RIP to the ultimate 007 legend…..
Since the release of Tomorrow Never Dies in December 1997, Pierce Brosnan has often noticed that the film was overloaded with action scenes and that he was hoping for something more discreet for his third adventure as James Bond. That’s what producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli also thought when they decided to take their first foray into the Bond saga after the death of legendary producer Albert R. Broccoli in 1996: an emotionally complex and romantic Bond film in which nothing is so clear that you immediately know who the good guys and the bad guys are and what they’re doing.
The 13th. In August 1998 the director was chosen for Bond’s next film: Michael Apted, best known for his psychological dramas or thrillers such as Blink (1993), Gorillas in the Mist (1988) and Agatha (1979), is stylistically a world apart from the first eighteen James Bond films. It wasn’t the first time a theatre director joined the Bond team: Lewis Gilbert, made famous by Alfie (1966), was hired to direct You Only Live Twice (1967) and returned in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979), but these adventures were all known for great action fantasies in which the emotional side of Bond and Gilbert’s dramatic experiences were largely ignored. That wouldn’t happen with Apted: The dramatic setting was specifically chosen for this next Bond, with a story (first by film directors Neal Purvis and Robert Wade) that would show us a more infallible action hero than the action hero we have known so far. In November of that year, Pierce Brosnan revealed in an interview that the title of the film, The World Is Not Enough, was nothing more than the Bond family’s motto in Ian Fleming’s novel On Her Majesty’s Secret Service from 1963, the novel from 1969 and the film adaptation.
Pierce Brosnan: The new James Bond for the New World.
The world is not enough…
In both stories James Bond finds himself in a situation where he has to protect the challenging and adventurous daughter of a rich and powerful man directly or indirectly in order to reach the opponent, and in both cases the secret agent has tender feelings for the woman in question: You’re becoming a passing fancy lady. Bond, the other turns out to be the mistress of action, and it is Bond himself who kills her in cold blood, shortly after he ordered his accomplice to sink her in a submarine, causing a collapse under the Bosphorus in Istanbul.
While Martin Campbell and Roger Spottiswood shot GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies in an accelerated, somewhat urgent and excessive pace, Michael opted for a much slower pace. Nineteen Bond is not devoid of explosions, car chases, stunts and shoot-outs – a very inventive moment when the secret agent is chased by helicopters equipped with large saws that cut like butter through the alleys of a caviar factory above the Caspian Sea – but the spectators will have the impression that the moments that precede each action will take place in a gentle and romantic way: The romance between Bond and Elektra is enhanced by a quiet and gentle post-sexual scene in which he learns of her abduction, a conversation between M and Bond in which she admits to having convinced Elektra’s father, Sir Robert King, not to pay a ransom so that she could find Renard, the terrorist who abducted her; and a brief moment in which 007 explores the video archive of the woman’s ordeal and freezes the images, just as she shed a tear after escaping and being rescued by the police. There is also a tender moment with the good girl Christmas Jones (Denise Richards) a few minutes before the credits, as the two celebrate Christmas in Istanbul and the glasses clump together while the fireworks are seen in the background – which fits the latest James Bond millennium film at a time of year when the world was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the year 2000.
The choice of pharmacist was no exception, made by Barbara Broccoli: Besides Martin Campbell’s return to Casino Royale (2006), all other films with Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig have been characterised by the choice of fiction directors such as Lee Tamahori, Mark Forster, Sam Mendes and Cary Joji Fukunaga, who directed No Time to Die, which has not yet been released. Without a doubt, a director like Michael Apted and a film like The World Is Not Enough are much closer to Barbara Broccoli’s idea for a Bond film than GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies, which are much more in line with Cabbie Broccoli’s action-oriented Bond film style.
Die another day: An abandoned James Bond classic.
Introduction of Bond’s first female villain
The World Is Not Enough features the first female villain in the series, who viewers will recognize as being on an equal footing with James Bond as the story progresses: The DVD’s audio commentary states that people would like to see the hero become restless in his ignorance long before he finds out who the real enemy is. The director took the development of Elektra very seriously and used his experience as a director of women’s productions and the responsible collaboration with his wife at the time, screenwriter Dana Stevens, who gave more dimensions to this important character. Sophie Marceau’s character is presented as a victim whose father was killed in an attack on MI6 headquarters, and Bond and especially M (Judi Dench) see her as a victim in need of protection. In fact Elektra has turned her former kidnapper Fox into her psychological slave, who uses her sexuality to appeal to man’s greatest weakness. He uses a terrorist to provoke an attack that increases King Industries’ oil supply and destroys the skill and patriarchal figure of her dead father, whom she didn’t like when he refused to pay her ransom.
At the same time, the man we’re supposed to think the main villain, this terrorist fox, is also shown as some kind of victim: He died slowly because Agent 009 fired a bullet into his head on M’s orders, and he is now ready to kill or die for the only woman who apparently loved him. The development of the characters in this film is so important that there is not only a post-coital romantic moment between Bond and Elektra, but also a de-romantic post-sexual moment between Elektra and Fox in which the woman feels no sexual satisfaction from her crime partner when he asks her if Bond was a good lover. His answer: What do you think? I wouldn’t feel anything?
The World Is Not Enough introduces us to an intelligent woman who plays with the emotions of the people around her, a villain who is the ultimate villain and whose greatest asset is his love for this woman, and M brings the story forward. Whatever Bond is doing here, it’s more of a favor to M than an officially sanctioned mission, whether it’s retrieving Sir Robert’s money from the shabby Swiss bank branch in Bilbao or protecting Electra King so he can go to Renard. In the third act M’s rescue becomes a mission when Elektra and Renard kidnap him before they also launch an attack on Istanbul. The relevance of Elektra and M in the story was such that the writer of GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies, Bruce Fierstein, had to be remembered to give more relevance to James Bond in a story in which he seems to be overshadowed by these female personalities.
It’s not surprising that much of the above dynamic resurfaced in Skyfall 2012, the third James Bond film with Daniel Craig, directed by Sam Mendes, and EON’s most profitable production to date: It is M’s past that causes the most important conflict, and she becomes an important woman who influences 007 in the whole story, because MI6 is also attacked and they have to protect her from a bad guy she thought was dead or missing, a man who also had to endure a lot of suffering on her own.
James Bond: Memory of GoldenEye (1995).
Reminders of the Final Inheritance of Bonds
The recent death of Michael Apted has major consequences for those who grew up with Pierce Brosnan, because he was the first director of the time to leave so suddenly. In 1999, many critics expressed their concern that James Bond lives on an emotional level, but at this time many seem to have celebrated any attempt to approach the human side of Bond in the guise of people like Sam Mendes or Mark Forster. While most people seem to see these recent Bond films as the real beginning of what might be called Bond’s Barbara Broccoli brand, the truth is that two decades ago this dramatic shift showed its roots in A World Apart, the birthplace of most of the themes we’ve seen in the rest of the series. And the late Michael Apted was truly the man chosen to lead.
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