007 Saves World Again

You thought he was home reading Proust? This week CBS News Sunday Morning Critic John Leonard went to see the latest Bond flick. Here's his review of The World Is Not Enough, starring Pierce Brosnan, Denise Richards, Robbie Coltrane, John Cleese, Sophie Marceau and Dame Judi Dench.

Two years ago in Tomorrow Never Comes, James Bond and Red China saved civilization from Rupert Murdoch. Since Red China was played by Hong Kong chopsocky starlet Michelle Yeoh, and the media mogul by Jonathan Pryce, it was really no contest.

John Leonard
In The World Is Not Enough, civilization, or at least Istanbul, will have to be saved from terrorists by James Bond and a Teen Angel Pop Tart nuclear physicist. Since the Pop Tart is played by Denise Richards, who didn't so much act as pout her way through jailbait roles in Starship Troopers and Wild Things, we are in a lot more trouble. And to add to this trouble, 007 himself, Pierce Brosnan, back for his third Bond on a four-film contract, is surprisingly ambivalent about almost everything.

Maybe he's ambivalent about his new haircut. Or because, before the credits roll, he has already killed a Swiss banker in Spain and the Cigar Girl in a hot-air balloon after a motorboat chase on the Thames.

But even before Dame Judi Dench makes him drive his supercar all the way to Baku on the Caspian, where he is supposed to guard the admirable body of Sophie Marceau from the murderous designs of the very same terrorist, Robert Carlyle, who kidnapped and brutalized her when she was but a child, Bond has enough doubts to fill the oil pipeline Marceau is building across the mountains and deserts of picturesque southwest Asia to the fleshpots on the Bosphorous.

Reviews by CBS News Sunday Morning Critic John Leonard
On a mountain slope, Bond skis away from terrorists in nifty biker uniforms. In the desert, he meets Richards, who defuses nuclear bonds by pouting at them. In Istanbul, he reacquaints himself with Robbie Coltrane, who used to be part of the KGB.

Marceau's problem is, she holds a grudge. Carlyle's is a bullet in his brain that one day will kill him, but meanwhile means he feels no pain. Dame Judi's...

Never mind. None of this matters. All Bond movies are really about gadgets: a ski jacket that inflates into an airbag, a wristwatch with a grappling hook, X-ray reading glasses, bagpipes that shoot bulets and throw flames.

And all Bond movies are also about transportation and velocity: superboats, supercars, helicopters, submarines, ballistic missiles and unsafe sex.

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