The World Is Not Enough (1999)
The World Is Not Enough (1999)

Genre: Action and Spy Running Time: 2 hrs. 8 min.

Release Date: November 19th, 1999 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Michael Apted Actors: Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Robert Carlyle, Denise Richards, Robbie Coltrane, Judi Dench, Desmond Llewelyn, John Cleese, Samantha Bond, Serena Scott Thomas, Maria Grazia Cucinotta

 


 

A

t a bank in Bilbao, Spain, MI6 Agent James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) is investigating the death of a fellow operative. The chief banker is about to reveal vital information, but is unexpectedly assassinated. Upon arriving back at his British headquarters, with a briefcase of money retrieved for oil tycoon Sir Robert King (David Calder), Bond discovers that the elderly associate of M (Judi Dench) is an additional target – and that Bond was allowed to escape Spain only to unwittingly aid in an attempt on King’s life.

At a Scotland briefing, King’s organization is scrutinized, and it’s up to Bond to track down the man behind the killing. King’s daughter Elektra (Sophie Marceau, one of the better Bond girls) could be in danger, having been caught up in a botched ransom satisfaction turned sour by M’s own interference, now returning to Azerbaijan to oversee the construction of the Caspian Sea oil pipeline in her father’s stead. Anarchist Renard (Robert Carlyle), with a bullet slowly traveling through his medulla oblongata that numbs his senses (effectively making him stronger every day until the bullet eventually kills him), is suspected of orchestrating King’s demise and targeting Elektra next. Headstrong and refusing Bond’s offer of protection, she’s immediately pursued by machinegun-toting paratroopers and snowmobiles through the frosty mountains where her operation headquarters resides. After visiting sketchy ally Valentin Zukovsky (Robbie Coltrane), Bond hitches a ride on an enemy plane to Kazakhstan, Central Asia, where he locates Renard – but is unable to prevent the terrorist from stealing a nuclear bomb to be used to destroy Elektra’s pipeline.

The opening sequence provides plenty of fireballs and destruction with a splendidly choreographed speedboat chase through the Thames that manages to toss in aerial stunts at its close. But, most unfortunately, the movie only goes downhill from here. The title song is bland and forgettable, paired with a matching, lackluster score. Q (Desmond Llewelyn) is finally retiring, succeeded by John Cleese (comically dubbed “R”), who is entirely too goofy to have any place in the steadily increasing silliness of Brosnan’s Bond. And M is still obnoxious, trying her best to be disagreeable and clashing with Bond’s curtness toward authority. Even the villain, unaccompanied by slick henchmen, is sensationally idiotic – his powers are pathetic and his motives and evilness are pitifully contrived.

The action scenes involve quite a bit of complexity and tricky choreography, but tend to simply happen without any sense of tenseness or originality. Despite a flurry of visual intricacies, they’re not particularly exciting – there’s just no life to the adventure, regularly betraying the lack of vitality in the plot, the characters, and even the unfulfilled potential of the globetrotting locales. Suspense and verve are tremendously lacking.

Physicist Dr. Christmas Jones (Denise Richards, donning one of the more senseless names, serving the purpose of originating only a couple of jokes) is one of the worst of all Bond girls – acted monstrously poorly, with ill-placed dialogue, and permanently sticking out like a sore thumb from the surrounding soldiers and professionals. Her role lacks sincerity and Richards can’t come anywhere near to believable as a nuclear scientist. She even dresses foolishly, awkwardly resembling Lara Croft, and wears a stupid expression to receive every quip from Bond (she dishes out even more brainless commentary herself). Overall, there aren’t enough strong points in the film to counteract the glaring faults, making “The World is Not Enough” a decidedly dull entry in the series.

– Mike Massie

  • 3/10