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The World is Not Enough

"The World is Not Enough" on DVD

...a Scriptwriter Would Have Been Handy, too

by Jim Bray

James Bond's 1999 incarnation isn't the worst in the series, but it approaches the quality of the Roger Moore outing "Moonraker."

Pierce Brosnan's third kick at the franchise, "The World is Not Enough" is on a much smaller scale, storywise, than many of the Bond epics.

That isn't necessarily a bad thing. Bond movies were scaled back from the formulaic "mad genius tries to take over the world" in "For Your Eyes Only" and that was a pretty good movie. "The World" also takes a cue from the best Bond ("Goldfinger") in that its villain is out to corner a great part of the world oil market, and that's fine.

Unfortunately, the plot doesn't really give us a villain to hate. The advertised villain, Renard (Robert Carlyle), isn't really the true bad guy. He merely caused the creation of the real "bad guy," who turns out not really to be a Bond-style villain but more of a victim instead. It's hard to hate a victim, let alone root for that person's ultimate destruction at the hands of Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Anyway, even a bad Bond movie is worth seeing once, and there's enough here to make viewing it tolerable.

Bond is assigned to protect an oil heiress who turns out to be more than he or his organization had expected. Along the way there's the usual bevy of stunts and girls and quips.

The problem, as has been so often the case with Bond films after Connery left (or maybe after Harry Saltzman left) is that they take an interesting idea or stunt, and then beat you over the head with it. In "Goldeneye," the opening scene was vintage Bond until the end, at which time they ruined it by having him fly off the cliff and free fall back onto the airplane. If they'd have let him fight his way onto the plane and take it off just before it left the cliff, I would have bought it; but they didn't.

Likewise, in Moonraker, the parachute stunt was great and if they'd left it with Roger Moore stripping the chute from the enemy and then strap it on and open it, it would have been fine. But no; they had to add a whole extra part that they may have thought was comedy relief but which destroyed the suspension of disbelief.

So it is with "World is Not Enough." Bond chases a woman down the Thames in a rocket powered motorboat, leaving the water to continue the chase through streets and alleys. Fine; the boat's rocket powered, after all. But efficient steering with the wheel? Give me a break.

The tone was set...

Brosnan is fine as Bond, and Judi Dench still makes a good "M," though I liked her in your face treatment of Bond best in "Goldeneye." Sophie Marceau and Denise Richards, especially Marceau, are fine as the "Bond Girls," though Richards doesn't really seem to fit and doesn't have a lot to do.

An interesting addition is John Cleese, just in time to take over from the late Desmond Llewellyn's "Q." I hope he'll feature more prominently in subsequent films.

"World is Not Enough" also seems to suffer from excessive product placement. The much hyped BMW is lovely, but rarely seen, but we see lots of other products whose only purpose seems to be commercial.

The special edition DVD looks and sounds great, as one would expect. I was rubbed the wrong way by the opening screen, which welcomes you to the special disc and then forces you to hit "enter" before it'll even let you go to the main menu.

There are lots of extras, though, including an audio commentary from directory Michael Apted and another one featuring production designer Peter Lamont (a Bond and, now, Cameron staple), second unit director Vic Armstrong (a former stuntman) and composer David Arnold. You also get a documentary on the film's production. There are also some "alternative video options" a good liner booklet, and a music video from "Garbage."

Despite Brosnan's good performance as Bond, I long for the Connery years - before the movies became caricatures of themselves.

The World is Not Enough, from MGM Home Video
128 minutes, Widescreen (2.35:1), Dolby Digital
Starring Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Robert Carlyle, Denise Richards, Judi Dench.
Produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli
Written by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade and Bruce Feirstein, Directed by Michael Apted.


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Updated May 13, 2006