The World Is Not Enough

UK/USA 1999

Film still for The World Is Not Enough

Reviewed by Jos Arroyo


Our synopses give away the plot in full, including surprise twists.

Superspy James Bond retrieves a suitcase of money for oil magnate Sir Robert King in Bilbao and returns it to him at MI6 headquarters in London. A remote-controlled booby trap hidden in King's lapel pin explodes, killing King. At King's funeral in Scotland, Bond meets the deceased's daughter Elektra, who was once kidnapped by Renard, a terrorist. Renard has a bullet lodged in his skull that's slowly killing him, but which renders him impervious to pain. Bond's boss M sends Bond to the Caucasus to protect Elektra and discover who killed King. After escaping an attack while skiing, Elektra and Bond visit a local casino run by Valentin Zukovsky, a Russian mafioso, and then make love. Soon after, Bond is led to an atomic-test facility in Kazakhstan.

There Bond meets scientist Christmas Jones and discovers Renard stealing an atomic missile, but Bond is unable to stop him. Bond follows Renard to Istanbul and discovers the missile has been inserted into Elektra's pipeline. Realising it's not atomic, Bond and Christmas let it explode so the culprit might think them dead. Bond discovers Renard and Elektra are lovers, working together; she is the real mastermind and her father's murderer. Her targets are rival pipelines. They have kidnapped M and intend to kill her. Bond kills Elektra, saves M, and with Christmas follows Renard to a submarine where they finally defeat him.


Inherent in the notion of a film sequel is the lure of an intensified repetition of previous pleasures. After close to four decades of changing socio-sexual mores, competition from satires and rip-offs such as the Austin Powers and Matt Helm films, and the obvious difficulty of engaging the public with five different incarnations of an iconic character, the very existence of The World Is Not Enough, the nineteenth official Bond movie, is proof that Bond's makers have mostly been delivering the goods.

James Bond is the icon other icons look up to. When Arnold Schwarzenegger thought his cyborg turn needed uplift, he merged Bond with his Terminator persona for True Lies. Singer Robbie Williams says he wants to be Bond in the new millennium, as does openly gay actor Rupert Everett. Yet although Bond obviously represents an enduring masculine ideal, on the evidence of The World Is Not Enough the film-makers don't seem to understand why this might be so, and seem to feel licensed to kill off what made Bond iconic.

Bond films are formula film-making, and the production machinery behind them is so extensive and expert the movies are almost director-proof. The World Is Not Enough duly follows the traditional blueprint with nifty gadgets and cars, beautiful and available women and a couple of superb set pieces (the pre-credit sequence and the skiing scene). However, an equally important part of the Bond formula is cartoonish style, a light tone and two-dimensional characterisation. Many of us like it that way - we care more about what Bond wears and drives than what he feels.

The makers of The World Is Not Enough, of whom director Michael Apted should be singled out for blame, have attempted to depict all-too fleshy characters who desire, lack and feel. It's what is valued in a Ken Loach film, but it acts as an explosive and unsettling expulsion from the fantasies Bond films invite us to. One can't name a patricidal character Elektra and then expect the audience not to giggle at the film's attempts to psychologise her; one can't have Denise Richards play a nuclear physicist and make any claims to conventional believability. Robert Carlyle striving to imbue a character with truth and depth is almost always a good thing, but when that character is a Bond villain who wants to conquer the world, one has to ask what the director was thinking of. Worst of all they've done the same to Bond, not understanding that deep feelings don't go easily with nonchalance, suavity, elegance or cool, much less with killing people as a profession.

Intending to turn Bond and his world into what they can't be, these attempts to create emotional depth reveal an underlying contempt for what the Bond movies actually are. They imply realism is not just one mode among many but the superior, most culturally worthy and difficult mode. By that logic, of course, to make Bond films better is to make them more -realistic', like Apted's Nell, presumably. Thank God for action, production values and the second unit. They're what make The World Is Not Enough still worth watching.


Michael Apted
Michael G. Wilson
Barbara Broccoli
Neal Purvis
Robert Wade
Bruce Feirstein
Neal Purvis
Robert Wade
Director of Photography
Adrian Biddle
Jim Clark
Production Designer
Peter Lamont
David Arnold
©Danjaq LLC and United Artists Corporation
Production Company
Albert R. Broccoli's Eon Productions Limited presents
Line Producer
Anthony Waye
Associate Producer
Nigel Goldsack
Production Executive
David Pope
Production Supervisors
Philip Kohler
Janine Modder
Hugh Harlow
Production Co-ordinators
Eléna Zokas
Paige Wingrove
Bi Benton
Patricia Reid-Douglas
Joyce Turner
Anna Cassina
Unit Managers
Iris Rose
Alex Sutherland
Gilles Castera
Trevor Ingman
Location Production Managers
Terry Bamber
John Bernard
Tim Lewis
Ali Akdeniz
Yousaf Bokhari
Carlos Taillefer
Location Managers
Richard Sharkey
Russell Lodge
Javier Balaguer
David Boardman
Salva Yague
Simon Marsden
Joanna Beckett
Liz Roberts
Bahadir Atay
Post-production Supervisors
Michael Solinger
Jatinderpal Chohan
2nd Unit Director
Vic Armstrong
Additional Unit Director
Arthur Wooster
Assistant Directors
Gerry Gavigan
Terry Madden
Paul Taylor
Mark Layton
Keith Young
Geoff Dibben
Julia Waye
Jésus Delgado
Kieron Phipps
Simon Emanuel
Elliott Meddings
Christopher Brosnan
Carlos Fidel
John West
Manuel López Cañizares
Inma Cabrero
Marco Aguilar
Script Supervisors
Nikki Clapp
2nd Unit:
Sharon Mansfield
Debbie McWilliams
Linda Lowy
John Brace
Kate Dowd
Risa Kes
Additional Photography
Robin Vidgeon
Martin Kenzie
John Palmer
2nd Unit Photography
Jonathan Taylor
Miniature Photography
Paul Wilson
Additional Unit Photography
Arthur Wooster
Underwater Photography
Tim Wooster
Mike Valentine
Pete Romano
Camera Operators
David Worley
Peter Field
Gary Spratling
Martin Hume
Mike Frift
John Marzano
Simon Werry
Dave Arnold
Jean-Pierre Bassin
Dan Ferrer
Visual Effects Supervisor
Mara Bryan
Visual Effects Editor
Andrew Macritchie
Visual Effects Producer
Sharon Lark
Visual Effects Cameraman
Stefan Lange
Visual Effects
Cinesite (Europe) Ltd
Digital Effects Producer:
Alex Bicknell
Compositor Supervisor:
John Lockwood
Clare Norman
Paint Artists:
Keith Devlin
Alex Smith
2D Lead Compositors:
Lisa Moore
David Williams
2D Compositors:
Chris Gibbons
David Man
3D Animation:
Sheila Dunn
Hayden Jones
Digital Imaging:
John Benn
Pete Williams
Roland Watson
Visual Effects
The Moving Picture Company
Head of Production:
Michael Elson
Senior Producer:
James Lamb
Line Producer:
Kristin Emblem
Software Development:
Jonathan Stroud
Senior Compositors:
Tom Wood
Ed Hawkins
Paul Conway
Simon Terry
Gavin Digby
Gregory Salter
Jelena Stojanovic
Animation Supervisor:
Nigel Hardwidge
Chas Jarrett
Richard Morris
Jake Mengers
Visual Effects
Magic Camera Company
Angus Cameron
Angie Wills
Film Controller:
Andrew Jeffery
Film Scanner:
John Grant
2D Artists:
Helen Ball
Robin Huffer
Ed Plant
Chris Harding
Sean Danischevsky
Richard Little
3D Supervisor:
Gary Coulter
3D Animation:
Iain Anderson
Caroline Garrett
Royston Wilcox
Special Effects
Chris Corbould
Floor Supervisors:
Steve Hamilton
Andy Williams
Senior Technicians:
Ian Biggs
Richard Brown
Paul Clancy
Pascal DeClerq
Grégoire Delage
Dave Eltham
David Eves
Darrell Guyon
John Holmes
Dave Knowles
Steven Lewis
Stephen Lloyd
James Machin
Peter Notley
Steve Onions
Andy Smith
Richard Todd
John Vanderpool
Brian Warner
Leslie Wheeler
Tim Willis
Wire Effects Supervisor
Steve Crawley
Workshop Supervisors
Nick Finlayson
Paul Knowles
Roy Quinn
Model Unit
Rohese Richardson
Effects Floor Supervisor:
Digby Milner
Workshop Supervisor:
Nigel Brackley
Senior Technicians:
Paul Stephenson
Peter Aston
Jolyon Bambridge
Nigel Blake
Terry Bridle
William Dawson
Don Joce
Barry McQueary
Gregory Morgan
Nigel Nixon
Brian Smithies
Richard Thompson
Paul Whybrow
Anthony Phelan
Matthew Harlow
Marcus Richardson
Peter Seymour-Howell
Fred Evans
Bryn Court
John Blakeley
James Barr
Mark Beverton
Jason Chalmers
Sander Ellers
Kevin Gilmartin
Chris Hayes
Supervising Model Construction:
Steven Brown
Keith Dyett
Charlie Muspratt
Graham Pearce
Peter Wells
Art Director Supervisor:
Michael Lamont
Art Director:
Mike Boone
Dive Supervisor:
Gavin McKinney
Action Boats Supervising Modeller
Peter Bohanna
John Richardson
Graphic Designer
Carol Kupisz
Useful Companies
Supervising Art Director
Neil Lamont
Art Directors
Andrew Ackland-Snow
Steve Lawrence
Fred Hole
Simon Lamont
Mark Harris
Jim Morahan
Set Decorators
Simon Wakefield
Richard Roberts
Sharon Cartwright
Stephen Bream
Peter Dorme
James Hambidge
Patsy Johnson
Steve Morahan
Mike Bishop
Storyboard Artists
Martin Asbury
Temple Clark
John Greaves
Concept Illustrators
Dominic Lavery
Robert Cowper
Chief Sculptor
Pierre Bohanna
Costume Designer
Lindy Hemming
Wardrobe Supervisor
John Scott
Wardrobe Masters
Dan Grace
Colin Wilson
David Croucher
Wardrobe Mistresses
Jane Petrie
Helen Mattocks
Make-up Supervisor
Linda De Vetta
Jane Royle
2nd Unit:
Rebecca Lafford
3rd Unit:
Barry Richardson
Hairdressing Supervisor
Colin Jamison
Jan Jamison
2nd Unit Hair
Hilary Haines
Main Title Design
Daniel Kleinman
Main Titles
Spectre Vision
David Botterell
Digital Effects:
Smoke & Mirrors
General Screen Enterprises
The James Bond Theme
Monty Norman
Nicholas Dodd
Music Editors
Dina Eaton
Dominic Gibbs
Steve Hilton
Score Recordist/Mixer
Geoff Foster
"The World Is Not Enough" by David Arnold, Don Black, performed by Garbage
Sound Mixers
Chris Munro
2nd Unit:
Ian Munro
Sound Re-recording Mixers
John Hayward
Graham Hartstone
Richard Pryke
Michael Carter
Supervising Sound Editor
Martin Evans
Dialogue Editor
John Cochrane
Effects Editors
Peter Bond
Andy Kennedy
John Ireland
Pauline Griffiths
Ruth Sullivan
Ed Colyer
Peter Holt
Ski Photography Consultant
Stefan Zürcher
Aerial Co-ordinator
Marc Wolff
Marine Co-ordinators
Chris Livett
Chas Newens
Dive Co-ordinator
Dave Shaw
Dive Supervisor
Peter McClue
Balloon Co-ordinator
Caroline Coward
Action Vehicle Co-ordinator
Darren Litten
Stunt Co-ordinator
Simon Crane
Stunt Supervisor
Sean McCabe
Charles Bodycomb
Paul Stentiford
Marc Cauvy
Felix Sepúlveda
Helicopter Pilots
Francis Coz
Bernard Seguy
Jean-Yves Le Caijne
David Arkell
Sunseeker Pilot/Driver
Jamie Baker
Aircraft Pilots
Eric Nicholas
Jeff Ronzevalle
Mark Vella Tomlin
Joseph Aquilina
Flying-Cam Pilot
Emmanuel Previnaire
Balloon Pilots
Simon Askey
Sue Cardin
Alan Jones
Powered Parachute Pilots
Tim LeBlanc
Julian Spencer
Allan Hewitt
John Rix
Pete McLaughlin
Pierce Brosnan
James Bond, 007
Sophie Marceau
Robert Carlyle
Denise Richards
Christmas Jones
Robbie Coltrane
Valentin Zukovsky
Desmond Llewelyn
Maria Grazia Cucinotta
cigar girl
Samantha Bond
Michael Kitchen
Colin Salmon
Serena Scott Thomas
Dr Molly Warmflash
Ulrich Thomsen
John Seru
Claude-Oliver Rudolph
Colonel Akakievich
Judi Dench
John Cleese
Patrick Malahide
Omid Djalili
Jeff Nuttall
Doctor Arkov
Diran Meghreblian
Coptic priest
John Albasiny
helicopter pilot
Patrick Romer
Jimmy Roussounis
pipeline technician
Justus von Dohnányi
Captain Nikoli
Hassani Shapi
Carl McCrystal
Martyn Lewis
Kouroush Asad
Russian radio operator
Daisy Beaumont
Nina Muschallik
Daz Crawford
casino thug
Peter Mehtab
casino dealer
United International Pictures (UK) Ltd
11,522 feet
128 minutes 1 second
Digital DTS sound/SDDS/Dolby digital surround EX
Colour by
Anamorphic [Panavision]
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2011