Pan & Scan Welcome to PAN & SCAN where you will find film reviews of some of Hollywood's latest productions.

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The World Is Not Enough   Starring: Pierce Brosnan & Sophie Marceau

  Genre: Action / Thriller

  Running Time: 127 Minutes

  Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action violence,
  some sexuality and innuendo.

  Video Release: 16 May 2000

  Tagline: "Bond is Back."

James Bond is more than a movie character -- he has become a cultural icon. Like Mickey Mouse and Superman, Agent 007 has joined the ranks of many cinema/novel fabrications and taken on its own form of reality. The question is though, does The World Is Not Enough breathe new life into the four-decade-old series, or we stuck in habitual reruns?

In Pierce Brosnan's third outing as Bond, he finds himself playing nursemaid to a wealthy oil heiress (Sophie Marceau) whose life is in danger by a renegade Russian terrorist (Robert Carlyle). Along the way, Bond becomes entangled with nuclear physicist (Denise Richards) and slowly discovers there's more to this heiress than meets the eye.

The plot itself is borderline mediocre but then again, most 007 films are more about formula filmmaking than elevated storylines. The standard Bond movie features a traditional blueprint of exotic locations, exotic women, nifty gadgets and nefarious villains. It's something the audience has come to expect in a Bond film and TWINE follows in its predecessor's footsteps. While it would be unfair to compare Brosnan's Bond with Connery, Moore, or even Dalton, let's analyze how TWINE stacks up against Brosnanís previous portrayals instead.

Exotic Locations
Movies are a form of escapism. Through Bond, we've been able to participate in adventures in far-off lands; this time in Bilbao, London, Baku, and Istanbul. While the locations are absorbing, the heart of the scene has always been the action within that location.

After 19 films, it must be quite difficult coming up with new & exciting chase/escape sequences. In Brosnan's first outing, "GoldenEye," he pursues his nemesis in a Russian tank through the streets of St. Petersburg. In "Tomorrow Never Dies," he avoids capture by leaping from the Carver Building using a banner mural of his antagonist to slow his descent.

TWINE offers no such thrills. Yes, the Thames boat chase is engaging but its the ol' "been there, done that" scenario. While all Bond films have featured "real" stunts and dangerous sets, the increased use of blue screens and digital effects has desensitized the viewing audience -- taking a bite out of the drama which past Bond films are noted for.

Exotic Women
As always, 007 films produce a harem of seductive sirens. Everyone has their favorite, but many are quickly forgotten. Such is the case of Denise Richards who plays the American scientist, Christmas Jones. With the looks of a teenager and good-girl innocence, Richards fails to create the illusion of worldly sophistication needed for her role. Instead, she succeeds in filling out a cut off T-shirt and short shorts while probing a leaky Soviet silo.

The other Bond female proves to be a much wiser casting choice. Sophie Marceau is both sultry and smart as the heiress, Elektra, who seems to be Bond's equal in both love and war. While Elektra proves to be more appealing than Colonel Wai-Lin ["Tomorrow Never Dies"] she is a bit aloof, making it difficult for the viewer to sympathize with her.

Every Bond film has them and TWINE is no exception. High-tech gadgets included x-ray specs, jet-propelled speedboat, a new BMW Z8 with rocket launchers (and 6 beverage cup holder), hang-gliding bobsleighs, and a chainsaw wielding helicopter. While the BMW looks nice, it doesn't last long and after the Thames chase, Q's retirement boat is all washed up as well (excuse the pun).

A sad note: Desmond Llewelyn, who played "Q" in 17 Bond films, was involved in a fatal car accident a month after the release of this latest 007 film. While the characters of Bond, M, and Moneypenny have undergone various casting changes, Llewelyn was the one mainstay of the series. He will be missed.

Remember Dr. No? How about Jaws? Bond films have always featured men bent on world domination who enrapture the audience with their diabolic schemes. In "GoldenEye," we have 006, the treacherous double agent backed up by femme fatale Xenia Onatopp. In "Tomorrow Never Dies," we have the pompous Elliot Carver whose henchman is the brutal Mr. Stamper.

In TWINE, though, we are subjected to Robert Carlyle, who fails to give much of a lift to the role of Renard. He is man who is impervious to pain (thanks to a bullet buried in his skull) and is slowly dying. His motivation is primarily financial, killing without remorse, but his character is as shallow as your average bed pan. The final "battle" sequence, in a sinking sub, leaves one with a sinking sensation as you feel yourself drowning in this character's inadequacies.

In closure, the primary weakness of this film is Bond's antagonist, Renard. Overall, there's really nothing new or exciting happening here except for the character of Elektra -- which is the one saving grace of this movie. Brosnan makes a decent 007 but if you're not a Bond fan, you should wait until this one hits cable.

© Terrence J. Brady

The ratings for "Pan & Scan" are broken down into a simple 1-5 scale as follows: 5 = "Forget renting it - BUY IT!"; 4 = "Definite Must Rent"; 3 = "Coin Toss" (Rent it OR wait for cable); 2 = "Wait For Cable"; 1 = "Ignore It!" (Even when it's on network TV).