It had been about 20 years since I last watched The World Is Not Enough. Denise Richard’s performance aside, I had mostly positive memories of it. So, I was a little puzzled to see TWINE (as the cool kids call it on the message boards) earn a lot of negativity over the years. It always seemed to be on the low end of any ranking list and had only earned an audience score of 49% on Rotten Tomatoes. Geez, was Denise Richard really that bad?
Watching the film with fresh eyes, I can see how TWINE could turn some off. For one, the action is a step down after the previous two films. I did like the cold open with Bond chasing down an assassin in a “super boat” on the River Themes, then through the streets of London… in the same boat! It was quite fun to see our favourite British secret agent in action right next to The Tower of London and Tower Bridge. The rest of the action falls a little flat.
Bond gets back to skiing… again. This time he is chased by flying snow machines that spontaneously explode if they even get close to a tree. They looked more flimsy than threatening. There are also some questionable green screen moments as well, like when Bond has to stop a bomb while on this oil pipe car-thingy. CG wasn’t all that it could be in 1999.
Bond is darker than Brosnan has ever played him before. So much so, I was getting Connery vibes from him. There is one character he kills in cold blood. He
often always kills the fodder who is trying to kill him, but it was a little jarring to see him pull the trigger on a character with a sympathetic back story. Pierce still gets his quips in and he straightens his tie when his super boat dives underwater, but it was jarring to see Brosnan Bond pissed off for most of this film.
Finally… boy… does Denise Richards not come off well. At all. While her acting does her no favours but I mostly blame the script. After telling Bond how she doesn’t like jokes about her name, Christmas, the film then proceeds to tell terrible Christmas/Sex puns. In fact, it ends with a terrible Christmas/Sex pun.
After GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies, an angry Bond, green-screen effects, and a “Bond Girl” with more thought put into the Lara Croft outfit than the character are seen as relics that should have stayed in the past. Regardless, I still found this movie to be quite good.
TWINE delivers an unfolding plot with some twists and turns. It isn’t a perfect script, but there is a legit spy thriller under all of its gloss. There are two “Bond girls”, Elektra King (Sophie Marceau) and, as I mentioned, Christmas Jones (Denise Richards). One is good, the other is bad. Or are they? I won’t tell you for the chance that the answer may surprise you.
It does not happen often with this series where I feel compelled to hold back parts of the plot to save you from spoilers. For the most part, we all know Bond will save the day and get the girl, as he does here. The details with “how” is the fun part. TWINE was successful at keeping me invested in the characters instead of just waiting for the next piece of action to hit the screen.
It would be uncouth of me to allow Desmond Llewelyn’s final appearance as “Q” to go by without a mention. Up until this point, Llewelyn’s iconic character has only missed two films, Dr. No and Live and Let Die. At times his role became more than the MI6 quartermaster who delivered Bond his gadgets. He could be a great ally and a friend. Whatever they had “Q” do, his appearances were always looked forward to by me. His disdain for Bond’s treatment of his “tech” and his one lines was a wonderful dynamic to watch. It lasted for 18 films and could have easily lasted more. Lewelyn passed away exactly one month after TWINE was released in theatres.
As for Llewelyn’s replacement, I was completely on board for it to be John Cleese. If there is an actor on this planet that can emote disdain, it is Cleese. So, it pained me to see his character not working. Cleese tried to be witty and bumbling at the same time. You have to pick a lane when you are on screen for less than 5 minutes.
Now for the continuing competition with my wife, Sarah to guess how long it would take Bond to first get laid during each of these films. It was my turn to roll the dice and I felt I was in a good spot by rolling a *four* and a *one*. This meant Sarah had to choose if Bond would seal the deal “over” or “under” 41 minutes. So far, Brosnan had taken his time in GoldenEye and rushed to the finish line in Tomorrow Never Dies, so it was anyone’s guess. Sarah correctly chose under.
Bond did take his time with the “Bond Girls” but there was a doctor he needed to “charm” for a pass on a physical. Even I am starting to see the door close on this game. All I can hope for now is a strong finish.
Sarah – 10
Mars – 5
This is one of those reviews that comes off as more negative than positive even though I enjoyed the film. Oh well. A better writer than I could probably explain why this movie is good instead of just pointing out its faults, lol.
I think TWINE did an admirable job of getting a better-than-average plot (for Bond) on screen, and they crammed so much more into this movie that I didn’t get to. “M” (Dame Judi Dench) is more than just 007’s boss this time and you can’t help but cheer for her. You have murderous saw blades hanging from helicopters, Bond is tortured in this weird chair, and a great many locals for a backdrop. And, dang it, Brosnan is really good. Even at his meanest, he is still more fun to watch than a Disheveled Daulton.
Get more Bond in you!
From Russia With Love
You Only Live Twice
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Diamonds Are Forever
Live and Let Die
The Man With the Golden Gun
The Spy Who Loved Me
For Your Eyes Only
A View To A Kill
The Living Daylights
Licence To Kill
Tomorrow Never Dies
The World Is Not Enough
Die Another Day
Quantum of Solace
Never Say Never Again