Friday, July 3, 2015

WBI: Dr. No

So it’s been seven-ish months since we began this series, and we haven’t actually tackled any of the Bond villains! It’s a tragedy, right? But, fear not—today we’re starting it all with the villain who started it all. That’s right, Dr. No. You know he’s going to at least be semi-awesome. They wouldn’t have named the movie after him, otherwise!

via An Agent's Education
With encouragement from SPECTRE, Dr. No runs a secret island with plans to disrupt the Project Mercury launch. When a British agent is killed on his behalf, James Bond comes snooping, this time with vengeance on the brain.

WBI Profile

Classification :: Π1478$#*@
Role :: Technician (scientist)
Motivation :: evil (harming the U.S.A.), insubordination (SPECTRE member), personal/material gain (American missiles, revenge), power/influence (from missiles)
Bonus :: money (lots), minions (lots), lair (secret island), name (Dr. No)

A Study

fearsome—people would rather commit suicide than reveal his secrets, multiple times; he’s scary

genius—the criminal mind is always more intelligent, he says, and he won my appreciation when he actually put defensive measures in the ventilation shafts (but only once, blah)

criminal—if not because he keeps man-killing spiders on hand, then because he plans to take on a government single-handedly (or, you know, metal-handedly)

detail-oriented—he’s not only attentive to James Bond, but he’s very familiar with his job, his organization, and everything important to his responsibilities

experienced—prior to joining SPECTRE, No worked for the largest criminal organization in China; he’s done this for quite some time

mixed-race—he’s the son of a German missionary and a nice Chinese girl; in a discussion I had with a close friend recently, she mentioned some of the prejudices that mixed-race people face, especially regarding theater, so I thought it was interesting this came up shortly after

handless—somewhere along the way he lost both his hands, which are chic and frightening under normal circumstances, but no good when trying to climb up a wet metal pole

classy—the Bond films started on the right foot; he has a lovely island resort, he’s rich, he’s well-spoken, and overall a classy, formidable villain who simply looks good

Vulcan—he is ever relaxed and impassive, emotionless and insulting without being a drama queen; he has an admirable coolness to his cucumber, and is more devoted to his task than being heard

equal—initially, No sees Bond as an equal (and later a stupid policeman); he has an admiration for formidable opponents and the eye of a recruiter

Big Idea

remove loyalties—I think this film is very much a product of its time by saying that disregard for human life is a trait specific to the East, but Dr. No removes himself from either label of East or West (not least of all because both rejected him). He gives his loyalties to SPECTRE, rather than a particular nation, which gives him a defined principle and a scarier attitude. Also, a desire for revenge.

auto-downfall—Dr. No dies because he can’t pull himself out of the water. The covers that protect his mechanical hands are also the covers that result in his death. He was smart, he was cunning, and he was threatening, but slippery hands beats all. His own architecture eventually defeated him.

love that mystery—rather than a typical “go shoot this person in particular” Bond film, this movie is a little bit of a mystery. I mean, the villain’s name is the title, so the villain’s identity isn’t a mystery, but the way he fits into the mess makes Bond’s sleuthing that much more interesting, and adds extra tension to his escape.

And, of his many great quotes, here is a great one:

“The successful criminal brain is always superior. It has to be!” –Dr. No, Dr. No

Have you seen Dr. No in action? What did you think of him as a villain? Would you ever write a villain like him yourself?

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