007 in 23: Assignment #019- The World is Not Enough

ASSIGNMENT #019: The World is Not Enough (1999)

Before we head into The World is Not Enough, let’s talk about Desmond Lleweyln for a bit. The World is Not Enough marks the end of a magnificent as Lleweyln played the iconic character of Q for a record seventeenth time. Llewelyn was magnificent throughout the entire series and is indeed my favorite character of the franchise from having to put up with Bond destroying his precious gadgets, giving witty banter, and always telling Bond to pay attention. Llewelyn remains a legend in the Bond franchise and made the role Q his own. John Cleese steps in in this film to take the reigns, but only for Die Another Day. The reboot timeline did not have Q, which nearly disappointed me. That was until I saw the trailer for Skyfall (the reason I started this series) and Daniel Craig’s James Bond introduced himself to his new Quartermaster, otherwise known as Q. I am so ready to see the new interpretation of Q and hope to see Llewelyn’s legacy live on. Sadly, Desmond Llewelyn died tragically in a car accident nearly a month after the release of The World is Not Enough. Rest in piece, Desmond, I have finally paid attention. Nobody does it better.

James Bond meets up with a Swiss banker to get money for Sir Robert King, a British oil tycoon. Bond explains to the banker that King is ready to buy a report that a MI6 agent died over and wants to know who did it. The banker gets upset ready to attack Bond, only to be assassinated by his assistant (Maria Grazia Cucinotta aka Cigar Girl) before revealing the name with Bond leaving with the money. In London, Sir Robert is killed via booby-trapped money inside MI6’s walls. Bond starts to hunt down the Cigar Girl assassin on the River Thames in a boat chase where she kills herself detonating a hot balloon she was escaping in. Bond finds traces of the money to Renard (Robert Carlyle), a former KGB agent turned terrorist, who has a bullet in his brain which is slowly destroying his senses making him have immunity towards pain. M tells Bond to protect King’s daughter, Elektra (Sophie Marceau), who Renard previously abducted and held her for a ransom of $5 Million cool ones. MI6 believes Elektra may be targeted once again, leading Bond to head to Azerbaijan where Elektra is overseeing construction on a new oil pipeline. As the overlook the pipeline’s new mountain location they are attacked by (and I shit you not) flying snowmobiles. They engage (sorry for overusing that) in a fire fight, a classic Bond style ski chase, and get trapped under ice. Of course, they survive or else this would have been a very short Bond film. Bond heads to talk to his old Russian Mafia pal, Valentin Zukosky (Robbie Coltrane) to learn who Elektra’s attacker are and learns that Elektra’s security head, Davidov (Ulrich Thomsen), is working alongside Renard. As Bond learns of this, he kills Davidov off  and takes off in a plane headed for a Russian ballistic missile base in Kazakhstan where he poses as a nuclear scientist. Bond meets with nuclear physicist Christmas Jones (Denise Richards playing a scientist…I’m not going to say anything that hasn’t bee said before) and proceeds enter the silo to find Renard stealing a GPS locator card and plutonium from a bomb inside. Bond is ready to kill him as Christmas (Seriously, Christmas? Christmas?) reveals Bond’s identity, setting Renard free while stealing a bomb and killing everyone in the silo (Way to go, Denise Richards) with Bond and Christmas escaping before they can be burned to a crisp.

As Bond heads back to Azebaijin with Useless Jones right behind him, he informs M that Elektra might not be the sweet girl with a mild form of Stockholm syndrome he bedded down. Bond give M a locator card as proof of the theft when suddenly Renard’s bomb, attached to an inspection rig, is traveling at a fast pace down the pipeline headed to the oil terminal. Bond and Useless, I mean, Christmas head to attempt to stop it in time and set off the bomb by escaping in time, only for MI6 to believe the both have died. At this moment, Elektra steps in and reveals that Renard is not responsible for the schemes, but that it is herself.  Yes, kids, it took nineteen films to finally have a woman Bond villain and, I may get hate for this, but I love this twist. Elektra killed her father as revenge for using her as bait for Renard, causing her to develop the Stockholm syndrome I briefly mentioned earlier. Elektra decides to abduct M just for the hell of it. Bond and Christmas head to Zukovsky at his caviar factory on the Caspian Sea, only to be attacked by a helicopter with five dual saw blades (that’s just overkill). Of course, the factory gets destroyed and Zukovsky reveals he made an arrangements with Elektra to use a submarine captained by his nephew, Nikolai, who Renard kills. Bond, Zukovsky, and Christmas (you are still here?!) head to Istanbul, not Constantinople, where they believe Renard and Elektra are using the plutonium to turn the submarine into a nuclear bomb that will destroy all of Istanbul, which I assure you is not Constantinople.

Elektra plans to due this to sabotage the Russians’ oil pipeline to have her pipeline go around Istanbul to increase the value of her oil because, as you all know, that’s how that works. Bond receives a signal from the locator card from the Maiden’s Tower from a local command center right when Zukovsky right hand man, Bullion (Goldie), betrays him and blows up the center. Zukovsky is rendered unconscious, as Bond and Christmas are captured. Christmas is taken to the submarine to save the audience from seeing her and Bond is being held hostage by Elektra and her garrote chair. Zukovsky and his boys enter the tower and shoot up the place, until Elektra shoots him down. As Zukovsky lays dying, he uses his cane gun to free Bond (essentially, Hagrid just saved James Bond). Bond finds M and frees her, while coming face to face with Elektra and shoots the crazy bitch down. Bond then goes to the submarine to stop Renard and free Christmas (No, don’t do that). The submarine begins to dive below the surface breaking its hull. Bond kills Renard so he can join Elektra in hell or purgatory and Bond and Christmas leave with Bond boning her in a hotel after the events claiming that he thought Christmas only came once a year, leaving the audience to groan the biggest damn groan in their lives.

The World is Not Enough is not enough of a Bond film and more of a mediocre action film, which is not something kind to say about a Bond feature. The action seems run of the mill this time around with the exception of the opening teaser that blows the rest of the film out of the water. The plot is quite similar to A View to a Kill, instead with oil and some performances in the film are just subpar. I hate to harp on the gorgeous Denise Richards, but she is the worst part about this film. She doesn’t emote any of the lines correctly, comes off as dumb, and seems here to be eye candy. I’ve gotten to the point about complaining about eye candy in a Bond film. Robert Carlyle as Renard seems to slip in and out of Russian to reveal his Scottish accent and falls flat in certain scenes by not being menacing at all (odd considering he is a fantastic villain in Once Upon a Time on ABC). Brosnan seems a bit bored being Bond this time around with the exception of the Q scene which you can see Brosnan was having a blast. Robbie Coltrane returning as Zukovsky is a delight to see because he looks quite happy to be in another Bond feature and seems to be hamming it up quite well. The film is paced very quick, but maybe to quick to fit such a overly-complex plot and characters that should be given a bit more development for us to get a full sense. A positive about this film is the same positive I have with A View to a Kill, but this time it is more controversial. I love Sophie Marceau’s Elektra King as the villain (I can hear your boos coming in) as she is an intimidating and captivating seductress that wins you over, only to back stabbed your rooting for her. I assure you she would have been more of a hit with Bond fans if the story, hell, just the film around her character was well plotted and a bit longer for some more character development. This film seems to take what made Tomorrow Never Dies an enjoyable film with spy elements, but due away with the spy elements and make it a even more generic action extravaganza.

The them song by Garbage is another controversial pick for a favorite Bond song. I like Garbage and this song is no different with Shirley Manson belting it out in a sexy seductive manner. This theme is not for Bond, but for Elektra if you really think about it and with that in mind, it just works all around. The World is Not Enough is generic in every sense of the word and a mediocre entry in the franchise, but is nearly saved with a fantastic twist to reveal a delightful villain.

Assignment Status: 2.75 out of 5

Next time, Brosnan is back for a final time with Bond betrayed, imprisoned, and nearly left for dead trying to find the North Korean colonel that he thought he had killed, but seem to be back. Time to review the franchise killer of the first Bond timeline and the most hated Bond film known as Die Another Day. This is going to be a fate worse than hell, isn’t it?

Next Assignment: Die Another Day

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One thought on “007 in 23: Assignment #019- The World is Not Enough

  1. Pingback: Catch up on 007 in 23 Before Skyfall is Posted! « From the Mind of Sergio Berrueta

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