The World is Not Enough

Tucson Weekly

DIRECTED BY: Michael Apted

REVIEWED: 11-29-99

Many years ago, James Bond films gave up any pretense of being original motion pictures and settled for the distinction of being installments in the most successful franchise in movie history. This McDonald's style of filmmaking has produced such forgettable fare as Octopussy, License to Kill, Tomorrow Never Dies and now The World is Not Enough. The basic premise over the last couple of decades is always the same: some bad guy wants to blow something up, so James Bond has to have sex with an assortment of beautiful white girls.

Why argue with success? While The World is Not Enough does away with such niceties as "logic" and "believability," it does feature enough corny sex puns to keep the average dull-normal 14-year-old boy amused for its two-hour run time.

Basically, every other line in the film is a variant on the old "That's what she said...last bed!!!" joke. Within five minutes of the start of the film, Bond is making some fairly obvious allusions while handing Miss Moneypenny a cigar, which is a bad sign, no doubt. Luckily, the jokes don't get any more sophisticated, and the last line in the film is an atrocious groaner that somehow manages to make "Christmas" sound dirty.

But really, how much do we expect from a James Bond film? They're all basically just collections of scenes from other James Bond films, and I assume that's what the fans go in to see. If that's all you're after, I suppose you might find World is Not Enough reasonably satisfying, especially if you like large-breasted women and deformed super-villains.

The "plot," such as it is, has James Bond trying to track down super-terrorist Renard (played by Robert Carlyle). Renard has lost all feeling due to a bullet wound to the head, and Carlyle plays him as though, well, as though he's lost all feeling due to a bullet wound to the head, which is not exactly a recipe for excitement.

Renard, it seems, once kidnapped beautiful heiress Elektra King (who, oddly enough, wants to kill her father and make it with her mother...), and now he's coming back for seconds. Bond must protect King, with "protect" defined by the British Secret Service as "get it on with."

Meanwhile, Renard is stealing fissionable material, which, in an odd reversal of reality, can be handled safely with one's bare hands. Asking why this is so, Bond is told that it's "weapons-grade plutonium." Oh, I see...not that junky "toy-grade" stuff that makes you sick if you get too near it.

Having already done Elektra King, Bond gets a little bored and tries to hook up with nuclear physicist Christmas Jones. Christmas is played by Denise Richards, who is extremely convincing as a high-ranking, U.S. government nuclear physicist, since she's 25 years old. To help her grasp the niceties of sub-atomic physics, she's had collagen implants, a nose job and a ridiculously oversized breast augmentation. Also, like most government-employed researchers, she trots around the globe in short-shorts and a tank top.

Anyway, Bond gets suspicious of Elektra, probably because she's played by Sophie Marceau, who's only young enough to be his daughter, not his granddaughter. Reasoning that any woman over the age of 30 must be evil, Bond begins to suspect that she is colluding with her former kidnapper in his scheme to blow stuff up.

I'd love to go on and relate more of the plot, but it's so deeply nonsensical that I think I could only do it by referring to diagrams that employed four-dimensional space and Riemannian geometry, and I've been officially told to "lay off the Riemannian geometry."

So, it's probably best to look at this film as a combination of discrete elements that do not actually add up to any cohesive whole. Those elements fall into three categories: gadgets, sex and gadgets that have a sexual edge.

The gadgets include a missile-wielding BMW that appears only long enough to get sawn in half by a helicopter; a helicopter that shows up seemingly for the sole purpose of sawing in half a BMW, and a credit card with a knife in it. Frankly, none of this is that impressive: sure, it's nice to have the missiles on your BMW, but pretty much anybody can get one of those fake credit cards with a knife in it, so the basic set of gadgets in this film gets pretty low marks.

The sex includes countless scenes of Sophie Marceau carefully draping something in front of her bare breasts and Denise Richards "accidentally" getting her tank top wet so that her silicon enhancements can struggle valiantly against their moist enclosures.

Amongst the gadgets with a sexual edge are a pair of "X-Ray Specs" that really work, insofar as they make guns hidden under clothing visible. For some reason, (I'm thinking "the lucrative PG-13 rating"), they can't see through underwear. However, they do highlight any lacy undergarment worn by an attractive extra.

Adding an odd note to World is Monty Python veteran John Cleese, who gets only four lines in his pointless role as Bond's new weapon designer, "R." In a similar vein, Judi Dench wastes her talent playing Bond's boss, the dowdy but indefatigable M, who's the only woman in the entire movie who looks old enough to be Bond's younger sister.

I suppose that many heterosexual men dream of a world populated by beautiful young things and fast cars and gunplay, which is probably why the UA gets so many applications for admission. Still, a little care in the plotting, a little bit of believability, and perhaps some actual suspense might have neatly seasoned this bland broth of breasts, battle gear and bomb-wielding bad guys.

--James DiGiovanna

Full Length Reviews
The World is Not Enough

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The World is Not Enough
The World is Not Enough

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Extreme Measures

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