Royal Premiere of
The World Is Not Enough

DSBG - November 21, 1999

The UK cast and crew screening of the newest James Bond adventure, The World is Not Enough, was held on 3 screens in Leicester Square on the morning of Sunday Nov 21, one day in advance of the traditional Royal Premiere at the Odeon Theater. Two additional screens at the Empire Theater were utilized, in order to accommodate the overflow crowd of technicians, production personnel, families and friends who filled all three auditoriums to capacity. Among those spotted in the audience were producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson, director Michael Apted, as well as professional Bond collector, David Worrall.

While one would expect a certain degree of foot stomping and hand smacking to accompany the return of Britainís most famous secret agent, the home team spirit was actually somewhat subdued. But the group of men and women gathered together to view the product of their labors could take quiet pride in the fact that they've produced the finest film of the Pierce Brosnan era.

Details of the plot abound in the various media, and for the first time in years there are genuine surprises best left unblown. So we'll just concentrate on the fabric of the piece.

Brosnan's Bond has matured into a complex, darkly romantic character, blending a surprising sensitivity with an even more surprising return to the notion of 007 as a cold-blooded assassin.

This new-found maturity (introduced in fits and starts since the beginning of Timothy Dalton's regime) extends to a complexity of plotting and emphasis on character which further return the 007 series to it's roots as sophisticated adult thrillers.

Performances are almost uniformly top-notch. Robert Carlyle and Sophie Marceau headline the best, most consistently well cast Bond film since From Russia with Love.

The only exception to this excellence is glamour donkey, Denise Richards - clearly the worst Bond girl this side of Tanya Roberts. Richards displays talents best seen in profile, delivering a performance with all the depth of a stomped-out puddle. While obstensively a nuclear physicist, our little Denise looks more at home juggling pom-poms than isotopes.

Her bratty performance only emphasizes her youth and inexperience, giving her final fadeout clinches with Bond all the romantic allure of discovering Dad boinking the babysitter. Happily, her character is secondary.

The real meat of the film involves the much more adult relationship between Bond and Sophie Marceau's Elektra King. Far from the throwaway sexcapades of yesteryear, their love scenes are shot through with believable, dangerous passions.

Ditto that on Robert Carlyle's expertly shaded villain. Like Franz Sanchez and Alec Trevalyan before him, Carlyle's international terrorist, Renard, develops an emotional bond with 007, raising the stakes of their confrontations considerably over the smooth billionaire megalomaniacs of year's past.

Add to this an exciting and varied David Arnold score (which matches the script in it's mix of the traditional and the new), and you've got a near-perfect James Bond film, marred only by the aforementioned antics of Denise Richards and a few rather obtrusive action sequences that stop the flow of the narrative dead in it's tracks.

But the excitement of viewing the new Bond film in its proper British surroundings was only a build-up to the thrill of the traditional Royal Premiere at the Odeon Cinema.

The city turned out in force, braving the cold to greet the stars and celebrate the return of homeboy hero, James Bond 007.

The first cast member to arrive was the much beloved Desmond Llewelyn, who was warmly welcomed by the huge crowds packed behind barriers surrounding the theater.

Robbie Coltrane and Dame Judi Dench were greeted with roars of approval as they made their high-profile entrances. Cigar Girl, Maria Grazia Cucinotta, arrived in a low-cut gown that was pure, packaged sex, whipping hormones into a fine froth and setting off a sea of flash bulbs.

By contrast, co-stars Sophie Marceau and Robert Carlyle skirted into the theatre with little fanfare.

But naturally it was Pierce Brosnan who brought the excitement to a head, inspiring throat-damaging screams from the dedicated fans (only the appearance of Goldie threatened to match the decibel level of 007). He performed an abbreviated version of his crowd-pleasing walkabout, before racing into the theater, only to re-appear moments later on a specially constructed balcony above the entrance to further excite the faithful and engage in a radio interview.

Live and Let Die composer, Paul McCartney (the guy who was in some band before Wings), made a surprise appearance, as did a number of non-Bond celebs, like Emma Thompson and John Hurt.

Denise Richards' late arrival, on the arm of director Michael Apted, was a bit anti-climatic, but produced an appreciative whoop from the young male fans. Her premiere garb was something of a fashion disaster, a spangle-faced cross between A Midsummer Night's Dream and a 70s senior prom.

Richards and Maria Grazia Cucinotta were seen leaving the theater soon after the film began; though both appeared later at the post-screening party.

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