Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Denise Richards, Robert Carlyle, Judi Dench, Robbie Coltrane, Samantha Bond, Desmond Llewelyn, and John Cleese.

Directed by: Michael Apted.

Screenplay by: Bruce Feirstein, Michael France.

Genre: Spy, Action, Thriller.

Reviewed by Cherie Jung (11/22/99)

Preface: I am not a die-hard Bond fan. I have not read any of the Bond books. I like Sean Connery best, as the onscreen James Bond and Timothy Dalton, second. Depending upon which movie I am watching, Pierce Brosnan comes in third or fourth (vying for third place with Roger Moore). George Lasenby is next. Barry Nelson (TV version) is always last.

My opinion of "The World is Not Enough" can be summed up in one word -- boring.

And let me tell you why.

They've done it all before. (Yes, I know you can say that about almost any recent Bond film.) But this time, there's just no excitment, no pizazz, no fun.

I'm generally willing to suspend my disbelief for a good cause, but throw it away entirely? Not possible with this movie.

The opening sequence was somewhat amusing. Bond is at his best. Clever and charming. But once the movie moved to the streets of London, I lost interest.

The action sequences have been done before with better results, and probably less cost to the production. (They've been better staged in both Bond and non-Bond films.)

Let's see, there was the boat chase. This one makes the one with Roger Moore in "Live and Let Die" look like an Oscar caliber stunt. There was the ski chase. Again, all of the previously filmed ski chases were more imaginatvely staged and filmed. There was another "trained" car scene (perhaps "programmed" would be a better word for the car trick) but unlike in "Tomorrow Never Dies," this one wasn't any fun. Well, the destruction of the car was fun. (I'm not really giving away plot points here. Bond's car is almost always destroyed isn't it?) There was another stolen nuclear device. Oh, and I must not forget the casino scene. They had one. It has its moments, but the entire casino could fit in my living room. Not very Bondian, especially when compared to all of the other casino scenes in previous Bond films.

Other James Bondian touches were lacking. Exotic locales? Not here. Foreign destinations, yes. Exotic, no.

The film manages to make London, Spain, and the Middle East look dull and boring. Ugly oil derricks were at times plentiful. Sound stage looking docks and ramshackled buildings were used as well. Dare I say it? The settings tended to look cheap, gritty, and as mentioned above, like a badly filmed set on a sound stage. And the movie is at least 20 minutes too long.

In "The World is Not Enough," Bond behaved stupidly throughout the movie. I don't want to give too much away here, but once you see the movie, you may think the boat chase, the balloon chase, the ski chase, the sex, the submarine fight, and the final confrontation were stupid. And I'd agree with you.

My biggest gripe is the way they handled Bond's injury. I have a medical background. I know a person can't do the things Bond did after such an injury. He didn't fool anyone in the audience, not even when he occasionally moaned.

If the producers, director, or screenwriters want Bond injured, but still able to ski, swim, fight, and carry on, then shoot him in the arm or something. Give him a nice painful flesh wound.

I'm not expecting originality in Bond movies, just entertainment.

Take "Thunderball" and "Never Say Never Again." Both use the same story. Both stand alone. Both are enjoyable. (Both have Sean Connery.) In both of those movies, Bond carries himself as a handsome, intelligent, sophisticated man. A secret agent with class. Brosnan looks good in a tuxedo. I'll give him that.

No doubt this movie will make money. Lots of it. Bond's fans are legion. But for now, I'll be content with the new, digitally remastered versions of the older Bond movies being released on DVD.

The end credits, of course, threaten that Bond will return. If he does, let's hope they put some "umph" into it next time. And get some better puns, for goodness sakes!

If this were the first James Bond movie, I doubt that there would have been 18 more to follow.

Maybe it's time for Mr. Bond to retire.

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