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In November of 1999, a very strange thing happened. An intelligent action
film filled with well-drawn characters, an unconventional plot structure,
and a storyline that required you to pay attention. Stranger still, it
a James Bond film, a series widely regarded by the mass public as `fluff'
when Bond films have actually been among the prime example of properly
plot-motivated action pieces. The highly underrated `The Living
comes to mind.
But the strangest thing is the critical thrashing `The World Is Not Enough' received. From Entertainment Weekly singling it out as a reason to overhaul the Bond franchise, to Internet critics (cough Harry Knowles cough) soundly trashing it in long, diatribe-filled electronic pieces. The fact that Harry praised the previous entry `Tomorrow Never Dies' (or as a friend described it, 12 pages of script and 90 pages of storyboards) as the best entry since `The Spy Who Loved Me' only leads to my conclusion that the critics and movie-goers of today have firmly and finally `checked their brains at the door' so to speak.
The range of critiques for TWINE is stunning. I have read dismissals of the first fifteen minutes as nothing more than one action sequence after another, despite the fact that the opening teaser has direct relevance to the storyline and contains more complex plot structure than the aforementioned previous entry, TND. Claims of it being `boring' and `dull' were often tossed about. Even the fact that Bond actually expresses discomfort was singled out as a major flaw. See my above `brain-checking' comment. But I am not here to make TWINE look good exclusively in comparison to TND, so here goes.
TWINE had me from the start, from Bond's instant realization of the money bomb. I knew I was in good hands from that point on. Indeed, in an era of clumsily handled twists and blindingly obvious revelations, the Electra King twist completely threw me. I had my suspicions, just as James himself wisely did, but I didn't want to believe it. Again, just like James. I could go on for a good half-hour about M's shock when she sees exactly what she and MI6 have created in 007. His cold-bloodedness has never been on bigger display in recent ventures, save a few select moments. (`For England James? No. For Me.') Make no mistake about it. Bond is first and foremost a trained killer in this outing, firmly focused on carrying out the will of MI6, even at the cost of.
The action sequences serve the story for a change, and each carry emotional weight, resulting from character's needs beyond that of eliminating Mister Bond. Two of the primary sequences are ploys by the main villain, blatant attempts to misdirect rather than outright kill for the sake of killing. Indeed, misdirection and misreading motivations are the primary plot movers. By the end, everything believed by our antagonist neatly shifts into reverse. And thankfully, the `one-man army' Bond of late is greatly reduced here, pitting Bond against more realistic odds.
The small moments count too. The high-backed chairs at the MI6 briefing. Zukofsky's small moment of delight upon seeing Bond's new Beemer sliced in half. The expertly placed shot toward Renard's head, blocked by safety glass. Elektra's emotional breakdown when trapped inside the avalanche (but faked or not?) And Zukofsy's silent communication to Bond to take care of business for him. Reverence and respect is held for the series' past, even Bond's marriage is referenced as he dodges Electra's query as to whether he's ever lost someone that he loves. Heck, these days even a lone `Universal Exports' reference would be considered gold, but the writers of TWINE have obviously done their studying.
If TWINE has any weaknesses, the action sequences are not always staged at the series' prime. Although the raid on Zukovsky's factory is executed beautifully and is a superb set piece for Bond, some clumsy editing and lensing weakens the ski sequence and the climactic fight on board the Victor II sub. David Arnold's score is under-mixed; giving the movie a bit too much subtlety in moments the grandness should be spilling into the theater (commercial or home). And of course, Denise Richards is just plainly miscast for the part of Christmas Jones, which screams for someone of greater maturity. As someone on the Internet said `Bond girls should have class, not be late for it.' Can't argue much there.
In closing, I hope the producers choose to ignore the gnashing of hypocritical teeth and continue on a similar path for the next Bond film. Do not return to a one-set-piece-after-another film. Have faith (however small) that the audience will wake up. I know I for one will be there, hoping that the next film will live up to the lofty (if unappreciated) standards of 'The World Is Not Enough'.
The film opens with a formidable assassin who had recently posed as a
She had given Bond a cigar, before killing her boss
in the Swiss banker's office in Bilbao, Spain
Now, when a bomb blew a hole in MI6's London headquarters, the super spy sped off in the Q boat, ignoring Q's plaintive cry, "Stop" Stop! It isn't finished!" It was Q's fishing boat for his retirement There's a splendid boat chase along the River Thames between 007 and the stunning Maria Grazia Cucinotta, the "Cigar Girl" who worked as a barmaid at the village inn in "Il Postino." Bond was eager to capture her for questioning
When a bomb planted in a briefcase of money killing British oil tycoon Robert King, M was determined to bring the perpetrators to justice The prime suspect was Renard who had once kidnapped King's daughter, Elektra M (Judi Dench) believed Elektra was next on Renard's list and 007 was assigned to act as her "shadow" while she supervised the building of an oil pipeline in Azerbaijan Yet despite his powerful urge to protect her, there was something about this beautiful, cunning, willful woman that aroused his suspicions
Bond flew to Azerbaijan, where King Industries was building an oil pipeline Elektra gave 007 a 'cold' reception, taking him up into the snowy peaks to the pass where the two ends of the pipeline would soon meet... It was then that unsocial 'visitors' struck
Sophie Marceau plays the magnate's daughter Elecktra who had once escaped Renard's clutches all by herself Her favorite motto: "There's no point in living if you can't feel alive."
Robert Carlyle plays Renard, the former KGB hit-man who had set up his own organization and demanded fanatical loyalty He was a murderer, a terrorist, and a kidnapper His only goal was chaos Subordinated who failed him killed themselves rather than face his wrath After Robert King came to see M, she sent 009 to kill Renard 009 caught up with him and put a bullet in his head The bullet was now killing off all his senses and was impervious to pain Renard was determined to pull off one last coup against the West But his motivations were motivated by blind hatred, or blind love?
Goldie plays Bull, Zukovsky's shifty, gold-toothed bodyguard He was a menace to his boss and an important Renard spy
Denise Richards plays Christmas Jones, the sexy atomic scientist overseeing the dismantling of the Kazakhstan nuclear test site Dr. Jones became an invaluable ally of 007's following Renard's theft of a nuclear bomb
For "The World Is Not Enough," Q equipped Bond with the faster car 007 had ever been entrusted with: the MBW Z8, armed with a radar-guided missile system...
Robbie Coltrane returns as the duplicitous Russian black marketeer Valentin Zukovsky whose ebony walking gun stick seemed a typically showy affection - but it had its uses...
A final sad note: "The World Is Not Enough," marked the final appearance of the beloved Desmond Llewelyn, who acted from 1964 to 1995, except for "Live and Let Die." A perfect foil to 007's lighthearted nature Q has been one of the series' most enduring character...
Has there ever been a more beautiful baddie in a Bond film than Sophie Marceau? (maybe Luciana Paluzzi in 'Thunderball' to answer my own question) This woman is GORGEOUS and one of the series best characters. Pierce Brosnan gets better with each movie and out of his four this is probably the best. The pre-credit sequence, the longest in the films history is worth the entrance fee alone, an amazing chase along the river Thames it is simply stunning and should really only be viewed on a big screen. This sequence is what Bond is all about, outrageously over the top excitement that kicks the film off to a cracking start, in fact I'd go as far as saying this is the best pre-credit beginning of all the Bond films. The story actually makes sense as well for once - no real plot twists (except Electra) and all the action is there for a reason, not just as spectacle. Judi Dench gets her best outing in this, proving herself capable of getting out of tight situations and it's nice to see Robbie Coltrane again (the caviar factory scene being another highlight). The humour is kept in check and doesn't descend into parody like some in the series ('Diamonds Are Forever' for example) but when Bond says 'Q isn't going to like this' when his car gets sliced in half is one of the funniest moments in any of the films. Speaking of Q this is Desmond LLewelyns last Bond movie, he died shortly after and the film is dedicated to him. All in all this is as good as any of Connerys films and the best since 'The Spy Who Loved Me' with good all round performances from all involved although Denise Richards was obviously picked more for her looks than acting ability. A worthy addition to the series this is my 6th favourite 007 film.
Top casting and exciting action make this one of the most entertaining Bond
films for a while.
Some may disagree, but I think Brosnan has the edge over Connery now. Sophie Marceau is fantastic as Electra, one of the most interesting characters to grace the series for a while. Carlyle, although shortlived, is a very believable and even sympathetic villain and Robbie Coltrane makes a meal of his second appearance as Valentin Zukovsky.
The opening scene of TWINE is probably the best action scene ever in a Bond film and while the ones that follow cannot quite match up to it, they are still top class. Director Michael Apted shows that he has a real talent for dealing with these parts of the movie, and the excellent soundtrack can only improve them.
I went to see this movie on consecutive days and bought the soundtrack (Garbage&David Arnold) the second time, this is the best recommendation that I can possibly give it.
The first time I saw this in the cinema in '99, I remember actively
disliking it - the first time I'd had that reaction to a new Bond
saw it a second time at the cinema, and disliked it less - but still
keen. Now, in the dying days of 2002, and quaking with hatred for - and
disappointment at - 'Die Another Day', I re-evaluated TWINE for a second
time. And I have to say, compared to this year's farce, TWINE is bathed
golden glow. In terms of character development, plausibility (always
in Bond films, but still), acting, and script, TWINE is far and away and
without a shadow of doubt superior to 'Die Another Day'. Above all, this
a Bond film that does occasionally treat its audience like they have
cells, rather than a ghastly exercise in sci-fi pretensions with MTV
The opening sequence reveals itself to be one of the very best in the series, taut and exciting, flawlessly directed and perfectly executed. There's nothing else in the film that can quite top it, but some inspired casting helps immeasurably. Sophie Marceau is superb, and it's great to see Robbie Coltrane reprise Valentin Zukovsky, who bags many of the best lines. Judy Dench as 'M' is given a high profile in this entry, which is all to the good as she's clearly the best thing to happen to the Bond films in the Brosnan era. Alas, Desmond Llwelyn makes his final appearance as 'Q' - it would be thus even had he not died the following year - and his exit is well-handled.touching, even. On the downside, Robert Carlyle is not quite convincing as Renard, but it barely matters as Marceau is so firmly in control. Denise Richards isn't as bad as she's been made out to be - indeed, she actually seems smarter and less bland than Halle Berry in DAD.
Plot and action sequences throughout the film are deftly handled, but there are some areas where TWINE seems a little derivative, cheerfully looting the Bond back catalogue, for example in the Caucasus skiing sequence which fuses together action setpieces from YOLT and OHMSS. There are also moments of alarming silliness more redolent of the 1970s and '80s, such as the scene with John Cleese making his debut as future-'Q' and all scenes with Goldie in as Bullion. And for those of us who aren't fans of Pierce Brosnan, there's plenty to annoy - excessive jaw-clenching, lots of posing, inherent charmlessness. I'm sure he's lovely in real life, mind.
Generally, though this is a competent entry in the series, and its attempts at depth just about succeed. It is also the most `how'-and-`why'-proof Bond film since the 1960s, a refreshing change from those Bond films that arrogantly command the audience to suspend their beliefs and do all the maths themselves. Quite why it all went wrong three years later is anyone's guess, but I blame 'XXX' and a continuing adoration of 'The Matrix'.
TWINE is without doubt the 007 adventure of the 90's. I would consider it to
be one of the best Bond movies ever, but for sure the best of the Brosnan
era so far, because it perfectly combines Bond's universe with the real
world. The movie has a terrific look, crystal clear colours and benefits
from the great craft of Clark and Biddle who both did a fantastic job. In
addition Pierce Brosnan gives one of the best performances in years, taking
his character both seriously and on the other hand not too seriously. Sophie
Marceau offers a fantastic villainess and puts herself in one line with
Chris Walken, Robert Davi and Klaus Maria Brandauer.
The writers Michael France, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Dana Stevens and Bruce Feirstein have outdone themselves by creating some of the best characters in the series and by far the best punchlines and dialogues in years. Every dialogue contains funny and suggestive lines and this really makes fun to sit there and enjoy two hours of perfect entertainment.
THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH has to be my favorite James Bond film. It seems
that Pierce Brosnan's Bond films have the longest teasers (pre-credits
sequences) in the series and the River Thames chase was a brilliant
start, not to mention well-filmed with the London background. The
action scene that stands out from them all in the film is the
helicopter attack on the Caspian Sea. The plot is very interesting with
twists and turns with all the oil involvement, and Pierce perhaps gives
his finest Bond performance in his four outings.
Robert Carlyle makes a chilling villain as Renard (he's already dead and can't feel pain), but the biggest highlight of TWINE is the two leading women: Sophie Marceau and Denise Richards. Marceau is very well-cast as villainess Elektra King and is perhaps the best Bond villainess since THUNDERBALL's Fiona Volpe. Richards is a gorgeous actress and she's very charming and fun as heroine Dr. Christmas Jones. These are two of the most beautiful and sexiest Bond girls in the series; you are going to love both of them.
With its well-staged action, epic plot, Pierce's wonderful performance, and two brilliant Bond girls, TWINE is a Bond adventure both Bond fans and non-Bond fans will treasure. ****
I am a great Bond-fan so I was very intruiged to
see the new Bond-film 'The World is not Enough.'
I went to see it and I liked it very much. The story this time is interesting,especcially the character Electra King,wonderfully played by French actress Sophie Marceau, is very well written.
But off course you are not going to see a Bond-movie for the story,you expect to see great action scenes, stunts,evil villains,beautiful locations and great humour.
And all the things I mentioned above were presented very well in this Bond-film.
The action scenes in the oil-pipes, on the mountains of Kazachstan and especially on the Thames in London were very spectacular.
Robert Carlyle is convincing as a villain who don't feel any pain.
The locations were very exotic and the scenes in Istanbul gave me a nostalgic feeling to 'From Russia with Love.'
But the most important thing in a Bond-movie is the actor who plays it.And Brosnan did it very well. He's agressive,he has got a sense of humour and he really looks like the gentleman Bond is supposed to be. But in some scenes we see Brosnan also in a more vulnerable position. So I think Brosnan is after Connery the best Bond-actor.
My conclusion is that 'The World is not Enough' is a great Bond-movie with all the elements that make this series,after almost 38 years,still one of the greatest movie experiences of the year.
Well it's Bond! He's back again for a 19th instalment of the same usual set
of gags, gadgets, girls and guns! Can the world not get enough of this
Not that anyone really needs to know the story for a Bond film as it's usually just an excuse for lots of action! But you might end up enjoying it more if you knew what was going on. So for all it's worth, here you go. Bond races out to protect Elektra King (Marceau, playing a very different kind of Bond girl!), the daughter of a recently assassinated oil tycoon. She's under threat as she tries to complete a set of pipelines, so she's obviously going to need some protection (NO, not that type of protection!). The threat comes from Renard (Carlyle) who plays a unique villain who can't feel any pain after having a bullet lodged in his brain. As Bond gets closer to catching him a few truths are revealed! We quickly discover that things aren't going to be as easy as they look! But then again it's a Bond film so they never are!
Along the way Bond teams up with nuclear physicist Christmas (Richards) Jones (what a name!) who manages to help him diffuse bombs! Very handy as together they end up having to stop Renard from blowing half the world up!
The film starts off with one of the longest opening pre-credits sequences for a Bond film! It's also one of the best which begins with an out of the ordinary escape from a building, includes a thrilling boat chase around London and ends with an obvious explosion!
It's nice to see the return of some characters. Judi Dench as 'M', Desmond Llewelyn as gadget master 'Q' and especially Robbie Coltrane reprising his same role from 'Goldeneye' as ex-KGB agent 'Valentin'. John Cleese as 'R' (Q's replacement in the gadget department!) tries his best by adding some extra humour to Bond but doesn't quite get there.
The film shows Bond at his best! Brosnan really is on top form as one of the best Bonds! There's also enough action, stunts and big bangs that light up the screen! Also lighting up the screen are the Bond girls who are now strong, sexy and intelligent rather then silly and stupid. It's a better change, as we now don't always have bimbos who are always in danger and in need of help!
The only downside about the film would have to be that it's just the same old formula all over again. Something's wrong, bring in Bond, add in nasty villain, mix a few explosions here and there and in the end Bond saves the day and gets the girl! So you can see that the film is quite predictable from start to finish but nevertheless it's a formula that works! 'The World Is Not Enough' does have all the usuals that you'd expect (right down to the Martini's, cars and bad one liners!) but just about everything has been cranked up to churn out something good from the old formula!
It's smart and stylish just as James Bond should be and in the end it's really very good!
Rating - 8 out of 10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Michael Apted is probably the closest thing to a marquee director a
Bond film has ever had. He's the biggest reason this one bucks so many
of the bad trends set by most of its predecessors while simultaneously
maximizing the clichés that have made the series so beloved.
WORLD is worlds above any other Pierce Brosnan entry, stronger than all Roger Moore efforts but THE SPY WHO LOVED ME; it surely surpasses the unfortunately mishandled Timothy Dalton vehicles, and dare I say it defeats most - not all - of the Sean Connery attempts? I dare. (I leave out George Lazenby because I think ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE is one of the best; also David Niven because his isn't a Bond movie, not really; also Daniel Craig, because his one version to date sucked, through no fault of his own.)
WORLD has what many Bond movies and most Bond books lack: a giddy, relentless pace. From the thrill-a-second pre-credit boat chase, Bond doesn't stop having sex, playing with dangerous toys, and disarming hydrogen bombs... except of course to ski. What's more, WORLD's James Bond has what nearly every movie 007 fails to inherit from the pulp character that spawned him: brutality. Shooting the woman he loves in the heart is maybe my favorite example of why this man has a license to kill. The reason is that he will.
Bizarrely, the movie's strongest actor is its weakest link : Robert Carlyle, so terrifying as Begbie, is less impressive as Renard, the only Bond villain advertised as already dead. Unfortunately, Carlyle plays him that way. He's a little flat, a little pat, certainly no Gert Frobe; but then neither was Gert Frobe. At least Renard gets one great line: "A man tires of being executed."
To compensate for a lack of villainous flair, we are offered an exploding MI6, a fat Russian drowning in caviar, a 70 mph no-helmet bailout from an exploding pipeline luge, a rapacious Swiss banker complete with Holocaust remittance jokes, flying BMW-splitting hedge trimmers, a VMF-surplus nuclear submarine, a Bond beauty who acts as well as she fills an evening gown, a Bond ten times more likely to shoot you than to tell a joke, and glory of hoked-up glories, Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist in hot pants. It just doesn't get any more Bond than that.
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