Movie Review By Monica Sullivan
The World Is Not Enough: Someone once told me that the Starship Enterprise was cursed with a terrible commander because Captain Kirk constantly endangered his crew. By that logic, it's no wonder the British Empire ain't what it used to be if the head of MI6 is anything like the current vision of M in the 21st James Bond film, "The World Is Not Enough." 1999's M seems incapable of making any decision that doesn't endanger MI6, her oldest and dearest friends, herself, and, by the way, the entire planet. A guy in my vicinity named Rob recalls seeing his first Bond film at the age of nine with his Uncle Rick. Like any self-respecting nine-year-old, he immediately noticed the gaping holes in the plot. Uncle Rick wisely explained to Rob that this was a James Bond film. Sooner or later, we all learn that James Bond film producers are actually proud of all those gaping plot holes.
Dame Judi Dench may be one of the greatest actors in the world today, so if she doesn't mind collecting a paycheck to play the dumbest M in the series, why should we? Moving right along, internet buffs can't wait to see Denise Richards in anything as anyone, even bouncing physicist Dr. Christmas Jones. She makes her first appearance here a full hour into the story and diligently says her lines like a C- student trying to earn a B+. No, she can't act her way out of a nuclear sub, but think of the money the wardrobe supervisor saved on underwear. Much better is elegant Sophie Marceau as mysterious Elektra King. Marceau, who's been enchanting international audiences since 1980's "La Boum," makes you root for her even when she's wrong and she gives meaning to her character that isn't always in the script. Robert Carlyle plays the villainous Renard and if you hated his guts in "Trainspotting" and loved his butt in "The Full Monty," you'll be surprised by his work here. He may be the most poignant of all the Bond villains, daft, naturally, but not a cartoon.
Robbie Coltrane is the obligatory comic relief as the villain who isn't a villain (think Vincent Schiavelli in "Tomorrow Never Dies"), this time around as Valentin Zukovsky, complete with an all-purpose Scottish-Russian accent. John Cleese, 60, is a welcome sight as R, the "young fellow" who's being groomed to be Q's replacement. The wonderful Desmond Llewellyn, 85, who's been playing Q since he was a lad of 49, has seen Bond actors and Bond girls and Bond villains and Ms and Moneypennys come and go and I hope he'll turn up in the 21st century for at least one gruff line delivery as often as he can. He makes every Bond look good. Oh, yes, Bond. Pierce Brosnan as the second best James Bond ever glistens as the unsmiling secret agent on tough assignments, although his weariness at delivering old-fashioned sexual puns is visible. After all, his recent co-stars include the classy Michelle Yeoh and Rene Russo. He has to give them up for a nuclear physicist with high school delivery? Shirley Manson of Garbage sings the title track, which sounds like all the other theme songs, only with slightly differently lyrics. Like an old watch that's been thrown into the sea, Bond's still ticking.
© 1999 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 11/17/99
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