The World Is Not Enough

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Details At A Glance

Category Bond Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 2.35:1 (16x9 Enhanced), Dolby Digital 2.0
Rating Other Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - The World Is Not Enough PlayStation game (0:34)
Year Released 1999 Commentary Tracks Yes, 2
1. Michael Apted (Director)
2. Peter Lamont (Production Designer), David Arnold (Composer), Vic Armstrong (Second Unit Director)
Running Time 122:54 Minutes Other Extras Menu Animation and Audio
Featurette - The Making Of The World Is Not Enough (14:53)
Featurette - The Bond Cocktail (22:51) 
Featurette - Bond Down River (25:04)
Featurette - A Tribute To Desmond Llewelyn (3:13) 
Storyboard/Rough Edit Comparisons - The Secrets Of 007
Music Video - Garbage: The World Is Not Enough (3:59)
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (32:28)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,4 Director Michael Apted

Fox Home Entertainment
Starring Pierce Brosnan 
Robert Carlyle 
Sophie Marceau 
Denise Richards 
Robbie Coltrane 
Desmond Llewelyn 
Judi Dench
Case Transparent Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music David Arnold

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s) 
English Audio Commentary 1 (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary 2 (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles English 
English for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    Denise Richards in an incomprehensibly tight pair of shorts and an amazingly well-outlined tank top; do I need any other excuse to be reviewing The World Is Not Enough? How about the opportunity to laugh at her trying to play a nuclear physicist with an incomprehensibly stupid name? What little excuse there is for a plot in this, the nineteenth film in the loved and lauded James Bond franchise, mainly revolves around women with guffaw-inducing names running about in revealing clothes, reciting rather idiotic lines. In that respect, the James Bond saga has not moved forward so much as a single millimetre in nineteen episodes, and you really have to applaud that sort of consistency. The film begins with Special Agent 007, or James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) as he is known to those outside of MI6, concluding an assignment to retrieve five million dollars from a Swiss Banker who is acting as a front to some rather nasty terrorist types. As expected, the operation ends with hostilities, and Bond escaping from his opponents through a combination of his wits and some rather implausible gadgetry. Upon returning to MI6 headquarters to meet with M (Judi Dench) and Sir Robert King (David Calder), the rightful owner of the money, Bond discovers that his drink has been spiked with some kind of chemical concoction. By this time, Robert has already left with the chemical somewhere on his person (the movie isn't too clear on this point, but I think he drank it), and promptly explodes. Fearing for the safety of other members of the wealthy King family, M assigns Bond to protect Robert King's daughter, Elektra (Sophie Marceau). While I am on this point of the film, I would just say that I have never seen Sophie Marceau look so damned awful on screen. I mean, making something that unpleasant to look at out of nothing is an everyday event, but it must have taken the makeup artists and the hairstylists a special effort to make Sophie look that repulsive. Anyway, Bond is sent to meet with Q (Desmond Llewelyn), who goes through a demonstration of the plethora of gadgetry which Bond will use on his current mission. Q introduces Bond and the audience to R (John Cleese), who is destined to replace Q as Bond's weaponry specialist, much to Bond's obvious amusement (and the general stomach-rolls of the audience). While I am on this plot point, I would just like to say that I am utterly sick to death of John Cleese being made to play Basil Fawlty again and again; enough is enough, already.

    We are soon introduced to Bond's arch-nemesis, a rather nasty guy by the name of Renard (Robert Carlyle). Discounting his appearance for a second, Renard possesses some rather nasty characteristics, mainly owing to the fact that a fellow MI6 agent put a bullet in his brain on a previous assignment. Said bullet is apparently travelling through his brain at a reduced rate, and has numbed all the sensation in his body, just one of the stops on its course towards eventually killing him. This, by the way, is plot problem number two: a bullet can only spin so slowly before tissue stops it completely, and the loss of sensation in a body part tends to make it rather difficult, if not impossible, to use. In any case, Bond soon travels to Eastern Europe to investigate a mining site at which he meets a nuclear physicist by the name of Christmas Jones (Denise Richards). Soon, all hell breaks loose, and Renard makes off with a lump of plutonium that, if triggered in the wrong place, could destroy an oil pipeline that is expected to supply the entire Western world for the upcoming twenty-first century. I will finish my description of the actual plot there, because to tell you any more about the film would ruin the few surprises that this film can really offer. However, I will just mention that the much-loved Valentin Zukovsky (Robbie Coltrane) from Goldeneye makes another appearance in the Bond franchise, adding some much-needed personality to the support cast.

    I know what most of you non-Bond fans are thinking right now: how does the film's premise hold up after not showing a single sign of character development in nearly twenty films? Well, to tell you the honest truth, it's getting just a little stale after all these years. Pierce Brosnan makes an excellent Bond, and is certainly a much better man for the role than some others I could mention who have been given the assignment. I think that I've already made my feelings about Sophie Marceau's performance perfectly clear, and when Denise Richards appeared just over halfway through the film, I certainly didn't need a black metal vocalist screaming "miscast" at me to know something was up. Desmond Llewelyn is as delightful to watch in his seventeenth Bond film as he was in the other sixteen, and it is a damned pity that he will no longer be appearing in Bond films due to passing away a few months after this one opened. Don't even get me started on whether John Cleese should be allowed to appear in an upcoming episode. Sit back, try not to think of plot problem number three (without revealing too much, it is literally impossible for a helicopter with attachments like those to perform essential functions such as land), and you will enjoy this film enough to consider paying the price of owning it.

Transfer Quality


    This is one of the first DVDs to be released by Metro Goldwin Mayer after they unceremoniously dumped Warner Home Video as a distributor and then took their business to Fox Home Entertainment. The results are nothing but stellar, with little, if anything at all, for even the fussiest of viewers to complain about. Fox have certainly come a long way with the DVD format since the release of Titanic. The transfer is presented in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, complete with 16x9 enhancement and subtitles that are placed in the black bars rather than on any part of the picture. This is a delightful transfer to look at, and it falls short of reference quality by the narrowest of margins. The transfer is exceptionally sharp from start to finish, with not a hint of grain or noise to be found. Shadow detail is excellent, although the lighting conditions that the film was shot under sometimes give the eyes a bit of a workout. Colour saturation is absolutely spot-on at all times, with skin tones and water surfaces looking lifelike enough to make me want to crawl into my screen and appear in the picture. This video transfer leaves the picture looking so incredibly life-like that a good projection system will deliver a better experience than seeing this film at the theatre (which I did, incidentally).

    MPEG artefacts were absent from the main feature, in spite of the bit rate being all over the place to accommodate all the extras and the needs of the onscreen images. Film-to-video artefacts were the only problem with the transfer, and they were trivial at the worst of times. Some aliasing became apparent during sequences involving video imagery, and some fine chrome lines also suffer from a mild degree of aliasing. However, in the first sixty-seven minutes of the film, I only saw two very minor instances of this artefact becoming apparent, and I doubt the casual viewer will even notice. This is a surprise when you consider how hard the total amount of featurettes on this disc are pushing the compression. Film artefacts were completely absent from the transfer, reflecting the fact that this film only left the theatres about six months ago. Finally, as I mentioned before, the small amount of subtitles that originally appeared in the film are encoded into the black bar that appears at the bottom of the film. There are about five lines of dialogue that needed to be subtitled, so this is a far better idea than merely having a choice between English subtitles and English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles.

    The disc is presented in the RSDL format, with the layer change taking place at 32:08, between Chapters 9 and 10. The layer change is rather hard to miss, with a noticeable pause in the video stream that seems to last about half a second on the Toshiba SD-2109, but its placement could not be better.


    To put it in a nutshell, this is thoroughly a reference quality audio transfer with nothing to complain about that directly relates to the actual DVD, and only trivial flaws appearing elsewhere in the process. There are three audio tracks on this DVD, but the only dialogue track is the original English in Dolby Digital 5.1, with the other two tracks being commentary tracks encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. I listened to all three of the audio tracks, but for the time being I will simply tell you about the original English dialogue. The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times, and there were no problems at any point with ambient sounds intruding upon the intelligibility. Sophie Marceau exhibited a tendency to speak in a rather thick voice, but this was kept well under control during the production. Audio sync was never a problem at any point, although the few lines of Russian dialogue in the middle of the film seemed to have a slightly unreal quality.

    The score music in this film is mostly provided by David Arnold, although the opening theme is provided by a rather boring band by the name of Garbage. It's such a real pity that music has declined so far in the 1990s that a film franchise remembered for themes like Paul McCartney's Live And Let Die is now in the doldrums of using "artists" who barely demonstrate any ability to hold their instruments the right way. Having said that much, the title theme is at least listenable, which is more than what I can normally say for bands of this ilk. The score music itself is simply like any other Bond film, with larger-than-life themes punctuating the impossible action and moving the feeling of the film along. Like any other Bond film score, with the exception of Live And Let Die, it left very little in the way of an impression on me.

    Now that I have gone through the minor quibbles with the film itself, I am ready to discuss the excellence of the audio transfer. The surround presence is where this DVD really excels, and it does so within the first two reels of the film by giving the onscreen action the same larger-than-life feel as the props. The rears got a high amount of use to support ambient sounds and music, with a helicopter sound early in the film moving from one rear to the other in a rather noticeable but satisfying experience. Although the surround presence fell away slightly during the dialogue sequences, it only did so by foregoing intensity in favour of subtlety. This is an excellent disc with which to demonstrate to the people you know who are still to be convinced about Dolby Digital sound why the DVD format exists. The subwoofer received a moderate workout to support gunshots and explosions, not to mention the occasional impact, and it did all this without calling any attention to itself. Immersion was certainly the order of the day in this soundtrack.


    There are a plethora of extras on this disc, but I really wish they had been trimmed down slightly, for reasons I will outline now. It is worth noting that the disc I am reviewing is a test disc, and some slight graphic changes are apparently going to take place before the final release.

Menu Animation and Audio

    The main menu, and many of the other menus, are accompanied by elaborate animations. Only the main menu has continuous animation and audio while it is displayed, and the looping of the audio leaves something to be desired. The between-menu animations can also get on the nerves at times, but this is a much more agreeable arrangement than what normally takes place. While I am on this subject, the menu is heavily themed around the movie, and the scene selection menu offers access to all 32 chapter stops (are you listening, Warner Home Video?).

Commentary - Michael Apted (Director)

    This scores a close second to The Matrix for the most damned-awful boring commentary tracks that I have listened to, with Michael Apted speaking in a constant monotone drawl that fails to engage, about nothing of any great interest.

Commentary - Peter Lamont (Production Designer), David Arnold (Composer), Vic Armstrong (Second Unit Director)

    This is more tolerable than the other commentary track, but not by much. David Arnold hardly speaks at all, Peter Lamont is boring, Vic Armstrong isn't much better, and the latter two are extremely hard to distinguish.

Theatrical Trailer (2:05)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 with 16x9 enhancement and Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, this trailer is just like any other Bond trailer in that it revolves around that damned musical theme and lots of bass-heavy noises.

Trailer - The World Is Not Enough PlayStation game (0:34)

    An advertisement for a game based on the film. This is one way that DVD rides all over VHS - you don't have to ruin the tape to skip advertisements like these.

Featurette - The Making Of The World Is Not Enough (14:53)

    This is a shining example of why there should be a limit on how many extras should be placed on the film. Not only is the featurette a steaming load of masturbatory drivel, but it is encoded with a bitrate so low (consistently three to four Mb/s) that MPEG artefacting is rife throughout the presentation, with macro-blocking even becoming slightly evident in people's faces. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, and a feature I want to see more of in featurettes of this length - chaptering.

Featurette - The Bond Cocktail (22:51)

    Again, MPEG artefacting is rife throughout the presentation and the featurette is chaptered so you can skip from one uninteresting moment to another. It is also presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

Featurette - James Bond Down River (25:04)

    This is another featurette filled with minor MPEG artefacts, and the fact that the aspect ratio varies between 1.33:1 and 2.35:1 without 16x9 Enhancement for either ratio does not help matters any. It is presented with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Unlike the other featurettes, this featurette has something mildly interesting to say about such things as the Thames river chase sequence.

Featurette - A Tribute To Desmond Llewelyn (3:13)

    This is a tasteful, and surprisingly artefact-free presentation of a tribute to the late Desmond Llewelyn, who played James Bond's long-suffering armourer, Q, through seventeen Bond films. Well worth having a look at if you enjoyed Llewelyn's acting.

Storyboard/Rough Edit Comparisons - The Secrets Of 007

    This is a series of comparisons for various scenes in the film between the storyboards and the final cut, or the animatics/pre-CGI film to the finished product. The title sequence in particular is very interesting for illustrating the massive difference between rough cuts and finished products.

Music Video - Garbage: The World Is Not Enough (3:59)

    I only know of one song from a recent film that I would like to see a music video for, or hear a full version of: Into It, by one Zoë Poledouris. This song is rather second-rate by comparison, even if Garbage didn't write it themselves (which is probably what saved it from becoming completely ear-cuttingly irritating). The video itself suffers from major lip-synch problems, but other than that is as good as these music videos get.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version is missing a couple of featurettes, a total of about thirty minutes worth. Now, normally, I would call this a bad thing, but the truth of the matter is that none of the extras on this disc, with the exception of the Desmond Llewelyn tribute, are of any real interest, and the version of that featurette which we have is only just over a quarter of what is supposedly the original version, which by the way can be found on the R1 version of On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Given the additional malady of the disc being consistently starved for bits during much of the special features (they hid this well during the film itself, but a toll is taken), I would consider the Region 1 version to be the superior product due to the fact that the compression is given significantly more space to breathe. However, as Michael says, the most important thing is the movie, which is reference quality all the way except for a handful of frames that will look perfect on a progressive-scan player anyway. What it comes down to is whether you want all of the extras, or for the extras to look better as a result of being allocated more bits, not to mention what you think of the featurettes in question. If you're not picky, then stick with the local version, or borrow a friend's copy and look at the extras to see which side of the fence you sit on.


    The World Is Not Enough is an enjoyable, if inherently stupid, action/adventure ride that you would expect from the James Bond franchise. It features Denise Richards in revealing clothing. Must I say more?

    The video quality is superb, and almost reference status but for a few seconds here and there.

    The audio quality is a shining example of why DVD will drive VHS towards its well-deserved death.

    To quote Michael D: Quality, not quantity of extras, please. Seventy minutes of extras encoded at a consistently low bit-rate is too much.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Dean McIntosh (my bio sucks... read it anyway)
12th May 2000
Amended 16th May 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Grundig GDV 100 D, using composite output; Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output
Display Panasonic TC-29R20 (68 cm), 4:3 mode, using composite input; Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs
Audio Decoder Built In (Amplifier)
Amplification Sony STR-DE835
Speakers Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Sharp CP-303A Back Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer