Ranking The Best Bond Movies: Part 2 (#15-#11)
14) 1999’s The World Is Not Enough
Every time I think about The World Is Not Enough, I can’t decide whether I’m more impressed with the awesome complexity of its first fifteen minutes or more annoyed by the unnecessary complexity of the relationships between all of the villains. The former sets a brilliant tone with arguably Bond’s best boat chase ever, an exciting exchange gone wrong, an unexpected booby trap and a hot air balloon. Unfortunately, the latter annoyingly sinks all that momentum by delving into Stockholm Syndrome, inferiority complexes, revenge fantasies, double crosses, payoffs and altered allegiances, even bringing back the villain-esque Valentine Zukovsky from Goldeneye to get in on the action.
There’s just too much going on in The World Is Not Enough, and the way Elektra is dealt with doesn’t work. Bond either needs to discover the truth almost immediately and spend the rest of the movie trying to convince M, or they should all be fooled until the climax. As is, she doesn’t have proper time to simmer as a villain, nor does she have the power to truly blow people away with her betrayal.
In better news, however, both Robert Carlyle and Sophie Marceau are very good as the misused villains. Carlyle’s Renard in particular is a great addition to the Bond catalog, and I like that The World Is Not Enough spends long periods of time in Azerbaijan. 007 needs to venture to utterly bizarre places now and again. Denise Richards’ Christmas Jones, a commonly bitched about character among Bond fans, is also far more passable than people remember—kind of like this movie.
Do I want to watch The World Is Not Enough right now? No, I don’t. But if I walked into a room and you had it on, would I leave? No, I wouldn’t.
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