The World is Not Enough

©1999 Danja LLC and United Artists Corporation, all rights reserved.
Albert R. Broccoli's Eon Productions Ltd. ©United Artists Corporation, all rights reserved Photo: Keith Hamshere Photo courtesy: United International Pictures (Netherlands) distribution
More or less? Back to back action seems to come out of nowhere (or anywhere or everywhere) and attach itself quickly to the last danger, rendering most viewers less capable of becoming involved with the story line. Racing away or toward disaster from the Nervion River in Spain across London's Thames down the French Alps and into the deserts of Turkey doesn't exactly give one pause for thought. Where will it all end? How about inside a nuclear submarine under the Bosphorus Sea? Sound incredible? Then you don't recall our James very well.

The endless activity from beginning to end that it almost makes one wonder where the story went. Zap, there they go again. One of the most exciting moments is when Bond makes a chain swinging escape of Bond a vicious and gigantic fireball through a vast tunnel. FX supervisor Chris Corbould reveals that, after a stunt double had performed the run-through, Brosnan said, "I'd like to get my face in there." And so he did, risking the chance of becoming the first Bond fondue. And as far as the newest evil equipment from the other side goes, whatdya' think about helicopters sporting chainsaws?

There is, in fact, so much going on this time around that one can only be amazed that our hero finds time to look at the ladies. Then again, he wouldn't be James unless he shared his charms with others. And, let's face it, whether your favorite Bond is Connery or Moore (or someone else?), Pierce Brosnan is, without a doubt, the most gentlemanly of them all. This suave Irishman almost lost his chance at the Bond icon many years ago as the result of a contractual clause during his "Remington Steele" days. Luckily, he was offered the role once again, and finally made it to the big screen as the dapper and distinguished spy with a "license to kill" which he hopes, after this third appearance, to do once again in the next film.

Mr. B must save Elektra King (Sophie Marceau) from the tyrannical terrorist Renard (Robert Carlyle) who, it would seem, had parents so mean they only gave him one name. The well- oiled Renard, a deranged man with a bullet embedded in his medulla oblongata from a previous attempt on his life by an emissary of M, has decided that you can take it with you. Carlyle gives a fine and subtle performance as Renard, but one wishes that the script had allowed him more space for demonic madness. His acting abilities have been displayed time and again, but this is not the greatest of scripts in using his talents.

Nuclear weapons expert Christmas Jones (Denise Richards) tries to combine a tomboyish feminine charm with the intelligence of a super scientist. Nice legs. Desmond Llewelyn is still Queuing around with his toys; Dame Judi Dench appears once again as M. Samantha Bond returns for the third time as Moneypenny and Robbie Coltrane puts in his second Bond- movie appearance as double agent Valentin Zukovsky. John Cleese is Q's assistant, although his humor, usually delightful, is slightly jarring when positioned here. Looks as if the powers that be intend to have Cleese replace Q at some future date.

The Bond theme songs often become inextricably associated with each film. This time around, in keeping with the attempt to add contemporary, modern-minded, politically correct aspects for the edge-of-the-millennium screen, Garbage has been chosen for the honors.

Cubby may be gone, but daughter Barbara and stepson Robert Wilson carry on the famous family tradition as producers of the shaken, not stirred legends of the action spy cinema. The reason for their choice of Michael Apted, who has made such magical movies as "Gorillas in the Mist," for director on "The World is Not Enough," Wilson explains, was they "wanted a director with the ability to tell the narrative of the piece and also be able to work with the actors as they develop their relationships with each other. It's a very dramatic story." Not, it would seem, dramatic enough or with story enough. It's exciting and action-packed, but let's leave it at that. Apted says that, "I have to admit that I was surprised when when I was offered the job." "I thought it was a joke when I first got the call, and I was thrilled when it wasn't." Well, thrills is what it's all about. He adds "It was a real challenge to make the action fresh and original. We were not only competing with other action films, but with the Bond franchise itself. But I think we did well creating exciting new twists on a ski chase and a boat chase and other sequences that are completely original." Whatever you say, Mike.

The James Bond films fit into a category apart and, so, it is only fair to say that each viewer must, necessarily, decide what they find for themselves. This is the 19th production (despite the fact that Ian Fleming only wrote 14 Bond books) of a very successful film franchise. Who's to complain? It's like your aunt used to say, "Either you like Broccoli, or you don't."

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett