Pierce Brosnan’s third James Bond outing proves to be one of his finest. But is that saying much?
The story for “The World Is Not Enough” had plenty of potential. But, the way that Purvis and Wade handled the story was quite poor; helicopters with buzz-saws attached to them made for quite a laugh (no more than an invisible car, though — but that’s for another review). The funny part is that Eon Productions still hires these men to write Bond films for them.
Before my viewing, if I had read a brief description of each character in this film, I would’ve been optimistic. But after seeing how under-developed and poorly played they were in this film, I was disappointed. I will say that Elektra King and James Bond are the two most interesting characters of this film. Sophie Marceau’s portrayal of Elektra King is fantastic. At first, she plays the character as an absolute victim, causing the audience to sympathize with her and the loss of her father. However, it is later revealed that she is quite a sadistic villain, bent on getting revenge by teaming up with her former captor, Renard. Though, I think the filmmakers wanted Renard to be the central villain of this film, Marceau’s character really took that title. To me, it’s a shame that Marceau’s talented could not have been put to use in a better Bond film.
Pierce Brosnan also excels in this film. While I admired his performance in “GoldenEye”, I think this film showed his true colors. Not only was Brosnan looking fantastic in this film, but he also captured the essence of Ian Fleming’s James Bond. This wasn’t the “I’ll fight off an entire army in a steath boat”/generic action-hero James Bond that we had seen in the previous film. Unfortunately, Brosnan never had the chance the reprise the role like this again — his following Bond film was a complete atrocity that left him playing a character that para-surfed on tidal waves. After that, he was dropped for Daniel Craig. His most Fleming-esque scene had to be Elektra’s demise. Bond was able to put his feelings aside and carry on with the mission, even if this meant putting a bullet in his lover’s head.
The other Bond girl in this film was played by Denise Richards. Her performance was terrible and, in my book, goes down as the worst in the history of the James Bond franchise. Luckily this film had Sophie Marceau to make up for it in both beauty and acting ability. The other characters and performances were all rather limited. Robert Carlyle’s Renard was supposed to be a main villain of the film, but it more or less seemed that he just sort of hung out in the background. To boost his Bond baddie appeal, they gave him the inability to feel pain. This still didn’t do anything for me. Judi Dench really didn’t take M to another level from the last film, but Colin Salmon boosted the appeal of the Mi6 staff/cast. We also see Valentin Zuckovsky return, portrayed by Robbie Coltrane. I didn’t mind Zuckovsky’s appearance in “GoldenEye”, but in this film, it bugged me. He left too much room for the writers to add in more ridiculous one-liners and jokes.
While the cast of “The World Is Not Enough” may not seem too promising, I have to say that it does hold some historical significance within the Bond franchise. Desmond Llewelyn graced our screens as the beloved Q for the last time in this film. Sadly, shortly after the release of the film, he died in a car accident.
David Arnold’s score for this film was mediocre, at best. More orchestrations infused with synthetic sounds and beats really made for music that doesn’t go easy on the ears. Garbage’s theme song was well-done for an altertnative rock song, but I much prefer Tina Turner’s “GoldenEye” and even Sheryl Crow’s “Tomorrow Never Dies”.
The locations in this film were promising. Bond goes from Spain, to Scotland, to Azerbaijan, to Turkey. As a matter of fact, one of the greatest scenes of the film included Bond driving his BMW Z8 to Baku, Azerbaijan. Arnold’s music and the camera work just worked well together, believe it or not. I also enjoyed part of the pre-titles sequence that took place in the bank at Bilbao, Spain.
Overall, this film had quite a bit of potential, but was thrown off by poor pacing, uninspired action sequences, a shoddy Purvis and Wade script with poorly-written characters, and some bad performances. I place this film at the bottom of my Bond rankings.