Saturday, September 15, 2012

007 James Bond Marathon: The World is Not Enough

Based on Ian Fleming’s James Bond character, The World is Not Enough is the story of James Bond trying to protect a billionaire’s daughter from a madman who plans to create chaos through a nuclear meltdown as Bond gets help from a nuclear physicist to stop it from happening. Directed by Michael Apted and screenplay by Bruce Fierstein, Neal Purvis, and Robert Wade from a story by Purvis and Wade. The film has Bond taking on new foes that includes this madman terrorist who is impervious to pain as Pierce Brosnan plays Bond for the third time. Also starring Robert Carlyle, Sophie Marceau, Denise Richards, Robbie Coltrane, John Cleese, Samantha Bond, Desmond Llewelyn, and Judi Dench as M. The World is Not Enough is a decent and fun film from Michael Apted.

After the assassination of Sir Robert King (David Calder) as James Bond tries to catch the assassin (Maria Grazia Cucinotta) that left her taking her own life. Bond learns that the money he retrieved for King was a trap as he and M believe that King’s daughter Elektra (Sophie Marceau) is the next target as she had just survived a kidnapping which her father was to pay the ransom. After getting assigned to project Elektra as she is trying to finish her father’s project to build an oil pipeline all across Asia and Europe. Bond learns that the person that is trying to go after Elektra is a former KGB agent who has turned into a terrorist as he wonders what Renard wants. After some encounter with men going after Elektra, Bond talks to Russian mafia boss Valentin Zukovsky (Robbie Coltrane) about what he knows as Elektra also meets him at Zukovsky’s casino.

When Bond learns that Elektra’s security head Davidoff (Ulrich Thomsen) is in cahoots with Renard, Bond gets rid of him to board a plan to a Russian base in Kazakhstan where he meets American nuclear physicist Christmas Jones (Denise Richards) to investigate what is going on. Bond finally meets Renard who was stealing some plutonium as things get into trouble only for Bond and Jones to escape. After the incident, Bond becomes suspicious about what Renard is up to as he and M learn that a bomb is attached to one of the King pipelines as Bond and Jones try to defuse it. Inside the pipeline, the two makes a horrifying discovery as Bond realizes what is going on. With M suddenly captured, Bond asks Zukovsky for help as Zukovsky also learns what is really going on. This would force Bond to stop Renard from blowing up Istanbul in order to create chaos.

When James Bond is assigned to protect the daughter of a friend that M personally knows, Bond realizes that something is up about a man’s assassination as it involves a terrorist who wants to create chaos in the world. This would then lead to Bond realizing that things are much more complicated as it involves complete control of the oil refineries for Europe and Asia with everyone being played for fools. With the help of a nuclear physicist, Bond would do whatever he can to save the world and his boss.

It’s a premise that is interesting and does play into what is expected in a James Bond story. The problem is that there’s a twist that is revealed in the middle of the second that would change things as a lot of the intrigue and suspense is suddenly gone. It creates a story that becomes uneven as it loses some momentum in the second half where it doesn’t do enough for Bond to really go out there and save the day. While characters like Elektra King and Renard are interesting, the one character that ends up being a nuisance is Christmas Jones as she doesn’t really do much but help Bond out a bit and be involved in whatever nuclear catastrophe that is out there.

Michael Apted’s direction does start out with a bang as it involves a meeting where Bond fights his way out and later a boat chase on the Thames river. Notably in the way the whole action sequence is presented as he does a solid job in keeping up with the momentum of the action. The film’s first half is strong due to the intrigue and suspense that would eventually lead to Bond’s first confrontation with Renard. By its second half once the twist is revealed, the momentum gets lost as it becomes a different film of sorts where Bond has to save M and save the world. Apted does maintain in creating some interesting compositions that includes a climatic battle inside a submarine. Yet, he doesn’t really do anything new that hasn’t been seen before in Bond films. Overall, Apted does a fine job in creating a film that is thrilling and exciting but loses steam in its more action-driven second half.

Cinematographer Adrian Biddle does some excellent work with the cinematography for many of the film‘s interiors in the King estate as well as the island where Renard stages his big plan along with some nice exteriors of the locations in London and Istanbul. Editor Jim Clark does terrific work with the editing by using a lot of stylish cuts including dissolves for the transitions along with rhythmic cuts to play up the film‘s action. Production designer Peter Lamont, with set decorator Simon Wakefield and art director Neil Lamont, does nice work with the set pieces such as the King estate as well as the submarine that Renard takes. Costume designer Lindy Hemming does some fine work with the costumes such as the glamorous dresses that Elektra wears to establish her heiress persona.

Special effects supervisor Chris Corbould and visual effects supervisors Steve Broughton and Mara Bryan do some superb work with special effects for some scenes including a meeting scene where M and Bond are briefed about Renard. Sound editor Martin Evans does wonderful work with the sound to capture the hollow sounds of the pipeline bomb scene to the array of layered sounds in some of the film‘s action sequences. The film’s music by David Arnold is brilliant for its thrilling score that plays up to the bombast of the action scenes as well as creating nice uses for the famed Bond theme. The title song performed by Garbage is a pretty decent track that mixes alt-rock with lush strings as it’s sung adequately by Shirley Manson.

The casting by Debbie McWilliams is stellar for the ensemble that is created as it includes some small appearances from Maria Grazia Cucinotta as King’s assassin, jungle music star Goldie as Zukovsky’s bodyguard, Ulrich Thomsen as Elektra’s security head Davidoff, Serena Scott Thomas as a physician Bond seduces, Colin Salmon as MI6 chief of staff Charles Robinson, and David Calder as Elektra’s father Sir Robert King. John Cleese is very good in a funny role as Q’s successor R while Samantha Bond is wonderful as Miss Moneypenny. In his final appearance as Q, Desmond Llewelyn gives a very delightful performance as the inventor as he goes out in grand style. Robbie Coltrane is excellent as Russian mafia boss Valentine Zukovsky who aids Bond in finding out what Renard is up to. Judi Dench is superb as M as she takes on personal interest to help Elektra only to realize what is really going on as she finds herself taken.

Denise Richards is absolutely awful as Dr. Christmas Jones as she says some really bad lines while exhibiting clothing that baffles people into thinking that she is a nuclear physicist as she does live up to the title as the worst Bond girl ever. Sophie Marceau is very good as Elektra King by displaying a great sense of sensuality as well as complexity about what she wants. Robert Carlyle is quite fine as the villainous Renard in his motivations and the fact that he’s impervious to pain although Carlyle doesn’t really get to do enough to make Renard more memorable. Finally, there’s Pierce Brosnan in a remarkable role as James Bond where he displays his sense of charm and wit to the role while also being the badass although the script doesn’t really give anything new to do despite the fact that he makes Bond a fun character to watch.

The World is Not Enough is a pretty good film from Michael Apted that features Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. While it does have a lot of moments that keeps fan excited and such, it does get hampered by an underwhelming second half that loses its intrigue due to a twist in the story. While it is one of the weaker films of the James Bond franchise, it is still better than most action-adventure films that are out there. In the end, The World is Not Enough is an enjoyable film from Michael Apted.

James Bond Files: The EON Films: Dr. No - From Russia with Love - Goldfinger - Thunderball - You Only Live Twice - On Her Majesty's Secret Service - Diamonds are Forever - Live and Let Die - The Man with the Golden Gun - The Spy Who Loved Me - Moonraker - For Your Eyes Only - Octopussy - A View to a Kill - The Living Daylights - Licence to Kill - GoldenEye - Tomorrow Never Dies - Die Another Day - Casino Royale (2006 film) - Quantum of Solace - Skyfall - SPECTRE - No Time to Die

Non-EON Films: Casino Royale (Climax! TV Episode) - Casino Royale (1967 film) - Never Say Never Again

Bond Documentaries: Bond Girls Are Forever - True Bond - Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007

© thevoid99 2012

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