The World is Not Enough might be the ultimate mixed bag as there are some bits I really genuinely like, but there are also some real poor parts as well. Every time I think I’m going to give this a 4, I remember something bad and it drops down again. Then I focus on the bad and think of dropping it to a 2, before I remember some of the good! Well, now I’ve spoiled the score in the opening paragraph, let’s take a deeper look anyway!
Bond is entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the daughter of an oil tycoon. While on his mission, he learns about an even more dangerous plot.
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
“The jokes on you, I really like having my -ugh- windpipe crushed” “Yeah, I’m not that stupid…”
The main thing that stands out to me in the film is the pair of villains. Sophie Marceau’s Elektra King is the first proper female main villain and they play with the idea that Bond would find it hard to stop and or kill a beautiful woman brilliantly. The lead up to the reveal that she’s actually behind the plot is good too, using Stockholm syndrome from when she was kidnapped a few years ago as how she turned, although implying the intent was there all along. He former kidnaper / general unpleasant terrorist Renard (Robert Carlyle) is a good villain, but very plain, thankfully him not being the main villain is the saving point. The fact he can’t feel pain due to a bullet lodged in his brain made him the perfect henchman for Bond to fight, while Elektra was the brains. It makes for a good combination.
Her history with M and the MI6 leader getting kidnapped by them was a good twist as well. Basically she resented M for not allowing her father to give in to Renard’s demands back when he kidnapped her. She also killed her father, M’s old friend, at the start of the film for leaving her trapped, so… she wasn’t very nice, to but it bluntly. Her final scene, where Bond is forced to shoot her as she gloats that he won’t do it, is great, as M walks up the stairs to see it, a look of disappointment in her eyes. She sees Bond give her now-dead body a tender goodbye kiss, showing it really was a hard decision to make, and instead of berating Bond or anything, she just lets him walk by without a word.
Valentin’s last moments: pretending his cane was a gun. Imagine his surprise when it turns out it was one after all!
The final showdown with Renard in a sinking submarine, with the baddie trying to cause its nuclear reactor to blow, is exciting. You see his loyalty to Elektra runs deep as a freaks out at the news of her death. Bond oddly comforts him as he dies, telling him “she’s waiting for you!” as he gets impaled… admittedly I assume if there is an afterlife she’s “waiting for him” in hell, but… whatever works for you, I guess!
It was nice see Robbie Coltrane’s Valentin again, even if he hams it up a bit here and is turned into a big of a comic foil at some points. Really, I guess, it was just nice to be reminded of GoldenEye…
The first part of the pre-credits sequence was good fun, involving a case of money, a punch up and escape from a Swiss banker and his goons, though I’ll admit there was no big moment to lead into the actual credits, it was still good fun. A ski chase where Bond’s pursuers are weirdly in flying fan glider things from a G.I. Joe / Action Force toy set was fun, if only for the weird vehicles.
Christmas Jones, cosplaying Lara Croft while doing “scientist thingies”.
Let’s get it out of the way: apparent nuclear physicist Denise Richards. Her character, Christmas Jones, is … so bad. She didn’t look the part; she could barely act, and her name was created purely so Bond could say “I thought Christmas only came once a year” before the end credits. She literally sucks the interest out of any scene she’s in, with the exception of the sinking submarine at the end, where at least the water-filling peril is enough to get me to forget about it.
The actual pre-credits scene was dull, which is weird to say about an explosive boat chase down the Thames. It goes on far too long and seeing our would-be assassin decide to try and escape via slow hot-air balloon rather than any of the many cars behind her makes me cringe every time. Just before that, Bond’s realisation of a bomb in MI6 was good, but our nameless assassin watching from the river and randomly shooting at the hole in the wall before fleeing makes just as little sense as her aforementioned decision to escape in a floating basket.
A showdown in a warehouse with a helicopter that has buzzsaws hanging from it was a little too cartoony for my liking, and the shootout in a mineshaft was bizarrely lifeless.
Q’s final ever scene was… oddly written like they knew he was going to die. Sadly him slowly lowering down the floor on a platform and claiming to “always have a backup plan” when asked if he was retiring isn’t exactly a cool moment, but at least he was actually written out logically. His replacement of a clearly-can’t-be-arsed John Cleese half-Basil Fawlty-ing it up was really bad though… That was a weird sentence to type, sometimes I just type how I speak and it looks weird, sorry about that.
The World is Not Enough has a strong villain pairing and some good moments, but it also has a really weak performance from the Bond girl and some dull action scenes. It’s very odd, but it’s not terrible by any stretch. I’d rate it just higher than Tomorrow Never Dies, and far… far higher than our next film…