The World Is Not Enough
1999, PG-13, 125 min. Directed by Michael Apted. Starring John Cleese, Samantha Bond, Desmond Llewelyn, Robbie Coltrane, Judi Dench, Denise Richards, Robert Carlyle, Sophie Marceau, Pierce Brosnan.
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Nov. 26, 1999
The World Is Not Enough … but two hours is plenty sufficient. It's not as though there's anything too new to report on here, apart from the latest nifty techno-gadgets and this year's model of the archetypal Bond girl. The World Is Not Enough is solid 007 entertainment -- not as bad as some of the recent Bonds but not as spunky as some of the series' originals. Predictability, however, is the series' strength and weakness: The films draw us in with the comfort of the familiar as they also turn us away with the disappointment of the repetitive and obsolete. Has James Bond outlived his time? It's a fair question, and not only one that Bond's megalomaniacal nemeses might ask. With his handmade suits, sexist quips, and wanton destruction of life and property, his appeal seems antiquated in terms of Nineties values. Yet prosper he does. He always gets his man and he always gets the babes. The women in The World Is Not Enough run the show. As M, Dench is given greater narrative participation in the story than the character has ever had. Marceau is on point as the bad good girl, although Richards fares less fortunately as the story's good bad girl. Brosnan is perfectly graceful in his third Bond outing, although it would be nice to see the hint of a knowing twinkle in his eyes. Carlyle, as the villain who has no sense of pain, has too little to do, but Coltrane, reprising his role in GoldenEye, packs a lot of entertainment value. Much has been made of Apted coming on board as director in order to emphasize the character and narrative elements of the story, indicating the franchise's wish to ground the formula with more identifiably human aspects as it marches into the new millennium. Llewelyn, as the series' gadget inventor Q, is given what seems like a send-off after appearing in 17 of the 19 MGM Bond films -- but not before he introduces his promising protégé played by John Cleese. The World Is Not Enough is all right for what it is, but will the day ever come when enough is enough?