Postscript: Dr. No (1962)

Dr. No, penned by Maibaum/Mankowitz and directed by Terrence Young, laid the foundation for the James Bond franchise. Yet, in retrospect, the movie does not feel part of the franchise. As the Ur-Bond, it lacks the familiar formula of the subsequent entries. There is an opening title sequence, but it does not carry the punch of Monty Norman’s iconic score. Ken Adams’ production design is impressive yet the low $1 million budget shows through the seams. And the script owes much more to a traditional spy thriller than the action-driven spectacle the series would craft into a global brand.

Dr. No almost feels like a series prologue, an introductory chapter. It is easy to glance over, but crucial to know for what comes next. While it merely teases many of the future conventions of Bond, it also created long-lasting snapshots of the series’ famous iconography. One of them is the image of Ursula Andress emerging out of the water, dressed to kill. The producers would later pay homage to this timeless scene in Die Another Day (Lee Tamahori, 2002) and Casino Royale (Martin Campbell, 2006). Continue reading “Postscript: Dr. No (1962)” »

Blog 002: Dr. No (1962)

Note: Given that this is the first of my reviews, each blog post will cover the following: plot synopsis (spoiler-free) as well as my impressions of the pre-title sequence, music, characters, gadgets, stunts and special effects.


I was eleven when I saw Dr. No (Terence Young, 1962), the first of the long-running James Bond franchise from Eon Productions.

To eleven-year-old me, Dr. No felt ancient. The music was pretty corny (the score is arguably the worst of the Bond franchise, even if the iconic “James Bond Theme” plays at every conceivable moment); the performances mostly over-the-top (so much dubbing!); and the pacing pretty slow. However, I still enjoyed the experience. And I did again upon my recent rewatch. Continue reading “Blog 002: Dr. No (1962)” »

Film Analysis: “The Midnight After”

The story of the film was adopted from an internet novel, “Lost on a Red Mini Bus to Tai Po”, circulated in 2012 in one of the hottest internet platform in Hong Kong names, “Golden Discussion Forum”.  The film “Midnight after” was released in 2014 and was nominated for several Hong Kong Academy Awards and was selected in the Panorama section of the 64th Berlin International Film Festival.  Although the story was based on the novel, the film Director, Fruit Chan, had treated the film in his own way by adding new symbolisms and metaphors.  The story started by depicting a minibus departed from Mongkok, a downtown area in Hong Kong.  The minibus’ destination was Taipo, a suburb area.  The minibus communed from Kowloon, city area, to the New Territories, suburb, via the Lion Rock Tunnel.  After passing the Lion Rock Tunnel, all the people in the minibus lost contact with other people in Hong Kong and later discovered that Hong Kong has entered a doomsday scenario where all the population was gone except the people inside that particular minibus.  In the film, it seemed only the 17 people inside the mini-bus (including the driver, grass root worker, university students, young working class, ordinary couple, fortune-teller, middle age man, computer genius & otaku representing exaggerated versions of Hong Kong’s varied Chinese populace belonging to a variety of occupation and social classes) were alive while the whole Hong Kong population vanished.  Continue reading “Film Analysis: “The Midnight After”” »

Bonding with Bond, James Bond – Part 001: Introduction

This post marks the first in a series of reflections on the James Bond franchise. In the run-up to Spectre (Sam Mendes, 2015), the most recent Bond film, Mediascape Blog editors James Fleury and Matthias Stork will survey the entire Bond cinematic canon, covering both the official and unofficial films. For those who don’t know their M’s from their Q’s, this will include 24 official Bond films, all produced by EON Productions, as well as two guerilla productions, Columbia Pictures’ Casino Royale (Ken Hughes et al., 1967) and Taliafilm/Warner Bros.’s Never Say Never Again (Irvin Kirshner, 1983).

The goal of this series is to pay homage to one of the most iconic series in cinema history. Furthermore, it is a way to revisit the longevity of the films from today’s perspective and evaluate their nostalgic value. The authors will take two distinctive approaches. James will review and reevaluate the films based on his childhood memory. Additionally, he will watch the films with someone entirely unfamiliar with the series and try to negotiate both point of views. Matthias, meanwhile, will highlight specific moments and scenes from each film, particularly focusing on the aesthetic and historical background that informs the series. Continue reading “Bonding with Bond, James Bond – Part 001: Introduction” »