Friday, 27 July 2012

The World is Not Enough (1999)

Following the cool reception of TND by my fellow Blogalongabonders, I’m expecting a frosty one for The World is Not Enough. Having said that, I quite liked TND, so what do I know?

A plot involving competing oil pipelines through the Caspian has 007 tracking the progress of Elektra King (Sophie Marceau), daughter of Robert King, who is a close friend of M. Playing the victim, Elektra is actually working with known terrorist for hire Renard (Robert Carlyle) and has a plan to detonate a nuclear device near Istanbul, rendering competing pipelines useless, so all oil must flow through the King pipes.

Once again, the action can’t be faulted, Vic Armstrong again showing us how inventive he can be. His remit for the boat chase was simply that Bond’s boat would leave MI6 pursuing a female assassin, and that the Millenium Dome and a hot-air balloon had to be involved! After this dramatic boat chase along the Thames, there is one of the series best opening songs. The World is Not Enough is belted out by Shirley Manson, the only trouble is, it doesn’t get better than this.

Brozza is fine, and Judi Dench is as good as ever; but everyone else is either pointless or disappointing. Carlyle has the potential to be a brilliant villain, but pulls his punches too much; Renard has none of the edge of Begbie or the psychopath from Cracker. Sophie Marceau also has potential as Elektra, but her performance is just vapid. My James Bond Encyclopedia says “With Elektra, Bond thinks he has found Tracy (from OHMSS) but he’s really found Blofeld.” Erm, didn’t get that at all; Elektra is about as Tracy as Christmas Jones. Speaking of which, there have to be few Bond Girls as pointless as Denise Richards. Why does 007 let her hang around (beyond the obvious)? She’s a nuclear physicist, once she has disarmed the bomb in the pipeline she has no other function. She’s just a hanger-oner. Then there’s a mute heavy that hangs around Elektra, at least Stamper had some function in the plot of TND; and the less said about John Cleese’s appearance as Mr Bean the better.

In the midst of all this I did enjoy the recurrence of Valentin Zukovsky, Robbie Coltrane is almost always worthwhile; and Goldie was fun as Bullion, one of Zukovsky’s stooges. But this really is like finding a pound coin in a dog turd. Most offensive was the ludicrously idiotic idea to build a pipeline on a glacier. I had to rewind several times to make sure I had seen correctly!

I also thought it was very silly of M to travel out to see Elektra, simply because Bond hadn’t made her a post-coital breakfast. She’s head of MI6, doesn’t she see

In case you hadn’t noticed, I didn’t really like TWINE. A nice idea using the world’s dependence on oil as a tool for the villain, but of course 6 months after the completion of the pipeline, the glacier will have shifted enough to break the pipe and we won't get any oil at all thanks to a contaminated Bosphorus! Fantastic action set pieces, but far too many under-developed or pointless characters to make this any more than a mediocre film.

Order of Preference so far: