Don’t Taunt the World-Class Spy

The World is Not Enough

Pierce Brosnan’s third Bond film.  They cast the superb Robert Carlyle (Rumple/Mr. Gold in Once Upon a Time, Durza in Eragon, and he was in Stargate Universe/SGU as well) as the villain Renard.  Judi Dench, Desmond Llewelyn, Samantha Bond, and Robbie Coltrane all return.  John Cleese (one of the comedic geniuses of Monty Python) joins as R, who will replace Q one day (this was Llewelyn’s last appearance as Q) and Sophie Marceau (Princess Isabelle in Braveheart) stars as Elektra King.

Bond is initially in Spain, retrieving money from a Swiss banker, but he really wants the name of the man who killed an MI6 agent.  The Swiss banker middle man is killed before Bond can get the information and then strangely, Bond himself is saved from an assassin.  He jumps out the window with the money and returns to MI6 headquarters in London (they did film near the actual headquarters despite worries of security, it is quoted that “After all Bond has done for Britain, it is the least we can do for Bond.”)  Bond briefly meets M’s friend, Mr. King.  As they sit and drink, discussing the stolen files that the money purchased, Bond realizes that Mr. King’s money is a trap and rushes to save Mr. King, but he is too late.  He catches sight of a woman on a boat and takes one of Q’s boats to high speed chase after her [I doubt that boat could actually run on pavement, but it’s Bond, so there’s techno-magic].  The woman tries to escape in a hot air balloon, but shoots it down before she can be captured, insisting that Bond cannot protect her from “him.”  Bond injures his shoulder in the subsequent fall.

After the opening credits, Bond and MI6 officials attend Mr. King’s funeral in Scotland and are introduced to King’s daughter, Elektra.  Their headquarters are in an old castle (the picturesque Eileen Donan…I love that castle) and M orders King’s case to be solved.  But Bond is off active duty until he is cleared by a doctor.  So, Bond charms the doctor, after she warns him that any more tendons snap, and he’ll be out of commission for weeks.  Bond visits Q on his way to M and is introduced to R.  Q is upset that Bond destroyed his “fishing” boat for his retirement, away from Bond.  Bond is sad to think about Q leaving and in true enigmatic fashion, the Quartermaster informs the secret agent: I taught you two things, never let them see you bleed, and always have an escape plan.  (It’s a touching scene in hindsight since Desmond Llewelyn was killed in a car crash a month after the film opened).  Bond also reviews Elektra King’s file, including her kidnapping years ago, and comes to the discovery that her ransom amount of $5,000,000.00 equals the £3,030,303.03 he retrieved and killed King.  He takes his suspicions to M.  And we see a rather tender relationship between Bond and M; she even admits that against all maternal instincts, she told Mr. King not to pay Elektra’s ransom in order to draw out the kidnapper.  When M receives a message that the terrorist might be back, she orders Bond to protect Elektra.

The terrorist is known as Renard and another MI6 agent was able to put a bullet in his head, but it didn’t kill him.  Instead, it is slowly killing him by first killing his senses; he can feel no pain.  He will die, but he will get stronger every day prior.  Elektra tries to send Bond home, but he persists, even saving her life from parachuting snowmobilers.  After that, Elektra asks Bond to stay, though he refuses to sleep with her (probably because M would kill him).  He goes to a casino to see his old friend Valentine for information, though Elektra drops in there.  We see that Elektra’s head of security is in the league with Renard.  Bond deals with him later that evening, after bedding Elektra.  Bond takes the man’s place and is quickly involved in breaking into an old Soviet nuclear facility.  A young, attractive female physicist is there, Dr. Christmas Jones (dressed like Lara Croft for some unpractical purpose).  Bond gets a chance to kill Renard, who admits that he spared Bond in Spain so they could meet later.  Renard also quotes Elektra, which makes Bond pause.  There’s a scuffle, a chip is taken out of the nuclear bomb, Renard gets away with the bomb and starts an explosion at the facility, Jones and Bond narrowly escape.

Elektra calls M and asks her to come; M agrees.  Bond confronts Elektra, who denies all his allegations, that she developed Stockholm Syndrome when she was kidnapped by Renard.  Bond begins to tell M his suspicions, but the bomb is detected in the pipeline.  Bond takes Jones to diffuse the bomb and they discover that only half of the plutonium is being used.  Meaning the other half is missing.  Bond lets the bomb harmlessly explode, so it will appear that he is dead.  Elektra uses it as an opportunity to reveal to M that she was responsible for her father’s death and take M into custody.

Bond goes back to Valentine to get more information and they’re discovered by Elektra.  She sends her tree cutting saw to cut her enemies in half, but they escape.  In the meantime, Elektra happily greets Renard and they discuss their plan to blow up the port in Istanbul with the plutonium so her pipeline will be the only one left.  They both blame M for her lack of rescue during the kidnapping situation.  But M is not out of the game yet; she has the locator chip.  She uses the battery in the clock that is left to power the locator, bringing Bond to her.  Part of Renard’s plan is to use a submarine to get the plutonium into position (which is captained by Valentine’s nephew, who is then poisoned by Renard).  Bond goes after the bad guys, Renard gets a hold of Jones and Elektra takes Bond to torture.  “I could give you the world,” she tells him.  “The world is not enough,” he responds with his family’s motto (and title drop).  Elektra is convinced that Bond cannot kill a woman he loved.  He pursues her once he is freed, with some help from Valentine, stopping only to shoot open M’s cell.  He shouts for her to call Renard off; innocent people need not die just so she can claim her bit of the world.  She won’t.  Bond shoots.  Then jumps after the sub.

Bond quickly rescues Jones and intends to bring the sub to the surface so it will be on satellite and call in the navy.  Except it gets stuck in a dive and crashes into the bottom of the bay and begins to flood.  Renard opens the reactor and tries to insert the plutonium, but Bond fights him (and keeps aggravating his shoulder), eventually firing the rod back into Renard.  He and Jones quickly swim out of the sub before it explodes.  He then predictably goes off the grid to seduce the newest lady.

I like the storyline of this movie better than other Bond films.  There’s not as much technobabble.  Plutonium is understandably bad, as are nuclear reactors.  Oil pipelines are a concept I understand.  This isn’t Robert Carlyle’s greatest villain role (he gets to be just plain evil in Eragon and far more nuanced in Once Upon a Time), but he is fairly creepy.  Honestly, they could have done without Christmas Jones (and they only named her Christmas for the puns); Elektra was a far more elusive character.  We saw softer sides to some of our repeat characters.  Q was touching, I always smile when Moneypenny flirts with Bond knowing that it will go nowhere.  Bond can resist sleeping with a woman when he wants to (again, there was no reason for that bit at the end between him and Jones aside from its “Bond.”)  And M is more than a stern figurehead of an intelligence agency.

Next Time: Die Another Day

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