The World is Not Enough – 1 star

The World Is Not Enough is the worst James Bond film ever made, worse than even late bad-fashion, Roger Moore duds A View To a Kill or Octopussy .  As camp and aged as Moore became at the end, Pierce Brosnan proved to be something worse – tedious.  He’s got two moves: a smirk and grim displeasure.

Still, Bond films are rarely deep character studies, so how hard can one be on Brosnan?  At least we get beautiful sights, jaw-dropping stunts, good gadgets, a certain clever patter, Bond’s ingenuity, gorgeous women and intriguing villains with grand designs.

The World Is Not Enough has none of these things.  It is set almost exclusively in the drab former Soviet Union (see exciting Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan!); the stunts are pedestrian (another ski chase, a ho hum boat chase, more travel in an oil pipeline); the gadgets are routine (Bond can make his car come to him like a dog); the repartee’ is awful; and, worst of all, Bond is no longer ingenious – most things just drop into his lucky lap.

Unforgivably, the women are forgettable.  Sophie Marceau is grim and Denise Richards is so ridiculously Charlie’s Angels, she holds no interest – where the hell are Jill St. John and Barbara Carrera when we need them?

Now, that’s a Bond girl.

The villains have no design, other than financial mixed with some revenge (almost as bad as in Goldeneye, when the whole movie centered around Jonathan Pryce getting tv rights in China).  Worse, the picture is accompanied by a relentlessly cheezy Bond theme-meets-drum machine.

Finally, Bond is again emotionally involved with a woman (that’s two out of four for Brosnan), adding to the tiresome nature of the whole thing.  Bond’s attachment to a woman is rarely a good sign, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service notwithstanding.

Brosnan played the part one more time after The World Is Not Enough, demonstrating even more urgently that the Bond series needed a new face.  I had urged Jeremy Northam or Clive Owen, but the franchise knew better when it tapped Daniel Craig.

  1. pinchermartin said:

    I find it interesting that the best Bond movie in the fifty-year-old franchise is Daniel Craig’s premiere turn as 007.

    • Craig completely reinvigorated the franchise. He shucked off the witty quips and puns that had become lame; he brought physicality to the role; and with him, they de-emphasized gadgets, except for when a gadget was more modern and plausible, such as the medical device he used in the car to revive himself after he was poisoned in Casino Royale. His Bond is not cavalier (Brosnan) or silly (late Moore), but serious, though not unpleasantly, angrily so (Dalton).

      • pinchermartin said:

        They also picked a great Bond girl in Eva Green. She’s less swimsuit model and more than Bond’s equal in wit and conversation.

      • Absolutely. The Bond girl in Quantum was also more developed, with a compelling backstory. And the minor starlet, Strawberry Fields, I mean, come on . . . .

  2. Cal said:

    I haven’t seen any of the Craig Bonds yet. I didn’t even watch any of the Brosnans until Tomorrow Never Dies and on the strength of that, went to see The World is Not Enough, which is, if anything, worse than what you’ve deemed it here. The trauma has kept me away from all subsequent Bonds.

    But then, outside of the original Connery movies, I’m not terribly familiar with the Bond oeuvre. I hear good things about Craig.

  3. Cal said:

    I’ll check them out.

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