Watch The World Is Not Enough (1999), Story, Stars, Reviews & All You Want To Know About A Great Movie
The World Is Not Enough (1999)
James Bond uncovers a nuclear plot while protecting an oil heiress from her former kidnapper, an international terrorist who can’t feel pain.
The World Is Not Enough is a 1999 spy film, the nineteenth in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions and the third to star Pierce Brosnan as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. It was directed by Michael Apted, from an original story and screenplay by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Bruce Feirstein. It was produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. The title is the translation of the motto on the Bond family coat of arms, seen first in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
The film’s plot revolves around the assassination of billionaire Sir Robert King by the terrorist Renard, and Bond’s subsequent assignment to protect King’s daughter Elektra, who was previously held for ransom by Renard. During his assignment, Bond unravels a scheme to increase petroleum prices by triggering a nuclear meltdown in the waters of Istanbul.
Filming locations included Spain, France, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and the UK, with interiors shot at Pinewood Studios. The film received mixed reviews, with the plot and Denise Richards’ casting frequently targeted for criticism; it also received praise for the performances of Brosnan and Sophie Marceau, and for its emotional weight and focus on characters in comparison to previous entries.
The World Is Not Enough earned $361.8 million worldwide. It was also the first Eon-produced Bond film officially released under the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer label instead of United Artists, the franchise’s original owner and distributor.
The World Is Not Enough (1999) Trailer
The World Is Not Enough (1999) Reviews
5. Sex bombs. Usually two major ones, a good girl who seems bad, and a bad girl who seems good. Both first-rate this time. Sophie Marceau plays Elektra King, daughter of a tycoon behind an oil pipeline linking the old Soviet oil fields to Europe. Denise Richards plays Christmas Jones, a nuclear scientist whose knowledge can save or doom the world. I will not reveal who is bad-good or good-bad.
6. Chase sequences. Lots of them. By powerboat on the Thames (and across dry land, and back on the Thames) and then into a hot-air balloon. By skis down a mountain, pursued by hang-gliding, bomb-throwing para-sailers whose devices convert into snowmobiles. By land, in the BMW. Under the sea, as Bond breaks into a submarine and later pursues a villain by popping outside the sub and then in again.
9. Weird ways to die. How about vivisection by helicopter-borne rotary tree-trimming blades? Or garroting in an antique torture chair? 10. Sensational escapes. There is nothing like a Bond picture to make you believe a man can safely bungee-jump from a tall building, after tying one end of a window shade cord to his belt and the other end to an unconscious body.
All of these elements are assembled by director Michael Apted and writers Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Bruce Feirstein into a Bond picture that for once doesn’t seem like set pieces uneasily glued together, but proceeds in a more or less logical way to explain what the problem and solution might be. Bond’s one-liners seem more part of his character this time, and Carlyle’s villain emerges as more three-dimensional and motivated, less of a caricature, than the evildoers in some of the Bond films.
My favorite moment? A small one, almost a throwaway. The movie answers one question I’ve had for a long time: How do the bad guys always manage to find all their equipment spontaneously, on remote locations where they could not have planned ahead? After the snow chase sequence, a villain complains morosely that the para-sails were rented, and “were supposed to be returned.”
The World Is Not Enough (1999) Credits
The World Is Not Enough (1999)
Sophie Marceau as Elektra
Desmond Llewelyn as Q
Robert Carlyle as Renard
Denise Richards as Christmas Jones
Robbie Coltrane as Valentin Zukovsky
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond
Judi Dench as M
John Cleese as R
- Bruce Feirstein
- Robert Wade
- Neal Purvis
- Michael Apted
The World Is Not Enough (1999) Plot
In Bilbao, MI6 agent James Bond meets a Swiss banker named Lachaise to retrieve money for Sir Robert King, a British oil tycoon and friend of M. Bond interrogates the banker to identify the assassin of an MI6 agent, but Lachaise is killed before revealing this information, and Bond is forced to escape with the money. At MI6 headquarters in London, the money is revealed to be laced with explosives that kill King.
Bond chases the assassin by boat on the Thames to the Millennium Dome, where she attempts to escape via hot air balloon. Bond offers her protection; she refuses and blows up the balloon at the cost of her life.
Bond traces the recovered money to Renard, a KGB agent-turned-terrorist. Following an earlier attempt on his life by MI6, Renard was left with a bullet embedded in his brain, which makes him immune to pain but will eventually kill him. M assigns Bond to protect King’s daughter Elektra, whom Renard had previously abducted and held for ransom.
Bond flies to Azerbaijan, where Elektra is overseeing the construction of an oil pipeline. During a tour of the pipeline’s proposed route in the mountains, Bond and Elektra are attacked by a hit squad in armed, paraglider-equipped snowmobiles.
Bond visits Valentin Zukovsky at a casino to acquire information about Elektra’s attackers. There, Bond grows suspicious as Elektra immediately loses $1 million on a game of high card draw, and discovers that Elektra’s head of security, Sasha Davidov, is secretly in league with Renard. Bond kills Davidov and boards a plane bound for a Russian ICBM base in Kazakhstan.
Posing as a Russian nuclear scientist, Bond meets American nuclear physicist Dr. Christmas Jones. Renard removes the GPS locator card and weapons-grade plutonium from a nuclear bomb. Before Bond can kill him, Jones blows his cover. Renard steals the bomb and flees, leaving everyone to die. Bond and Jones escape the exploding silo with the locator card.
In Azerbaijan, Bond warns M that Elektra may not be as innocent as she appears, and hands her the locator card as proof of the theft. An alarm sounds, revealing that the stolen bomb from Kazakhstan is attached to a pipeline inspection pig heading towards the oil terminal.
Bond and Jones enter the pipeline to deactivate the bomb, and Jones discovers that half of the plutonium is missing. They jump clear of the rig and a large section of the pipe is destroyed. Bond and Jones are presumed killed. Back at the command centre, Elektra reveals that she killed her father as revenge for using her as bait for Renard. She abducts M, whom she resents for having advised her father not to pay the ransom money.
Bond accosts Zukovsky at his caviar factory in the Caspian Sea and they are attacked by Elektra’s helicopters. Zukovsky reveals his arrangement with Elektra was to accept a payoff via bets in his casino in exchange for the use of a submarine captained by Zukovsky’s nephew, Nikolai.
The group goes to Istanbul, where Jones realizes that if Renard were to insert the stolen plutonium into the submarine’s nuclear reactor, the resulting nuclear meltdown would destroy Istanbul, sabotaging the Russians’ oil pipeline in the Bosphorus.
Elektra’s pipeline, planned to go around Istanbul, would dramatically increase in value. Bond gets a signal from the locator card at the Maiden’s Tower before Zukovsky’s henchman Bull blows up the command centre. Zukovsky is knocked unconscious, and Bond and Jones are captured by Elektra’s henchmen. Jones is taken aboard the submarine, which was seized by Renard’s men.
Bond is taken to the tower, where Elektra tortures him with a garrote and reveals that she cut off a portion of her ear to make her kidnapping look more believable. Zukovsky and his men seize the tower, but Zukovsky is shot by Elektra. Before dying, Zukovsky uses his cane gun to free Bond, who frees M and kills Elektra.
Bond dives after the submarine, boards it and frees Jones. The submarine’s hull ruptures as it sinks into the Bosphorus. Bond fights Renard and impales him by firing the plutonium rod into his stomach. Bond and Jones escape from the submarine, leaving the flooded reactor to detonate underwater. Later, they share a romantic evening in Istanbul and end up in bed together while being monitored by MI6 satellites.
The World Is Not Enough (1999) Box office
The film opened at the top of the North American box office with $35.5 million earned during its opening weekend. For five days, it remained in that spot until it was handed to Toy Story 2. Its final worldwide gross was $361.8 million worldwide, with $126 million in the United States alone. It became the highest grossing James Bond film of all time until the release of Die Another Day. The film was also selected for the first round of nominations for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and it was failing to get nominated.
The film was nominated for a Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film Saturn Award, Pierce Brosnan won both the Empire Award and the Blockbuster Entertainment Award as Best Actor, and David Arnold won a BMI Film Music Award for his score. The film became the first in the Bond series to win a Golden Raspberry when Denise Richards was chosen as “Worst Supporting Actress” at the 1999 Razzie Awards. Richards and Brosnan were also nominated for “Worst Screen Couple” (lost to Will Smith and Kevin Kline for Wild Wild West).
The initial release of the DVD includes the featurette “Secrets of 007”, which cuts into “making of” material during the film; the documentary “The Making of The World Is Not Enough”; two commentary tracks—one by director Michael Apted, and the other by production designer Peter Lamont, second unit director Vic Armstrong, and composer David Arnold; a trailer for the PlayStation video game, and the Garbage music video.
The Ultimate Edition released in 2006 had as additional extras a 2000 documentary named “Bond Cocktail”, a featurette on shooting the Q Boat scenes, Pierce Brosnan in a press conference in Hong Kong, deleted scenes, and a tribute to Desmond Llewelyn.
The World Is Not Enough (1999) Critical Response
Reception was mixed. Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert said the film was a “splendid comic thriller, exciting and graceful, endlessly inventive”, and gave it three-and-a-half stars out of four. On the other hand, Eleanor Ringel Gillespie of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution disliked the film, calling it “dated and confused”. Rotten Tomatoes gave The World Is Not Enough a 52% rating, the lowest of the Brosnan Bond films.
The site’s consensus states: “Plagued by mediocre writing, uneven acting, and a fairly by-the-numbers plot, The World Is Not Enough is partially saved by some entertaining and truly Bond-worthy action sequences.” Metacritic gives the film a score of 59 out of 100. Nathan Rabin from The A.V. Club opined that “enough fun moments are scattered throughout to make it 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”.
Antonia Quirke from The Independent said that the film “is certainly less definitively feeble than other recent Bond offerings, with an at least two-dimensional female character in the bold and oval Marceau. But my reaction is much the same as to a new Rolling Stones album: I’m just grateful that it’s not embarrassing”. Negative criticism was focused on the execution of the plot, and the action scenes were considered excessive.
Richards was widely criticized for not being credible in the role of a nuclear scientist, with Variety calling her “the least plausible nuclear physicist in the history of movies, who makes even the electrochemist Elisabeth Shue played in 1997’s The Saint sound like a Nobel laureate”; Nathan Rabin panned her performance and called it “so laughably awful that the film comes to a dead stop whenever she’s on screen”. She was ranked as one of the worst Bond girls of all time by Entertainment Weekly in 2008.
In contrast, Sophie Marceau was praised for her role as Elektra, with most critics agreeing that she was a better Bond Girl than Denise Richards’ Christmas Jones and a better Bond villain than Robert Carlyle’s Renard. Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian called her “terrific: sexy, stylish, with a really beautiful face entirely innocent of the cosmetic surgeon’s art”. The film’s plot twist received praise as well, making Elektra the first main female Bond Villain of the series.
The World Is Not Enough (1999) Accolades
The World Is Not Enough (1999) Movie Info
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