THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH (1999) A film review by Justin Felix. Copyright 1999 Justin Felix.
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Rating: *** (out of five)
Screenplay by Bruce Feirstein, Michael France, Neal Purvis, Dana Stevens, and Robert Wade.
Directed by Michael Apted.
Starring Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, and Denise Richards.
Theme song performed by Garbage.
Rated PG-13 (contains lots of Bond violence, Bond sex, and Bond innuendo) 128 mins.
Synopsis: British secret agent James Bond sleeps with three women (a doctor, a nuclear physicist, and a wealthy oil inheritor, no less!), drives a nifty car, and saves the world from a guy who has a bullet in his head.
Comments: This is Bond Film #19. Nineteen James Bond movies. It's incredible when you think about it. After the sequel number goes up too high, usually filmmakers drop the numbers from their titles because they know that audiences get a little suspicious about the quality of sequels. ALIEN 4, hence, becomes ALIEN RESURRECTION, and HELLRAISER 4 changes into HELLRAISER: BLOODLINE. The people behind the Bond films, however, are even smarter. The movie titles make no mention of their main character, and none of them suggest that they are a sequel. THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, for example, bears no relation to the previous Bond film, TOMORROW NEVER DIES. To further the cleverness, both titles are really cool. I remember seeing a poster for THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH during the summer and immediately being drawn into the film's hype. Has there been a cooler film title in recent memory than THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH?
THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH is not only the nineteenth Bond outing, but it is also the third movie featuring Pierce Brosnan as 007. I'm not going into an elaborate discussion of which Bond actor has been the best; most argue correctly that it will always be Sean Connery. Brosnan, however, has done a pretty good job at establishing himself as a respectable second. THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH is certainly not the best Bond film ever made (indeed Brosnan's last outing in TOMORROW NEVER DIES is slightly better), but it is a respectable, watchable action flick good for a Saturday afternoon matinee.
THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH doesn't deviate much from the traditional Bond formula. Many of the same supporting characters appear here: Miss Moneypenny, M, and Q. Bond scores with several good-looking models-turned-actresses. He drives around in a souped-up sports car. The world is in danger, and he saves the day. Sometimes the routine is good to see. Unfortunately, another part of the formula exists in this film: bad guys don't kill the good guys--they just talk and talk until the good guys find an avenue to break free and save the day. I don't know how many times someone had a chance to ice either Bond, M, or the nuclear physicist (more about this ridiculous character in a bit) but managed to screw it up because either (a) they wanted to talk, (b) they wanted to gloat, or (c) they wanted to restrain their captor for some other bad guy to talk or gloat to. Sometimes you just want to tell the bad guys to shoot. They'd win that way.
There are actually a couple bad guys this time around. I won't spoil the fun by revealing who the secret bad guy is; although, if you have half a brain, you'll figure it out pretty quickly. The "bad guy from the beginning," Renard, is fairly original though. Apparently, he has a bullet lodged in his brain that's slowly killing him. That makes him, in some respects, more dangerous than other Bond villains because, let's face it, he doesn't have much to lose. Also, apparently, this bullet makes him numb to outside stimuli, so he doesn't feel pain. This makes him a bad ass when it comes to fighting. It may not be realistic, but it's still cool.
The most absurd aspect of THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH is not its convoluted storyline or electronic gadgets. Denise Richards, pouty supermodel babe from such campy movies as STARSHIP TROOPERS and WILD THINGS, laughably tries to pass herself off as a nuclear physicist. Folks, this is the most ridiculous casting I've seen in a long while. My friend and I laughed a number of times as she spouted dialogue unconvincingly. She was included, I'm sure, just so we could see her do a number of wet T-shirt scenes in the ultimate showdown with Renard inside a flooding submarine. Oh, by the way, this "scientific thinker's" name is Dr. Christmas Jones. I don't know which is worse: her name or the final Bond line in the film as he scores with Dr. Jones. I'll give you a hint; it has to do with the old adage that Christmas comes but once a year. Ugh.
While THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH may not be a groundbreaking or original entry in the action film genre, it is still 007 and still entertaining. The film's opening, featuring the title song performed by the rock group Garbage, is quite good. The closing credits promise that Bond will return in another film. At least, unlike other film series that have gone on well too long like BATMAN and HELLRAISER, this is something to look forward to rather than cringe at.
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