TWINE’s 15th anniversary: a transition for 007

The World Is Not Enough poster

The World Is Not Enough poster

The World Is Not Enough, the 19th film in the 007 film series made by Eon Productions, marked a transition.

Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli hired a director, Michael Apted, with little experience in action movies. Apted was brought on because of his drama experience.

The producers also hired a new writing team, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, to develop the story. They’re still in the world of 007 15 years later.

The script development established a pattern the duo would soon be familiar with. They delivered their script, which would be reworked by other writers. In the case of The World Is Not Enough, Dana Stevens, Apted’s wife, revised the story. Another scribe, Bruce Feirstein, worked on the final drafts. Purvis, Wade and Feirstein would get a screen credit.

Meanwhile, Judi Dench’s M got expanded screen time, something that would persist through 2012’s Skyfall. The film also marked the final appearance of Desmond Llewelyn as Q. John Cleese came aboard as Q’s understudy.

Pierce Brosnan, in his third 007 outing, was now an established film Bond. In interviews at the time, he talked up the increased emphasis on drama. In the film, Bond falls for Elektra King, whose industrialist father is killed in MI6’s own headquarters. But in a twist, Elektra (played by Sophie Marceau) proves to be the real mastermind.

The movie tried to balance the new emphasis on drama with traditional Bond bits such as quips and gadgets, such as the “Q boat” capable of diving underwater or rocketing across land. Some fans find the character of Dr. Christmas Jones, a scientist played by Denise Richards, over the top.

Sometimes, the dual tones collided. Cleese’s initial appearance was played for laughs. In the same scene, however, Q, in effect, tells Bond good-bye in what’s intended to be a touching moment. It was indeed the final good-bye. Llewelyn died later that year as the result of a traffic accident.

The movie was a financial success, with $361.8 million in worldwide box office. Broccoli and Wilson, meanwhile, would return to the idea of increased drama in later entries after recasting Bond with Daniel Craig.

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3 Responses

  1. Dr. Christmas Jones “over the top?” Quite the opposite in my opinion. More like “under the top.” Completely underwhelming. Had an attempt been made to make this character “over the top, ” we might have at least had a little something to laugh about today.

    TWINE had so many things going for it. It should have been Brosnan’s best. Sophie Marceau was wonderfully cast. She has great screen presence. Her chemistry extends to the entire cast. It is too bad that the corporate casting of the Dr. Jones character and by-the-clock sluggish action sequences derail a story that could have had real Fleming-esque resonance.

  2. firstly congratulations to ‘twine’s 15th anniversary. also to film-director Michael apted for doing a brilliant job making this film. as everybody know’s this particular bond film has a very special scentimentle attachment to many bond fans around the world. it was the year 1999 fans lost their beloved actor the late desmond llewelyn better known as q gadget master. however the film suffered a little too much of trying to cram to much action in so much little time. the boat-chase down the river-thames was very good. but too long for a pre-credit sequence. pierce brosnan as bond was greatly improved. john cleese was a waste of screen time. judi dench was great. sophie Marceau as a surprise main villain was very clever screen-writing. love the film

  3. I keep forgetting that society cannot image someone with Denise Richards’ looks and age at the time (26-27) portraying a scientist. Society can be so damn narrow minded at times.

    Richards gave a decent performance and handled the techno babble quite well. At least she didn’t go over the top, like Sophie Marceau, whose performance started out well and eventually grew rather absurd. Nor was Richards subjected to uttering one particular line – over and over again – like poor Robert Carlyle.

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