Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The World Is Not Enough

What do the James Bond series, the Chicago Cubs, and Master P's No Limit empire have in common? All owe their considerable commercial success more to loyalty, marketing, and tradition than to quality. The last Bond movie, 1997's Tomorrow Never Dies, represented a steep drop in quality from the first Pierce Brosnan-as-Bond film, GoldenEye, and while The World Is Not Enough is a notable improvement, the series continues to run on auto-pilot. As its conventional title would indicate, Brosnan's third outing as Bond isn't about to mess with a profitable formula. This time out, his 007 has been dispatched to Russia to look after an oil heiress (Sophie Marceau) who may be the target of an anarchist terrorist (Robert Carlyle) immune to pain and not above sticking his hand on pieces of red-hot rock to prove it. As always, minimal concessions to the passage of time are sprinkled throughout—the odd scratching on David Arnold's score, nods to current events, and the casting of drum-and-bass superstar Goldie as a minor baddie—but other than that, not a whole lot has changed. Bond still manages to find a casino in the least likely of locations, he still beds every woman worthy of a Maxim photo shoot, and the villains still never kill him when given a chance. As in Tomorrow, the filmmakers pair Brosnan with one respectable foreign actress (Marceau) and one chesty American so laughably awful that the film comes to a dead stop whenever she's on screen (Denise Richards). Richards plays a nuclear physicist this time out, but you don't need to be one yourself to realize that her skimpily attired character seems a lot more like a San Diego aerobics instructor than a scientist. Enough fun moments are scattered throughout (many courtesy of Robbie Coltrane's scummy Russian hustler, returning from GoldenEye) to make The World Is Not Enough a decent Bond entry. But the series still needs a massive shot of fresh ideas if it wishes to become anything more than a nostalgia-fueled commercial sure thing.


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