Dr. No & Tropical Animals – Science Behind Bond

Happy New Year! My outlook on 2021 is if I can get through 2020, I can get through 2021. I hope a Covid vaccine gets distributed, so we can all go back to our regular routines. To kick off in 2021, I wanted to continue my Bond blog series. This post is going into the Science Behind Bond. I’m going to take one element or scene from the Bond movie and “debunk” it or say if there’s any accuracy there. Science is interesting to me, so I thought it would be fun to add a science post to my blog series. For the science behind Dr. No I decided to focus on tropical animals.

Video posted by the James Bond 007 Youtube Channel.

One memorable scene from Dr. No is when Bond is sleeping in his bed and an assassin slips a tarantula into his room. The suspense music plays as the tarantula crawls up Bond through his sheets. Eventually, Bond can move the tarantula and kills it. The main question I wanted to know is whether this tarantula was dangerous to Bond? From my research, the answer is no. In 2018, there were 44 occurences of a “tarantula related injury” and only 17 requiring hospitalization. (1) With a Tarantula bite, common symptoms include pain, tissue damage, and muscle cramping (1). It’s much more common for a human to have a histamine reaction to the hairs of a Tarantula than to be poisoned by a Tarantula (1). Unless this Tarantula is a local Jamaican spider I’m not aware of, the likelihood Bond would have been killed by a Tarantula is next to none. This silly Spectre assassin had no idea what he was doing by releasing a Tarantula to kill Bond.

The second instance regarding tropical animals isn’t featured in the Dr. No film but in the book written by Ian Fleming. In the film, Honey Rider is chained to a stone embankment where presumably the water would rise and drown her. Bond has to come and rescue her after taking out Dr. No. In Fleming’s book, Honey was chained to the embankment, and crabs were supposed to eat her instead. This was taken out of the film adaptation. I’m assuming the crabs referred to in Fleming’s novels were a basic beach crab. Mole crabs typically eat plankton and the tentacles of jellyfish. (2) Coconut Crabs are dangerous and scary crabs. They are the largest invertebrate on our planet and can be as big as a hiking boot (3). These crabs can climb trees and have the strength to carry away bones (3). If Honey Rider was chained to coconut crabs, that could be fatal.

It’s amazing how our planet has so many different species of creatures. Some are fatal to humans while others do not pose a threat unless provoked. I would recommend checking out the National Geographic article I found for Coconut Crabs. They are incredibly big and scary looking. Since this is a research-based post, I linked all my sources down below. For my next Bond Blog Series, I will focus more on the women featured in the film along with women’s rights during the early 1960s. Once I write this post, I will move onto the second Bond film, From Russia with Love.

Sources:

(1) Tarantula Spider Toxicity – academic paper by Erwin L Kong, Kristopher K. Hart

(2) Mole Crabs Bob Thomas – Loyola University New Orleans

(3) Coconut Crabs – National Geographic

Dr. No (1962)

This is my first post in my James Bond blog series. Dr. No is the first film adaptation of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels. Dr. No featured the gun barrel signaling the beginning of the film although it was only the John Barry theme playing. From Russia With Love was the first Bond film to feature a specific title song. Sean Connery appeared in several films before signing on to play the titular spy. I think it’s safe to say playing Bond helped further Connery’s acting career. Dr. No is a classic Bond film as it started the whole franchise.

James Bond is called into action to investigate the murder of British agent, John Strangways. As Bond is asking questions in Jamaica, he meets both Quarrel and Felix Leiter. Quarrel was an acquaintance of Strangways while Leiter is a CIA agent sent to Jamaica by the US government. Through Bond’s questioning, it’s revealed Strangways had been visiting an island titled Crab Key which Strangways believed to be radioactive. Bond visits the island and is interrogated by Dr. No. Bond must end Dr. No’s plans with radiation and save the beautiful Honey Ryder who met on Crab Key.

Sean Connery’s portrayal of Bond is suave, sophisticated, and charming. In the first scene where Connery appears on screen, he’s smoking a cigar and wearing a black tuxedo. It’s an attractive moment for Connery as he looks handsome in all black. When re-watching Dr. No, I was surprised at how much of a smart ass Bond is. Bond makes several jabs at Dr. No when they are having dinner. He makes remarks over his preference in liquor and even with Dr. No’s lack of hands. It gives a unique perspective into how Connery portrays Bond.

Speaking of Dr. No, he’s a forgettable villain. His ultimate goal is to take control of a rocket heading to the Moon by interfering with the rocket’s launch in Florida. How evil of him. This is the first time SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion) is mentioned, so there is significance with Dr. No’s appearance, however, Dr. No doesn’t stand out to me as being a well-matched Bond villain.

Dr. No is a slow-paced Bond movie. There’s less action than other Bond films, and more scenes of Bond interviewing people. Bond visits several locations in Jamaica to figure out who murdered Strangways. Bond does use hand to hand combat when he’s attacked by his driver, but the scene is rather short. The action doesn’t pick up until Bond and Quarrel arrive at Crab Key.

To rate the Bond movies, I decided to use a 1 – 5 “star” system. Instead of stars, I’m going to use vodka martinis to make this a Bond fitting review scale.

1 martini – It’s genuinely not enjoyable to re-watch this film. This is a film I will only re-watch if I have to. I’m dreading re-watching this particular film.

2 martinis – It’s an okay Bond film. This film has significance, but I wouldn’t randomly watch this particular Bond film.

3 martinis – A fun Bond film to watch, but not my favorite. A Bond film with a three martini rating could be a film I like, but I recognize it has a lot of problems with the plot.

4 martinis – This would be a Bond film I would re-watch multiple times. I could quote certain parts of the film.

5 martinis – This is easily one of the best Bond films ever. There’s nothing wrong with the film and no one can tell me anything different.

Overall, Dr. No was an enjoyable first outing for James Bond. Dr. No established Connery’s portrayal of the character. Jamaica served as a beautiful backdrop for the film and I thought there was enough action to keep me invested. I would rate Dr. No three martinis.

James Bond: Movie and Science Series

The Living Daylights – one of my favorite Bond films. Photo taken by me.

Last night, I was listening to Bill Nye the Science Guy’s podcast Science Rules. The episode discussed the James Bond film franchise and how scientifically plausible the stunts, gadgets, or action sequences were. It sparked something within me. My latest blog series is going to be a re-watching of all the Bond movies.

I’m going to begin in chronological order with Dr. No which is Sean Connery’s first outing as Bond. In between the movie review itself, I want to take one aspect of the movie and do research to decide if it’s plausible or not. It’s researching the science behind the films. My hope with this blog series is to create a unique take on the Bond franchise.

I’m going to dedicate a few posts per film. This gives me time to watch the next movie in the series. The first post will be the movie review, the second post will be the science of one aspect of the film. Another potential post idea is to discuss the Bond women in each film. This could include how Bond treats the women, how the women auditioned and were chosen to play the role. I might tie this into the era of the Bond films and what was happening politically with women obtaining equal rights.

I’m thrilled with the idea of this series. This will lead to the latest Bond film, No Time to Die which has been delayed. Most of the Bond podcasts I follow are hosted by men and this is my take as a woman and a fan of the series. I hope you’re as excited as I am. If you’re new to the Bond series, you can watch along with me. Most of the Bond films are available on Hulu.

In the meantime, feel free to post in the comments your favorite James Bond film.

Normal People

My friend finished watching Normal People on Hulu and immediately messaged me asking if I had seen this series yet. As a side note, I take a while to watch TV shows since my fiance and my friends seem to watch media faster than I do. She couldn’t stop raving about Normal People and how the sex scenes seemed to be realistic. Normal People is an emotional story of two people falling in and out of love throughout their lifetime.

Based on the book of the same name by Sally Rooney, the series follows Marianne Sheridan (played by Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell Walderon (played by Paul Mescal). Marianne and Connell first meet in secondary school with Marianne being painted as the weird girl who reads too many books. Connell is popular although he is attracted to Marianne, he doesn’t want his friends to know. They have sex and Marianne is angered to learn Connell takes another girl to a dance. Marianne and Connell meet again throughout their adult lives as they contemplate being committed together.

The chemistry between Daisy and Paul is undeniable. I wouldn’t be surprised if these two were dating after the camera stopped rolling. This show is an emotional rollercoaster. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t crying every other episode. The sex scenes feel real. They aren’t super fake and over the top moaning. As I watch these scenes, it feels like two people having sex who truly care about each other’s being.

I do have to offer a slight content warning as this series is extremely emotional to watch. Marianne is victim to familial physical abuse by her brother. The show doesn’t explain why this happens unless I missed it. From the abuse, Marianne finds herself in abusive relationships. It’s heartwrenching to watch because we know Marianne deserves so much more. There’s a storyline leading back to suicide as one of Paul’s friends from secondary school commits suicide. As I mentioned, this is an emotional series beyond Marianne and Connell’s relationship. It’s important to be in that mindset to fully enjoy this series.

I haven’t read Sally Rooney’s book where the series is based. I’m undecided if I will read the book because I loved the show. Usually, I recommend reading a book before viewing the adaptation, but this adaptation is so good! A couple of my favorite book vloggers have already rated the book and their reviews weren’t positive. I have this book on my to-be-read shelf, so maybe I will get it reading this book eventually, but it’s not a high priority.

Normal People is so much more than a love story. It’s a commentary on love, life, and experiencing tragedy. As I mentioned above, it’s best to be in the mood to watch this emotional series. I cried every other episode because I was happy for the characters or I genuinely was sad for them. This is a series I would re-watch if I need a good cry. If you have read the Normal People book or seen the series, let me know in the comments below.

Challenger: The Final Flight

Challenger: The Final Flight

My fiance loves watching documentaries on Netflix. While we were creating our wedding website, my fiance started playing Challenger: The Final Flight as background noise. Instead of contributing to our wedding website, I became enamored with this docuseries.

Challenger: The Final Flight is only four episodes with each episode ranging from 42 – 50 minutes long. The series introduces the astronauts, provides background information before the Challenger launched, footage from the Challenger as it exploded, and the aftermath of the investigation. What happened with the Challenger? Why did it explode and was NASA responsible?

My knowledge of the Challenger explosion was next to none before watching this docuseries. I knew a teacher was on-board and the shuttle exploded shortly before take-off, but that was about the extent of what I knew. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t crying throughout the series. Families, children, NASA , and the United States all watched as the Challenger lifted off and exploded for everyone to see. Relatives turned to each other in shock and held each other as they cried. Students were in awe as they weren’t sure what was happening. Hearing the relatives of the seven astronauts speak as they relive this moment was horrifying. Some of the relatives knew their loved ones couldn’t survive while other relatives tried to deny what had happened.

The Challenger launch was a big deal considering it would be the first teacher in space. Christa McAuliffe was a teacher in New Hampshire who was one of 11,000 applicants who applied. She was the final of ten and was chosen to be the first teacher in space. She took an absence from teaching while she trained to be an astronaut. She had planned to teach two fifteen- minute lessons to students from space. I’m imagining how I would feel if one of my teacher friends was chosen to go into space. I would feel elated for them, but extremely anxious about what could go wrong.

The failure of the O-Rings caused the Challenger’s explosion. The docuseries details how NASA knew about the history of the O-Rings failure since 1977. That’s nine years before the Challenger launched. Richard Feynman, a scientist on the Manhattan Project, was included in the post-investigation. Feynman demonstrated how the O-Rings are more likely to fail in lower temperatures. On the day the Challenger launched, it was 36 degrees.

In my opinion, I do believe NASA is responsible for the destruction of the Challenger. There was evidence citing the O-Rings and their history of failure. I find it odd how the O-Rings weren’t tested under lower temperature conditions. Science doesn’t lie and whenever these incidents happen and people die, it’s human error that doesn’t listen to the evidence.

Challenger: The Final Flight is a heart-wrenching look at what happened with the Challenger explosion. There’s a lot we can learn from this tragedy to make space exploration safer and the importance of analyzing scientific data. Challenger: The Final Flight can be streamed on Netflix.

True Blood (2008-2014)

Vampires were a trend back in 2008. I used to own a “Team Edward” t-shirt from Hot Topic back when I read the Twilight series. Twilight showed us sparkling vampires while the Vampire Diaries was a highlight on the CW. True Blood was the more adult vampire show that aired on HBO for seven seasons. I never finished watching True Blood, so I decided to give the show another chance. True Blood is a campy, eerie, vampire show with other supernatural introductions along the way.

True Blood stars waitress Sookie Stackhouse (played by Anna Paquin) in the small Southern town of Bon Temps. True Blood takes place two years after vampires “came out of the coffin” after the invention of “Tru Blood” which allows vampires to feed off of synthetic human blood. While Sookie is waitressing, she meets Bill Compton (played by Stephen Moyer) a vampire who is compassionate towards humankind. Ultimately, Sookie and Bill begin a romantic relationship and are forced to face off against various supernatural threats.

True Blood discusses the prevalence of hatred of individuals who are different. Racism is shown frequently especially with Sookie’s childhood best friend Tara (played by Rutina Wesley). Tara is a character who deserved so much more, although that’s a post for a different time. In later seasons, humans end up creating concentration camps for vampires specifically. I imagine what our society would be like if supernatural beings actually exist and I think True Blood hits the nail on the head for how humans would react.

One of the positives of True Blood is getting to know Bon Temps and the people who live there. Several of the characters go through a positive character growth including Arlene Fowler (played by Carrie Preston) and Andy Bellefleur (played by Chris Bauer). Both Arlene and Andy were prejudiced against vampires at the beginning of the series. As the seasons continued, Arlene and Andy started to recognize that not all vampires are the same. Andy used to be a character I despised in the first season and is now one of the best characters. Besides Arlene and Andy, Sookie’s brother, Jason (played by Ryan Kwanten) develops into a genuinely nice human being. Originally portrayed as a playboy, Jason starts to develop feelings for Jessica (a vampire played by Deborah Ann Woll, before her Daredevil days). Jason starts to think differently about vampires and treats women with more respect than he did before. I could go on and on about the characters in True Blood. If the characters weren’t as memorable, True Blood would have been canceled a long time ago.

True Blood also has some notable guest stars including Christopher Meloni (Detective Elliot Stabler Law & Order SVU), Fiona Shaw (Aunt Petunia), Rob Kazinsky (Pacific Rim), Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld), Denis O’Hare (American Horror Story), and more. Christopher Meloni played an older vampire which was a spot-on cast. Denis O’Hare played a nasty vampire in season #3 and was one of the best villains of the show.

True Blood started strong. Seasons #1 – #4 was wildly entertaining. Sookie building a relationship with Bill, having a relationship with Eric (played by Alexander Skarsgard), and fighting off witches. Seasons #5 – #7 is where True Blood started to drag on. Season #5 featured Christopher Meloni, but his appearance wasn’t enough as this season was probably the worst out of the seven.

Overall, True Blood was a fun watch. I’m glad I gave the show a second chance. It’s a perfect show to watch in Quarantine because I could devote the time to watch all the seasons. It’s fitting this time of year too because of the atmosphere of Bon Temps being the center for supernaturals to gather. I have a picture of Eric as my phone background because he’s one of my favorite vampires in the show. If you watched True Blood, let me know in the comments which character was your favorite.

Blade (1998)

I have a subscription to HBO Max and there is so much content! My Watch List has grown exponentially while my rate at watching new movies can’t compare. On HBO Max are the three Blade movies starring Wesley Snipes as the hybrid vampire, Blade. One of the main reasons I started watching the original trilogy is because Marvel relaunching Blade starring Mahershala Ali Blade is an extremely well-made movie ahead of its time.

Blade is ready to kick ass.

Blade (played by Wesley Snipes) is a vampire hunter while being a hybrid vampire himself. His mother was attacked by a vampire while pregnant with Blade. As a result, Blade has good vampire attributes while still being human. Blade is mentored by Abraham Whistler (played by Kris Kristofferson) so he can be the most well-training hunter. When vampire rebel Deacon Frost (played by Stephen Dorff) wants to capture Blade to resurrect a blood god; that’s when all hell officially breaks loose.

The Blade opening sequence has to be one of the best openings in an action movie. The film opens with a man being walked through a butcher shop into a vampire rave. Blood is sprinkled among the crowd as the vampires go into a feeding frenzy. This frenzy is stomped on when Blade enters with his sword and wrecks havoc while the strobes flash. This opening scene helped keep me invested as the movie unfolded.

Blade also doesn’t force a romance between the protagonists. Assisting Blade with taking down Frost is Karen (played by N’Bushe Wright). Karen is a hematologist who is attacked by another vampire named Quinn (played by Donal Logue). Blade rescues Karen and keeps her safe since she’s been marked after being bitten. Its clear Blade starts to care for her safety, but they aren’t romantically entangled when the credits roll. This doesn’t happen in many action movies. Additionally, Karen isn’t dressed sexually either. She’s dressed practically which allows her to kill vampires and fight back.

Watching Blade, it doesn’t feel like a movie made in the ’90s The one exception to this is Deacon Frost’s overall aesthetic. Deacon looks like a former Backstreet Boy who was turned into a vampire. Otherwise, the movie has aged well and it’s still enjoyable to watch.

Blade was a blast to watch. The day after watching Blade, I watched Blade II. I will write a Blade II review soon because I was surprised how well this holds up as a sequel. Blade is available to stream on HBO Max.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a movie I have never watched until last weekend. There is a Rocky Horror Picture Show themed party room at Convergence every year, but I never knew what the references were. My friend was shocked I had never seen this movie and ultimately, she pulled the DVD from her collection and made me watch it. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the ultimate horror-themed musical.

Throughout the movie, the unnamed narrator tells the story of the newly engaged couple Brad Majors (played by Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (played by Susan Sarandon). They hit a flat tire and stumble upon a massive mansion. Brad and Janet are invited inside and are immediately introduced to Dr. Frank-N-Furter (played spectacularly by Tim Curry) a transvestite from Transylvania. Brad and Janet see Furter create a human named Rocky (played by Peter Hinwood) who becomes Furter’s lover. There’s sex, music, murders, and generic chaos as the story unfolds.

I’m typically not a fan of musicals, but The Rocky Horror Picture Show is an exception. I like the references to various horror films. An example of this would be when Rocky is created as a mad scientist experiment by Furter. The music is catchy and I didn’t know the rockstar Meat Loaf was in this movie.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is an important musical for its time. Released in 1975, this movie has men dressing up in drag along with sexual liberation seen by Janet when she hooks up with both Rocky and Furter. Androgyny is also highlighted amongst several characters. It doesn’t surprise me that The Rocky Horror Picture Show has a cult following or how this attracted the LGBTQIA+ community to the film.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is so fun. I can’t believe I waited so long before watching this. It’s the perfect blend of sexuality, horror movies, and musicals. It’s fitting I watched this right before the Halloween season. I’m going to have the soundtrack on repeat for weeks.

Ghostbusters (2016)

Last weekend, I went to visit my friend for the weekend. Besides playing multiple board games, we like to watch movies together. In college, we would go see a movie once a month, at least? Her DVD collection is massive, and I decided to pick the Ghostbusters re-make for us to watch.

This particular Ghostbusters outing is a remake directed by Paul Feig who also directed Bridesmaids. The film is centered around physicists Abby Yates (played by Melissa McCarthy) and Erin Gilbert (played by Kristin Wiig). Erin is fired from her teaching position at Columbia University after Abby re-publishes the ghost book they wrote. Since Erin’s fired from her job, she teams up with Abby and Dr. Jillian Holtzmann (played wonderfully by Kate McKinnon) to hunt ghosts. Eventually, they meet Patty Tolan (played by Leslie Jones) as her expertise navigating around NYC helps the group locate the ghosts. Ghosts end up being unleashed and all hell breaks loose.

The show stopper in this film is Kate McKinnon. Her facial expressions and lines in this movie were the best. I wish Leslie Jones was more of the main character. She felt sidelined for a lot of the movie which is a shame. I can’t forget to discuss Chris Hemsworth playing the “dumb” secretary. Chris Hemsworth isn’t known for comedy, but his one-liners were great.

Although I liked Ghostbusters, this movie ended up being a box office bomb. There was so much controversy over having a female cast. I remember when the trailer for this movie hit Youtube, there was a remarkable amount of thumbs down responses. I’m biased in my response because I was a 90’s baby, so I wasn’t alive when the original Ghostbusters was released. It saddens me that fans had such a negative reaction to a movie before it was being released.

Ghostbusters wasn’t a perfect film by any means, but it was a campy sci-fi film starring incredibly funny women. I want all the Dr. Jillian Holtzmann merch. I saw her Funko pop and it’s so quirky. Let me know what you think of this movie in my comments section below.

BlacKkKlansman (2018)

BlacKkKlansman is a movie I have wanted to watch for a while. I couldn’t find BlacKkKlansman on any streaming service I subscribe to. My mom collects DVDs and allowed me to borrow this movie. This movie tells a crucial story especially with the real-life events that preceded the making of this movie. There was a lot I took away from watching this film especially because I am a white woman.

BlacKkKlansman tells the real-life story of Ron Stallworth (played by John David Washington) who was the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs Police department. During his service, he sets up an undercover operation to have white police detectives infiltrate the KKK. Philip “Flip” Zimmerman (played by Adam Driver) is the “white” Ron Stallworth who uncovers a planned bombing on the Black Panther Party. It’s a race against time to stop the bombing at all costs.

The real Ron Stallworth wrote a book about his experience which I have already ordered from my local bookstore. I admire his bravery in becoming a police officer while racism was still rampant. I’m glad his story was told as a film, so others like me can be aware of his story and to read his book.

My major takeaway from this film is recognizing the role white women played in the KKK and for keeping systemic racism alive today. In the film, one of the wives of the Klan helped plan the bombing. This level of violence wasn’t unheard of during this time. In today’s society, I think of the white women who call the police on young black kids. This is a way white women have been playing a role in the discrimination of the African American community. I may not have been alive during the Civil Rights movement, but I want to be an ally and to do better in ending racism.

Towards the end of BlacKkKlansman, the film shows real-life footage of the Unite the Night rally in Virginia along with President Donald Trump’s statements. Racism isn’t dead and these hate groups still exist. If we are to truly eliminate these hate groups, we cannot tolerate them in our society. There are no “both sides” with the KKK, their existence is a symbol of hatred and violence.

BlacKkKlansman deserved every single Oscar nomination. It’s a movie with incredible acting and storytelling. Ron Stallworth’s story along with the history of the Black Panther Party has inspired me to seek out more information. To help out this movement, I recommend donating to Black Lives Matter, the ACLU ,and the NAACP.