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.