Study Guide

Dr. No What's Up With the Ending?

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What's Up With the Ending?

Spilling the Beans

Have you ever found it ridiculous that a super villain spills the beans on his diabolical plot when instead he should just kill the hero?

You can blame Dr. No.

This trope may not have been invented by him, but it's likely he popularized it. Dr. No maintains his mystique by staying off-screen for most of the movie, but that means that once he makes his debut, he has to make up for lost time.

This results in a long bit of exposition in which Dr. No tells his entire plot to James Bond, the one man who might be able to stop him. Cocky? Stupid? A little of both? We don't spend enough time with No to get a good handle on him.

In his second—and last—scene in the film, Dr. No is in a radiation suit. He could be played by a different actor, for all we know. Because No let Bond in on his entire plan, Bond is able to disguise himself, sneak into the control room, and turn a lever that is literally labelled "DANGER LEVEL" to the max, causing all kinds of chaos to break loose in the control room.

James Bond is anything but subtle.

Bond and No clumsily struggle with one another above a pool of boiling water. Their radiation suits make their fight almost comical, like two men grappling while wearing those sumo fat suits. No slips into the water and dies.

Bond, of course, saves the day. No's plan was to sabotage a U.S. rocket, but the rocket launches without a hitch. What follows is a surprisingly poetic launch commentary overheard on the radio.

CONTROL ROOM: The tower has been jettisoned. There's the rocket against that gray sky, and it's great! We can see the outline of the rocket. The engines are burning. You can hear the roar, and it still sounds good and true. It's above the fourth tank. It's a very hot rocket. You can see the flame of it against the gray and it's coming into the clear blue sky, up in the sunlight, beginning to gleam. A very good, steady climb. All systems go! Go! Go! Go!

That could be an Emma Lazarus poem.

But Bond doesn't have time for poetry. The tender words are set against a backdrop of chaos as No's underwater lab is primed to explode. Bond's race to find Honey and escape is another filmmaking technique that has become cliché over the years, but in the 1960s, it probably still felt fresh, exciting, and fun to sit on the edge of your seat as Bond and his babe narrowly escape as the entire island blows sky high. What a ride.

We have to mention that Honey's rescue is also surprisingly anti-climactic. Bond simply rushes into a room, unties her, and they run away. In the book, No tortures Honey by releasing thousands of flesh eating crabs to eat her alive. The filmmakers took this scene out allegedly because the crabs didn't survive being shipped to the island. (Source)

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