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MOVIE REVIEW - The World is not Enough


The World is not Enough
Director: Michael Apted

Review by E. Lisa Moses

Rating ***

A James Bond aficionado since I can't remember when, I've become disillusioned with these movies. They've been such a jumble of blood, bombs and bras lately that I need a double vodka martini (shaken, not stirred) to get through them.

But this 1999 film was a pleasant surprise. It had a recognizable plot, some actual sleuthing and lots of familiar faces, among them Robert Carlyle creating a hideous megalomaniac, Robbie Coltrane being a silly Russian, John Cleese trying hard as Q's successor and Samantha Bond doing a ripping Moneypenny. Judi Dench as M is at her regal best (and the only woman who doesn't throw her panties at 007). And Pierce Brosnan, second only to Sean Connery in the role of Bond, is perfectly cast with his British tongue-in-cheek humor and terribly formal looks. Ironically, Desmond Llewellyn (Q), who retires in the movie, died in December, 1999. The video begins with a loving dedication to his 17 years as Q in the James Bond films. Great clips depict the evolution of his campy gizmos.

Of course, the movie has more dreadful puns, overdone double entendres and flamboyant technology than ever. The chases, fireworks and locations are more elaborate than ever. The people and costumes are more beautiful than ever. And the camera spends more time than ever caressing every feature in Brosnan's perfect face. The gorgeous, filthy-rich female villain (Electra, played by Sophie Marceau) would have offered him the world, but for 007, "the world is not enough".

Traveling around James Bond's world is always a treat, and this time is no exception. We start with a high-speed boat chase in London, up and down the Thames and its canal system, landing on the Centennial Dome with a thump. We pass through a Hindu Holy Place with flames that never die, see the new Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and visit the oil field in Azerbaijan. And we spend a few delightful moments in Electra's elaborate villa, wherever it might be.

Bond always travels in style, and this time his BMW has "six cup holders." He rides in a hot-air balloon (sort of), pilots an amazing water contraption and is air-lifted to ski to a section of the pipeline. An exhausting trip, but a fun one that left me both shaken and stirred.

(This movie is based on the character created by Ian Fleming half a century ago, and on the 1999 book written by Raymond Benson. Ian Fleming's estate has given Benson license to pen new books.)