CAST: Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Robert Carlyle, Denise Richards, Robbie Coltrane, Desmond Llewelyn, Judi Dench, John Cleese, Michael Kitchen, Colin Salmon, Samantha Bond, Serena Scott Thomas, John Seru, Ulrich Thomsen, Goldie, Maria Grazia Cucinotta, David Calder, Sean Cronin, Martyn Lewis
RUNNING TIME: 125 mins
BASICALLY…: James Bond (Brosnan) must protect an oil heiress (Marceau) from her former kidnapper, an international terrorist (Carlyle) who can’t feel pain…
NOW FOR THE REVIEW…
With No Time To Die being pushed back all the way to November, the world needs its fix of Ian Fleming’s ace secret agent to tide them over until then. That’s why, every week until it finally comes out, we’re going to be taking a look at each previous movie in the series to see if, and how, they hold up today.
This week, it’s the one where Denise Richards plays a nuclear physicist – yes, really – which in an entry that is already wildly ridiculous feels like a suspension of disbelief too far.
The World Is Not Enough – named after Bond’s family motto, first heard way back in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – sees Pierce Brosnan’s 007 be assigned to protect oil heiress Elektra King (Sophie Marceau) from renowned terrorist Renard (Robert Carlyle), after her father is assassinated. As Bond gets closer to Elektra, who was previously kidnapped by Renard for a hefty ransom, he begins to suspect that Renard’s scheme is a lot deeper than first thought, and along with Richards’ Dr. Christmas Jones he sets out to stop Renard before he can – you guessed it – carry out his nefarious scheme.
Let’s get one thing out of the way first; yes, the idea of Denise Richards, of all people, playing a nuclear physicist in a movie is completely ludicrous – which isn’t to say that attractive people cannot engage in complex careers such as nuclear science, but given Richards’ reputation at the time as a somewhat dim-witted model whose eyes were bigger than her stomach, hearing her constantly spout out complicated scientific terms is pretty laughable – but in fairness to Richards, it’s just a simple case of miscasting. The actress herself, while not especially great at delivering her lines, is at least trying, and the character of Dr. Christmas Jones isn’t a complete waste of space as she does prove to be useful on occasion on Bond’s overall mission; plus, it does give Brosnan’s Bond the opportunity to deliver the immortal line “I thought Christmas only comes once a year” when they finally get it on.
Other than that, there really isn’t a whole lot else to say about this one. The World Is Not Enough ranks among the Bond films like For Your Eyes Only and Dr. No that aren’t necessarily awful, but aren’t impressive enough to leave much of an impression either. The action is decent enough, the filmmaking is decent enough, and nearly everything else right down to Garbage’s title track is decent enough; the one element which really stands out, other than Brosnan’s committed-as-ever turn as Bond, is Robert Carlyle’s intimidating performance as the lead villain, but even then you can chalk that down to the fact that Carlyle can easily play a sinister villain in nearly everything he does. Beyond those minor accolades, this is an all-too standard entry where you’re not feeling the drama or the connection as much as you should, because Bond doesn’t share the strongest of chemistries with either of his leading ladies, and the villain’s ultimate scheme is one that you can poke plenty of holes through the more you learn about it.
It’s probably also worth mentioning that this is the last film to feature the series’ longest-serving cast member, Desmond Llewelyn who has played the part of Q from almost the very start of the series; the 85-year-old actor, who was sadly killed in a car accident shortly after this film’s release, has a near-perfect exiting line while also introducing us to his impending replacement, played by John Cleese (who would fully become Q in the next film), and it already makes me miss the actor’s delightful spring of energy he brought to nearly every single film he participated in.
So, there you have it: it’s not great, but it’s not terrible either. The World Is Not Enough, as it turns out, is more than enough.
SO, TO SUM UP…
The World Is Not Enough is a sub-par entry where most things such as the action and filmmaking are decent enough, but there isn’t much else that’s worth diving deep into, other than the laughable casting of Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist.