Saturday, September 4, 2010

World Is Not Enough, The (1999)

Director: Michael Apted
Notable Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Robert Carlyle, Denise Richards, Robbie Coltrane, Judi Dench, Desmond Llewelyn, John Cleese

Here's what is wrong with "The World Is Not Enough"...okay that statement is wrong. There is A LOT wrong with "The World Is Not Enough". The jist of what undermines this entire movie is that it tries far too damn hard to be as James Bond as possible. Does that sound odd that a Bond flick tries too hard to be a Bond flick? Yeah, but its absolutely the truth for this 19th entry into the franchise. From its over the top action, logic defying plot twists, poor casting choices, and general lack of any kind of sense to realism, this Bond film feels like Roger Moore should have been in it. And just like the Moore era of Bond, "The World Is Not Enough" does strike some good moments and will entertain you, but it crumbles under any eye of scrutiny and fails to keep itself a float (no pun intended considering its final act is on a submarine).

STORYLINE: When an oil baron is killed by a cleverly set up bomb that Bond helped deliver (on accident of course), Bond is sent to protect the daughter of the late baron, Electra from a terrorist, Renard, from her past. What Bond discovers whilst shadowing the new edgy heiress leads him to believe that the plot for revenge from this terrorist towards the King family is more deeply rooted in a larger conspiracy made to kill a lot of people and corner the oil market. The real question remains, who is actually behind the plot and can Bond make the right connections in time to save a world wide catastrophe?

PLOT 2/5: The basics of the plot for "The World Is Not Enough" are actually pretty legit. The idea of a hostage situation bringing brought back to unveil some political intrigue within MI6 and the conspiracy behind the terrorist's return makes a lot of spy film sense. Unfortunately, the film does go about it in completely the wrong manner, avoiding the subtitles of the winding road of alliances and betrayals and focusing on action, action, and more action. Some of the action is exciting. The boat chase in England, the caviar factory ambush, and even the final act where a submarine turns vertical are all exciting and fun to watch. Unfortunately, most of it lacks logic and meaning. Its there for entertainment. Not for the sake of the story itself. The ski chase is redundant and silly, the boat chase is played almost as a joke in its development, and the final act suffers from poor pacing. Its a spy film that forgets about the spy aspect and goes for broke eventually breaking itself down into too many expected Bond cliche's without every twitching a muscle. Fun? Yes. Stupid? Most of the time.

BOND 3/5: Now that Bond has lost almost all of his edge, its only fitting that they go for the Moore approach of the franchise and make it cheesy. Bond gives more bad innuendos than I have ever had to hear before. Not just bad one liners. That would be too easy. Bad innuendos that barely make sense half the time. Not to mention, despite some nice details here and there like the line and reaction to whether or not Bond has lost someone he loves, that Bond seems to be at its most cheesy since Brosnan took the franchise. It hits a low point even before the credits when he submerges the boat and FIXES HIS TIE UNDERWATER. Give me a fucking break! Seriously?! Luckily, Brosnan pulls off the suave nicely and still gives us those cold moments when he needs too (no spoilers but his final scene with Electra is the best scene in the whole movie). Mostly poor writing is countered with Brosnan's charisma.

VILLAIN 2/5: This section does contain spoilers to the film. Skip if you still want to watch it. Or just say fuck it, cause it really doesn't do a great job of hiding this aspect at all, and continue on. There are two villains in this film. We have our terrorist, Renard, whose lack of physical feeling and somewhat crazy portrayal make for a solid foundation, and we have Electra, whose diabolical scheming make her the brains of the operation. Neither of these villains really come across as an equal to Bond or as a serious threat to the world. The foundations are there to make a great villainous duo, but the lack of details and motives prevent them from feeling 'dangerous' or even all that connected enough to be believable. The potential is there, but the memorability is lost is the unrealistic tone of the film.

BOND GIRL 0/5: Damn. Now Tayna Roberts has some competition for worst Bond girl EVER. Here we have Denise Richards as Christmas Jones, nuclear physicist as our Bond girl. That's right. Richards plays Dr. Christmas, a nuclear physicist. I'm not making this up. I'm not smoking crack. I'm not pulling your chain. That's seriously the Bond girl here. Not only is that the worst ideas I've ever seen put to film in a serious tone, but her acting and dialogue (hold on, what dialogue? I don't remember her talking....wait that's cause I blanked the memory to hold onto my sanity) are some of the worst that Bond has ever seen. Her chemistry with Brosnan is flat at best and her character is irrelevant. She might as well have not appeared at all. In fact, the film would have benefited from her absence. I said it. There.

Don't let my harsh words deter you from this film. Its fun. Its ridiculous. Take it with a grain of salt and go with it and enjoy it for its badness. And if you want to be really optimistic, than think of it as a way of making the other Bond films seem even better because they could have been "The World Is Not Enough". Want to know what the real kicker is here? This isn't even the low point for the Brosnan era. Whew!

BONUS RANT: This is somewhat random, but when Renard meets the head of security and the random other guy that supplies weapons (he really is pointless) at a place with ENDLESS NATURAL FIRE in the woods, I almost turned off the movie. Bond has had some really poor setting choices before ("Moonraker" is full of them) but this one might take the cake. I have no idea if this is a real place or not, but...damn. That was stupid and tacked on for no real good reason. 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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