We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
"The World Is Not Enough" is a splendid comic thriller, exciting and graceful, endlessly inventive. Because it is also the 19th James Bond movie, it comes with so much history that one reviews it like wine, comparing it to earlier famous vintages; I guess that's part of the fun. This is a good one.
Instead of summarizing the plot, let's tick off the Bond trademarks and see how they measure up: 1. Bond himself. Pierce Brosnan. The best except for Sean Connery. He knows that even the most outrageous double entendres are pronounced with a straight face. He is proud that a generation has grown up knowing the term "double entendre" only because of Bond movies.
2. Regulars. There's real poignancy this time, because Q, the inventor of all of Bond's gizmos, is retiring. Desmond Llewelyn has played the character in every single Bond film since "From Russia With Love" in 1963 (with the exception of "Live and Let Die" in 1973, when the producers dropped Q after an insane decision that the series needed less gimmicks). Llewelyn is now 85, and after demonstrating a few nice touches on his latest inventions, he sinks from sight in an appropriate and, darn it, touching way.
3. Guest stars. Who could replace Q? John Cleese, of course. "Does this make you . . . R?" asks Bond, after Cleese demonstrates a BMW speedster with titanium armor "and six cup holders." 4. M. Judi Dench is back for the third time as Bond's boss M, with the same regal self-confidence she displayed as queens Elizabeth ("Shakespeare in Love") and Victoria ("Mrs. Brown"). She does not condescend to the role, but plays it fiercely, creating an intelligence chief who actually seems focused and serious, even in the uproar of a Bond plot.