The title The World Is Not Enough traces its origins to the English translation of the Latin phrase Orbis non sufficit, revealed in the novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service and its film adaptation to be the Bond family motto. The film's plot revolves around the assassination by Renard of Sir Robert King and Bond's subsequent assignment to protect King's daughter, Elektra, who had been kidnapped by Renard. During his assignment, Bond unravels a scheme by Renard to permanently disrupt petroleum shipments from the Caspian Sea by causing the meltdown of a nuclear submarine in the waters of Istanbul.
Despite the film's mixed critical reception, it earned over $361 million worldwide.
After King's funeral, Tanner tells Bond that, because of his shoulder injury, he's off the active duty roster until he is cleared by a physician. Bond earns his reinstatement in classic Bond fashion—the doctor who treats Bond is female—and searches for information about King's assassination and the abduction of his daughter, Elektra. In doing so, he finds a connection between the money he recovered and Elektra's kidnapper, a terrorist to whom Bond refers in a briefing as "Renard, the anarchist." Renard survived an assassination attempt by 009, but with the intended bullet lodged in his brain. The female doctor who cleared Bond for duty appears and explains that the bullet is "moving through the medulla oblongata, killing off Renard's senses; touch, smell, he feels no pain. He can push himself harder and longer than any normal man. The bullet will kill him, but he will grow stronger every day until the day he dies." M assigns Bond to protect King's daughter; as Renard previously abducted and held Elektra for ransom, MI6 believes that Renard will be targeting her. Meanwhile at the Q lab, Q introduces Bond to his successor and retires, telling Bond two things he has always wanted to teach him.
Bond flies to Azerbaijan, where Elektra is overseeing the construction of an oil pipeline that will travel through the Caucasus, from the Caspian Sea to Turkey. Checking on the route for the proposed pipeline in the mountains, Bond and Elektra are attacked by a team of gunmen in airborne snowmobiles. Bond causes them to crash and protects Elektra in the ensuing avalanche with his inflatable jacket provided by Q. While there, Bond visits a casino owned by his ally, Valentin Zukovsky, to get some information. Elektra shows up there to assume her father's credit line of $1 million, which she quickly loses to Zukovsky. Bond tries to talk her out of the high-stakes bet, to which she nonchalantly responds, "There's no point in living if you can't feel alive." That night, Bond discovers that Elektra's head of security, Davidov, is secretly in league with Renard. He stows away in Davidov's car to a nearby airstrip, Bond kills Davidov and boards a plane bound for a former Russian ICBM base in Kazakhstan. There, Bond poses as Russian nuclear scientist Mikhail Arkov to enter the silo and find out why Renard's men are there. On his way into the facility, he encounters Colonel Akakievich and American nuclear physicist Dr. Christmas Jones, who is immediately suspicious of his true identity.
Inside the silo, Bond watches as Renard removes the GPS locator card and a half quantity of weapons-grade plutonium from a bomb, but Bond is unable either to see or recognize the theft. He isolates and is just about to execute Renard, saying he will do so and feel nothing—referring to Renard's condition—to which Renard responds, "There's no point in living if you can't feel alive." Bond is distracted by this comment long enough to allow the colonel and Dr. Jones to expose him. Renard kills the colonel and escapes with the bomb, leaving Bond and Dr. Jones to die in the booby-trapped missile silo. Bond retrieves the locator card, and he and Dr. Jones just manage to escape the exploding silo. Back in Azerbaijan, Bond confronts Elektra, who denies working with Renard. Elektra has just contacted M to invite her to Azerbaijan under the pretense that she wants more reliable protection.
As M arrives at the pipeline, Bond discloses to her that Elektra may not be as innocent as she seems; M quickly dismisses his theory because he has no solid evidence, but he does give her the locator card as proof of the theft. An attack is launched on the pipeline—the pilfered bomb from the ICBM base in Kazakhstan is attached to a welding rig (a panel that travels through the pipeline to detect and repair cracks), which is headed toward the pipeline's oil terminal. The detonation would set the construction of the pipeline back significantly. Bond and Dr. Jones enter the pipeline ahead of the bomb on another rig, and Dr. Jones discovers as she attempts to defuse it that half of the plutonium is missing (as Renard had removed it earlier). She explains to Bond that even though the bomb isn't nuclear, the explosion would still be enough to kill both of them. She removes the plutonium, but Bond stops her from defusing the bomb, explaining after they survive the blast that Elektra will think that they are dead. Bond radios in and learns that M and Elektra are missing, and everyone else at the workstation is dead; he surmises that Elektra has indeed been working with Renard all along.
In the middle of the night, Zukovsky drives with his underling, Mr. Bullion (a.k.a. Bull), to his caviar factory to answer an apparent break-in, which turns out to have been perpetrated by Bond and Dr. Jones. Bond confronts Zukovsky about his involvement with Elektra and the payoff he took in the casino, which Zukovsky tells him was in exchange for the use of a submarine captained by Zukovsky's nephew, Nikolai, near Istanbul. Meanwhile, Elektra and Renard meet in Istanbul, where he presents the plutonium to her, and Elektra shows him the gift she has brought for him—M, his would-be executioner. Elektra exits the room, and Renard sets an alarm clock on a stool a few feet from the cell in which M is being held, promising he will kill her at dawn, but that he will not miss where she (through orders to 009) had failed previously. Renard kills Captain Nikolai and his crew; Renard and his men board the submarine and begin processing the plutonium. M remembers the locator card and tries to snatch the alarm clock from its perch. The next morning, Bond, Dr. Jones, Zukovsky, and Bull have arrived in Istanbul and are attempting to locate Nikolai and his submarine. Nikolai's submarine is a Victor III class submarine; if Renard puts the plutonium into the submarine's nuclear reactor, the resulting meltdown would level Istanbul, killing over eight million people and sabotaging the Russians' transportation of oil from the Caspian Sea; furthermore, this would clear the way for only one source of oil: Elektra's pipeline is set to go around the Caspian Sea on land through the ruins of Istanbul, which would dramatically increase the value of her own oil.
M manages to get ahold of the alarm clock, and she uses its battery leads to power up the locator card, revealing her location coordinates—and those of Renard and Elektra—to Bond. No sooner do Zukovsky, Bond, and Dr. Jones pick up the location (Maiden's Tower), however, than Bull leaves a bomb to kill them. Bond and Dr. Jones escape unscathed, but are immediately captured by Bull and several of Elektra's henchmen, leaving Zukovsky for dead. Renard returns to give Nikolai's captain's cap to Elektra and give her a final embrace before leaving to fulfill his mission on the submarine. Bond, Dr. Jones, and their captors arrive at Elektra's hideout; Bond is restrained in an ancient torture device, while Dr. Jones is taken to Renard in the submarine. An injured Zukovsky storms into the room where Elektra is torturing Bond, demanding to know where the hijacked submarine is. Bond gestures to the table on which Elektra has placed Nikolai's cap, and Zukovsky, realizing that his nephew is dead, commands Elektra to bring him the cap. Instead, Elektra shoots Zukovsky and starts back Bond to kill him. With his last breath, Zukovsky uses his cane—a one-bullet gun—to shoot at Bond, breaking one of the restraints that bind him to the torture device. Bond breaks free and frees M from her cell and then kills Elektra after she refuses to call off the plan.
Bond boards the submerging seafarer, where he frees Dr. Jones and shares with her his plan to make the submarine surface so that it will show up on radar; the navy can then come and destroy the submarine. Bond has a brief battle with Renard's men and, in the confusion, causes the submarine to dive rather than surface, then sabotages the controls. The submarine hits bottom, driving its nose into the sea floor and causing everyone and everything to fall in that direction. Bond catches up to Renard at the reactor, where Renard is just shoving the tip of a rod (made from the plutonium) into the reactor. Bond pushes Renard away from the reactor and removes the rod. He and Renard trade blows, but Renard gains the upper hand and begins again to put the rod into the reactor. Bond climbs up to the reactor pressure ejector, where he reconnects the pressure hose and causes the hole into which Renard has completed putting the plutonium rod to backfire, impaling Renard with the rod, killing him. Bond and Dr. Jones exit the reactor room, and Bond seals it, allowing it to flood, which will contain the inevitable explosion. They then use the torpedo tubes to get back to the surface only moments before the reactor room causes the submarine to explode. That evening, Bond and Dr. Jones enjoy some champagne and time together in Istanbul, and when M sees them, she remarks "Double-0 Seven"
Initially the film was to be released in 2000 and the title Bond 2000 was a rumoured option. Other rumoured titles included Death Waits for No Man, Fire and Ice, Pressure Point and Dangerously Yours. The actual working title followed the format of all previous "official" 007 films, being dubbed simply Bond 19.
The pre-title sequence begins in Bilbao, Spain, featuring the Guggenheim Museum. After the opening scene, the film moves to London, England, showcasing the SIS Building and the Millennium Dome on the Thames. Following the title sequence, Eilean Donan castle in Scotland is used by MI6 as a location headquarters. Other locations include Baku, Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijan Oil Rocks and Istanbul, Turkey, where Maiden's Tower is shown.
The studio work for the film was shot as usual in Pinewood Studios including Albert R. Broccoli's 007 Stage. Bilbao, Spain was used briefly for the exterior of Swiss bank and flyover-bridge adjacent to the Guggenheim Museum. In London outdoor footage was shot of the SIS Building and Vauxhall Cross with several weeks filming the boat chase on the River Thames eastwards towards the Millennium Dome, Greenwich. The canal footage of the chase where Bond soaks the parking attendant was filmed at Wapping and the boat stunts in Millwall Dock and under Glengall Bridge were filmed at the Isle of Dogs. Stowe School, Buckinghamshire, was used as the site of the King family estate on banks of Loch Lomond. Filming was then shot in Scotland at the Eilean Donan Castle to depict the exterior of MI6 temporary operations centre at "Castle Thane". The skiing chase sequence in Carpathian mountains was shot on the slopes of Chamonix, France. Filming of the scene was delayed by an avalanche, but the crew wasted no time by helping the rescue operation.
The interior (and single exterior shot) of L'Or Noir casino in Baku, Azerbaijan, was shot at Halton House, the Officer's Mess of RAF Halton, and RAF Northolt was used to depict the airfield runway in Azerbaijan. Zukovsky's quay-side caviar factory was shot entirely at the outdoor water tank at Pinewood.
The exterior of Kazakhstan nuclear facility was shot at the Bardenas Reales, in Navarre, Spain, and the exterior of oil refinery control centre in Swindon, United Kingdom. The exterior of oil pipeline was filmed in Cwm Dyli, Snowdonia, Wales, while the production teams shot the oil pipeline explosion in Hankley Common, Elstead, Surrey. Istanbul, Turkey, was indeed used in the film and Elektra King's Baku villa was actually in the city, also using the famous Maiden's Tower which was used as Renard's hideout in Turkey. The underwater submarine scenes were filmed in The Bahamas.
The BMW Z8 driven by Bond in the film was the final part of a three-movie product placement deal with BMW (which began with the Z3 in GoldenEye and continued with the 750i in Tomorrow Never Dies) but, due to filming preceeding release of the Z8 by a few months, several working mock-ups and models were manufactured for filming purposes.
The title song, "The World Is Not Enough", was written by David Arnold with Don Black and performed by Garbage. It is the fifth Bond theme co-written by Black, preceded by "Thunderball", "Diamonds Are Forever", "The Man with the Golden Gun", and "Tomorrow Never Dies". Garbage also contributed to the music heard during the chase sequence ("Ice Bandits"), which was released as the B-side to their single release of the theme song. IGN chose "The World Is Not Enough" as the ninth-best James Bond theme of all time. The song also appeared in two "best of 1999" polls: #87 in 89X's "Top 89 Songs of 1999 and #100 in Q101's "Top 101 of 1999".
The film grossed $361 million worldwide, with $126 million in the United States alone, becoming the highest grossing James Bond film of all time until the release of Die Another Day. The opening weekend collections in USA were $35.5 million. The film was also selected for the first round of nominations for the Academy Award for Best Special Effects but failed. The film was nominated for a Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film Saturn Award, Pierce Brosnan won both the Empire Award and the Blockbuster Entertainment Award as Best Actor, and David Arnold won a BMI Film Music Award for his score. Denise Richards was chosen as "Worst Supporting Actress" at the 1999 Razzie Awards.
The film was released on DVD and VHS on 16 May 2000, and sold over 5 million copies. The initial release of the DVD includes the featurette "Secrets of 007", which cuts into "making of" material during the movie; the documentary "The Making of The World Is Not Enough"; two commentary tracks—one by director Michael Apted, and the other by production designer Peter Lamont, second unit director Vic Armstrong, and composer David Arnold; a trailer for the video game, and the Garbage music video. The Ultimate Edition released in 2006 had as additional extras a 2000 documentary named "Bond Cocktail", a featurette on shooting the Q Boat scenes, Pierce Brosnan in a press conference in Hong Kong, deleted scenes, and a tribute to Desmond Llewelyn.
Reception was mixed—critic Roger Ebert said the film was a "splendid comic thriller, exciting and graceful, endlessly inventive", and gave it three-and-a-half stars out of four. On the other hand, Eleanor Ringel Gillespie of the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution disliked the film, calling it "dated and confused". Rotten Tomatoes gave The World Is Not Enough a 54% "rotten" rating, and Metacritic gave the film a score of 59 out of 100. Negative criticism was drawn at the execution of the plot and action scenes which were considered excessive. Norman Wilner of MSN chose it as the third worst Bond movie, ranking it above A View to a Kill and Licence to Kill, while IGN chose it as the fifth worst.
Richards was criticised as not being credible in the role of a nuclear scientist. Her outfit comprising a tank top and shorts also met a similar reaction. She was ranked as the worst Bond girl of all time by Entertainment Weekly in 2008.
Bond novelist Raymond Benson wrote his adaptation of The World Is Not Enough from the film's screenplay. It was Benson's fourth Bond novel and followed the story closely, but with some details changed. For instance, Elektra sings quietly before her death and Bond still carries his Walther PPK instead of the newer P99. The novel also gave the cigar girl/assassin the name Giulietta da Vinci and retained a scene between her and Renard that was cut from the film.
In 2000, the film was adapted by Electronic Arts to create a first-person shooter of the same name for the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation. Incidentally, The World Is Not Enough was the last Bond title to appear on either console. The Nintendo 64 version was developed by Eurocom and the PlayStation version was developed by Black Ops. Versions of The World Is Not Enough for the PC and the PlayStation 2 were planned for release in 2000, but both were cancelled. These versions would have used the id Tech 3 game engine. Although this game marks Pierce Brosnan's fifth appearance in a Bond video game, the game includes only his likeness, but the character is voiced by someone else.