Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

The World is Not Enough

Cinema Monolith: 7/10 The MonolithFilm Reel
IMDb: 6.4/10
Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide: **½ out of 4

Released November 19, 1999 in the US and November 26, 1999 in the UK
Rated PG-13
128 minutes

Directed by Michael Apted

Written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Bruce Feirstein

Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Robert Carlyle, Denise Richards, Robbie Coltrane, Judi Dench, Desmond Llewelyn, John Cleese, Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Samantha Bond, Michael Kitchen, Colin Salmon

This was my first viewing of The World is Not Enough since I’d seen it during its original theatrical release, and believe it or not, this 19th installment of the James Bond franchise didn’t mortify me as much as it did twenty-plus years ago. In fact, I had a surprisingly good time with it this time around, thanks in part to an excellent pre-credit sequence, another serious portrayal of 007 by Pierce Brosnan, entertaining direction from Michael Apted, and dynamic cinematography, locations, and sets that actually did justice to the long-running series, and kept you captivated throughout.

In this outing, Bond tries to thwart a terrorist plot to increase oil prices via a nuclear meltdown near Istanbul, while at the same time protecting the daughter of an assassinated oil tycoon. The terrorist, named Renard, is a former KGB operative who’s tangled with MI6 in the past, and received a bullet in his brain for his efforts. With the lodged bullet slowly killing him, Renard now seeks revenge on MI6 and the tycoon’s daughter, and hopes to steal weapons-grade plutonium and pull off his deadly scheme before Bond—and a hot nuclear physicist—can stop him.

What made this all so tantalizing for me (and less so for others, apparently) was the story’s restrained and level-headed attitude, which more closely followed the tone of the Ian Fleming novels; this wasn’t a grandiose madman craving mass chaos and world domination, but merely a dying terrorist who wanted to destroy a European oil pipeline (and yes, I know, cause a nuclear meltdown as well). I also liked how Brosnan played Bond in this one: tough, a bit ruthless, and with a slightly reigned-in sense of humor, all of which harkened back to the glory days of Connery.

Unfortunately, the film was tainted somewhat by one of the silliest and most ill-fitting Q Branch sequences ever—which introduced former Monty Python member John Cleese as a wise-cracking and bumbling assistant to Q—and then was nearly decapitated by the most misguided and hell-bent casting choice of all time in actress Denise Richards, playing the improbably-named Dr. Christmas Jones. Her sex-bomb nuclear physicist character incurred the wrath of appalled viewers and reviewers everywhere, and stopped the film dead in its tracks whenever she appeared on-screen.

In the end, however, it remains an enjoyable yet underappreciated entry in the Bond series, and if it weren’t for those two cataclysmic misfires mentioned above, this film might’ve earned a more respected spot in the 007 universe. Either way, it was a marked improvement over the previous Brosnan efforts, and though many critics consider this one of the worst Bonds ever, in my opinion it wasn’t all that bad, and for me was the best 007 adventure since For Your Eyes Only.  (7/10)

12 comments on “The World is Not Enough

  1. I keep meaning to go back and watch the Brosnan set. Really haven’t seen them since initial runs aside from GoldenEye. Worst Bond film for me is likely the one he did with Halle Berry. Don’t remember why, just remember my reaction to the film was disheartening to put it politely. As for the Craig films? O.K. I guess. I just didn’t find them fun anymore….. admittedly haven’t seen the last two.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Todd B

      I’ll have to catch up with the other Brosnan Bonds as well…I don’t think I’ve seen them since their initial runs, either. And the Halle Berry one was Die Another Day…like you, I don’t think I was a fan of that one, but I’ll give it another look eventually. And I didn’t see the latest Bond film, and I’m not sure I ever will; I’d mention that Skyfall was my favorite of the Craig entries, and one of my favorites of all time, but I don’t want to get Wolfman riled up!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “many critics consider this one of the worst Bonds ever” You know what I think the newer ones might rank in that place for me. Don’t get me started on Skyfall! Some say it’s one of the best but it made me never want to watch another Bond after it!

    Anyhow, yes Denise Richards was rather saucy indeed but so out of place in this movie. Your eyes just locked on like a guided missile to two points on the screen! She was fun in Undercover Brother. 🙂

    I get these era Bonds all mixed up nowadays. But wasn’t this the one with the wooden dong torture device that he gets strapped into as she slowly extends it up his anus? HEHE LOL

    I always thought Colin Salmon could of made a good Bond, maybe a TV movie Bond.

    One I liked that is lower down the liked list is the Timothy Dalton one with the Cello girl.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Todd B

      I’m going through all my new Bond Blu-rays from start to finish, so it’s still too early to tell which is my least favorite, but looking back to when I saw them at the theater, my all-time worst would have to be A View to a Kill. Maybe when I get through them all again – I haven’t seen the Daltons or the Brosnans since their initial release – I’ll rank them all in order on the site. But Skyfall is your worst? Mikey, we need to talk…or at least, tell me WHY it made you never want to watch another one!

      And yes, I did say hot nuclear physicist, not plausible nuclear physicist, so I agree with you there! And I never saw Undercover Brother…do I need to give it a watch?

      WHAT? A Bond film where something wooden gets jammed up his backside? Maybe you’re thinking of the X-rated Bond era! Or are you thinking of the one where Daniel Craig is strapped naked to a chair with no seat, and that guy keeps slamming that knotted rope up against his nether regions?

      The Bond with the cello is The Living Daylights; again, I haven’t seen the Dalton entries since they were first released, so I’ll have to hold final judgement ’til I’ve watched the Blu-rays. But I liked The World is Not Enough, so fear not, you’re allowed to like one ‘lower’ one!



    Am not following. Why exactly did the casting of Christmas Cakes crash? Isn’t the whole sex-bomb concept the point? Based on your lead-in pic of her I’m not sure anyone really gives a rip if she can act?! Or am I being too cynical & sexist?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Todd B

      I just think that she was the wrong person for the part, simply because I didn’t believe her in that role…just like I wouldn’t believe Pee Wee Herman as Bond. Yes, these films have sexy women, but they’d better know how to act if they’re going to play one of the lead characters. And maybe people didn’t give a rip if she could act or not, as long as she looked good…but based on the multitudes of reviews I’ve heard and read, I’d have to say most of them feel the same as I do. Then again, I liked the film overall, where most everything else has not, so what do I know?


  4. Eric Binford

    This is probably my favorite Bond with Brosnan (I do have many issues with Brosnan’s four Bond films). Sophie Marceau is fantastic, and I liked the fact that Judi Dench had more scenes than usual. However, Denise Richards nearly destroyed the movie — she can’t act! I didn’t mind Cleese’s very “cleesy” performance, but it really doesn’t belong in this movie, which seems to go for a grittier Bond.


    • Todd B

      Ha, a very ‘cleesy’ performance indeed…I loved him in Monty Python, but here…hmmm, not so much. And I agree about the ‘grittier’ aspect of this Bond; I need to now watch the other three Brosnan outings again and see how they compare, in both grit and entertainment value. Though I’m not expecting much of either.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Eric Binford

        Last year, I re-watched the Bond movies in chronological order (from Dr. No to Die Another Day — I have yet to watch the Daniel Craig movies), and was surprised by my reactions. This is my new ranking:

        Top 5:

        On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969, Peter H. Hunt)
        From Russia With Love (1963, Terence Young)
        The Spy Who Loved Me (1977, Lewis Gilbert)
        License to Kill (1989, John Glen)
        The Man with the Golden Gun (1974, Guy Hamilton)

        Bottom 5:

        Live and Let Die (1973, Guy Hamilton)
        The World Is Not Enough (1999, Michael Apted)
        Tomorrow Never Dies (1997, Roger Spottiswoode)
        GoldenEye (1995, Martin Campbell)
        Die Another Day (2002, Lee Tamahori)

        What about you?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Todd B

        Eric, you’ve posed a very interesting question! I’m currently going through the Bond films start to finish as well (some I’ve only seen once, when they were first released), so the list I’m writing up today may change once I get through them all. So far, I’ve watched through Diamonds Are Forever, with Live and Let Die due up next.

        But for now, until further notice, here’s my current Top 5:

        From Russia with Love
        On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
        The Man with the Golden Gun

        As for my Bottom 5…well, I’ve never really given that much thought before now, but I can tell you without hesitation that the first one is my worst:

        A View to a Kill
        Die Another Day
        Tomorrow Never Dies
        Quantum of Solace

        Three matches in our Top 5, but just two in the Bottom 5!


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