I am extremely sorry to disappoint you, but although the latest addition to
the Bond-films is still entertaining, it is "not enough" to impress the
awaiting fans. The series is obviously showing its age. Even James Bond
can't survive 19 returns to the big screen.
James Bond is the world's most famous secret agent. Highly trained, suave
and sophisticated, James Bond has a license to kill, as indicated by the
"00" before the "7". In past missions, Bond has been into space, under the
oceans and even driven around the streets of St. Petersburg in a tank.
Tomorrow Never Dies revealed a Bond that was happiest blazing machine guns,
and grinning at his gadgets which, as many fans have pointed out, is in
complete contrast to the man Fleming originally envisaged. However, The
World Is Not Enough has a surprise in store for us. The scriptwriters have
decided to delve deeper into Bond's character, making him more vulnerable
than before, and have decided to make a more realistic, gritty film.
Bond's assignment for TWINE is to protect Electra King (Sopie Marceau) from
Renard () whilst she oversees the construction of the oil pipeline. He gets
to go skiing, spends a greater amount of screen time with M (Judy Dench)
than usual and above all, utters the immortal "Bond....James Bond" while a
huge explosion rips through a building behind him. Brosnan, 46, who played
the famous agent since "Golden Eye", is quoted as not enjoying working on
the previous Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies, saying, "The last one was a bit
like pulling teeth. This one's been like an old pair of shoes. "
In the days of Sean Connery Bond-films were always ahead of their time. Q's
inventions that were presented were therefore both innovative and
entertaining. Those inventions, Connery's charm and the humorous, some times
even self-ironic elements made those films both light and easy watchable
films that served as pure entertainment.
Michael Apted promissed a deeper story and specatcular action, but he can't
expect to dazzle the modern audience with the action scenes presented in
"..Not Enough", because they seem pale compared with science fiction- and
action films released by the hundreds every year, where the effects and
action of one were surpassed by the next.
His film is at times entertaining, but it is not James Bond; it's a common
action film that doesn't present any interesting material. The famous James
Bond-formula is not intact: the bad-guy in the story is not evil or sinister
enough. He doesn't have any scary bodyguards or unstoppable agents. He
doesn't seem like a man that is powerful and dangerous enough to change the
world. Apted added a softer side to his character, making him more
vulnerable. That makes the impression even worth. Bond-films can be compared
with fairytales and have a similar formula. It is therefore necessary to
have simple, but not primitive characters. There have to be bad-guys that
are both clever, powerful and evil beyond belief, so that they seem
threatening and at first glance impossible for our hero to conquer.
By adding a softer side to the evil bad-guy, the director is attempting to
create a more real and three-dimensional character. This is completely
unnecessary and seems out of place in a film like this. An attempt to take
all the enormous exaggerations in this film seriously would be impossible,
and jet Apted's changed and unstable atmosphere doesn't make it possible to
laugh at the action or events presented, nor enjoy the movie as a typical
light and humorous extravaganza. The total outcome of this is that the
characters and their interrelations seem unfinished, simplified and unreal.
The success of Bond-films throughout the years has been self-irony. An
attempt to take the story more seriously can actually ruin the whole
picture - that has always been the most important ingreediance in the
formula. Our hero survives explosions, rains of bullets, car chases and
comes dry out of water after chasing a submarine. The beautiful and tempting
women, the dangerous missions and Q's "practical" inventions are all
present. But although the locations are frequently changing, moving from
London to Kazakhstan, from the height of the snowy Alps to the depth of the
ocean, the suspense element is somehow gone and there is no particular story
between the action sequences.
And then there is the acting. Pierce Brosnan is worth a notice, but he
remains nothing more than an acceptable Bond, especially when compared with
Sean Connery. The major problems in the script make Bond's character seem
underwritten. What was intended as an improvement of his character, by
adding more emotions and vulnerability, results in confusion, unsure acting,
unfinished relationships and unsteady direction. Sophie Marceau on the other
hand is very impressive, partly because of her talent and appearance, partly
because her character is the best written and meaningful in the film,
responsible for the one and only surprising twist in the story. Judy Dench
is playing the first female leader in the history of British Intelligence -
a woman that is both strong and powerful. Dench makes most of her
underwritten character, but it's a pity that one of the most interesting
characters in the story is undeveloped. A dose of really bad acting comes
from Dennise Richards. There has to be more than a well shaped body and a
lab coat to convince me that she is a scientist.
The previous Bond-films were known for their humor and amusing appearance.
The secret is exaggeration in plot and action sequences. By crossing the
line, and go beyond what most people find believable, the directors obtain
that element of self-parody that these movies are known for. "..Not Enough"
begins swell with the kind of stunts that made Bond famous; the impressive
musical score and staggering credits, but as the events are progressing, it
becomes less interesting and duller for every minute. Apted's exaggerations
are too extreme and neither funny nor innovative. Because of the confusing
atmosphere in the film, we are not sure whether to take this seriously or
just laugh, it is impossible to do neither. The humor is instead turned into
several jokes, provided by Robbie Coltrane, a character that is very
similar to the characters created by the Disney company in their animated
films, invented for one purpose - comic relief.
Those jokes, the well tuned musical score, impressive locations and a dose
of amusing acting from Sophie Marceau and Robbie Coltrane elevate the film
to the average level of what we are used to watch. To make a long story
short,"The World Is Not Enough" seems more like an extinction of the Bond
series than a recycling of it.