Bonding with Bond, Day 21: The World Is Not Enough

One intrepid RT editor is watching all of the James Bond films in order.

by | November 10, 2008 | Comments

The World Is Not Enough continues Bond’s signature antics with nothing particularly new to offer. I didn’t think it was as bad as some have said, but it probably wouldn’t make it into my top 10 either.

The World Is Not Enough (1999) 51%


Twenty films in, and my affection for James Bond only grows. The first thing I want to say before I begin is that I absolutely love the James Bond theme music. As the gun barrel spiral zeroes in on Bond in the intro before The World Is Not Enough, we hear a slightly updated version of the music, and not only is it an iconic tune, but it’s just great music, period. It’s a testament to John Barry’s talent that the same music could be used for every Bond movie, with few changes, and still sound great; it never gets old. I can’t say the same for some of the theme songs that have accompanied a few of the films, but while I’m not a Sheryl Crow fan, I thought her song for Tomorow Never Dies actually wasn’t too bad, and Garbage’s song for The World Is Not Enough was even better.

It seems they’ve finally settled Brosnan comfortably into the role of 007, as evidenced by the first handful of scenes. The pre-credits opening again sets the standard impressively high for action throughout the movie, with its improbable boat chase and freefall from a hot air balloon. Once placed in physical therapy for his injuries, Bond also recalls his skeevier days by sleeping with his doctor in exchange for a clean bill of health, allowing him to return to active duty. Then we have the obligatory Q Branch scene, albeit a sad one, as Desmond Llewelyn seems to be bidding us farewell as Q. I really loved his character, but I understand his need to pass the torch, as he was starting to resemble a muppet. I’m happy with the choice of John Cleese as his successor, though his introduction signals the beginning of a goofier Q than we’ve come to know, and I’ll definitely miss Llewelyn.

I was pleased with the idea that Sophie Marceau’s character, Elektra King, was one of the two central villains. This is, more or less, what I was referring to a few movies ago when I speculated how neat it would be to incorporate a female nemesis. I suspected early on that she was playing Bond for a fool, but there was enough intrigue in the plot to make me question my decision once or twice. Her counterpart, Renard (played by Robert Carlyle, who I like) was sufficiently menacing, but I thought he was somewhat underused. Unfortunately, while Marceau and Renard are both great actors, in my opinion, to have both of them share bad-guy duties ensured that neither of them really shone as the true villain.

The action, as I’ve mentioned, was very good yet again, though I’m noticing a few things. First of all, there are key elements that a Bond movie must have to be a Bond movie. At first I identified these elements simply as motorized chases, but I’ve come to expand on that. The chase must be either in a car or in a boat, and in the rare case will incorporate a chopper. Secondly, there is the option of having a winter sports chase, typically on skis, that results in at least one enemy falling to his or her death (on a side note, all rich people are expert extreme-skiers). Lastly, the final battle must always be so long that it becomes laborious and unexciting, which was the case for me in TWINE.

I am enjoying watching the relationship between Bond and the new M develop. Judi Dench’s M is a very different M than that of Bernard Lee. While Lee was constantly shaking his finger at Bond and treating him in much the same way that Q did, like a father giving his son a noogie, Dench plays the role with a much more serious tone. In addition, I believe TWINE is the first Bond film to involve M in the plot significantly, and I think this helps to elevate her character beyond a simple paper pusher sending Bond out on all these crazy missions.

Having said all of this, there is nothing particularly notable about The World Is Not Enough. It’s fairly typical, as far as Bond films are concerned, and nothing new or particularly earth shattering is introduced. And, of course, it had its faults; there’s Bond throwing out puns and one-liners like there’s no tomorrow, and there’s the casting of Denise Richards – I didn’t have a problem with her claiming to be a nuclear scientist, but I did have a problem with her atrocious acting, and even this isn’t something I haven’t seen before. To be honest, I took very few notes while watching this movie, because there wasn’t a whole lot to remark on. Overall, I was underwhelmed, and while the production quality of the Bond films has increased dramatically over the years, I feel that they’ve lost something in the way of charm, and with only two more films to watch, I find myself more drawn to the earlier installments.

Favorite line: “He’s no atomic scientist.” — Denise Richards as Dr. Christmas Jones (what is this, a blaxploitation film?) when Bond is discovered impersonating a scientist. Oh the irony…

Favorite moment: It’s a sentimental one. I almost choked up when Bond turned to Q and said, “You’re not retiring any time soon… are you?” and Q descended out of view, saying, “Always have an escape plan.” You’re my boy, Q!

Other Articles:

Tag Cloud

VICE MTV Pixar Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt President Netflix Sundance Now Toys Video Games period drama NBC DC Universe comiccon USA BBC America Cosplay ABC Family Sundance docudrama Music Country Freeform Food Network GIFs USA Network Cartoon Network Sneak Peek Reality X-Men Super Bowl travel Crackle biography Grammys social media Schedule Mary Tyler Moore Disney singing competition Rock IFC Films Kids & Family Trailer Logo CW Seed HBO Syfy BBC LGBTQ sports CMT Mystery Disney Channel El Rey Calendar thriller aliens Pop TLC Horror Tumblr Masterpiece Photos TV Land Election ABC Rocky Awards Fantasy Teen SDCC Opinion Ghostbusters Nominations Drama 21st Century Fox MSNBC PBS 2016 Interview FXX Polls and Games FX dramedy cinemax Adult Swim Fox News Fall TV Lucasfilm Britbox Sci-Fi DC streaming service Comic Book IFC CBS Comedy spy thriller American Society of Cinematographers Paramount Network Nickelodeon crime Tomatazos FOX WGN Certified Fresh APB crime drama discovery E! police drama Watching Series Western TCA 2017 what to watch YouTube Red CBS All Access based on movie cults psycho crime thriller Countdown dc 2015 20th Century Fox E3 Spring TV History BET transformers medical drama DirecTV binge TCM 2017 Musical dceu Acorn TV Nat Geo TNT adventure Marathons serial killer Year in Review Musicals VH1 See It Skip It Superheroe sitcom RT History Christmas Winners Martial Arts historical drama Red Carpet Action ESPN Comedy Central diversity YA Box Office Star Wars Writers Guild of America Spike harry potter Showtime cats Trivia Reality Competition The CW TBS cooking Oscars Creative Arts Emmys politics Holidays Bravo Best and Worst unscripted romance TCA boxoffice talk show Superheroes CNN Dark Horse Comics 24 frames Ellie Kemper Starz justice league zombie Set visit supernatural Valentine's Day 007 Biopics cops NYCC TV A&E ITV AMC GoT composers TruTV vampires Premiere Dates OWN The Arrangement Emmys ratings Lifetime war Hulu Mindy Kaling PaleyFest Universal golden globes First Look Sony Pictures Infographic Amazon DC Comics Paramount Warner Bros. Summer science fiction SundanceTV technology Extras Thanksgiving Marvel Star Trek Lionsgate Rom-Com 45 political drama Winter TV GLAAD Character Guide Podcast Esquire Pirates Animation TIFF