The World is Not Enough
Reviewed by Beth Hannan Rimmels
The latest entry in the James Bond franchise, The World is Not Enough, isnt terribly original, but it is a very entertaining adventure romp that is in many ways the quintessential Bond flick.
Star Pierce Brosnan grows more comfortable with the role of 007 as time goes on. Despite the pretty face, he is perfectly believable as the lethal agent who puts Queen and country above all else. The pre-credit sequence gets off to a good start, then grabs you by the throat and drags you along so well that it's easy to forget that this is just the opener. Nearly 20 minutes long, it sets the tone beautifully as Bond faces off against an equally skilled assassin. The only off-note is when he bothers to straighten his tie while underwater.
The opening sequence also helps to set up the rest of the film. MI6 has had run-ins with a terrorist named Renard (Robert Carlyle) and dealings with the King oil company, which is building a pipeline through the former Soviet Union. Bond is sent to protect Elektra King (Sophie Marceau) and actually tries to resist sleeping with her, though, of course, he finally succumbs to temptation.
Saying too much about the plot would wreck the movie, but Renard is an appropriately "Bond-ian" villain (though not quite as juicy as some previous bad guys) because a bullet in his brain prevents him from feeling pain. It's an interesting wrinkle but one that could have worked better. The talented Carlyle could practically sleepwalk through the role. The role needed more energy. There are a few comparisons between his physical and Bonds emotional numbness, but not so many as to be trite. Instead, it adds some nice shadings to Brosnans character.
Marceau is very good as Elektra, who is much more than the usual pretty thing on Bonds arm. Judi Dench is wonderful as usual as M, particularly since this time the screenwriters give her something to do other than order James around. The situation with King Oil is directly tied to past dealings between the family and M. You can read volumes in her facial expressions when she has a private meeting with Bond on the subject early in the film. Robbie Coltrane is a welcome sight reprising his role from GoldenEye as Zukovsky, the KGB agent turned organized crime capitalist.
The only major flaws are a badly miscast Denise Richards as Dr. Christmas Jones and an illogical final confrontation. The character of Jones is actually written rather well, but Richards is totally unconvincing, and not just because shes young and beautiful. And dont bother thinking about anything after Bond jumps off the balcony into the water. From then on, so many things make so little sense, its not worth it. But its exciting and the bad guy dies in the end, of course. World is a formula Bond movie, but it's an entertaining formula movie. Its just a shame because with a better thought-out ending, World could have been killer rather than merely good.
Review © 1999 Beth Hannan Rimmels. Accompanying photographs © 1999 Danjaq LLC and MGM. Photo credits: Jay Maidment and Keith Hamshere.