Bonding with Bond, Day 21: The World Is Not Enough

Community Manager Ryan Fujitani is watching all of the James Bond films in order.

The World Is Not Enough continues Bond's signature antics with nothing particularly new to offer. I didn't think it was as bad as some have said, but it probably wouldn't make it into my top 10 either.


The World Is Not Enough

Twenty films in, and my affection for James Bond only grows. The first thing I want to say before I begin is that I absolutely love the James Bond theme music. As the gun barrel spiral zeroes in on Bond in the intro before The World Is Not Enough, we hear a slightly updated version of the music, and not only is it an iconic tune, but it's just great music, period. It's a testament to John Barry's talent that the same music could be used for every Bond movie, with few changes, and still sound great; it never gets old. I can't say the same for some of the theme songs that have accompanied a few of the films, but while I'm not a Sheryl Crow fan, I thought her song for Tomorow Never Dies actually wasn't too bad, and Garbage's song for The World Is Not Enough was even better.

It seems they've finally settled Brosnan comfortably into the role of 007, as evidenced by the first handful of scenes. The pre-credits opening again sets the standard impressively high for action throughout the movie, with its improbable boat chase and freefall from a hot air balloon. Once placed in physical therapy for his injuries, Bond also recalls his skeevier days by sleeping with his doctor in exchange for a clean bill of health, allowing him to return to active duty. Then we have the obligatory Q Branch scene, albeit a sad one, as Desmond Llewelyn seems to be bidding us farewell as Q. I really loved his character, but I understand his need to pass the torch, as he was starting to resemble a muppet. I'm happy with the choice of John Cleese as his successor, though his introduction signals the beginning of a goofier Q than we've come to know, and I'll definitely miss Llewelyn.

I was pleased with the idea that Sophie Marceau's character, Elektra King, was one of the two central villains. This is, more or less, what I was referring to a few movies ago when I speculated how neat it would be to incorporate a female nemesis. I suspected early on that she was playing Bond for a fool, but there was enough intrigue in the plot to make me question my decision once or twice. Her counterpart, Renard (played by Robert Carlyle, who I like) was sufficiently menacing, but I thought he was somewhat underused. Unfortunately, while Marceau and Renard are both great actors, in my opinion, to have both of them share bad-guy duties ensured that neither of them really shone as the true villain.

The action, as I've mentioned, was very good yet again, though I'm noticing a few things. First of all, there are key elements that a Bond movie must have to be a Bond movie. At first I identified these elements simply as motorized chases, but I've come to expand on that. The chase must be either in a car or in a boat, and in the rare case will incorporate a chopper. Secondly, there is the option of having a winter sports chase, typically on skis, that results in at least one enemy falling to his or her death (on a side note, all rich people are expert extreme-skiers). Lastly, the final battle must always be so long that it becomes laborious and unexciting, which was the case for me in TWINE.

I am enjoying watching the relationship between Bond and the new M develop. Judi Dench's M is a very different M than that of Bernard Lee. While Lee was constantly shaking his finger at Bond and treating him in much the same way that Q did, like a father giving his son a noogie, Dench plays the role with a much more serious tone. In addition, I believe TWINE is the first Bond film to involve M in the plot significantly, and I think this helps to elevate her character beyond a simple paper pusher sending Bond out on all these crazy missions.

Having said all of this, there is nothing particularly notable about The World Is Not Enough. It's fairly typical, as far as Bond films are concerned, and nothing new or particularly earth shattering is introduced. And, of course, it had its faults; there's Bond throwing out puns and one-liners like there's no tomorrow, and there's the casting of Denise Richards - I didn't have a problem with her claiming to be a nuclear scientist, but I did have a problem with her atrocious acting, and even this isn't something I haven't seen before. To be honest, I took very few notes while watching this movie, because there wasn't a whole lot to remark on. Overall, I was underwhelmed, and while the production quality of the Bond films has increased dramatically over the years, I feel that they've lost something in the way of charm, and with only two more films to watch, I find myself more drawn to the earlier installments.

My favorite line: "He's no atomic scientist." -- Denise Richards as Dr. Christmas Jones (what is this, a blaxploitation film?) when Bond is discovered impersonating a scientist. Oh the irony...

My favorite moment: It's a sentimental one. I almost choked up when Bond turns to Q and says, "You're not retiring any time soon... are you?" and Q descends out of view while saying, "Always have an escape plan." You're my boy, Q!

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Comments

The Great One

A Z

I've always loved that moment with Q.....he actually passed away before the film was released I believed, so its great they gave him the send-off he deserved

Nov 10 - 03:42 PM

bwozar

Bernard Ozarowski

Sheryl Crow = Tomorrow Never Dies opening music
Garbage = The World Is Not Enough opening music

Nov 10 - 03:49 PM

Shawndorman

Shawn Eastridge

Garbage did the theme song for 'The World is Not Enough'. Sheryl Crow did 'Tomorrow Never Dies'. This movie did end up bidding a fond farewell to Desmond Llewelyn. He passed away shortly after the film was finished. His last moments with Bond are truly touching and make this film a worthwhile entry into the Bond canon. I'm definitely in agreement with you though...while this Bond did sport some fantastic action sequences, it's not particularly memorable or amazing. Not awful though...brace yourself for Die Another Day.

Nov 10 - 03:50 PM

rt-ryan

Ryan Fujitani

Good call guys... I got a little mixed up because I watched both over the weekend. Thanks for the correction; I'm making it now.

Nov 10 - 03:53 PM

catinthebrain

Kirk Scroggs

I have to say this is the worst Bond film to date. M acts like an idiot, the action scenes are awful (especially those giant chain saws hanging from choppers), Richards is weak, and Robert Carlyle is wasted. What's the point of having him be impervious to pain only to just kill him off like any other bad guy? The only worthwhile things are Marceau and Q's touching exit.

Nov 10 - 03:59 PM

SolidChamp

Thomas Bellmore

Heh, ever see 'Die Another Day'? Sorry, that one is much, MUCH worse.

Nov 11 - 11:53 PM

Boyo

Raymond Hopkin

Monty Norman wrote the Bond theme, John Barry did all the action music. I like David Arnolds scores, but he still hasn't been able to beat the master - John Barry.

Die Another Day, it's a quite enjoyable movie, but really let down by certain scenes - you'll know when you see 'em, Ryan!! It does have Halle Berry - whoot, whoot!!

Almost there, I can't wait for Quantum of Solace - bought my tickets already!

Nov 10 - 04:01 PM

Gunnar H.

Gunnar Hansson

Monty Norman wrote the James Bond Theme, that is correct. Monty Norman also wrote the entire score for Dr. No. Burt Rhodes did the orchestrations, and Eric Rogers was the conductor. There were two recordinng sessions. One recording the Jamaican songs and tunes. The other with full orchestra for the score.

But there's still some debate as to how much John Barry contributed to the James Bond Theme, apart from being the arranger. Some sources claims he did some alterations before recording the final version. However, the rumor that John Barry also was involved with the score, is most probably not true. Barry himself claims he never saw as much as an inch of the film, until it hit the theatres. And the Theme is still credited to Monty Norman.

Nov 11 - 03:28 AM

Mark H.

Mark Henderson

I am 99.9% sure that I have read an interview with Barry in which he says that he wrote the James Bond Theme, but that Monty Norman got credit for it. It was based on a jazz number called Bea's Knees. Norman did bring in the Jamaican music of the score, but the score was performed by the John Barry Orchestra. On the strength of that performance, Barry was invited back for the following movies.

Nov 11 - 08:51 AM

magnius

Chris Clarke

It is creepy to think, as you watch the old Q sinking into the ground, that Desmond Llywellyn himself would be doing the same thing just weeks after filming.

Nov 10 - 04:02 PM

fargo_viper

Stephen Fargo

ASSIMILATE AND MOLD!

Nov 10 - 04:20 PM

John D.

John Doyle

You are missing the best line for nearly any bond movie, ( to Dr. Christmas Jones after the obligatory sex scene ) "I thought christmas only came once a year." Brilliant. Connery could not have said it better in his hey day...

Nov 10 - 04:21 PM

ck100

Chris Kubat

Yeah, it's an inspired line although it's silly. I'm surprised Ryan didn't pick it as his favorite line. :P

Nov 10 - 04:31 PM

ck100

Chris Kubat

Putting Denise Richards in the role of a scientist would be like putting Tara Reid in a role of an archeologist. Wait a minute.....

Q did have a bittersweet type of exit. But hey, he was always enjoyable to watch and had a fitting exit. The action is entertaining if unexceptional and the villains, although nothing spectacular, are at least watchable. Nice to see a female villain for a change. I did enjoy seeing Valentine Zuchovsky again help Bond with another mission like he did in Goldeneye. Nice to see "M" play a bigger role than usual in these movies. I'm glad Ryan picked up something I wanted him to talk about which was M's relationship with Bond.

So now we come to Die Another Day. I actually think it's entertaining even though a lot of people don't like it (and I can understand their reasons). But still, it's decent viewing if you got nothing to do on a Friday night.

Nov 10 - 04:29 PM

ck100

Chris Kubat

Yeah, it's an inspired line although it's silly. I'm surprised Ryan didn't pick it as his favorite line. :P

Nov 10 - 04:31 PM

jomo999

Joe Morris

Get ready for 'Die Another Day' Ryan. I'm not sure how you'll react towards it. Personally I found it very entertaining but the bad puns, camp and ridiculous plot make it seem like you're in the Roger Moore era again. There is a henchman called 'Mr Kil'! No, I can't believe they did that either...
Still, the action scenes are some of the best of the 4 Brosnan films.

Nov 10 - 04:34 PM

Nielsen700

Dick Dickhead

I love the moments between Pierce Brosnan's Bond and Q. Too bad he died before Die Another Day. Don't get me wrong, John Cleese was fine, but no one can take Desmond Llewelyn place.

Nov 10 - 04:43 PM

rt-ryan

Ryan Fujitani

I did consider that line, but I didn't want to be too risque, I suppose, and I rather enjoyed the irony of the line I chose. But you're right, the Christmas line is classic.

Nov 10 - 04:44 PM

tgibfo

Matt Ritchey

I'm envious of you for the next two days. You will go from the single worst Bond movie of all time (cheesiest and least plausible, save for the brilliant teaser) into the best action spy film since the Bourne series.. You're in for one hell of a ride!!

Nov 10 - 05:01 PM

law d.

law dwane

Outside of the suprisingly touching scene with Q, I think the best part of this movie was the final exchange between Elektra and Bond.

"You couldn't kill me... you'd miss me."

Bang.

"I never miss."

This is my second favourite of Brosnan's. I think there was a lot of potential in it, but it got lost somewhere along the way.

Nov 10 - 05:02 PM

Russ K.

Russ Kinter

Ryan wrote:
>Lastly, the final battle must always be so long that it becomes laborious >and unexciting, which was the case for me in TWINE.

Give any thought to 67's Casino Royale over-the-top "laborious and unexciting" fight scene finale as now a send-up of a tradition that "Thunderball" got rolling (sorry)?, though the shoot out in the gypsy gamp in FRWL was too drawn out as well.

Nov 10 - 05:38 PM

J S.

J Simmons

Am I the only person on the planet who thinks this is one of the better Brosnan movies? I personally found it more entertaining than the previous entry (TND) which was pretty unimaginative in the action department (mostly just a bunch of shootouts). Sure, you have to suspend your disbelief a bit but at it doesn't go as overboard as Die Another Day which follows a similar trajectory to Moonraker.

Nov 10 - 05:53 PM

troyman21

Troy Faubert

I found this Bond movie to be a little weak. I don't know why, its action sequences just didn't grab my attention as much and I found myself a bit bored with it...

Nov 10 - 05:55 PM

screwhead100

Ben Wellick

that's probably my favorite moment from this film as well.......its really sad when you think about it.....

Nov 10 - 06:11 PM

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