The World Is Not Enough

Directed by Michael Apted
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Denise Richards, Robert Carlyle, Judi Dench.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action violence, some sexuality and innuendo.

Review by Matt Heffernan
November 19, 1999

James Bond films are misogynistic, puerile, full of lame jokes, overly violent, hackneyed, and yet, I love them immensely. There's something about the character that trancends the actor who plays him, but his current incarnation (Pierce Brosnan) is just about perfect. The World Is Not Enough is the 19th film in the series, if you don't count Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again. I always look forward to each new installment, but this is the first one that I have watched as a film critic, so here it goes.

Bond is assigned to collect over three million British pounds from a shady Swiss bank for Sir Robert King (David Calder), an oil tycoon and an old friend of M (Judi Dench). After returning to London, and handing the cash over to King, Bond enjoys a scotch with M, but notices a residue on his fingers that makes the scotch fizz. That money is gonna blow, but Agent 007 can't get to King in time. M suspects that King' daughter, Electra (Sophie Marceau) is next on the list, and sends Bond to be her bodyguard, and investigate the murder.

It turns out that the sum that King got back was equivalent to exactly five million American dollars, which was the ransom posted for Electra when she was kidnapped several years ago. The obvious suspect is her former captor, Renard (Robert Carlyle), an international terrorist who was shot in the head by another agent, but the bullet only managed to kill all sensation in his body. Therefore, he can feel no pain, but has nothing to lose, since the bullet will kill him slowly. Bond soon finds that Renard has a nuclear warhead, and must dismantle it with the help of a nuclear physicist: Dr. Christmas Jones (Denise Richards).

OK, you see that it's a ridiculous plot. But, Bond films aren't supposed to be reasonable. This one is full of the dashing action set pieces that have made the series famous. There is always a new predicament arising, and the suspense is very taut. Brosnan's Bond is incredibly charismatic; you can't help but cheer for him to beat the bad guy and get the girl, and he certainly doesn't let you down in either department.

There are problems with it, keeping the film from reaching the level of GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies. The screenplay by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade needed a little refinement, and didn't get quite enough even though three more hands touched it. There are more bad puns than usual, and a great deal of the rest of the dialogue was somewhat uninspired. Of course, I don't expect Shakespeare, but most of the other Bond films have been better written.

I may be giving this film three stars, but my inner 12-year-old wants to give it four. I was yet again caught up into Her Majesty's Secret Service, and I found it very satisfying on a deep level. This maybe a symptom of arrested development, but it's a part of me that I don't want to lose.

For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
The World Is Not Enough (1999)

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The World Is Not Enough, a screenplay novelization by Raymond Benson -- Paperback
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The World Is Not Enough: Music from the MGM Motion Picture -- Compact Disc Home
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Review © 1999 Matt Heffernan