Bond is the King of Christmas
The Bond franchise is a curious beast because every movie is pretty much the same, we see Bond sent on a mission to stop some crazed criminal and in-between saving the day he has time to bed a beauty or two, look cool, play with some gadgets and deliver some action. Any other movie franchise which basically did the same thing would be ridiculed but it is this formula which makes the Bond movies and rather ironically when they try and switch things around is usually when it fails. Fortunately "The World Is Not Enough" is not one of those which mess about, it sticks to the formula and it works, in fact it also proves something I have said about previous Bond movies as it is Pierce Brosnan's third movie as the top agent and also his best.
When oil tycoon and friend of "M" (Judi Dench) Sir Robert King (David Calder) is murdered whilst visiting MI6 Bond (Pierce Brosnan - The Thomas Crown Affair) is sent to protect his daughter Elektra (Sophie Marceau) who has taken over running the business empire. Suspecting terrorist Renard (Robert Carlyle - The Full Monty) is the man behind the murder Bond also suspects he is going to blow up the oil line which the King company is building. When some plutonium is stolen Bond and the delightful Dr. Christmas Jones (Denise Richards - Wild Things) try and track down Renard to stop him but discover all is not as it seems as Renard was the man who years earlier had kidnapped Elektra and held her to ransom.
Now as already pointed out "The World Is Not Enough" sticks to the well worn formula, from the opening action which features a boat chase down the Thames culminating with drama at the Millennium Dome to the big action finale and Bond ending up in bed with a beauty. But what helps to make this 19th Bond movie interesting is that it overlays the formula with a decent storyline as an assassination in the walls of MI6 leads Bond into protecting the daughter of the murdered friend of "M" and coming up against a crazed terrorist. It is a twisting storyline of double crosses which blends reality with escapism so whilst we watch Bond investigate why terrorist Renard has targeted the King family the way things don't work out as they first seem makes it that bit more contrived and good for being so.
Add to this some impressive action and in many ways "The World Is Not Enough" has some of the best action of the Bond series. From the opening chase down the Thames to the attack of Valentin's Caviar factory by giant tree loppers it is adrenalin fuelled, dangerous and just that little bit outrageous. But it is also strangely believable such as drama on the ski slopes as we actually watch Pierce Brosnan as Bond chased down the mountain. It is credit not only to Brosnan but also the stunt team as well as the editing guys that all the action looks believable and as if Brosnan was doing all the action himself.
Plus of course there is the humour which in a way is one of the movies let downs because there is too much of it. Of course we get the witty quips from James as he faces danger and as he charms women into his bed. And we also get what ended up a touching series of quips between "Q" and Bond as this sadly turned out to be Desmond Llewelyn's last Bond. But then sadly we get introduced to "R" the new gadget man and sadly whilst I like John Cleese his brand of comedy ends up too cheesy for me.
And then of course making up the formula are the characters and first up Pierce Brosnan delivers a solid and comfortable performance as James Bond, totally at home delivering every aspect of the character be it action hero, ruthless killer or ladies man. Adding the sexy element both Sophie Marceau as Elektra King and Denise Richards as Dr. Christmas Jones do just that, delivering characters but also being hot enough to tempt Bond into more laid back duties. And then there is Robert Carlyle as Renard who delivers a more thuggish bad guy, this isn't a criminal mastermind but someone who is ruthless and with the added aspect of a bullet in his brain making his impervious to pain adds a nice quirk to his character.
Basically "The World Is Not Enough" sticks to the formula and each of the expected elements are worked well with only the comedy being the real issue. But at just over 2 hours it is a little long and a couple of superfluous characters and twists could have been dispatched with to bring it down to a more reasonable running time.
What this all boils down to is that "The World Is Not Enough" is your very typical James Bond movie full of action, an evil bad guy and some beautiful women for Bond to bed. It is no different to previous Bond movies but basically each of the different elements which make up a Bond movie work well.