Well my friends, it's official, James Bond is obsolete. The once suave secret
agent has become little more than another goofy action hero. His gadgets are no
longer impressive, his banter is childish, and his once interesting adversaries
have been reduced to petty thugs. "The World is not Enough" should be a sad
conclusion to what is possibly the greatest spy series of all time, but we all
know that it won't end here. Bond won't be allowed to leave on this sad note.
He'll suffer through four or five more films before exiting on an even sadder
note. The Bond franchise is dead, and it should be buried, but like everything
in Hollywood ("Star Trek", every horror series ever made) it will continue to
be milked till reduced to a dried out husk of a film. Such is the way of things
(sorry, I'm feeling strangely philosophical).
Bond (Pierce Brosnan) is back, and this time he's protecting oil tycoon,
Elektra King (Sophie Marceau), from a villain named Renard (Robert Carlyle).
Bond seeks the aid of Valentin Zukovsky (Robbie Coltrane), an ex-KGB agent who
is now a Casino owner, in finding out just what Renard is planning. Bond's
search soon leads him to a plot involving nuclear weapons and a young,
beautiful scientist named Dr. Christmas Jones (Denise Richards). Renard strikes
first, kidnapping Bond's boss, M (Judi Dench), and setting a bomb off at MI6
headquarters. However, just when Bond thinks he has things figured out, it
turns out that nothing is what it seems.
Remember Bond's once witty exchanges with both his enemies and companions?
Well, this is what they have now been reduced to: says "I need to get that
back or someone's going to have my butt." Bond's response? "First things
first." Very clever Mr. Bond, for a teenager perhaps. While we listen to these
juvenile comments, we're treated to some of Q's (Desmond Llewelyn) famous
gadgets. As everyone knows, Q's gadgets have only one use, yet Bond always ends
up in a situation which requires them. However, they're really pushing it when
they find a use for one of the devices here. It would appear that Q has gotten
a bit too old for this business, and they have brought in a replacement named R
(John Cleese). I personally believe that bringing John Cleese in was a
brilliant idea. Cleese is a great comic actor, and should provide some much
needed comic relief now that Bond has lost all of his wit.
As for the Bond girls, Sophie Marceau ("Braveheart", "A Midsummer Night's
Dream") is adequate I suppose, but Denise Richards (while certainly nice to
look at) couldn't act to save her life. In addition to her lack of talent, she
has films such as "Starship Troopers" and "Wild Things" under her belt, which
immediately destroy any chance of her being taken seriously. The reappearance
of Robbie Coltrane ("Message in a Bottle", "Goldeneye") is certainly welcome,
but something was done with his character that was completely uneccesary, but I
suppose I can't complain about that one instance too much, as the entire film
was rather unecessary. The largest disappointment here is the character of
Renard. The previews for the film constantly bring up the fact that he is
incapable of feeling pain, and he can drive himself harder and faster than any
other man. Nothing whatsoever is done with this talent of his. Renard is
nothing more than a petty little thug, who appears to feel pain just as easily
as anyone else but can't push himself nearly as hard as Bond can.
So the question, is how can the Bond franchise be rejuvenated? I'm not entirely
sure that it can. Bond's anitcs simply seem out of place in this day and age.
People want explosions, gunfire, and lots of action. While Bond may contain
these elements, they are not in sufficient quantity to satisfy most people. The
problem is that rather than ending the series, the geniuses and MGM have
decided to change Bond's image in a manner that is not welcome. "The World is
not Enough" would already have been a bad film, but it appears even worse when
compared to previous films in the franchise. The movie runs far too long at 127
minutes. Unless you're desperate for a new James Bond film, I'd recommend
steering clear of this one. Even if you are desperate, I'd suggest waiting for
video. I give it two out of five stars.
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* * * * * - One of the greatest movies ever made, see it now.
* * * * - Great flick. Try and catch this one.
* * * - Okay movie, hits and misses.
* * - Pretty bad. See it if you've got nothing better to do.
* - One of the worst movies ever. See it only if you enjoy pain.
Copyright © 2000 John Beachem