©1999 Danja LLC and United Artists Corporation, all rights reserved.
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.
Albert R. Broccoli's Eon Productions Ltd.
©United Artists Corporation, all rights reserved
Photo: Keith Hamshere
Photo courtesy: United International Pictures (Netherlands) distribution
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