Review: The World Is Not Enough (1999)

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19 - The World Is Not Enough (1999)

“I’m afraid it is you who deserve credit. When I took her, she was promise itself. And then you left her at the mercy of a man like me. You ruined her. For what? To get to me? She’s worth fifty of me.”
– Renard

James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) meets with a Swiss banker on an assignment. M (Judi Dench) has sent him to collect money of Sir Robert King (David Calder), a British oil tycoon. Bond wishes to know who killed the other MI6 agent who was murdered for a report he had on him that King was buying. Bond makes a narrow escape when things go awry. Meeting up with M and Sir Robert at MI6 headquarters, he returns Sir Robert’s money. However, it seems the money was booby-trapped, and Sir Robert is assassinated within the MI6 headquarters. Chasing down the assassin outside the building, Bond gets close enough to her for her to say she that she cannot be protected and continues to commit suicide.

Bond backtracks the money to Renard (Robert Carlyle). He is a terrorist and ex-KGB agent. Once ordered to be assassinated, the bullet that lodged in his brain did not kill him, but is killing off his senses and him slowly. This makes for him to be a terrible enemy, however, seeing as he does not have the limitations of a normal man to stop him. Bond is assigned to protect Elektra King (Sophie Marceau), Sir Robert’s daughter who was once kidnapped by Renaud. M fears that she may be Renard’s target again. Elektra is monitoring the construction of her family’s oil pipeline, and is very dismissive when Bond warns her that her life may be at stake. She finally relents to make use of Bond’s protection when an attempt on her life is made.

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“You can’t kill me. I’m already dead.” – Renard

Bond calls in some old contacts, most importantly Valentin Zukovsky (Robbie Coltrane), who has theoretically gone legit. It becomes apparent that Elektra’s head of security, Sasha Davidov (Ulrich Thomsen), is the insider that is working with Renard. Bond kills Davidov and impersonates him when he catches a plane to Kazakhstan, where he ends up at a Russian ICBM base. Bond is now impersonating a nuclear physicist, and meets with Christmas Jones (Denise Richards), who is also a physicist. Bond’s cover soon falls apart when he comes across Renard, and though Bond does not kill him, red flags are raised in his mind due to the similarities between Renard and Elektra. Renard removes a GRP locator and weapons-grade plutonium from a bomb and makes off with the plutonium, leaving the card.

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“Revenge is not hard to fathom for a man who believes in nothing.” – James Bond

Bond accuses Elektra of suffering from Stockhom Syndrome, and she hits back that Bond is mad, and that she has called M in to take over. Bond voices his opinion to M that Elektra may be in bed with Renard, so to speak, which M blows off promptly. She knew Sir Robert, and she trust Elektra. Elektra joins up with M and Bond, and they are alerted to a problem in one of Elektra’s inspection rig. It almost appears that she is innocent, and Bond takes Christmas with him to go and prevent the explosion in the pipeline, and they establish that the plutonium was stolen to create a nuclear explosion, wrecking the oil line in Istanbul, making Elektra’s line the only one, and making a fortune. In the meanwhile, Elektra has taken M hostage and plans on killing her for revenge.

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“There’s no point living, if you can’t feel alive.” – Elektra King

Will Bond be able to call in all the favours he needs from various people to prevent Elektra’s plan from being executed? Will M survive, and will she be able to adequately explain herself to Elektra? Will Christmas prove to be an asset or a liability to Bond in the location of the nuclear reactor and plutonium? Will Bond be able to stop it all, save M, and get the girl (again)?

A 6.5/10 for The World Is Not Enough. I actually thought that this one was alright, not too bad, but no great shakes either. The plot was a basic revenge plot, so they played it safe. The story progression was alright. I really liked seeing more of M in here, and more of her character was demonstrated. Q announcing his retirement finally does not come as a shock, though it is amusing to see Bond worried that it will be a very quick resignation and Q moving on. Sophie Marceau was a beautiful Bond girl, I must admit, and far more interesting than Denise Richards. Something about Denise Richards just didn’t work too well, though I am not sure exactly what. I can also say it was not just her name’s fault though! The action sequences were alright, the music was ok, so nothing really to write home about. There was (get this), another remote controlled car for Bond to play with. I don’t know what it was about Brosnan that inspired remote controlled cars. However, The World Is Not Enough was the first Bond film since Dalton to keep me interested and watching all the way through (GoldenEye had the cast yet still fell flat). It was nothing innovative or anything, and it truly had its flaws, but overall it didn’t annoy me, and this was the one Brosnan one I don’t really have complaints about. I really hated the Christmas coming once a year comment from Bond at the end, though I still do not find it as tasteless as Q’s re-entry comment in Moonraker. Overall, it was just another average addition to the Bond world – nothing new, nothing too extreme, but nothing too dead boring.

Review: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

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18 - Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

“Soon I’ll have reached out to and influenced more people than anybody in the history of this planet, save God himself.”
– Elliot Carver

MI6 British 007 agent James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) is on a field assignment on the Russian border. When MI6 establishes that there are a few wanted men in the area, British Admiral Roebuck (Geoffrey Palmer) and M (Judi Dench) come to blows about how to handle it. Roebuck insists on launching a missile attack. Bond manages to make it out of the area, and a techno-terrorist named Henry Gupta (Ricky Jay) also escapes with an American GPS manufactured by the military. Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce) runs the Carver Media Group Network and has a unique plan – world domination via news. He uses the decoder to send the British frigate into Chinese waters in the South China Sea where it is sunk by his henchman, Richard Stamper (Götz Otto), in his stealth shit. A missile is stolen, and a Chinese fighter jet is shot down. The British survivors are executed by Chinese weaponry. Carver wishes to provoke a war between the United Kingdom and China, and of course, has the breaking news reporting on it.

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“The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success.” – Elliot Carver

Roebuck is furious, and is intent on deploying the British Fleet to recover and retaliate in connection to the frigate, and M is granted a reprieve or forty eight hours to investigate. She puts her best man on the job – Bond. Carver has been suspected of involvement or intimate knowledge of the sinking and execution after his news stations and papers have critical information long in advance of the events becoming public. Bond had a relationship with Carver’s wife, Paris (Teri Hatcher), and is told to make use of any means necessary to find out anything he can from her. Bond gathers the required information he needs from Paris, and breaks into Carver’s newspaper headquarters. He steals back the GPS encoder, only to discover when he leaves that Paris has been killed and he has a hit out on him.

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“You forgot the first rule of mass media, Elliot! Give the people what they want!” – James Bond

Making a narrow escape, Bond takes the GPS and with it backtracks the exact location of the frigate. Bond goes to the South China Sea to investigate the sinking and discovers a missile is missing. He also runs into Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh), a Chinese spy, again. This time, the two are captured by Stamper and taken to Carver. The two need to work together to get to the bottom of everything and prevent some terrible things from happening. They know that Carver has a steal ship, and they need to locate it. It is the only way that they can think of stopping Carver’s plans from executing a brand new world war and becoming the leading media mogul.

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“It depends whether your mission is peace or revenge.” – Wai Lin

Will Bond and Wai Lin set aside their differences and work together? Will they be able to warn their governments in time of Carver’s plans in order to implement a new world war? Will Carver ever pay for the things he’s done, and can they get everything done in time and survive to make M look like a genius?

A 6/10 for Tomorrow Never Dies. This was a little bit too out there for me. I think it was the action sequences, or how logic seemed to evade so many scenes. There was potential, but it was thrown away to add in as much action sequences as was possible. Teri Hatcher did not really provide a charismatic character, and she seemed to be a little out of place. Her performance was truly underwhelming, but so was her character. Desmond Llewelyn really has stuck by the Bond franchise loyally! Judi Dench is always lovely, and demonstrated here that she is not afraid to bare her teeth and stick by her guns as M, so to speak. Nothing new was brought to the table, though I thought that Elliot Carver was a new type of villain – the world of news is a new place to dominate. I actually liked him, to be honest. For me this was just another typical entry to the world of Bond. The cheese was back in abundance, and shamelessly flaunted to the world. There were some scenes in it that carried some humour, but not always the sharpest of the lot. Pierce Brosnan gives another performance that is well-oiled, and sometimes one has to wonder whether he is too slick for the role, though he still attempts to bring a little more depth to his character. Overall, the movie carries the British superspy through another outing, but not with a wealth of grace and resourcefulness. It will do, though.

Review: GoldenEye (1995)

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17 - Goldeneye (1995)

“Back from the dead. No longer just an anonymous star on the memorial wall at MI6. What’s the matter, James? No glib remark? No pithy comeback?
– Alec Trevelyan

MI6 00 agents James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) and Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean) are on a mission to infiltrate a Soviet chemical weapons facility where everything goes wrong. Alec is captured and executed by Colonel Arkandy Ourumov (Gottfried John), while Bond makes a wild escape as the facility explodes. Many years later, Bond is being assessed, and follows Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen). She is suspected to have ties to the Janus crime syndicate, and Bond needs to figure out the involvement and the extent as to what they are up to. After she murders an admiral, now General Ourumov takes over his identity. They hijack a prototype helicopter that can withstand an electromagnetic pulse and go to Severnaya. There they steal the control disks for the GoldenEye satellite weapons. Everyone at the facility is murdered, save one woman who makes it out, programmer Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco), and Boris Grishenko (Alan Cumming), another programmer who must be the insider that helped Ourumov and Onatopp out. They activate a GoldenEye satellite, and the weapon destroys the entire bunker.

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“Governments change. The lies stay the same.” – James Bond

M and Bond see the desecration of the Severnaya bunker, and Bond goes out to see what is happening. Natalya is unaware of Boris’s hand in the destruction of the bunker, and goes to meet with him in St Petersburg. Instead, he betrays her, and she is taken hostage by Janus. Bond’s new CIA contact is Jack Wade (Joe Don Baker), who is also on the GoldenEye mission, and at first they do not seem to get along. Bond wants a meeting with Janus, and only Russian Mafia head Valentin Zukovsky (Robbie Coltrane) can help him out with it. However, the two have a history, and Zukovsky is not overly thrilled to see Bond turn up to meet him. Bond is granted his meeting, however, but is horrified to discover that Janus is actually his “deceased” friend, Alec Trevelyan. He is a Cossack clan descendant, and still has it out for the British Government for their involvement in his parents’ death – the Cossacks were clans that worked with Nazi forces and the British turned them back in to Stalin, and they were killed. Bond is taken hostage.

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“This time, Mr. Bond, the pleasure will be all mine.” – Xenia Onatopp

Naturally, a whole lot of bad decisions and situations and escapes ensue, and Bond becomes rather close with Natalya, who offers boundless assistance in helping him out. Everyone still has no idea who stole the GoldenEye controller, Dimitri Mishkin (Tchéky Karyo), the Russian Minister of Defence, captured Natalya and Bond, convinced that Bond is a rogue agent and a thief. Natalya drops the bomb that Ourumov is responsible for the destruction of the bunker and the murders of all the people. Ourumov turns up at that moment and executes a guard and Mishkin with Bond’s gun. Natalya is captured by Alec again, and Bond needs to get to her.

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“Kill him. The man just won’t take a hint.” – Alec Trevelyan

When Alec reveals his master plan of robbing a bank and using the EMP to mask the crime as well as cripple Britain’s economy, Bond needs to save Natalya. The two spar as always. Will Bond be able to save the girl as well as take down Alec? Will he be able to get over his personal feelings of betrayal and operate like the agent he was trained to be? Despite all his talk of having to stay cold and disconnected, is it really that simple? Will Bond be able to continue avoiding Onatopp’s attempts to kill him?

A 6.5/10 for GoldenEye. Definitely not the most solid way to enter the realm of Bond, but Pierce Brosnan isn’t bad, though it seems to linger in the uncomfortable place of being between a serious Bond like Dalton and a corny one like Connery/Moore. I am just so glad to be over Moore, I will take anything. I thought that with the cast that they had, the movie would have been more wow, if you know what I mean. Not a terrible movie, just not the biggest bang to come back with after all the court cases and what not. I thought Sean Bean was great for his role, though, as always, he is a walking spoiler. I thought Alan Cumming’s character was good, though his talents were grossly underused. Famke Janssen’s character was just too damned weird, and the sounds? Eeek. The story that they had could truly have been a lot more solid. I really liked the tank chase, though. I was incredibly impressed to finally see Judi Dench step into the role as M, and had to laugh a little at how the boys franchise suddenly had to make way for a woman, and learn to respect her. The whole scene where she explained to Bond that he was an antiquated dinosaur cracked me up. There alone they highlighted moving into a new era, and how everyone felt about it. Well done. Desmond Llewelyn is still hanging on as Q, which is good to see someone is still there so far along in the show. Not a bad film in terms of Bond, just not the most solid way to introduce a new Bond, sadly, and I felt that there was not really enough to genuinely captivate my attention wholly.