Introducing James Bond: The World is Not Enough (1999)

The 19th entry in the James Bond franchise came as the world was preparing for the new millennium. It is also the penultimate film before the franchise reboot in 2006.


The title is actually a reference to the Bond family motto “Orbis non sufficit” (Latin for “The world is not enough”) and was first seen in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (part of Bond’s cover in that film involves 007 pretending to be a genealogist). The motto is also seen in Skyfall when Bond returns to the family home in Scotland. But I digress…

In this story, Bond is initially assigned to retrieve a case of money that Sir Robert King, an oil tycoon, had used to try and ransom his daughter Elektra from the world’s most dangerous terrorist, Renard. Though successful in retrieving it, the money is actually booby-trapped and Sir Robert is killed in the ensuing explosion. This leads to Bond becoming Elektra’s bodyguard, however she isn’t as innocent as she appears to be.

The actual “taking over the world plot” is not that interesting. The plot involves destroying Istanbul via nuclear explosion, which would ruin Russia’s main oil pipeline and lead to greatly increased profits for…someone else (I can’t say who that would really spoil things!) As I mentioned before, the Bond writers were really stretching for ideas at this point, which is partially why the series was rebooted less than ten years later.

The World is Not Enough Title Sequence (1999)

Musically, the film’s score was again put together by David Arnold. Arnold broke with tradition by not ending the film with a reprise of the opening theme OR with a completely new song. Instead, the score ends with a remix of the “James Bond theme.” David Arnold also composed the title song, which was performed by the alternative rock group Garbage. While the film itself had mixed reviews, the title song was very well received and reached the Top 40 on ten singles charts. It’s one of my favorite Bond themes of the later years (the chorus is very catchy) and a good listen. Arnold recorded the score over a period of six days, and to add an ethnic flavor, he utilized qanun player Abdullah Chhadeh (a qanun is a traditional instrument seen in the  Middle East and Asia). Elektra, notably, has her own theme as well, as far as Bond girls go, she’s relatively complex (Bond girls have really evolved over the years).


Credit to Art of the Title

(Don’t worry if these seem really short right now, I’m going to have a lot to say once we hit the Daniel Craig era, because the music in those films is AWESOME!!!)

Random trivia: The lead Bond girl in this film is named Christmas Jones (I’m not kidding)

That’s all for The World is Not Enough, next time: the final Pierce Brosnan film, Die Another Day (2002). Until then!

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*poster and images are the property of Eon Productions


One thought on “Introducing James Bond: The World is Not Enough (1999)

  1. Pingback: Introducing James Bond: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) | Film Music Central

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