Retro Review: World is Not Enough

Pierce Brosnan’s third outing as James Bond and one of his best.

Feeling responsible for the death of a British oil tycoon and a friend, who died in an explosion in MI6 HQ, James Bond takes position as bodyguard to the tycoon’s daughter, Elektra (Sophie Marceau), who has a mysterious past and hidden agenda.

In recent weeks, Brosnan has gone on record saying he wants more revealing and sexier love scenes in Bond and he would love to see Bond killed off. He has also said he wouldn’t mind leaving Bond behind. Are these the greatest things to be saying upon the opening of the film?

It would be such a shame when he finally seems to be playing Bond right and having a script that finally wants us to see more Bond. After the dismal “Tomorrow Never Dies” I was wondering how the franchise was going to rebound.

In the two past Brosnan/Bond films, we had superficial scripts which never had any depth. The stunts and deliveries were setup like other action films of the times but none really addressed why Bond is Bond. The last two were just basically action films with Pierce Brosnan.

I guess the next question to ask is who or what is Bond? And why that element makes a good Bond film. A superior Bond film is always in the script and the intrigue associated with a spy. In the latest film the script always has two levels going on coupled with a pain within Bond himself. These play off each other as the perpetual hero shows the signs of being human.

In the past 5 Bond films they have been trying to make him more human and it really isn’t till this one that they seem to have located the angle they sought. Betrayed, injured, and scorned are just some of the emotions I haven’t seen in Bond in years. And that’s exactly why this one works and why it’s the best Bond in ten years.

world3With this revelation, director Michael Apted’s action sequences and locales seem to be fleshed out and in the highest of Bond form. Apted pushes the envelope with a great Bond finale which pivots Bond and the villain dueling in a submarine spiraling towards the bottom of the ocean. This sequence is true Bond and reminds me a lot of the great climaxes of the 80’s pictures.

Within the cast is the always brilliant Sophie Marceau who’s innocent but brutal Elektra is going to be a fondly remembered Bond girl.

Wasted is 2nd Bond girl Denise Richards who seems to be quite out of her element and made me thinking that these two could be father and daughter instead of lovers. Richards looks like a teen and is supposed to be a “Lara Croft type nuclear expert”?

Rounding out the rest of the cast is “the man who can feel no pain” Renard played deviously by Robert Carlyle. Carlyle reminded me a lot of Sean Bean’s 006 in “Goldeneye”.

World is Not Enough, for me, stands as Brosnan’s second best turn as Bond. It brought Bond back to what made the Connery and Moore eras so special. If you can forgive Denise Richards playing a nuclear physicist and her god awful name, which was probably on conceived for the movie’s final line, then this is a very solid film.

(4 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

 

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