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Following the assassination of oil magnate Sir Robert King, British secret agent James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) is assigned to protect King's daughter Elektra (Sophie Marceau) from international terrorist Renard (Robert Carlyle). Travelling to Azerbaijan, Bond encounters Elektra who has vowed to complete the construction of an oil pipeline across the former Soviet Union and Turkey. After narrowly escaping several attempts on his life and with the help of nuclear weapons expert Dr Christmas Jones (Denise Richards), Bond uncovers Renard's plan to trigger an explosion in a nuclear submarine, throwing the world's oil supply into chaos.

"There are some things in life you never want to change and for me one of them is the Bond films. After solid returns on the first two Pierce Brosnan starrers Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies, the revitalised franchise really hits its stride with The World Is Not Enough. From the eye-popping speedboat chase up the Thames to the climax in a submarine at the bottom of the Bosphorous, this is top-notch 007 which plays true to the formula while jigging it around for some fresh angles. Brosnan by now is in total command of the role, handling weapons and women with equal distinction, and Sophie Marceau registers as one of the most intriguing of all Bond girls, for reasons which will become clear as it unfolds (don't let anyone tell you too much). Plot-wise there are a few loopholes, including a very hazy back-story involving Marceau's family history, but it doesn't matter too much because that's not really what counts. We're here for action and hair-raising escapes, all of which director Michael Apted delivers with the help of helicopters carrying massive tree-lopping circular saws, speedboats, hot air balloons and a handful of nifty armed paragliding ski-jets. It's refreshing to see M (Judi Dench) playing a much more significant part in proceedings and Robbie Coltrane chimes in with a most entertaining reprise of his dodgy Russian Zukovsky character from Goldeneye. It's also good to see the Bond girls becoming more than just sex objects but let's be thankful at the same time those thoroughly non-PC double entendres haven't disappeared from the Bond phrasebook. At their best the Bond films raise the no-brainer into an art form and on their 19th time around the block that's exactly what 007 and company deliver in this rip-roaring good time at the movies."
Richard Kuipers

"I'm very glad Richard liked it so much, even though I can't raise the same enthusiasm. All the good stuff - chainsawing helicopters, ski-ing stunts and terrific Sophie Marceau and Judi Dench and Robbie Coltrane and Robert Carlyle and Denise Richards - is a little let down by the hazy plot and the sagging first half. And you'll notice the absence of Pierce Brosnan in my list of admirable performances. I'd just got to like Brosnan as Bond but here he is just going through the paces for most part - the action part - and seems like an artificial sum of his own parts. He is better in some of the more interesting, darker sequences in the final third, but by then we're fidgeting. His performance seems somehow linked to the film's greatest weakness; the film stumbles over the line that separates comfortable self-knowing from parody. This was in evidence in several key areas: a misjudged attempt at buffonery with John Cleese as Q's protégé; a total disregard for audience intelligence (or expecting too much tolernace) with some of the more outrageous Bond escapes and escapades (like a sturdy window sash that's as long as a tall building, among others), and a lacklustre handling of the famous musical signature. By sending itself up too far, we are distanced - we lose the credibility that was always the essential magnet for the most heroic derring do. Here it tends to be overplayed. Too much gunfire without the context, too much action without clarity. While disappointing in some respects, it is still commendable for its better elements; like Judi Dench, who, along with Sophie Marceau, will linger in the memory longer than anything else in the film."
Andrew L. Urban

"The locations are exotic, the stunts sensational, the girls gorgeous, and Bond is Bond, still drinking vodka martinis, stirred not shaken. All the ingredients are there, but they've been a little over-stirred. The avalanches, the nuclear bombs, leaping from high buildings in a single bound, the super-powered boat that looks like a Batmobile… all superbly filmed and executed, but I kept feeling I was witnessing fabulous and expensive stunts. I was not totally drawn into the world of the super cool spy who charms the gals and delivers the one-liners with panache and style. To me, the appeal of all the Bond films is the wonderful balance of action, character, wonderful villains, beautiful women, gadgets and the suave one-liners. Much of the blame for the letdown of The World is Not Enough can be placed on the script and direction. Perhaps commercial product placement has taken priority over storyline, making short change of character development and making the special effects, not Bond, the star. Devastatingly handsome Pierce Brosnan does the best he can, but we know he can do more – in Tomorrow Never Dies and Thomas Crown Affair, he ably demonstrated an elegant style of nonchalance and disarmingly sexy charms. Robert Carlyle makes a satisfying, formidable villain, and the alluring Sophie Marceau with the soulful eyes is stunning in what is probably the film's best written role. And of course, Judi Dench always adds class. Denise Richards – she of the plastic Hollywood smile and ample curves – makes for fetching pictures as the physicist who wears tight short shorts and body hugging T-shirts, but there were more opportunities for her to shine in Starship Troopers and steamy Wild Things. Here, it's token sexist casting. You know what they say - less is more. I wish the filmmakers had considered those sentiments. With a big, bold music score with plenty of punch, The World is Not Enough is certainly worth seeing: it's fast, action packed and the effects will certainly make your hair stand on end. But it could have been so much better."
Louise Keller

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Our UK correspondent Nick Roddick looks back over 37 years of BOND

Steve Kulak charts Bond's MUSICAL MILESTONES

Brad Green reviews the


CAST: Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Denise Richards, Robert Carlyle, Judi Dench, Samantha Bond, Robbie Coltrane, Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Desmond Llewllyn, John Cleese

DIRECTOR: Michael Apted

PRODUCER: Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson

SCRIPT: Bruce Feirstein, Michael France, Neal Purvis, Dana Stevens, Robert Wade


EDITOR: Jim Clark

MUSIC: David Arnold


RUNNING TIME: 128 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 25, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: July 12, 2000


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