Volume 93, Issue 47

Tuesday, November 23, 1999


The World more than enough

To be or not to be John Malkovich

Melanie Doane gets on with it

Moshpit just falls all over itself

The World more than enough

Photo by Keith Hamshere
NO. JAMES BOND DOES NOT DO "CUDDLING." Pierce Brosnan returns to reprise his role as everybody's favourite sexpot spy, James Bond.

By Chad Finkelstein
Gazette Staff

The golden rule behind any respectable action movie is to blow up mostly anything that gets in the way. The golden rule behind any respectable Bond movie is to blow up everything that gets in the way.

The newest installment to the 007 franchise sees this rule enforced to its maximum potential. One thing's for certain – only James Bond could pull off so much unprecedented destruction without evoking serious groans from the audience.

The story has something to do with oil, stolen nuclear weapons, double-crosses and kidnapping, but who really cares? It only takes about 20 minutes of the convoluted plot for one to realize it doesn't really matter. Essentially, the audience is there to watch James Bond kill people and have lots of sex. And he does both.

Bond's evolution over the years has come hand in hand with hokey premises and continually excessive innuendo. Fortunately, everybody's favourite secret agent has become even more of a player. At times, some of the situations and stunts Bond gets entangled in seem a bit too implausible, but that's why he's James Bond. He can defy reality and get away with it.

Each film has built upon it's predecessor with an elaborate opening scene, followed by the characteristic, but continually mesmerizing, opening credits. True to form, The World Is Not Enough starts with explosive and energetic vigor, in what is probably the best scene in the movie. It's generally enjoyable from there, save some minor drawbacks.

Most notably, British actor Robert Carlyle is grossly underused. Cast as the villain, Renard, he has the potential to be a worthy and evil opponent. Since a bullet has been permanently lodged in his brain, his senses are slowly depleted with every passing day. Consequently, he feels no pain and can kick some serious ass. Unfortunately, the movie does not take this idea much beyond an introduction. In fact, Renard isn't so much villainous as he is whipped by his Lady Macbeth-like lover. The misuse of this character is the only major disappointment in the movie.

There are other wince-inducing moments, however, such as John Cleese's brief cameo as weapon specialist Q's protegé. Traditionally, some of the most consistently entertaining scenes in the Bond arsenal are those which show him acquiring new technological playthings – Cleese single-handedly ruins these by turning them into an annoying slapstick routine. The actual technology bestowed upon Bond is fairly forgettable – he hardly uses any of his jigged-up gadgets and his stacked BMW has a screen life of about four minutes.

Another strange setup is the most unnatural casting of Denise Richards as nuclear physicist Christmas Jones. You read right, nuclear physicist. She sounds awkward delivering any line involving words with more than three syllables and isn't an appropriate match for Bond's cool demeanor.

As for Bond, Pierce Brosnan has molded this role into his own – he now epitomizes what the character of 007 was intended to be. The dialogue teems with many sexual euphemisms. Even when they're suffocating a scene, Brosnan delivers his lines with enough smoothness to make them work.

Bond just keeps doing what he does best and that's refreshing for a franchise film. Who can complain? It's a James Bond film, which means every audience goes into the movie knowing exactly what to expect, but the film still revels in the fantastical element of it all.

One last thing to think about – Bond can succeed against any adversity, but can he really defend himself against all the venereal diseases he must have contracted by now?

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department:

Copyright © The Gazette 1999