The World is Not Enough

(USA 1999)
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action violence, some sexuality and innuendo

Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Denise Richards, Robert Carlyle, Robbie Colrtane, Desmond Llewellyn, and Judi Densch

Director: Michael Apted

Writing credits:Neal Purvis, Charles Wade

Metr- Goldwyn-Mayer * 127 minutes


James Bond long ago stopped being reviewable; he's simply been around longer than most movie critics. As the longest running film franchise in history (21 films in total, but only 19 official films made by Eon Productions -- the also rans being David Niven's Casino Royale and the "Thunderball" remake Never Say Never Again), James Bond isn't so much a film series as an international force. If you've seen one Bond film, you know pretty much what to expect form the others, and Bond almost always delivers the goods.

Plot? Who needs it. They're usually incomprehensible, anyway. Screenplay? They're shamelessly carbon copies of one another. Technical prowess? Just make sure the boats, buildings, planes, and cars blow up on cue.

The best a reviewer can do with a new Bond film is to tell you whether it is fun or not, and THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH most definitely is. Like any Bond adventure, it has its plusses and minuses. With 18 others to compare it to, that's to be expected. But for my money, there's no better holiday adventure this season, a grinning blend of humor, action, style, sophistication, and glamor.

The plusses of THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH are easy to see. Pierce Brosnan, in his third outing as British superspy 007, is the best he's ever been. He's lost the wooden delivery and the smirking bad boy quality, and gained a more measured, weighty persona. One day, he may rank second only to Connery as the best actor to fill JB's shoes; he certainly makes strides in that direction here.

T.W.I.N.E. has a full rogues' gallery, including the pain-impervious Renard (Robert Carlyle) and Sukovsky (Robbie Coltrane), both of whom should find their place in the Bond pantheon. The Bond babes are memorable, too, especially Sophie Marceau's delicious turn as Elektra King, a wealthy heiress trying to build a European oil pipeline. Less successful and unintentionally hilarious is Denise Richards as -- get this -- Dr. Christmas Jones, a nuclear physicist who aids Bond in stopping Renard's evil machinations. Anyone who has seen Richards, either as the teenage vixen in WILD THINGS or the space-age vixen in STARSHIP TROOPERS, will immediately realize the hilarity of her as a doctor of anything. The jokes about her holiday-ish first name are so deliciously bad, I fell in love with her awfulness completely. (Remember Tanya Roberts in A VIEW TO A KILL?)

The Bond Girl to end all Bond Girls, Oscar winner Judi Dench, has a great deal more to do as Bond's boss M in this latest film. She brings a welcome classiness to the proceedings, and her martini-dry humor is impeccable.

The action sequences, as always, have varied success. The opening boat chase down the Thames is spectacular, surpassing even the chase in 1973's LIVE AND LET DIE. However, the ski scenes and the climactic fight on the submarine feel a bit muted.

THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, if anything, proves the health of this most wonderful franchise; the ending credits announce that you'll be seeing Bond again in the 21st century. If you don't like 007 in his other films, trust me, you won't like him here, either. But for those who like their martinis shaken, not stirred, this is a welcome addition to a remarkable legend.


- Gabriel Shanks

James Bond official site

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