Directed by Michael Apted
The assassination of business tycoon and former lover of M (Dame Judi Dench), Sir Robert King (David Calder), exposes a plot of nuclear terrorism just to increase petroleum prices.
Pierce Brosnan returns as James Bond. He was a good successor to both Connery as well as Roger Moore. As I said earlier before, he bridged the difference between Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton. A unique aspect of this film is Bond here has feelings for the actual villain of the story and his sense of duty goes up against those feelings.
Elektra King (Sophie Marceau) is as damaged as she is dangerous. She had been kidnapped years prior by the terrorist Renard (Robert Carlyle) and it left her dangerous and knowing the full extent of the sway she had over men. This was a different kind of villain for Bond to confront at this time. She was a strong and powerful woman that used her intelligence and her looks to manipulate those around her and that included James Bond himself. The charming rogue that could wrap women around his finger got the same done to him for a moment.
Robert Carlyle was just fantastic as the villain Renard. The only other thing I knew him from at the time was the Full Monty so seeing him play a villain was something new for me. He nailed it here. He was cold and calculating as a man who knew death was coming for him sooner rather than later because of a failed assassination attempt by MI6. The character is not all villainous plans though. Carlyle makes Renard sad at times over his impending death by the bullet in his brain. Since this role he has built a bit of a career playing baddies to just the generally dark type.
This turned out to be Desmond Llewellyn’s swan song as Q. It is especially poignant because he died shortly after filming his final appearance. I get a little misty eyed when I see him in this because he is saying goodbye to the fans here. It is a nice sendoff by an actor that played a beloved part.
A special shout out to Robbie Coltrane. He is a generally entertaining actor and I enjoyed him in his role as Valentin Zukovsky in the Bond films. Coltrane only got two under his belt, but he was so good and at least his character went out on a high note. He just did not disappear from the narrative.
Denise Richards as Dr. Christmas Jones really sticks in the craw of some, but I am indifferent to her. I cannot say she would have been my first choice (nor would any of the reported contenders have been) but she was good enough. I rank her on the low end of Bond Girls, but she is not the disaster some make her out to be. My only issue is when her character got super serious Richards had a tendency to cock her head to the side. I would have made her reshoot the scene whenever she did it because I just find it annoying.
The lives of an M were generally a mystery as their sole function is to send Bond on his way, but we got a peak into the past of Dame Judi Dench’s M and that past affected the story. Elektra King resents M for advising her father not to pay the ransom money to Renard when she was kidnapped and takes M hostage to die during the culmination of the plot.
The theme song is a wonderful song and beautifully handled by Shirley Manson and Garbage. Her powerful vocals give it a grandiose feel equivalent to a James Bond movie. It is a great entry into the Bond song library.
Once again James Bond touches on real world issues to create a superspy plot. We have terrorism and the security issues left by the fall of the Soviet Union. The Brosnan Bond films better mixed serious storylines tinged with reality with the lighter humor of the 80s predecessors. This for me is the ideal James Bond combination. James Bond is a fantasy about one man who every woman wants, and every man wants to be facing off against insurmountable odds and saving the day and getting the girl. Fantasies are fun and if you get too serious it removes that “fun” element.
We have mentions of Y2K along with mentions of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the real-world issues of building pipelines at that time. The goals of the villain though are mid-tier. She just wishes to become richer and more powerful by reclaiming her families oil empire which she feels her father stole from her mother. This weakness in plot is mitigated by Elektra’s plans to accomplish her goals which could kill thousands and change the world.
As stated, Elektra’s means to accomplish that is how this becomes a James Bond level plot. Nuclear devastation. She plans on sabotaging a Russian sub in order to contaminate the Bosphorus where the other pipelines currently go to.
The action is edge of your seat exciting. There are plenty of “Holy crap!” moments. The attack of the paragliders on the skis was pretty cool actually. I do not know why but to me just the combination of a deadly threat with those things was awesome. And we get an exciting chase through the Thames as well as through the streets of London and it all takes place on a boat. That is a boat in the water and briefly on land. It had a little bit of humor and a lot of excitement.
With a title derived from the Bond Family motto, The World Is Not Enough is another fine entry in the James Bond film series. There is something to be said for the fun feeling of the older James Bond movies. This is an excellent entry in the James Bond film series. Put this one in. You cannot go wrong. Once will not be enough.