Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Robert Carlyle, Denise Richards, Robbie Coltrane, Judi Dench, Desmond Llewelyn, John Cleese
Neal Purvis (and story), Robert Wade (and story), Bruce Feirstein, Ian Fleming (characters)
Some men want to rule the world ... Some women ask for the world ... Some believe the world is theirs for the taking ... But for one man, The World Is Not Enough!
In his 19th celluloid adventure, 007 is assigned to protect Elektra King (Sophie Marceau), an oil heiress attempting to control six trillion dollars worth of oil found in the Caspian Sea — and who blames Bond for the recent death of her father. Hot on King's trail is Bosnian baddy Renard (Robert Carlyle). He's had an encounter with Her Majesty's Secret Service before — when 009 put a bullet in his head. Unfortunately for our hero, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and Renard is: A) impervious to pain, and B) very cranky. Ah, yes, and there's the lovely Dr. Christmas Jones (Richards), a shapely scientist drawn into the fray — and presumably, Bond's bed.
$35.519 million on 3163 screens.
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Surround 2.0
French Dolby Surround 2.0
Runtime: 128 min.
Release Date: 5/16/2000
• Audio Commentary with Director Michael Apted
• Audio Commentary with Production Designer Peter Lamont, Second Unit Director Vic Armstrong and Composer David Arnold
• "The Making of The World Is Not Enough" Documentary
• “The Secrets of 007”
• Music Video
PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.
The World Is Not Enough (1999)
Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 10, 2006)
With 1999’s The World Is Not Enough, his third Bond picture, Pierce Brosnan shot up the 007 seniority charts. This put him just ahead of two-film Timothy Dalton but still far behind Sean Connery and Roger Moore with seven movies each, if you count Connery's "unofficial" Never Say Never Again
Brosnan only made it to a fourth flick before he got the boot. I expect this will change his position among fans. While active as Bond, Brosnan was a bit of a popular target amongst other movie critic wannabes. It's always easy to bash the current guy when his predecessors have such long and illustrious histories. Personally, I think Pierce is a solid second-best Bond after Connery, though Enough doesn't offer a very good look at Brosnan's strengths.
Unlike many 007 fans, I enjoyed the first two Brosnan Bonds, 1995's
GoldenEye and 1997's Tomorrow Never Dies. I thought both were exciting and creative and injected a lot of life into the moribund franchise. Enough, on the other hand, is a much blander film than either of those two. It's seriously mediocre Bond. I'll take not-so-hot Bond over most other action movies - even at its worst, the films are still a lot of fun - but I nonetheless found the picture to offer a mild disappointment.
It's hard to pinpoint most of the reasons for this somewhat dull quality, because Enough seems to include most of the usual Bond aspects we like to see. There's your sexy babes, a few interesting gadgets, a lot of action and some nasty bad guys who inevitably almost topple our hero but ultimately fail. (If anyone accuses me of spoiling the ending by revealing that Bond wins, they probably think pro wrestling's real as well.) However, something's missing; the entire enterprise seems fairly exciting and enjoyable but simply lacks a spark.
I suppose the two biggest faults relate to the villains. For one, our main baddie, Renard (Robert Carlyle), seems to have a lot of potential but doesn't get to do much. He's more of an implied threat – especially since we're told early on that he's becoming something of a superman who is impervious to pain - but we see very little of him. Even when he and Bond go up against each other, it's a pretty lackluster affair. Surprisingly, I found Bond's battle against Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies - a much less physically-imposing character - to be more compelling and exciting. Renard looks like a cool villain but he never lives up to his potential. Frankly, Carlyle was much scarier as the volatile Begbie in Trainspotting - now that was a psycho! (Anyone else wish he'd played Renard with a similarly impenetrable Scottish accent?)
(By the way, another main villain emerges as the plot progresses, but since this occurrence is a surprise, I'll not mention any more about that development. Hey, I've already ruined the ending - I don't want to spoil everything!)
Our villains also don't offer a very compelling threat to the world or even a particularly interesting nuisance. Enough actually provides a more complicated than usual plot in that it offers a few twists and turns that make it tough to discuss without spilling too many beans. While those surprises can be fun, they seem intended to mask the lack of actual evil threat around us. I know that Bond films need to vary the nastiness – it would get dull if every story dealt with world domination or the like - but this one simply seems more mundane than most and lacks much truly hissable action. The villains are more complicated and real than most Bond baddies - they're even vaguely sympathetic - but that's not necessarily a good thing, since realism isn't something we truly desire in one of these films.
Perhaps some of the lackluster quality comes from director Michael Apted, who has a solid track record as a filmmaker but has never attempted anything quite like a Bond picture - this the guy who made Coal Miner's Daughter and Nell, for God's sake! Apted doesn't let down the franchise, but he doesn't do much to spark it along either. The director could have overcome some of the plot's flaws with more compelling storytelling, but as it stands, Enough plods along for most of its running time.
Since Apted's background is in such character-driven movies, it seems ironic that the best parts of Enough come from its action scenes. However, I doubt these were the domain of Apted. It's likely that second-unit director Vic Armstrong handled much of this work, something that seems even more logical when one considers that Armstrong is a veteran stunt coordinator who has handled those duties and second unit tasks on a wide variety of action pictures. Although the film's nominal climax is disappointing, many of the action sequences are quite stunning, from the opening boat chase to a skiing segment and a race to stop a bomb in an oil pipeline. We've seen bits similar to many of these but the scenes in Enough make their own impact.
As far as the actors go, they're a mixed bag. Brosnan is perfectly fine in his third attempt at Bond, though the vague blandness of the story seems to rub off on him as well. He makes less of an impression in this movie and kind of blends into the scenery much of the time. As I already mentioned, Robert Carlyle simply doesn't get enough to do as Renard. A potentially strong character becomes something of a nothing.
Whenever a film appears, there's always a huge focus on the new "Bond girls", and the two we find in Enough aptly demonstrate the highs and the lows of the parts. On the positive side is Sophie Marceau's turn as Elektra King, previously kidnapped daughter of an oil tycoon. This part is much more complicated than the average Bond bimbo (Bondbo? Bimbond?) and Marceau does a wonderful job in the role. She's sly, sexy and seductive and she brings all of the nuances of Elektra to life in a manner broad enough to fit a Bond movie but realistic enough not to seem artificial.
On the other hand, we find Denise Richards as nuclear scientist (!) Christmas Jones. Part of the problem with this role is that it seems enormously tacked-on. The filmmakers appear to have remembered that every Bond movie needs two babes, so they had to create a second one although the film integrates her poorly. Christmas shows up much later in the film than is typical for a leading lady in a Bond flick, and she has even less to do than usual. She seems to be there for little more than window-dressing, as she doesn't even offer many of the requisite rescuing-needs typical of Bond women.
The weakness of the role as written might have been overcome had the filmmakers cast an actual actress. Instead they just got a body. It's a damned fine body - Richards has to be on a short list of the hottest Bond babes - but the woman herself can't act. Granted, she improved since her embarrassingly stiff turn in 1997's Starship Troopers, and Richards actually showed a little promise in 1998's Wild Things. Films like the latter are probably better for Richards since she does her best work when she plays snotty and sexy chicks. If she actually has to pretend she can do anything other than pout and flirt – such as perform as a starship pilot or a nuclear scientist - then forget about it. The part turns into high school drama caliber work. Richards' role in Enough is small enough - and her chest big enough - that she doesn't really harm the film, but she sure doesn't help it.
The returning actors include Judi Dench as "M" and Robbie Coltrane as
Russian gangster Zukovsky. Both are polished professionals who are fine in their roles. The saddest to watch is Desmond Llewellyn's "Q", not because he did anything to embarrass himself in the part but because we now know he'll never play "Q" again, since Llewellyn died in a car crash only a month after the release of Enough.
This means it's kind of eerie to watch Llewellyn's only scene, as it presciently introduces "Q's" successor, who's never-named but for Bond's joking comment about whether he's called "R" and is played by John Cleese. Cleese doesn't stretch his old Python talents and seems more bumbling than I'd like, but he does nothing to stain the film. (By the way, am I the only one who finds "Q's" departure in the film creepy? Llewellyn sinks into the floor, just like a coffin being lowered into the ground. Spooks me just to think of it!)
All scariness aside, The World Is Not Enough offers a mildly diverting attempt at a Bond film but it seems decidedly mediocre when compared to its predecessors. There have been a few worse Bonds, but there have also been many better. As I mentioned, I'd still take a blah Bond over most other action flicks, but Enough remains a disappointment nonetheless.
The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio A/ Bonus B
The World Is Not Enough appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The movie featured an erratic transfer.
Sharpness offered one of the inconsistent elements. Much of the film provided good clarity and delineation, but that wasn’t a constant. A number of wide shots turned somewhat soft and indistinct, partially due to some noticeable edge enhancement. Jagged edges and moiré effects were a minor nuisance, and I saw occasional examples of specks and grit.
Colors were pretty bold and vibrant, with no instances of any problems such as bleeding or noise. The hues usually looked realistic and well-saturated. Black levels stood out as fairly deep and rich, though interiors could seem drab. That factor contributed to shadows that tended to be a little dense. Interior shots occasionally appeared lackluster and muddy. Actually, night time exteriors were somewhat flat as well; the movie definitely didn’t handle low-light shots with aplomb. Enough about the transfer worked well to earn it a “B-“, but it wasn’t as strong as I expected.
I found few reasons to complain about the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of The World Is Not Enough. One expects a sonic assault from a Bond movie, and one won't be disappointed with this track. It came at the listener from all sides with a terrific aural experience. The soundfield provided audio that enveloped the viewer. Audio stayed in the forward spectrum when appropriate - generally during the quieter scenes - but when things heated up, no single domain dominated as the sound flew all about the five speakers. The mix also did a nice job of localizing audio and placing it in the appropriate places, and the track blended together well, which was important since Enough featured an unusually high level of panning.
The quality seemed excellent as well. Much of the dialogue clearly needed to be dubbed - in particular, Marceau's lines seemed heavily re-recorded – but the speech always sounded acceptably natural and easily intelligible. The vast majority of the dubbed dialogue blended fairly well with the action. The score seemed a bit more subdued than usual - it took more of a backseat than typical for the series - but appeared clear and rich for the most part.
Effects were absolutely terrific, with clean, realistic audio that betrayed distortion only on very rare occasions. Overall the effects are the highlight of the show. The mix boasted some excellent bass response as well. All in all, Enough provided a fine sonic experience.
One audio warning: don't turn up the volume on your receiver until after the extremely loud - and annoyingly unskippable - MGM promo that appears right after you start the DVD. This thing has scared many an unwary viewer – and probably blown a speaker or two - so be warned. Message to MGM: turn down the volume and let us skip these stupid things!
We find a reasonably array of supplements in this package, starting with two running audio commentaries. The first comes from director Michael Apted and offers a running, screen-specific chat. He gets into a good mix of subjects. Apted discusses sets and locations, casting and working with the actors, opening credits and the theme song, stunts and shooting the action scenes, story and character development issues, various effects, editing and pacing, and many general notes.
Not experienced in this form of blockbuster, Apted comes across as a bit of an outsider in that world. This creates an environment in which he offers a nicely unassuming look at the film. He lets us in on a lot of the movie-making secrets - like the numerous changes in location that occurred, even though the scenes were all supposed to be in one place - and he relates a lot of information about the challenges he faced. Apted isn't so frank that he criticizes anyone else on the film, but he's not afraid to critique his own work, and he seems honest and upfront in that regard. I found this to be a very good commentary as Apted provides a fine overview of the production and offers many insights.
The second track features some old Bond veterans in the form of production designer Peter Lamont, second-unit director Vic Armstrong, and composer David Arnold, all of whom were recorded together for their own running, screen-specific chat. As one might expect, they discuss sets, locations and design elements, score and title song, and stunts and action.
The track occasionally drags a bit, as the participants tend to praise the flick an awful lot. However, we still get a good look at the various nuts and bolts issues. We find nice notes about how the various elements were chosen and executed, so the commentary fills out the issues well. It’s not as fascinating as Apted’s chat, but it turns into a reasonable technical overview.
A few other supplements round out this collection, including the obligatory behind the scenes program. Sign that a documentary will offer a light, superficial look at a movie: the host came to fame as a Miss America. Leanza Cornet (Miss America 1993, Florida) guides us through this 15-minute tour of Enough, a piece that looks an awful lot like an extended version of something you'd see on Entertainment Tonight. Still, "The Making of The World Is Not Enough" is a watchable little show. We see enough footage from the set and hear enough of the principals to make it mildly entertaining, it not exactly in-depth.
The Secrets of 007 provides some more behind the scenes material. With this option activated, a "007" logo will flash on the screen nine times during the movie. When this occurs, if you press the "select" or "enter" button on your remote, the picture switches to a few minutes of film clips, raw footage from the set, shots of special effects creation, production art and storyboards. All in all, these nine segments run a total of about 23 minutes, and these provide some fun and interesting views of the filmmaking process.
This idea is not original - among others, The Matrix utilized it - but I think Enough presents it in its most "user-friendly" fashion. One can either check out these tidbits during the film itself - via the afore-mentioned method - or one can access them through individual options in the "Secrets of 007" menu. This was very helpful, as it lets us investigate the material with a minimum of hassle. The only disappointment about this section comes from the segment on the "Title Sequence"; some schmuck has digitally obscured the chest of one of the nude models so we can't check out her knockers! Granted, I wasn't surprised that they didn't offer us any skin, but still, I need all the cheap thrills I can get!
Enough tosses in the good theatrical trailer and a cool music video for Garbage's title song. Singer Shirley Manson would make a great Bond villainess and her bitch goddess persona works nicely for this clip, which otherwise would be a standard conglomeration of film shots and lip-synching; the video attempts a Bond-ian storyline, but it's Manson's heat that keeps it together.
Lastly, Enough includes the standard MGM collectible booklet. It provides a lot of good information.
The World Is Not Enough will never be mistaken for one of the best Bond films, and I can't even assert that it's average. Nonetheless, despite some faults - mainly a blandness that seems inescapable - I liked Enough. Even when Bond is average, he's still fun. Enough offers lackluster picture plus excellent sound and includes a good set of supplements. I can't recommend Enough for anyone who hasn't picked up better Bond DVDs like Goldfinger, GoldenEye or Licence to Kill, but it's still a title that’ll appeal to Bond fans.
Viewer Film Ratings: 3.4 Stars|| Number of Votes: 30|