The World is Not Enough (1999) Movie Review

You may have noticed that there’s an exorbitant amount of elaborate action sequences in the James Bond movies. That’s because a single James Bond movie is essentially stitched together from the action sequences of two action movies, but the storyline of just one of them. This is why a 007 movie generally runs over 2 hours, because it doesn’t need to accommodate the thrills and spills of just one action movie, but two. 1999’s “The World is Not Enough” was the third Bond film for Pierce Brosnan, and I believe it’s also the most ambitious in characterization for the deadly secret agent.

Plot: psycho terrorist Renard (Robert Carlyle) is intent on bringing anarchy to the world and plans on achieving this elusive goal by blowing up everything and everyone involved in a multi-national oil company run by Elektra King (Sophie Marceau). Bond must stop Renard, who because of a bullet lodged in his brain from a failed assassination attempt, feels no pain and is nearly unstoppable. Along the way, Bond hooks up with hottie Elektra and hot pants wearing nuclear scientist Christmas Jones (Denise Richards). And oh, a lot of stuff blows up real good.

“TWINE” is also known as the Bond movie to retire actor Desmond Llewelyn, a Bond regular throughout the years and the one constant presence in the franchise. Llewelyn plays Q, the scientist that invents all of those groovy gadgets Bond uses in the field. Comedian John Cleese has a cameo as R, Q’s replacement. In a moving scene, the screenwriters give Q what amounts to a brief goodbye speech before the character is literally lowered into the floor like a stage actor performing his final bow. It’s a brief and emotional scene, but should have been much longer in light of the man’s service to the franchise.

Also returning is Judi Dench (“Chocolat”) as M, the head honcho of MI6. Dench’s M gets a bigger role this time around, and we learn that she was involved in a botched kidnapping involving Elektra and Renard years earlier. Robbie Coltrane, who was last in “Goldeneye”, makes a return appearance as shady Russian casino owner Valentin. Like Dench, Coltrane gets more involve in the film’s plot besides his usual role as the purveyor of background exposition. And what is there to say about Denise Richards (“Starship Troopers”) except that she still can’t act to save her life? I guess nothing. Actually, Richards and Marceau (“Braveheart”) both have romantic entanglements with the dashing Bond, so you figure it out.

As the movie’s big bad guy, the diminutive Robert Carlyle (“The 51st State”) once again proves that being short onscreen can be a liability when your character is supposed to have screen presence. Here, Carlyle’s Renard is barely half a madman, if you know what I mean. Then again, Renard’s status as head bad guy is mitigated somewhat by the fact that there’s a hidden villain in the movie. The presence of a hidden villain, incidentally, seems to be a new trend with the Bond films of late. There was also a hidden villain in “Goldeneye” and once again in “Die Another Day”.

As I alluded to when I reviewed the latest Bond film, “TWINE” is a Bond movie, so what is there to expect but lots and lots of explosion; lots and lots of action; lots and lots of dialogue charged with sexual innuendo; and lots and lots of really, really bad puns. And gadgets. Let’s not forget about gadgets. As for Bond himself, “TWINE” has given the character more of an edge. Bond also seems more human in this installment, and although he still takes on multiple opponents and skates around dangerous situations without a sweat, Bond seems emotionally more vulnerable. His relationship with Elektra King brings forth a Bond that is hesitant to get involve for fear of getting him, or her, or both of them, hurt.

“TWINE” is, in the style of all Bond movies, a well-directed roller coaster ride. Michael Apted (“Enigma”) is another can’t-miss director, and he handles all the action sequences with the same elaborateness and too-cool-for-school visuals like the pro that he is. The Bond movies is a can’t-lose franchise. And why not? It’s not like there’s any secret to its success. Just throw two action movies together, but use just one movie’s storyline, and voila! You have a Bond movie.

Michael Apted (director)
CAST: Pierce Brosnan …. James Bond
Sophie Marceau …. Elektra King
Robert Carlyle …. Renard
Denise Richards …. Dr. Christmas Jones
Robbie Coltrane …. Valentin Zukovsky
Judi Dench …. M
Desmond Llewelyn …. Q
John Cleese …. R

Buy The World is Not Enough on DVD