The World Is Not Enough (1999) *

Probably the best of the Pierce Brosnan Bond films, and the one that comes closest to matching the formula of the series' best years while avoiding the twin perils of pastiche and revisionism.
Perhaps a little more plot-led than usual, it nonetheless features the full quota of set-pieces, beginning with an especially fine pre-credits sequence that ends with Bond falling from an exploding hot air balloon onto what was then known as the Millennium Dome, a grotesque architectural carbuncle and monument to British fin de siecle hubris erected in the middle of nowhere, near Greenwich, by a government that unilaterally declared the dawn of a new century one year early on the grounds that the masses were too stupid to know better. (This, and a reference to the Millennium bug by John Cleese as the new Q, sadly dropped from the more pompous recent episodes, pickles the film in period for all time.) The rest is details and they are largely up to par: a very good theme song by Garbage, Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist in crop top and hotpants, a warehouse sliced in half by helicopters with circular saw attachments, a remote control car and a pioneering Bond girl/surprise villain from Sophie Marceau.