by Ken B.
The World is not Enough almost feels like a slew of ideas for action scenes and one-liners were thrown together, and then a connecting plot was picked out of a hat. We expect the James Bond movies to be better than other action films, and when it’s not, that’s all the more of a letdown. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of good stuff here. Due to the excessive action sequences, it would be a crime if the special effects weren’t amazing, which they are, and the performances are very good for an action movie, ranging from the straight-edged M (JUDI DENCH) to the comic relief, “R” (JOHN CLEESE, who is one of the few people you can say to be hired to do comic relief in a movie and could pull it off every time, regardless of the surrounding script), who works with “Q” (the final performance of DESMOND LLEWELYN), and of course, Bond (PIERCE BROSNAN) himself.
The plot here concerns the assassination of Sir Robert King (DAVID CALDER), a tycoon whose money was just retrieved from a Swiss bank. The trail of clues leads to a series of Russian terrorists, including Renard (ROBERT CARLYLE), who literally can’t feel pain. The plan here is to create a nuclear meltdown to ruffle the petroleum prices.
Interesting, right? Kind of? Sort of? Well, the plot did not seem of upright concern for this one, which is kind of disappointing, considering that this is a 007 movie. I can’t reiterate this enough, it appears that the ratio of action scenes to plot was somewhere around 9 to 1. It starts all well and good. The speedboat chase at the beginning of the movie is wonderful to look at. And then, things slowly descend into a confusing mess. Around the climax of the film, which contains so many gun flashes, sparks, and downright old fashioned gasoline powered explosions I had to shield my eyes a couple of times. I don’t think I’ve ever had to do that before. But oh – when you can see the explosions and flashes, they are truly magnificent.
I found the title song by the band Garbage to be oddly mesmerizing, accompanied by the title sequence which does not disappoint in looking like a David Lynch fever dream, as modern Bond sequences happen to do. Speaking of Lynch, the song sometimes did sort of have a dream pop undertone, kind of like Julee Cruise could in her work for Twin Peaks. Never mind. Making comparisons between these two sides of cinema is a futile effort. (I couldn’t keep going, anyway – Twin Peaks is as far as my personal knowledge of Lynch’s filmography goes after stumbling across it on Netflix.)
When compared to the lexicon of the James Bond franchise, The World is Not Enough just doesn’t stand up. It’s like a just-above-mediocre general action movie was ported into this series, established for longevity and quality. It has all the classic elements; exotic locations, Bond girls sure to intrigue half of the population, and a lot of explosions. The problem is, when The World is not Enough combines these things together, it doesn’t work nearly as well as we know the series can. In the middle, this 128 minute movie strays towards boring (except when a giant helicopter with steel jigsaw blades cuts buildings and bridges in half. Otherwise, the action becomes kind of repetitive). What I’m getting to is saying that The World is Not Enough is not a very welcome addition into the James Bond family. This is a completely passive, largely unsatisfying event.