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"The World Is Not Enough"

Directed by Michael Apted.
Written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Bruce Feirstein.
Starring Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Denise Richards and Robert Carlyle.
Release Year:  1999 
Review Date:  11/26/99


Happy thanksgiving!  I'm one of the lucky few that has to go to work tomorrow, so count your lucky blessings that you can sleep in tomorrow...or, go shopping at 5:30 in the morning, which, sadly, is what some of you will be doing.

Being that it is a family gathering holiday, my mom, Dave Bell and I always go check out a flick after having our 3 pm dinner.  Dave and I were pretty excited:  our pick this year was Bond, James Bond!  It's not every year that we get to check out the long-running Bond franchise for thanksgiving!  So, being that it was my treat this year, I didn't mind slapping down the cash to check out some globe-trotting spy action.

What's your favorite Bond picture?  For me, it's a toss-up between "Thunderball" and "Goldfinger", although I do have a soft spot in my heart for "Octopussy."  The worst one, however, is easy:  "Moonraker" is a shameful, pitifully-conceived flop that does 007 harm for even being made.  “Fifteen Days of Bond”, the best part of the TBS broadcasting season, is coming up and I can't wait to watch all of the movies again.

Unfortunately, it must be said that "The World is Not Enough" is as bad as either of the two Timothy Dalton movies, and periodically as bad as "Moonraker."  Sacre bleu, you say?  Well, I kid you not:  this movie does not deliver the goods.

Where to begin?  Denise Richards.  A shockingly bad actress (yes, I knew that from watching "Starship Troopers"), any hetero man must give her credit for being flat-out hot.  This brings to mind her similarity to Mariah Carey:  great at one extreme (octave range), horrid at the other (couldn't out-dance Rob "Jellybean" Grant with the house deed on the line).  Richards, who I last saw lap-riding Matt Dillon while giving tongue to Neve Campbell in the white-hot "Wild Things", is playing a nuclear scientist.  That's right, young'uns:  a friggin' nuclear scientist.  Talk about range!  Robert Carlyle, so good in "The Full Monty", has continued his sell-out descent as the bad guy Renard in this movie, and it is unclear why his character's getting shot in the head makes him completely resistant to pain (I didn't buy the "bullet stuck in his brain" excuse the doctor gave me in the beginning of the movie).  Further, the plot that has Renard stealing a nuclear warhead must have taken no longer than 45 seconds to concoct.  Bad guys are always stealing nuclear warheads (Bond movies, by their nature, ALWAYS feature nuclear warheads) in action movies, so it would have been nice to see Renard do something a little more...dangerous.

Or different.  Bond movies are already a cliché, so I have to know that in each movie, the bad guy is going to die this horrific, ridiculous, overly-violent death.  In "The World is Not Enough", Renard gets a pole stuck in him.  That's it.  Even though he feels no pain, the writers forgot that for the ending, and Renard just dies.  And usually, the bad guy has this really evil main henchman that fucks up Bond in a fight scene before getting shot up.  Not in this movie; no huge, Jaws-like 7'4" behemoth to menace Bond throughout the movie.  And, normally (being that this is a spy movie), Bond has some super-phat gadget that helps him fly, or a pen that is actually a new pair of shoes.  In this movie?  a jacket that, with a pull of a rip cord, turns into a large, inflatable bubble.  That's it.  No exploding gum, no missile-firing key chain, nothing.  Even the Bond car in this movie just has a missile launcher; no Palm Pilot-remote control or ejection seat or oil slick.  Hmm.

And, you'd think being the world's most famous spy, he would be better at keeping out of sight!  Nope, he just parks his car out in the middle of wherever he is going, so as to make it easier for all of the movie's bad guys to discover his location!  This 007 dude is a bloomin' idiot!  I was reading an interview with Carlyle about making Bond movies, and he said it best by saying "you know already that you [the bad guy] aren't going to kill Bond, so you have to make it as interesting as possible."

Maybe, that's just it for me--these movies are such cliché, that some of Bond's otherwise silly lines come off as just a little cheesy, and when bad guys fire at Bond, you know they are going to miss so badly that it just becomes funny to see how many times they will keep shooting at him.  The gunplay in this movie feels as lifeless as any I can remember for a Bond movie; almost like bad guys are getting shot because the producers remembered that's what people want to see when they see a Bond movie.  (I don't need to see people getting lit up without just cause; it just seemed like, in this movie, the value of the people getting shot seemed much lower than other Bond pictures.)  I also hope that the stunt double for Pierce Brosnan, Bond for at least one more picture, got paid as much as Brosnan did, because he is on-screen doing all of the heavy lifting for Brosnan almost as much as Brosnan is hooking up with various female characters.  It would be cool if they just had a little fun with the concept of these movies, and made them straight action pictures, used more martial-arts scenes, or involved more of the unseen other MI6 agents (the other 8 double-O agents) in a "Mission: Impossible"-type team movie.

As it is, there are good things about "The World is Not Enough"--the opening sequence is really cool, way over the top but it happens to work; Sophie Marceau is the best acting Bond girl, I think, the series has ever had; the music always gets me going; beautiful locations and lots of other hot women.  But, this movie is easily the worst of the three movies that Brosnan has made as Bond, and because "The Thomas Crown Affair" (a far better movie with a far more imaginative script, even if it was a remake) is still fresh in my head, I am rooting for the next Bond movie to be better than this.  My mom wanted to give this movie "a 6 out of 10", but I don't think I can go that far, as my brother so aptly reminded me:  "Whoa, mom...I don't think I would go that high!"

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09