Turner Classic Movies
World Is Not Enough, The
Written by A.J. Hakari   

worldnotenoughjudydench.jpgFew movies in the James Bond franchise pulled off as delicate a balancing act as did the 1999 The World Is Not Enough. Some of the movie series concentrated more on the escapist aspect while others emphasized the serious elements. Not many actually brought the two together, until The World Is Not Enough. With Pierce Brosnan stepping into 007's shoes a third time, accompanied by Sophie Marceau and Denise Richards as his latest loves, this is an engaging action flick that remains pretty levelheaded while delivering the occasional far-fetched thrills only a Bond film can provide.

Robert Carlyle
The World Is Not Enough begins with a mission that actually goes awry for 007. After retrieving an oil magnate's stolen millions, Bond can only watch as the baron is soon blown to smithereens. Suspecting it was an inside job that did him in, Bond commences his investigation, picking up on a money trail that leads straight to international terrorist Renard (Robert Carlyle). A man who feels no pain thanks to a bullet lodged in his noggin, Renard is also the man who kidnapped the oilman's daughter, Elektra (Marceau), before she escaped. Assuming that Elektra is next on Renard's to-do list, Bond takes it upon himself to protect her, although he soon discovers that there's more at stake than a mere act of vengeance. The fiend is working towards getting his hands on some nuclear material, and it's up to 007 to pull the plug on his diabolical plans before disaster strikes.

What I like most about the latter-day Bond movies is how much they've opened themselves up visually. Sure, Sean Connery and Roger Moore visited some exotic locales in their days, but some of their films still tended to look like they were shot on a set. Not so with The World Is Not Enough, which puts viewers right along side Bond as he fights for queen and country everywhere from snowy mountaintops to Middle Eastern oil fields.

The world truly is a stage in the eyes of Bond, and director Michael Apted (Coal Miner's Daughter) makes sure viewers have a great time watching him go about his business. This is an action-packed affair, with the set pieces doled out in tandem with the story so that audiences are never too overwhelmed by both. It goes without saying that the film is at its best when it dispenses with the thematic nonsense and gets right to the good stuff. But the combination of a relatively straightforward plot (by Bond standards) and some elaborate action sequences -- the best being a ski pursuit and the undersea climax -- proves to be a mighty entertaining one.

Sophie Marceau
& Pierce Brosnan
Brosnan employs his usual rugged charm as 007, as adept in the action sequences as he is playing the ultimate ladies man. He handles the role with equal parts humor and toughness, ranking him right up there with Connery as one of the very best Bond actors.

The movie also boasts some uniformly strong performances from members of the supporting cast. The stunning Marceau shows herself to be no slouch as Elektra, a Bond Girl with a soul as wounded as her exterior is gorgeous. Judi Dench even gets in on the action as M, playing a much more pivotal role in the story other than pooh-poohing Bond's shenanigans.

Denise Richards
The film also marks the final appearance of the late Desmond Llewelyn as gadget man Q, bidding farewell to Bond fans in a rather cool exit. Strangely, though, the film came up short in the villain department. Not only did Carlyle give a fairly boring performance as Renard, the script really underutilized his character's ability to withstand great pain. Likewise, Denise Richards is one of the all-time worst Bond Girls, giving a flat and grating performance as Christmas Jones, a character who exists only so the script can dish out one of the corniest puns in Bond history.

An ideal meeting between cheese and hard-boiled thrills (with a pretty good theme song, to boot), The World Is Not Enough stands out as one of the coolest and most underappreciated of 007's adventures. Hitting the ground running and always keeping its silliness in check, it's hard to envision anyone who wouldn't have at least some fun with Bond's exploits here.

Director: Michael Apted

Writers: Neal Purvis and Robert Wade & Bruce Feirstein (story by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade)

Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Robert Carlyle, Denise Richards, Robbie Coltrane, Judi Dench

Rating: PG-13 for violence and sexuality

Classic Movie Guide Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Run Time: 128 minutes

Studio: United Artists

Format: Color, widescreen

Photo credits: United Artists




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