As I go back through all of the Bond films, some things change and some stay the same. I continue to believe that Sean Connery was the Best James Bond and that Pierce Brosnan was my least favorite. I think the weakness of Brosnan’s films was the dialogue. Too many times, bad puns or sexual innuendo are forced into a scene and it just stiffs. He looks great in the part and he is a solid actor. His scenes with the villains are usually solid, but his sequences back at MI6 are often leaden. “The World is Nor Enough” exemplifies this pattern. A confusing early premise, is overcome by effective antagonists and good action scenes. I formerly thought “Tomorrow Never Dies” was a better film, but I think I’m now of the opinion that is is Brosnan’s second best outing as 007.
001 A Joke or Not?
Having just bitched about the bad sex jokes, I’m joining to undermine my position and list one of them as a favorite element of the film. It probably stands out because so many don’t work and this one did, for the time. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it? Let’s look and you decide.
In the middle of the pre-title sequence, James comes back to London and gives Moneypenny a cigar that he received from a treacherous Swiss banker. She looks at him coyly and says, “I know just where to put this.” She waits a beat and then tosses it in the trash. I think we just got a Clinton-Lewinsky joke in a Bond film.
002 Part Two of the Pre-Title Sequence
After a shootout and escape from a tall office building, Bond returns a large sum of cash to MI6 and the rightful owner. It turns out to be explosive and an Assassin with a rifle is on the Thames right outside the building during the fracas. Bond jumps into a mini-boat that Q is working on and a chase ensues.
It starts with a rocket like launch out of the facde of the smoking MI6 building.
Halfway into the chase the mini boat does several 360 degree rotations.
The boat is partially submersible and James adjusts his tie in true cool 007 style.
After several minutes of crashes, building blown through and some unnecessary comic moments, the boat launches out of the water and Bond launches himself onto a dangling rope to continue the chase.
003 Once Again, I show my fondness for James Bond on skis.
He meets Electra King out on the slopes near a mountain range where her pipeline is supposed to go, and they are attacked by a bunch of flying snowmobiles that James later calls “parahawks”.
Lots of Ski action and explosions follow their arrival.
There is even a nice reversal of a moment from an earlier Bond film. As one of the snowmobiles goes off the edge of a cliff, James makes a cutting remark and begins to turn away. Suddenly, the Russian made parahawk launches a back up parachute. “The Spy Who Loved Me” is reversed and the chase continues.
004 M is Kidnapped
When M was played by crusty old guys like Bernard Lee or Robert Brown, there was never much emotional investment in the relationship with 007. In the books, although he sees James as an valuable agent, M sometimes hints of a paternalistic relationship. No such effort was made with the films. As the series continued though, Judi Dench suggested a more maternal interest in Bond, and when she is threatened, it makes the concept more believable.
We discover Electra King’s real character and in an embarassing breach of security, all of the agents with M get killed and she is taken captive and moved to Istanbul for the climax of the film.
Two long sequences of exposition occur with M and Electra and then M and Renard. Both allow the actors some chances to chew a little scenery and make their characters more interesting.
005 The Action Climax in a Submarine
Weighed down by the second most annoying Bond girl in the series (right after Mary Goodnight), Bond tries to rescue Christmas Jones and stop the detonation of a nuclear device. Oh yeah, this all happens on a sinking submarine.
Gravity applies to everyone, even under the sea.
James will have to exit and reenter the sub at some point.
Of course it is not a smooth re-entry.
Denise Richards shows us why she was cast in the picture in the first place. She is no Jacqueline Bisset, but a amateur bar t-shirt contest can’t be far away.
Nice miniature work to finish off the sequence.
006 The Antagonists [Spoilers Ahead]
As usual, a beautiful Bond girl will die after making love to our hero.
Less usual, she dies at the hands of 007. In a moment of typical Bond tough mindedness, Bond shoots the treacherous heiress that he has been wooing.
Creepy Terrorist, Renard the Anarchist is revealed to be dying slowly as he gains strength and loses all feeling of pain. (sounds like Darkman)
I have liked Robert Carlyle since “The Full Monty”. He had several good moments in the film. I could have used a bit more of his presence at times but generally a solid bad guy.
Valentin Zukovsky is not really a bad guy in this film, but he does have an occasional difference of opinion with Bond. I just appreciate that the character and actor came back for a second helping of Bond, oh yea and of caviar.
007 The Title
Being a Bond fanatic, I knew where the title came from when it was first announced. I had a conversation on the radio with Rod Lurie about it a few weeks before the films release. Sometimes it s a joy to be a geek about something.
James Bond’s Family Coat of Arms with the motto translated for you who did not already guess.
James Bond will Return in : “Die Another Day”