The World is Not Enough
(Click here for Internet Movie Database entry)

What is this world coming too? James Bond, the greatest anachronism extant, is becoming topical? It's true. On November 19, the day that The World is Not Enough opened, President Clinton and the leaders of four other nations announced that an oil pipeline would be built from Baku on the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean avoiding Russia and Iran.  The plot of The World is Not Enough concerns building an oil pipeline from Baku on the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean avoiding Russia and Iran.  Not only that but James Bond has some topical remarks about Swiss Bankers as well. Luckily, the rest of the movie gives us what we have come to expect, fast cars, fast women and Martinis, shaken, not stirred. This is the best Bond movie in a long time and Pierce Brosnan has settled nicely into the title role.  He is the best Bond since Sean Connery. In this installment, the man in charge of building the oil pipeline is blown up and his daughter, Electra (Sophie Marceau), takes over the company.  She is an old family friend of M (Judi Dench) and so 007 is sent to Baku to protect Electra. And well you can guess the rest.  The arch villain here is Renard, a terrorist with a bullet lodged in his head, played sleepily by Robert Carlyle.  He plans to steal some plutonium and blow up Istanbul for reasons best left unexplained.  Bond is aided by a Russian Gangster played with zest by Robbie Coltrane and by a nuclear physicist (Denise Richards).  As Premiere magazine puts it, she is handy at defusing bombs and looks great in a tank top. There's more to the plot. Click here if you want me to spoil it for you.  It all makes little sense but the movie hangs together quite well.   A combination of good writing, a strong core of British character actors, and lots of action keep things interesting.  There are many amusing lines and some really bad jokes.  Carlyle, who is one of my favorites, has vaulted into the big time after Trainspotting and The Full Monty.  The two Bond girls ( you need two per movie now) both do well here. Richards was the best thing in last year's Starship Troopers.  What Bond movie would be complete without a visit to Q and his latest toys.  Q (Desmond Llewelyn),  who has appeared in every Bond movie going back to From Russia With Love in 1963, doesn't disappoint although there is some sad foreshadowing that he won't be around forever. He is 85 years old. He has an new "young" assistant, named R, played wonderfully by John Cleese. Needless to say, Bond and his friends manage to disarm the bomb just in time and save the  world again. But some things never change. Early in the movie, we see trees being trimmed by a helicopter with huge spinning blades hanging from the bottom.  You know right away that those blades will be spinning near Bond's head before too long.