Well, stick with me The World, we’re almost through the Brosnans. I’m doing everything I can not to make them the bottom four, so stay tuned, it’s gonna get whatever version of exciting something like this can be!
The World Is Not Enough has some really good stuff: Robert Carlyle and Sophie Marceau as villains, Robbie Coltrane as an ally, a decent boat chase, Dame Judi Dench, a giant plaid carpet. But it’s also got Denise Richards as nuclear physicist Dr. Christmas Jones. More on that in a minute.
Maybe I should explain my problems with the Brosnans. It’s often said that Jaws was the first blockbuster, but really it was Thunderball. It was such a global hit that some theaters were showing it 24 hours a day. Bond reigned as the action movie supreme for 25 years. It went through periods of decline when it tried to be like other movies, but at its core, nobody did it better. Then came Indiana Jones and more significantly, Die Hard. Those films changed things, reluctant heroes were more believable than two dimensional smarm-guys, and up until Casino Royale, Bond would have to play catch up.
THE YEAR: 1999
THE MUSIC: The World Is Not Enough performed by Garbage. BONUS: Pierce Brosnan’s hurt-acting in the first 5 seconds of this link. Now, I don’t want to be a negative-Nancy, and I know a lot of positive-Pamelas like this song, but it just feels like amateur hour at the Shirley Bassey drag show tribute. It’s definitely in the Bond style, but I’m all for something more different and original than a mid-tempo that’ll-do. I should mention that David Arnold does the score for the last three films in this list. He’s a good successor to John Barry, but it isn’t until the Daniel Craig movies where he leaves the techno stuff behind and starts to shine.
THE GIRLS: Sophie Marceau is great. She’s a nuanced actor and well cast. Too bad that’s all undone by Denise Richards. It’s not really even Richards’ fault. Yes, she’s pretty bad (she won the Bond series its first ever Razzie award) but she’s just so incredibly miscast. Was Cate Blanchett not working then? Rachel Weisz? Dakota Fanning?
THE VILLAINS: The excellent Robert Carlyle plays Renard, who is slowly dying from a bullet lodged in his brain. The upside: he can’t feel pain. The other upside: he can’t feel what I feel when I watch Denise Richards try to speak Russian. This no-pain-all-gain idea is pretty neat for a Bond villain but they don’t do much with it.
THE PLOT: Oil or something!
THE GADGETS: X-ray sunglasses and an avalanche-proof inflatable-shelter ski jacket. One from the back of a comic book and the other from the necessity of ONLY THE EXACT SITUATION BOND RANDOMLY FINDS HIMSELF IN. It is worth mentioning that this is Desmond Llewelyn’s last film as Q. I believe he’s officially the actor to have played one character the most times. He was Quartermaster Major Boothroyd 17 times. Love that guy.
The World Is Not Enough takes its title from Bond’s family motto ‘Orbis Non Sufficit.’ But really it just sounds like one in a series of refrigerator poetry style Bond titles.* Unfortunately, this part of the series feels just as unmemorable.
Will the last Brosnan be next? Stay tuned for a big goddamned surprise!
* Don’t steal this idea.