The James Bond franchise has always been a bit of a winking self-parody, especially so with Pierce Brosnan, who returned a lighter sensibility to the character following the too dour Timothy Dalton outings. But when characters like a bombshell nuclear physicist named Christmas Jones (the wooden Denise Richards) start showing up, things are finally getting ridiculous. That's the sad fate of The World Is Not Enough, the most joyless Bond film in years, which is as unwatchable as it is confusingly plotted. By only his third Bond film, Brosnan already seems to be going through the motions. Maybe he's only following the lead of those around him -- the action sequences are boring, and even the villain (Robert Carlyle) can't muster any of the larger-than-life twisted glee viewers have come to expect. The film gets off on the wrong foot with its opening vignette, which in the past was an independent adventure that often showcased some of the film's most inventive staging and action choreography. Here, it's a dull lead-in to the rest of the film, which is already too long without this 15-minute intro. The film never finds its pace, degenerating into a succession of disconnected gunfights and explosions, the motivations for which remain unclear. Directing his first (and hopefully last) Bond film, Michael Apted sullies years of respect earned through his 7-Up series of documentaries. The film is notable for the last appearance by Desmond Llewellyn, the wry and wonderful Q, who died in a car accident shortly after filming. Even John Cleese, who was a smart choice to play "R," the new gadget guru groomed to replace the retiring "Q" (in a sad bit of irony), seems lost and confused about why any of this is happening.