No offers his companionship to Bond and Bond laughs in his face. Bond humiliates him. Just one more person in a long line of people who have rejected No and have laughed in his face. Just another humiliation.
Dr. No's final humiliation is death. He fights knowing he cannot win, he never wins, and he doesn't deserve to. His own master plan betrays him, his Kingdom consumes him, and, ultimately, he suffers the greatest humiliation of all: fighting for your life and failing to save it. No was a wonderful villain, and the best villain ever crafted for a motion picture. Most people think that since its a Bond film, there isn't anything lurking between the lines. I assure you that these people are being foolish. When you look at Dr. No, at the way he carries himself and if you actually listen to what it is he says, a portrait of an unloved, heartbroken, and vicious man appears before you. Whether you choose to recognize his dilemma is a decision entirely of your own choosing. You just can't ignore the humanity of Dr. No. It is impossible for me to accept the final confrontation as anything other than it truly is: humiliation. I'm not saying No did not deserve death, just the opposite. What I am saying is far more important: No deserves to be viewed as the villain he really is. No is complex, multi-layered, and tragic. Dr. No is an enigma.
There are several other reasons as to why Dr. No is my favorite Bond of them all, but none of them are as important as exploring its titular character. Well... maybe this deserves some attention:
There you have it. One of my favorite Bond films of all time, and one of my favorite movies ever made. A strong sense of nostalgia accompanies this film when I watch it. A strong sense of nostalgia and an overwhelming feeling of adventure. I am a huge Bond fan and this is the first of many essays I plan to write about the series. I saw it fitting that the first essay I wrote was about the first installment in the franchise. Thanks for reading.