Film: The World Is Not Enough

"There's no point in living if you can't feel alive."
Elektra King

The one where Denise Richards plays a nuclear physicist.

In Pierce Brosnan's third James Bond outing, Bond is assigned to watch over a once-kidnapped daughter of a Ruritanian oil baron after he dies securing money for her release. "Renard the Anarchist" is quickly deduced to be the likely culprit. MI6 tried to assassinate him before, but you can't keep a good terrorist down: it only resulted in lodging a bullet in Renard's brain, which is slowly killing him as it moves inwards but is also destroying all of his senses. Renard can't smell or taste anything and, crucially, he can't feel pain.

Meanwhile, four rival oil pipelines are being built across Eurasia. The mogul's daughter, Elektra King, owns the British pipeline and is everyone's favourite heiress, meaning that Bond needs to protect her, though something just doesn't add up with her plans.

  • Bond jumping out of a window.
  • The Q we knew and loved leaves.
  • Bond driving a speedboat out of the MI6 building.
  • A rather good ski chase.
  • A horrible pun for one of the Bond girls.
  • Bond shoots a woman in cold blood; a rarity.

This film contains examples of:

  • Action Insurance Gag: After his caviar factory is destroyed during a fight between Bond and some villains, Valentin Zukovsky laments "The insurance company is never going to believe this!"
  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Dr Christmas Jones gives Bond her name, she says "Don't make any jokes, I've heard them all". Bond replies with "No, I don't know any 'doctor' jokes". Jones looks up at him in a way that suggests that she hasn't heard that one before, and is at least slightly impressed by his quick and original wit.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: "Sweetest Coma Again" by Luna Sea is the ending theme in the Japanese version.
  • Arc Words: "There's no point in living if you can't feel alive." Hearing Renard say this at gunpoint is the clue Bond needs to realise he and Elektra (who told him the same thing earlier, ipsis litteris) are working together.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Even IF the bullet in Renard's head could suppress his ability to feel pain (more than likely he'd be comatose), that does NOT simply grant him immunity from any damage. When he picks up the burning rock, his hand would still have had the skin burned off, just like Davidov (while Davidov's hand is totally bandaged in his next scene, Renard's hand remains unmarked for the rest of the film).
    • Bond and Jones launching themselves from the bottom of the Black Sea to the surface via a torpedo tube would have given both of them a horrifically painful and potentially lethal case of the bends.
  • Artistic License – Nuclear Physics:
    • Renard gets hold of the plutonium sphere from a bomb, forms it into a rod, and tries to insert it into the reactor of a submarine and cause a meltdown. Among the reasons this would never work: weapons-grade plutonium is less radioactive than reactor-grade plutonium. The reason you don't use reactor-grade Pu in a bomb is that the nuclear reaction will blow it to pieces part of the way through the detonation process, and you'll only get a small explosion.
      • The idea of the plot was not to cause a nuclear detonation, merely to cause a catastrophic meltdown. Think Chernobyl, not Hiroshima.
    • Not to mention that Bond and Renard handle the plutonium bar with their bare hands. A rod of Pu that size would weigh at least 50 pounds, which is big enough to be a critical mass. It would be exceptionally hot to the touch, and also would be emitting lots of neutron radiation. Canadian physicist Louis Slotin was killed handling a much smaller critical mass of plutonium in a 1946 experimental accident; Slotin received a fatal dose in less than one second, and died of radiation sickness nine days later. The fact that Bond straddles the rod briefly may be a very subtle kind of Lampshade Hanging on why, in spite of his proclivities, James Bond never gets any Father's Day cards.
    • The reactor of the 1967-vintage nuclear sub had fuel assemblies (that plutonium rod) which could be manually inserted and removed. That's not how a Russian sub reactor is designed (though it is closer to certain heavy water power reactors.) To refuel the sub, they first need to shut down the reactor for 90 days so the fuel is not too hot from a radioactive and thermal standpoint. Then they cut open part of the sub's outside hull to remove the fuel assemblies. Big job, needed once every 5 to 10 years. The bullet stuck in the Renard's brain would have killed him by then and the audience would be quite bored.
  • As You Know: Bond explains to Jones that since the reactor room is flooded, they needn't worry about the imminent reactor explosion destroying Istanbul. Bond and Jones need only escape the explosion itself to survive. This is obviously not something that needs be explained to a nuclear physicist, so the line was put in there for the audience's sake.
  • Asshole Victim: Sir Robert turned out to be kind of a jackass, all things considered. On a less spoilery note, Mr Lachaise qualifies, too.
  • Bad Boss: Renard, like many villains has no qualms about killing his own henchmen and allies if their incompetence or failures interfere with his plans.
  • Bald of Evil: Renard, and, apparently, every member of his terrorist ring.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Heavily implied with Elektra, whether she was corrupted by Renard, or seduced him into her evil plot because she was so incensed at her father's refusal to rescue her.
  • Berserk Button: It was bad enough that Elektra betrayed James. But they made the mistake of kidnapping M.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: The "Cigar Girl" kills herself rather than face Renard's wrath for her failure.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Elektra and Renard. It is hotly disputed whether Renard is The Dragon to Elektra or if she is Renard's puppet. Though, it is obvious both consider themselves to be the superior of the relationship. It seems as though Elektra is the one who orchestrates most of the schemes, while Renard is the one who does most of the work.
  • Big Damn Heroes: As Bond is about to be killed by the Big Bad, Zukovsky arrives with backup and gives him a chance to escape.
  • Blofeld Ploy: Done by Renard to Davidov and Dr Arkov. Holding a gun to his head, he makes Davidov hold a scalding hot rock before shooting Arkov.
  • Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: Renard is also known as "Renard the Anarchist", but he espouses no anarchist philosophy. Instead, his career as a terrorist has been spent blowing things up For the Evulz. And by the time of the movie, for love. Awww....
  • Bond One-Liner: (After shooting Elektra) "I never miss."
    • Bond provides his own epitaph in the torture chair. "One last screw?", indeed.
    • Uniquely, the villain gets a one-liner of his own: Renard, tipped off on Bond's injury, quips, "I knew you couldn't shoulder the responsibility" before pushing down on it, causing Bond to shrivel up in agony.
    • And how could you forget the groan-inducing "I thought Christmas only comes once a year" line?
  • Brick Joke:
    • While talking to the new Q, Bond puts on a pair of blue-ish sunglasses and looks him up and down, smirking slightly but never acknowledging it. An hour later in the film we see that those are X-ray glasses that let him see through clothing.
    • The first thing Zukovsky says to Bond is that he fears the latter's presence means he is not carrying enough insurance. After he and Bond narrowly escape the destruction of the caviar production facility, much later on, he despairs that "The insurance company is never going to believe this!"
  • Briefcase Full of Money: Which explodes in Sir Robert's face. Bond later discovers that somebody swapped Robert's lapel pin for a detonator, meaning that they wanted King to glimpse the cash before dying.
  • Broken Bird: Elektra King. Oddly, also Renard.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : Bond seduces his physician in exchange for "a clean bill of health". M is genre savvy enough to guess what happened, and Dr Warmflash lands in hot water.
  • The Chessmaster: Elektra King.
  • Consolation Backfire: A caviar factory owned by Bond's former enemy turned ally Valentin Zukovsky is the site of a lengthy battle between Bond and several mooks. While surveying the damage done to the factory after the battle ends, Zukovsky comments to his assistant that, "we may not have a roof, but at least, we still have four good walls." Seconds later, all four walls simultaneously collapse.
    Valentin Zukovsky: The insurance company is never going to believe this!
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Elektra asks Bond if he has ever lost a loved one. The uncomfortable look on his face and the manner in which he changes the subject is a dead give-away to long-time Bond fans. (As a bonus, to shorter-term Bond fans, it could also refer to Bond's Old Flame Paris Carver being murdered in the previous film.)
    • In the Scottish MI6 headquarters, there is a painting on the wall of Bernard Lee, the original M.
    • The title refers to the Bond family motto, Orbis Non Sufficit, previously mentioned in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
  • Cool Boat: The Q-Boat. Q claims it was never intended for service, and that it's his personal fishing boat(!).
  • Cool Car: The BMW Z8, featuring "titanium plating and armour, a multitasking head-up display and six beverage cup holders".
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive
  • Cradling Your Kill: Bond comes close to doing this with Elektra King after he shoots her.
  • Dark Action Girl: The "Cigar Girl", for her explosive opening sequence.
  • Death by Irony:
    • King being killed by a face-full of his own money.
    • Zukovsky throws a tantrum about dying in his own caviar before Bond fishes him out.
    • Renard is impaled by his own nuclear rod.
  • Death's Hourglass: Both the fatalistic and the jump to action version are used.
    • Main villain terrorist Renard has a bullet lodged in his brain from a previous encounter with an MI6 operative, but survived the assassination attempt. The bullet is still moving and will eventually kill him, giving him a perpetual reminder that his death is imminent.
    • There's also a jump to action version next to Renard's fatalistic one. To get revenge on M he assures her that he'll kill her the next day after she's been captured, and puts a clock in front of her cell so she can see the hours ticking by to make her experience what he feels like.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • Elektra didn't in a million years imagine that James would actually shoot her.
    • Dr. Christmas Jones definitely didn't expect Bond to reply to her dislike of Christmas jokes by saying he didn't know any "Doctor" jokes.
  • Disability Superpower: Renard's bullet wound is killing off his senses and will kill him eventually, but in the meantime it's effectively given him super-human stamina and disproportionate strength for a man his size.
  • Distressed Dude: Bond gets put into a torture machine that slowly strangles him and will break his neck if pulled far enough.
  • Double Entendre: Bond just couldn't resist.
    Female bank assistant: [hands Bond a receipt for the money transfer] Would you like to check my figures?
    Bond: Oh, I'm sure they're perfectly round.
  • The Dragon: Davidov is this for Renard who is secretly this for Elektra.
  • Ear Ache: Elektra reveals to Bond that during her kidnapping they cut off part of her ear. She actually did it herself and is now in league with the kidnapper.
  • Embarrassing First Name: See "Punny Name". Jones warns Bond not to makes any comments; she's heard them all. (Aside from the closing line of dialogue, how many could there be?)
  • Empty Quiver: The theft of plutonium from the decommissioned missile silo in Kazakhstan.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Renard seems to have fallen in love with Elektra after she initially seduced him when he held her hostage. She had to cut off part of her ear herself because he became reluctant to hurt her and he's enraged when Bond tells him he killed her. Although Renard and Elektra are lovers in the present, the feeling is not quite as mutual as Elektra remains fairly cold towards him throughout the film. Whether she's too emotionally damaged to love anyone, still quite justifiably hates him or is just manipulating Renard is open to interpretation.
  • Evil Overlooker: Renard has this role on most of the posters.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: Zukovsky's final shot, which broke one of the cuffs keeping Bond on the garotte chair.
  • Fanservice: No less than four gorgeous Bond Girls, even if two of them are only in brief, minor roles.
  • Fast Roping: Bond rappels out of the banker's window with an elastic cord attached to a mook as a counterweight.
  • Feel No Pain: Renard, due to the bullet inside his head.
  • Femme Fatale: Elektra King. This is important.
  • Fiery Cover Up: Elektra King steals a nuclear warhead. She then plans to detonate a bomb so the authorities will think she has used all of the plutonium and stop looking for it. However, the explosion will cover-up the fact that she actually removed half the plutonium to use in her real scheme.
  • Finger in the Mail: Renard sent Elektra's mutilated earlobe to her father as a warning.
  • Friendly Enemy: Bond and Zukovsky. Despite disliking each other at their last meeting in Golden Eye, and still distrustful of each other here, Zukovsky instantly joins forces with Bond when he realises the extent of Elektra and Renard's depravity, and, in fact, dies saving Bond's life.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Bond's shoulder injury.
  • Genre Blind: Garbage. The theme song includes the line "No one ever died from wanting too much". This is precisely how every James Bond film ends. However, this ends up subverted once you finish watching the film and realize the song is from Elektra's perspective.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • "Do you know what happens when a man gets strangled?" If you do, then you'll know why she sat on Bond's lap.
    • Also Bond giving Moneypenny a cigar in a tube.
    • The end where James is getting it on with Christmas Jones and he says "I thought Christmas only comes once a year" is perhaps the most blatant example of this in the entire franchise. No explanation needed.
    • And also in the scene before this part where Bond and Christmas are outside celebrating, Christmas asks James "Is it time I wrapped your present?"
  • Give My Regards in the Next World: When Bond mortally wounds Renard, he says, "She's waiting for you!" referring to Renard's lover Electra, whom Bond had killed earlier.
  • Go Out with a Smile:
    • Zukovsky and Bond share a moment of camaraderie before the former bites the dust.
    • Perhaps in a more tragic example: Renard.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: X-ray glasses.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Part of Bond's Gadget Watch.
  • Groin Attack: Bond drops Renard groin-first onto a pipe at one point, but because Renard can Feel No Pain, it only slows him down for a second.
  • Hoist By Her Own Petard: Elektra tries to seduce Bond as a means towards furthering her own plans for revenge against MI6. Although initially successful, Bond catches on pretty early in the film, but even during their final confrontation in Instanbul as he holds her at gunpoint if she fails to stop Renard herself, Elektra still insists that she means too much to Bond for him to bring himself to kill her. Guess who's proven wrong when she defies him for the last time.
  • Hollywood Density: That plutonium rod should have been a lot heavier than the actors treated it.
  • Hot Scientist: Dr Jones seems to be a graduate of that little-known school, The Graduate School Of Hot Babes of which Lara Croft is an alumna.
  • Hospital Hottie: Bond seduces the MI6 doctor to get her clear him for duty, provided he stays in close contact and shows sufficient stamina.
  • Huge Holographic Head: Dr Warmflash cues up a giant hologram of Renard's melon.
  • I Don't Pay You to Think:
    R: (after botching a Bond One-Liner and being called on it by Q) I think—
    Q: You're not here to think, you're here to do what I tell you!
  • Instrument of Murder: A submachine gun/flamethrower bagpipe hybrid is being tested by Q Branch.
  • Is Nothing Sacred?: Zukovsky has a variant, "Is nothing straight?", which he asks both on the corruption he has to deal with as a gangster in post-Soviet Russia and on seeing a crooked wall painting.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: When Bond infiltrates a nuclear silo held by the bad guys, he poses as a Russian nuclear scientist, complete with heavy accent. However, when Dr. Jones comments on his remarkably good English in Russian, he delivers a reasonable reply in Russian that is unaccented enough to pass without comment. Didn't stop her from digging deeper, though.
  • Killed Off for Real: Valentin.
  • Laser Sight:
    • A mook in Bilbao is about to shoot James, when the latter spots a red dot on his chest.
    • After MI6 is bombed and James is looking out of the hole in the building wall, he sees a laser sight just in time to duck out of the way. The cigar girl is located on a boat, about 300-400 meters away, with a G36 equipped with a scope. And she missed.
  • Last Breath Bullet: Zukovsky does this, spending his cane-gun's single bullet to enable Bond's escape from a slow-death machine.
  • Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: M is locked in a cell filled with random junk and isn't searched prior to her imprisonment. She isn't armed, but she has the tracking chip from a stolen nuke, which they surely would have found if they had bothered to search her. Combined with the battery from a clock left outside the cell and a broom in there with her, she's able to activate the chip and alert Bond.
  • Love Hurts
  • Love Interest Traitor: The trope name alone is a spoiler, never mind who it refers to, but suffice to say that James Bond receives a nasty surprise over the course of the movie. Namely that Elekra King, his Love Interest, is in fact the Big Bad.
  • Macho Masochism: Renard holds a scalding hot rock — except he can't feel pain, so it doesn't matter to him. However, at the same time he tells of legends of fanatical monks who would hold those same rocks to prove their devotion.
  • Made of Explodium: Most notably the snowmobiles, but also other things like a helicopter or two. Averted in some cases like the assassin's boat, which is merely wrecked by appropriately sized explosions when it's hit by two torpedoes.
  • Made of Iron: Bond spends the entire movie (save the cold open) with an injured shoulder. This only ever seems to bother him once, when Renard deliberately attacks it. Granted, with the amount of punishment Bond absorbs in one movie alone, let alone in his entire career, that cracked collarbone probably feels like a shaving cut until it's deliberately struck.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Elektra King.
  • A Match Made in Stockholm: Elektra and Renard are a villainous version of this. He kidnapped her, and she seduced him when her father wouldn't pay the ransom.
  • Mnogo Nukes: The stolen nukes are Russian, and Renard attempts to cause a reactor melt-down on a "Victor III" class submarine. A Nuclear Error / Artistic License - Nuclear Physics ensue.
  • The Mob Boss Is Scarier: Renard inspires this early in the film, and a character kills herself rather than give information on him.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Somewhat averted with Bond and Elektra; played very straight with Renard and Elektra.
  • The Mole: Elektra.
  • My Greatest Failure: M laments on having failed Elektra and her father; when Elektra was kidnapped by Renard, M followed the agency's policy to not negotiate with terrorists, ignoring the ransom demand. This leads Sir Robert to try and rescue his daughter himself... it doesn't end well. Come the time of the movie, this really comes back to bite everyone in the rear end. And I'm not talking about Renard.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: Yes, Brosnan gets to say it in this movie. Valentin Zukovsky also addresses 007 as "Bondjamesbond".
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Subverted.
  • Never Heard That One Before: Subverted: Dr Christmas Jones tells Bond at their first meeting that she doesn't want him to make any jokes about her name, but he mentions that he doesn't "know any doctor jokes".
  • Oedipus Complex: Electra Complex, rather. Literally. Although Electra hated her father rather than being attracted to him. This also plays into her relationship with Renard, even though he's not much older—watch the positively girlish way that she runs to the window to see him arriving, flings herself into his arms when he enters, then leads him off to present the captive M to him as a gift
  • Outrun the Fireball: Bond and Denise Richards' character outrun a fireball that shoots up an elevator shaft.
  • Post Rape Taunt: As Bond prepares to shoot Renard, the latter quickly picks up on Bond's feelings for Elektra and taunts him thus:
    Renard: "She's beautiful, isn't she? You should have had her before, when she was innocent. How does it feel to know I broke her in for you?"
  • Power Glows: The fuel rods in the submarine reactor glow red. The Plutonium Rod glows blue when it's being extruded.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    [to Renard] She's waiting for you.
    • Bond attempts one earlier, remarking "See you back at the lodge" after tricking a pursuing Parahawk into driving off a cliff - but it turns out to be premature, as the pilot deploys a spare chute, and flies back into the action. Could also count as a Call Back to the pre-titles sequence in The Spy Who Loved Me, where it's Bond who uses that trick.
  • Pretty in Mink: Elektra's crimson red ski outfit, complete with a giant fur hat.
  • Prolonged Prologue: Literally. The Cold Openings are a Bond tradition, but this one is 15 minutes long, during which Bond recovers money taken from another 00 agent, the money is returned to Elektra King's father, and then said money is rigged to blow him up, and Bond subsequently engages the cigar woman in a boat chase.
  • Punny Name: Dr Christmas Jones.
  • Reality Ensues: Bond is, first and foremost, an agent of MI6 and will do anything for his country — the man is licensed to kill, after all. Elektra thought she could get around this by playing on his affections. She was wrong.
  • Recycled Premise: It might not be apparent as the villains' personalities are completely different, but the evil scheme in this film is effectively a modern update of the one in Goldfinger. Both involve the nuclear destruction of a massive store of a precious resource, with tens of thousands of civilian casualties, in order to massively drive up the price of said resource, allowing the villains, with huge stakes, to become the wealthiest people in the world.
  • Red Right Hand: Renard has a big scar on his forehead from a bullet's entry wound, with said bullet still slowly drilling into his brain. Also, Elektra's right earlobe is missing, and she covers the mutilation with a large earring. She actually cut it off herself so that Renard, whom she had seduced into working with her by that point, could send it to her father as a warning.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Impressively, Bond manages to do this to the door to M's cell when he's standing outside the room (making it so his gun is parallel to the door) and only briefly pauses because he's in the middle of a chase.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Bond vs. John Cleese
    Bond: If you're Q does this make him R?
    R: Ah yes, the legendary 007 wit...or at least half of it.
  • Sniper Rifle: Used by the assassin in the Action Prologue.
  • So Proud of You: Variant. M brags to Elektra that Bond is the best agent they have, but adds to never let him know she said that.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Elektra King, maybe. Bond is doubting this by the end and as it turns out, it's a reversal — Elektra actually seduced her captor, and he's still working for her.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Zukovsky.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • After Zavosky's caviar factory by Elektra King's helicopters, he remarks "We have no roof, but at least we have four good walls". Guess what happens next?
  • 'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain: Renard.
  • Title Drop: It's the Bond family motto. It also got dropped several decades ahead of time in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Bond's execution of Elektra King. Bond told her, at gunpoint, to call off the sub. She instead takes the opportunity to tell Renard to dive - the exact opposite of what Bond wanted her to do. This is after she just spent a few minutes taunting him about how he wouldn't kill her. Smug Snake, Genre Blind and Tempting Fate all in one? She deserved to get shot.
  • To the Pain: Elektra gets OFF on this...
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Renard and Elektra. Once kidnapper and victim, now he's her adoring lapdog willing to do anything for her while she lavishes gratitude on him.
  • Unconventional Vehicle Chase: In the pre-credits sequence, Bond and the North Korean arms dealers engage in a hovercraft chase.
  • The Vamp: Elektra King.
  • Vapor Wear: Elektra King at the end.
  • Villain Song: The theme tune by Garbage, once you've seen the film.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Bond and Q swap puns and join forces in mocking Q's replacement before Q exits with some final parting words of advice.
    Q: Now pay attention, 007; I've always tried to teach you two things. First, never let them see you bleed.
    James Bond: And the second?
    Q: Always have an escape plan. (Q activates the lift and descends into the basement. Desmond Llewelyn died one month after the film débuted.)
  • Wham Episode: One of the better plot twist ideas of the Bond franchise: what if a Bond Girl was the Big Bad?
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Renard of all people delivers this to the captive M, when she chides him for corrupting Elektra, pointing out that he would never have had the chance to do so if MI6 had rescued her.
  • You Can Keep Her: M advised this to Sir Robert, as the Secret Intelligence Service does not give in to terrorists. Elektra later repays M in kind by holding her hostage in a tower dungeon.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Almost literally said by Elektra, as Bond holds her at gunpoint. Except he would. The mistake was overestimating her charms and underestimating his dedication.