The World Is Not Enough
Bond 19, The World Is Not Enough was released in 1999, and stars Pierce Brosnan as James Bond for the third time.
The action-packed adventure sees Bond assigned to protect an oil heiress named Elektra King, who becomes the target of anarchist terrorist, Renard. Along the way, Bond encounters old acquaintances and uncovers a complex web of deception, betrayal and of course he meets some new friends along the way.
The World Is Not Enough received mixed reviews from critics, with some praising Brosnan’s performance and the action sequences, while others found the plot to be convoluted and the characters somewhat underdeveloped. However, the film was a commercial success, grossing over $361 million worldwide.
It was the first Bond film to cast a female as the main Bond villain. Sophie Marceau, who plays Elektra King was praised for her part as was Robert Carlyle, who played her lover and villainous partner, the psychotic Renard.
Bond 19 saw Desmond Llewelyn cast in his last ever Bond movie as he hands over the gadgetry to the Q branch to his predecessor. As he departed from the Bond franchise the veteran actor and star of 17 Bond films gave 007 a few words of wisdom telling him to ‘always have an escape plan.’
In this blog post, we will explore Pierce Brosnan’s portrayal of Bond, the dynamic villains Renard and Elektra King, the Bond girls and some of the most memorable scenes from the film. So, sit back, relax, and join us on this journey into the world of Bond 19 – The World Is Not Enough.
In Bilbao, Spain, James Bond arranges a meeting with a Swiss banker to retrieve a large sum of money, but things get nasty and the banker intends to assassinate Bond and points a gun at his head. To turn the tables, Bond uses a flash grenade concealed as his sidearm to create a distraction and holds the banker at gunpoint.
Bond demands a name from the banker, who’s just about to reveal his identity when he’s suddenly killed by a knife from Cigar Girl, a clerk who was in the meeting and handing out the cigars.
Bond seizes the money case and tries to flee, but another man attempts to shoot him. As the man is about to fire, he is himself shot by a sniper. Bond escapes by jumping out of the window.
Back on London at MI6 HQ, James Bond returns the sum of money to Robert King, where both King and M are present. They inform Bond that King is building an oil pipeline in the Caucasus region that has been threatened by various factions.
After King leaves, M offers Bond a drink, but when the ice begins to bubble, Bond suspects that the money he’d handled may be dangerous. In a nearby lab, one of the bills explodes, killing King and badly damaging MI6 headquarters.
Bond jumps into a small experimental boat, equipped with jet propulsion, much to Q’s dismay as it’s unfinished and he’s making it for his upcoming retirement.
Bond gives chase down the River Thames. Despite her attempts to get away, Bond eventually catches up and destroys her boat with a torpedo near the Millennium Dome.
The woman then flees in a hot-air balloon, and just as it’s rising Bond runs the boat up over a ramp and just manages to get hold of the balloon rope. Bond recognizes her as the Cigar Girl, who killed the Swiss banker.
She threatens to shoot the gas tanks on the balloon, but Bond urges her not to, assuring her that MI6 will keep her safe. But she fearfully shouts ‘nobody can protect me from him,’ and she shoots the tank causing the balloon to explode.
Bond manages to land on the Millenium Dome, but the impact fractures his collarbone. Bond and M later attend Robert King’s funeral, and 007 notices the presence of Elektra, King’s daughter.
At a briefing led by M, she vows that MI6 and the British government will not be intimidated by acts of terrorism. M identifies Victor Zerkas, aka “Renard,” an infamous terrorist who works as a mercenary, as the primary suspect. However, because of Bond’s injury he isn’t assigned any part of the investigation.
Renard was targeted by another Double-O agent, who shot him in the head, but the bullet remains lodged in his brain and is slowly damaging the area responsible for his senses. This means Renard is impervious to pain and can push himself to his limits until the bullet inevitably kills him.
Renard had previously kidnapped King’s daughter, Elektra, demanding a substantial ransom for her release. However, Elektra managed to escape by seducing her captors and killing them.
M now fears that Renard will seek revenge by targeting Elektra for death. Even though Bond isn’t assigned he does some digging and notices the sum of money he retrieved for Robert King matches the ransom demanded by Renard, leading him to suspect that the money may be something of a message from Renard himself.
Bond wants to be assigned, so goes to see MI6 physician, Dr. Molly Warmflash for a medical examination to see if he can be passed fit. Bond charms and seduces Dr. Warmflash to get a favourable diagnosis. She declares him fit for duty, ensuring he can proceed with his mission.
Bond then visits Q, in his laboratory, where he gets various gadgets essential for his mission. During the meeting, Q introduces his apprentice and the man set to take over after Q’s retirement, whom Bond jokingly refers to as R.
Bond journeys to see Elektra King in near Baku, Azerbaijan, where she supervising the construction of her late father’s pipeline. Bond accompanies Elektra on a brief inspection of the pipeline in the snowy mountainous terrain.
Due to the snow-covered landscape, they’re forced to ski to their destination. During their excursion, they’re ambushed by a group of men operating parahawk vehicles. Bond thwarts their attack, causing a few of the vehicles to explode into each other.
The final explosion triggers a small avalanche that buries Bond and Elektra, but Bond uses the rapid-inflating sphere that Q gave him to shield them. Bond swiftly frees them from the snow and escorts Elektra back to her residence to recover.
In his search for more information about Elektra’s attackers, Bond heads to a casino owned by an old foe, Valentine Zukovsky. There, he hopes to uncover valuable intel about Renard and his cohorts.
Zukovsky reveals that Renard is a former KGB agent who may be working with Russian oil barons seeking to dismantle the King pipeline.
As Bond and Zukovsky are chatting, Elektra arrives at the casino, intending to prove her resilience by playing a high-stakes game using her father’s credit. Unfortunately, Elektra loses a million dollars in one game, but she doesn’t seem bothered.
Elsewhere, Renard meets with Davidov, Elektra’s head of security, and Arkov, a nuclear weapons expert who secretly serves Renard. Renard murders Arkov for a failed attack and then instructs Davidov to take Arkov’s place in a secret mission the following day. Despite the circumstances, Davidov agrees to the task.
Bond and Elektra then make love, before he sneaks out of her mansion, heading for Davidov’s office to get more information. When Davidov returns, Bond assassinates him and takes his identity to get on the plane he was meant for.
Renard’s crew flies him to a remote region in Kazakhstan where they’re decommissioning an underground nuclear missile facility. Pretending to be Russian,Bond meets with Dr. Christmas Jones, the project’s leader who’s disarming the warheads of their radioactive materials.
While exploring one of the underground laboratory, Bond confronts Renard and his team who’re in the process of stealing an active warhead. Bond manages to capture Renard briefly and attempts to coerce him into revealing his plan.
However, Renard remains resilient, impervious to Bond’s physical assaults. During their altercation, Renard cites a familiar phrase that Elektra had previously uttered to Bond: “There’s no point in living if you can’t feel alive.” Leading Bond to question Elektra’s inclusion.
Dr. Christmas Jones and her guards enter the room, accusing Bond of being an imposter. Then Renard forces Bond to kneel, pressing on his injured collarbone, somehow seeming to know about his injury.
As Bond, Renard, and the others face arrest, Renard’s crew opens fire, trying to escape amidst the chaos. Bond endeavors to thwart their getaway, but ultimately fails, leaving him and Jones stranded in the silo with a bomb Renard planted.
They manage to get out, and Dr. Jones informs Bond that the stolen bomb can be easily tracked using its tracking device. Bond reveals that he already has the card, having obtained it from one of Renard’s accomplices who had removed it.
Bond returns to Baku and confronts Elektra, accusing her of conspiring with Renard due to the latter’s familiarity with her catchphrase and knowledge of Bond’s injury. Bond deduces that Elektra and Renard are working in tandem.
Upon M’s arrival, Bond presents her with the locator card from the bomb, substantiating his theory. Suddenly, an alarm alerts them to trouble on the pipeline. Renard has placed the stolen bomb on an inspection car that’s careening uncontrollably down the pipeline.
Bond and Jones take another vehicle to pursue the bomb through the pipeline. While Jones dismantles the device, she discovers that only half of the plutonium from the original bomb is present, meaning the bomb won’t cause any chatastrphic effect to the region.
Bond instructs Jones to allow the explosive charge to detonate, to fake their deaths. The explosion demolishes a significant section of the pipeline, and people watching by satellite fear for Bond’s and Jones’ deaths.
At Elektra’s command center, she gives M a present: her father’s lapel pin. Elektra confesses to killing her father in retaliation for his refusal to pay her ransom when Renard kidnapped her, and she throws M into a cell.
Bond visits Zukovsky again, this time at his caviar factory, in an attempt to understand why Renard hadn’t used all the plutonium. As they’re talking, the factory is ambushed by helicopters armed with circular saw blades.
Bond manages to destroy one of the helicopters with missiles from his BMW, but the other chopper bisects his vehicle. Bond then ignites gas from a nearby pipe with a flare gun, incinerating the second helicopter.
Amidst the turmoil, Zukovsky falls into a vat of caviar. Bond offers to help him out if he tells him what he wants to know. Zukovsky then reveals that he had arranged for his nephew, a Russian submarine captain, to smuggle equipment out of Istanbul for Elektra.
Zukovsky tells Bond he’ll help him, so they go to Istanbul together. Their investigation reveals that a nuclear blast in Istanbul would contaminate the Bosphorus, precluding all vessel traffic from the Black Sea, and effectively rendering the Russian oil pipelines useless, and with it creating a monopoly for the King pipeline.
Renard plans to detonate the submarine, utilizing the stolen plutonium, and disguise it as an accident. When Bond and Zukovsky identify the submarine’s location, near the Maiden’s Tower, Zukovsky’s assistant, Bullion, hurriedly departs, having planted a bomb.
Bond and Jones manage to flee before the device detonates, leaving Zukovsky unconscious, before Renard’s henchmen apprehend Bond and Jones outside the command center.
Bond is brought to the Maiden’s Tower, where Elektra detains him, while Renard transports Jones to the submarine. Elektra fastens Bond to an ancient chair that leads to suffocation and commences torturing him.
Suddenly, Zukovsky and his crew assume command of the tower, taking out Renard’s and Elektra’s cohorts. When Zukovsky enters the chamber where Elektra is holding Bond, he notices his nephew’s captain’s hat on a table and demands that Elektra surrender it.
She shoots Zukovsky with a concealed pistol and he collapses. As Elektra turns her attention to Bond, Zukovsky revives and discharges his concealed rifle. Aiming at Elektra, he subsequently swivels and fires at Bond, ostensibly missing him.
Despite fainting, Zukovsky’s shot releases one of Bond’s wrists, freeing him from the torture chamber. Elektra flees, but Bond chases her through the tower, pausing briefly to rescue M.
He eventually encounters Elektra and tells her to order Renard to abort the scheme. She tells Bond that he would never kill her as he would miss her. She shouts to Renard via a two-way radio to proceed with the operation, so Bond guns her down, telling her “I never miss.”
Bond jumps from the tower into the marina where the submarine is. Renard is on there with the plutonium converted into a rod that can be inserted into the reactor.
Bond eliminates most of Renard’s crew, but Renard locks himself in the reactor room. Bond dives outside the sub, entering the engine room via a pressure lock. He sees Jones and frees her.
Bond then gets into where Renard is trying to place the plutonium into the reactor. Just as Renard is placing it into the reactor, Bond reverses the pneumatic control which reverses the reactor rod and impales him, killing him instantly.
However, the reactor’s cooling system has been damaged, and it will explode, although not to the extent that Renard had planned. Bond and Jones escape through a missile hatch to the surface and are rescued by a passing boat, where they make love in safety.
Back at MI6 HQ, M, Q, and the rest of the staff monitor satellite channels in search of Bond’s whereabouts. Eventually, they locate him in Istanbul through the heat-seeking sensor, noticing he’s in bed with Dr. Jones, much to the embarrassment of M.
Pierce Brosnan as Bond in The World Is Not Enough
In The World Is Not Enough, Pierce Brosnan delivers a strong performance as the iconic secret agent. Brosnan portrays Bond’s suave, sophisticated, and ruthless personality with ease, as he navigates through his third outing as 007.
As always, Brosnan has a love affair with machine guns, and The World Is Not Enough is no different. He enjoys a good tear up, probably more so than any other Bond before or after him, and we see a fair few shootouts.
Brosnan oozes sophistication, but he’s often underrated when it comes to the chase or action scenes. The boat chase down the River Thames early on in the film is standout, and lays the foundations for an action packed film.
Another standout scene in the film is the boat chase down the Thames, which features Brosnan’s Bond piloting a high-speed boat through London’s famous river. It’s a long and exhilarating chase lasting a few minutes, with a bit of humour thrown in when Bond soaks a couple of parking attendants, something that went down well at the cinemas.
In Bond 19, Brosnan is the only 007 to come up against a lead female Bond villain. Sure there has been many notable henchwomen, but Elektra King is Bond’s first main female villain. Of course, Brosnan uses all of his tact to get her into bed. It works, but she still prefers being a baddy, even after she’s experienced a bit of Brosnan.
Overall, Pierce Brosnan never gave a bad performance. The film was criticised for being a bit convoluted, but Brosnan always delivered, as he did so in The World Is Not Enough.
The main villains in The World is Not Enough are the most unlikely couple you could meet: millionaire heiress Elektra King and her psychotic kidnapper Renard.
Elektra King was the first main Bond villain to be female, and best of all she was a Bond girl, too. Played by French actress Sophie Marceau Elektra King is the child of Sir Robert King and his second spouse, has Azerbaijani roots through her mother’s side.
After the establishment of the Soviet Union, her maternal family fled Azerbaijan and settled in England. Sir Robert King’s marriage made headlines as he incorporated his father-in-law’s oil business into his own construction firm, creating King Industries.
Elektra’s birth attracted significant media attention, foreshadowing the scrutiny she would face in her early adult life. As the only daughter of a wealthy oil tycoon, Elektra enjoys a privileged upbringing and became somewhat spoiled.
Elektra’s involvement in the family business and her striking beauty make her a favorite subject of the press. Her notoriety catches the eye of the anarchist Renard, who kidnaps her in an attempt to extort money from her father.
Sir Robert declines to pay the ransom, advised by family friend and James Bond’s superior, M. Feeling betrayed, Elektra becomes Renard’s lover and participates in his plot to extort her family, even disfiguring her own ear as a warning to her father. Despite this, she pretends to be traumatized by the kidnapping, leading Bond to believe she has Stockholm syndrome.
Her father is killed by Renard, and Elektra takes over the family business., But she secretly works with Renard to sabotage her family business’ oil pipeline, and she beds Bond to avoid suspicion. When Renard threatens the pipeline, she reveals her true intentions, kidnapping M and blaming her for her father’s earlier betrayal.
As her plan nears fruition, Bond infiltrates her hideout, but both he and Christmas Jones are captured. Elektra tortures Bond in an antique torture chair, taunting and seducing him. Bond denies any feelings for Elektra, even as she brings him closer to death.
After surviving the bombing, Valentin Zukovsky and his men launch an assault on the tower where Elektra is holding Bond. Zukovsky is shot by Elektra, but he uses his walking stick rifle to free Bond before dying.
Bond pursues Elektra, rescuing M along the way. In a tense confrontation, Bond demands Elektra orders Renard to halt the impending meltdown in the city. Instead, she confidently tells Renard to proceed, telling Bond he won’t kill her because he “will miss me.”. Angered, Bond shoots her dead, saying, “I never miss.”
Played by Robert Carlyle, Renard was born as Viktor Zokas in Moscow to an unmarried Russian barmaid and an unknown Bosniak father. He endures a difficult childhood marked by poverty, abuse, and ridicule.
At 14, he runs away and joins the Soviet Army, eventually gaining infamy for his viciousness and joining the KGB. As an assassin during the Cold War, Zokas earns the nickname “Renard the Fox” but is expelled from the KGB after the Afghan conflict due to mental instability.
In 1998, Renard becomes infatuated with socialite Elektra King and hatches a scheme to kidnap her for ransom in Cyprus.
Elektra’s father, Sir Robert King, turns to MI6 for help. Agent 009 is dispatched to rescue Elektra and kill Renard. Elektra escapes before 009’s arrival, but the agent tracks down Renard in Syria and shoots him in the head.
A doctor saves Renard’s life but cannot remove the bullet lodged in his brain. The bullet will eventually kill him, but until then, it renders him nearly invulnerable as it damages his Medulla Oblongata, numbing his senses of touch, smell, and pain. This allows Renard to push himself beyond human limits.
During her kidnapping, Elektra gains Renard’s trust and becomes his ally and lover. Together, they plot to exact revenge on her father and take over his oil empire, with Elektra helping Renard seek vengeance on M, the woman who ordered his death. In 1999, after Sir Robert’s murder with a money bomb, MI6 suspects Renard and sends James Bond to protect Elektra.
Bond confronts Renard at a nuclear facility in Kazakhstan, where Renard steals weapons-grade plutonium and escapes. In Istanbul, Elektra provides Renard with a nuclear submarine, and they finalize their plan to create a nuclear blast in the Bosphorus, ruining their competitors’ shipping routes.
As Renard’s time runs out, he volunteers to personally oversee the plan, hoping to create chaos and fulfill his final mission. Unbeknownst to him, Bond sneaks aboard the submarine and tries to foil the plot. After learning of Elektra’s death, an enraged Renard fights Bond, who eventually kills him by launching the plutonium rod into his heart.
Played by Denise Richards, Dr. Christmas Jones is a nuclear physicist who working in Russia to dismantle nuclear warheads in accordance with treaty obligations.
While working undercover at a Russian ICBM base in Kazakhstan, Bond is introduced to Jones, who treats him with a mixture of mistrust and mild contempt. She warns Bond not to make any Christmas jokes as she has apparently heard them all.
During their mission, Bond and Jones discover that terrorist Renard is at the facility and plan to stop him from causing a nuclear explosion. While inside the silo, Bond sees Renard removing a GPS locator card and weapons-grade plutonium from one of the nuclear devices. However, Christmas blows Bond’s cover, which allows Renard to escape with the bomb.
Bond and Christmas only just escape the exploding silo and later discover that the stolen bomb has been placed in the King oil pipeline. They enter the pipeline to deactivate the bomb and discover that half of the plutonium is missing.
After being captured by Elektra’s men, Bond and Christmas are taken aboard the submarine, where they plan to stop Renard from causing a nuclear explosion.
They eventually succeed in their mission, but not before Bond fights and kills Renard. Bond and Christmas escape the submarine and celebrate Christmas in Turkey, which culminates in a romantic liaison, and a few Christmas jokes.
Dr. Molly Warmflash
Dr. Molly Warmflash serves as the MI6 doctor and physician to agents like James Bond. She diagnoses Bond with a dislocated collar bone and advises him to avoid action. But Bond doesn’t want to be taken off the active duty roster, so he seduces her into clearing him as fit for duty.
Played by Serena Scott Thomas, Molly tries to resist, but Bond eventually convinces her, and they have a passionate encounter, suggesting that he call her (this time) in return for the clean bill of health.
Miss Moneypenny somehow hears about Bond’s and Dr. Warmflash’s clinch and makes some jealous remarks about the two.
Later, Molly gives a briefing on Renard. She explains his cerebral damage with the help of a three-dimensional hologram, stating that while the bullet in his head will eventually kill him, he will grow stronger every day until he dies.
It’s certainly not the best scene in the film, but the fact that it’s Desmond Llewellyn‘s last ever scene as he goes off into retirement makes it worth looking at. Llewelyn had played the role of Q in 17 previous Bond films and was a fan favourite. His touching exit from the franchise saw him offer Bond some words of wisdom.
We don’t know it at the time, but the last time Q is in the movie is the last time we ever see Desmond Llewellyn as the legendary head of the gadgetry department.
In The World Is Not Enough, Q speaks about his upcoming retirement, and even introduces his successor, who Bond comically calls R, played by John Cleese.
Watch Q Depart
Q is his usual self in the film, he gets easily annoyed at Bond as he sees him as a bit childish, but it’s the way he offers him some wisdom that makes his final scene all the more poignant.
‘I’ve always tried to teach you two things,’ says Q. ‘First, never let them see you bleed.’ Bond then asks what the second thing is to which Q says, ‘Always have an escape plan’ as the elevator he’s stood on takes him down and into retirement.
The World Is Not Enough
The World Is Not Enough is a significant film in the James Bond franchise, marking Pierce Brosnan’s third appearance as the iconic British spy. The Irish Bond was as suave and sophisticated as ever, and offered plenty of action and a fair share of memorable quotes.
Elektra King being the first female main Bond villain was a success for the film. Elektra shared the rights with her lover, the psychotic Renard, played by Scottish actor Robert Carlyle, and the two made for an awesome duo.
Denise Richards has been castigated for her part since, but this was unfair. Many critics say she’s the least convincing nuclear physicist ever, but come on. She played her part well, and just because she was showing some skin and maybe not looking like a boring scientist “should look” the critics think they know best.
One of the most significant moments, however, was the departing of Bond movie legend Desmond Llewelyn. After 17 films, and 37 years in the role, it was time for him to hang up his gadgets.
Overall, The World Is Not Enough was a thrilling and memorable addition to the James Bond franchise. It may have received mixed reviews (don’t they all?), but with a good plot and memorable