'The World Is Not Enough' Review: Neither Is This Movie
Well, it looks like I set myself up pretty good to eat my own words last week. Saying “there’s no such thing as a bad Bond” was just asking for trouble. Yet here I am, stuck between the horribly-named Octopussy and Pierce Brosnan’s 007 of the 90s, and I’m starting to realize where the real bottom of the barrel lies.
1999’s The World Is Not Enough sets Bond up against a literally unflinching villain known as Renard (played by Robert Carlyle) who is hell-bent on a nuclear rampage. At the same time, our legendary hero encounters the daughter of an oil baron and a sexy nuclear physicist, making him question friends and foes as he seeks to stop a man who feels no pain.
This plot keeps up the admittedly hokey sensibility of the rest of Brosnan’s reign, as well as its predilection for drawn-out action scenes. TWINE opens with a boat chase that, I swear, feels like it lasts at least fifteen straight minutes, coming to a peak as Bond chases his target up a rising hot air balloon. It’s big, it’s loud, it’s ridiculous, and that’s about the tone of the whole movie.
Honestly, I really don’t have all that much to say about this one – I only watched it a few days ago, but I barely remember anything that happened. There was a chase scene in an oil tunnel, M (Dame Judi Dench) gets captured, there’s a double-cross, and a final fight near a dock. I think. And just as the opening scene foretells, there’s a lot of empty space in this “adventure.”
There are a few standout bits, though, but not all of them are good. The best part is easily the Q/R handoff, as Desmond Llewelyn gives up his role and John Cleese steps in as the new master of technology. It’s so amazing to see his start in the franchise, and I sent many a giddy text to my Bond-fanatic friends as he stole every scene he graced. On the flip-side, though, Denise Richards does not make a compelling Bond girl. She’s legitimately eye candy and nothing else, as she’s basically slapped into a Lara Croft-esque get-up and told, “Say some science-y things, twist some levers, and otherwise just be on camera.” It’s a real letdown, but, then again, I can’t think of too many strong female leads from the entries I’ve watched thus far this month, save perhaps Jill St. John in Diamonds Are Forever.
I have to say, I really wanted to like this movie, truly. It may have started all blustering nonsense, and the change to a more sci-fi level of tech was a little off-putting, but I had hopes it could transcend leaning on those points. Hell, this was Brosnan we’re talking about: the man who was basically Bond-incarnate for my formative years! Yet, in the end, The World Is Not Enough is barely better than a Michael Bay ‘splosion fest: it’s fast-paced, energetic, and in your face, but not half as witty or deep as it thinks it is. That’s a real shame in my book.