The World is Not Enough (1999)

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The World is Not Enough (1999)

Post  BoG on Thu May 27, 2010 6:56 pm

BOND#19: He Feels Nothing,She Feels Too Much,We Feel...Enough

SAMANTHA BOND as Moneypenny and JUDI DENCH as M * Directed by MICHAEL APTED

MASTER PLAN: blow up competing Russian oil pipelines. By the time of this 3rd Brosnan Bonder, one gets the impression that Bond really needs to start being careful with women. Whereas the Bonders finally acknowledged women's liberation in the late seventies, the nineties seemed to present women's liberation gone mad: for example, one of Bond's most lethal adversaries was Onatopp in GoldenEye. This sense is further validated during the lengthy pre-credits teaser in this one, where-in most of the action and chasing revolves around a female assassin (whom Bond innocently flirts with before she starts the mayhem). Then, of course, the main femme fatale here, Elektra, transpires to be not all she appears to be - the female is the deadlier of the species in the nineties, for sure. Bond's advantage has always been his way with women; this strength can be subverted into a big weakness if he runs across a woman who is even more cunning than he is.
Brosnan's weakness has always been that he was slightly more bland than Connery and even Moore (even with his smirking), who projected strong charisma. In this one, he needs to be more intense because things get more personal and iffy all around, involving even M in some unexpected jeopardy. This works towards the film's advantage; unexpected plot twists are rare in a Bond thriller by this time. It's the interaction between Bond and a few key characters, both good & bad, that elevate this Bonder, not the now-standard chases, which definitely have a by-the-numbers feel by this point. The only saving grace to these is an early big chase which takes place on Bond's home turf of London, England, which is rare, and MI6 HQ is directly involved.
Speaking of MI6, the regulars get a good workout in this one, which always makes for a more entertaining Bonder. Besides M, Moneypenny and a couple of key staff are fairly well involved with this latest mission. This is the final appearance of old Q, who has been played by the same actor since From Russia With Love 36 years earlier. We are introduced to Q's assistant and planned replacement (played by Monty Python alumnus John Cleese).
The credits are an eerie kaleidoscope of trippy color, as if we're back in the sixties, accompanied by a rather mournful title song by Garbage. The tone is somewhat dark throughout the film, with much of the plot and villains involving terrorism and the theme of betrayal. The main villain, Renard, has a bullet lodged in his brain and he doesn't feel sensation like the rest of us, but this isn't really played up, even in the final fight. Besides, Renard has to take a back seat to Elektra, who gives an entirely new and twisted meaning to the femme fatale term. She turns the tables on Bond, who has always been in control of such situations before, and proves to be that woman who Bond can't really handle.
On the downside, casting agents for the Bond film series aimed low yet again with the latest Bond girl: meet Christmas, nuclear physicist. The actress Richards was in her late twenties at the time, but comes across like a 19-year old. Coltrane, as Valentin, was a welcome return in the role he created in GoldenEye. There's also a unique weapon, foreshadowed in an earlier scene, a series of spinning blades deployed from a helicopter. The way in which Bond's newest set of wheels is dealt with is probably painful to watch for auto buffs. The climax with the sinking sub was kind of weak; I'd considered the story already ended 5 minutes earlier with Elektra's final scene. Bond would return in Die Another Day, Brosnan's finale.
______ DESMOND LLEWELYN > 1914 - 1999 ______

This was Llewelyn's final film; he had just finished his autobiography and had all his
affairs in order when his life was cut short in an auto accident on Dec. 19, 1999, at the
ripe old age of 85. He was already 50 years old when he began to play Q and outlasted
Connery, Moore and Dalton in the role, as well as the original M actor and Ms. Moneypenny.
BoG's Bond Scores: Bond:8 Villain:6 Femme Fatales:9 Henchmen:6 Fights:8 Stunts/Chases:8 Gadgets:7 Auto:8 Locations:7 Pace:7 overall:7.5
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