The World is Not Enough (1999)

The-World-Is-Not-Enough-james-bond-9614900-1024-768Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Robert Carlyle, Denise Richards, Robbie Coltrane, Samantha Bond, Desmond Llewelyn, John Cleese, Judi Dench

Directed by: Michael Apted

PG-13. 125 mins

A formulaic, yet highly entertaining entry in the escapist Bond series. Pierce Brosnan returns as James Bond, the world’s greatest secret agent. With control of the world’s oil supply at stake, Bond must resolve a deadly power struggle between two nations. As the latest bodyguard of Elektra King (Sophie Marceau), the daughter of a petroleum magnate who was brutally murdered, Bond must protect her while foiling the evil plot of Renard (Robert Carlyle), a villain who proves to be considerably dangerous. With the help of Christmas Jones (Denise Richards), a nuclear weapons expert, Bond must survive all sorts of obstacles in order to save the world once more. Of course there are all the typical Bond elements – soapy acting, beautiful women and thrilling action sequences – but while the plot leaves much to be desired, this is a reasonably amusing film. Here, there is less winking at the camera as though the story is ridiculous, Apted moves the action along so quickly that the audience hardly has time to notice. Plus, the characters really do seem to believe in what’s going on – even Brosnan seems to have really settled into his role as the famous superspy. Perhaps the most refreshing element is the presence of Bond women who have much more smarts and personality that previous entries in the franchise. Unfortunately, as soon as we encounter  Jones, the worst Bond girl of them all, the film verges back towards being completely arbitrary. While the film is far-from-perfect, notable highlights include a fantastic 14-minute opening sequence and a totally-90s theme song performed by Garbage. Neither brazen enough to function as fantasy, nor realistic enough to deliver convincing thrills, The World is Not Enough is reasonably executed fun, but hardly necessary –  * * 1/2

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