1999 Certificate: 12


Pierce Brosnan shrugs into the tuxedo for a third time while the seductive Sophie Marceau and The Full Monty's Robert Carlyle make up the baddie contingent in Bond #19. This time, 007 must investigate the threats made against oil heiress Elektra King by her one-time kidnapper, Renard. But things take a turn for the worse when Stockholm Syndrome kicks in and King and Renard get together to make life difficult for the suave superspy.


  • Michael Apted


  • Pierce Brosnan

  • Sophie Marceau

  • Robert Carlyle

  • Denise Richards

  • Robbie Coltrane

  • Judi Dench


Brosnan was perfectly comfortable with the role of 007 for his third outing and the 19th in the series.

Braveheart's Sophie Marceau played Elektra King, the daughter of a murdered oil tycoon, while Robert Carlyle chilled as the villainous Renard, who is unable to feel pain because of a bullet lodged in his brain.

Director Michael Apted introduced more plot and drama and even convinced Dame Judi Dench's M to join the action from behind her desk.

The film also marked the 17th and final appearance of Desmond Llewelyn as Q (he was replaced by John Cleese).

Goldeneye's rebirth of the James Bond franchise was all but forgotten after a trio of still-born follow-ups. An accolade that The World Is Not Enough does manage, however, is that it was the least worst of the three.

After a poorly executed opening sequence on the Thames that could and should have been so much more (the cut from Bond atop the Millennium Dome to the Garbage-sung credits sequence is amateur - at best), the majority of The World Is Not Enough hits the target - if only because director Michael Apted aims so low.

But he's not all to blame. Writers Wade, Ferstein and Purvis clearly believed themselves to be far cleverer than they actually were, packing the script with laboured puns and contrived set ups for Bond's witty retorts.

"Construction's not my thing," Bond insists when briefly offered a new job.

"Quite the opposite, in fact," retorts M. It's a decent exchange undermined by the fact that nobody involved works in construction.

The character names are risible, from Christmas Jones to Elektra King, while the old favourites - Bond's drink order and introduction - help give the feel that this is painting by numbers script writing. In addition, John Cleese's short lived turn as Q's replacement is easily the most cringe-worthy moment of any James Bond movie.

However, despite the contrivances of the script, the movie is well plotted. Bond's dalliance with the eventual bad girl is a nifty twist, while the writing behind Robert Carlyle's psychotic Renard is far more credible than Tomorrow Never Dies' megalomaniac Elliott Carver.

Even the return of Robbie Coltrane's Valentin Zukovsky showed a willingness to break from type and return to a character from a previous outing.

Yet it feels as though Apted elected to use Roger Moore's worst efforts as his template, rather than the hugely successful Goldeneye. From Bond adjusting his bow tie underwater, to the casting of non-actress Denise Richards as busty scientist, Dr. Christmas Jones, this is a Bond movie that smacks of laziness and derision.

Worst of all, Brosnan acts as though he believes in his own hype, and even Dame Judi is wasted when not given a half decent line to deliver.

Like the rest of the movie, the final act ticks off all the boxes in the stunts and quips departments, yet consistently short changes on the promised outcome.

At best, this is James Bond for kids who don't know the conventions thus know no better. Before Bond took the keys to an invisible Aston Martin, he had already begun to lose his way. And it doesn't take a chesty nuclear physicist to spot where it all started to go wrong.