Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Quantum of Solace - Bond the Relentless

Quantum of Solace is one of the more thoughtful and action-packed Bond moives at the same time. Like The Bourne Identity series, we see not a heroic superman running around with cool gadgets and scads of beautiful women, but rather a driven man, a heartbroken man, who, with all his technology and skills and prowess, cannot recover from the biggest loss of his life - the loss of the woman he fell for: Vesper.

Bond has gone through many iterations - from a 60's misogynist to a 70's player to an 80's romantic to a 90's assassin. This latest Bond brings elements of all four together in a believable whole. What motivates Bond these days and just how dangerous is he?

He is firstly an ice-cold payback man, who has all the wit and skills to take down anyone whom he feels must go. If you are reading this BEFORE you have seen the movie, I'll give you ONE clue: never, ever have James Bond as your enemy.

There is no humor in this film except in two or three wry exchanges. It does not live in darkness though - Bond is driven by his duty - and that duty includes protecting or delivering those he trusts and loves. There is only one hint of sex in the entire film, and it is brief.

Secondly, Bond is an agent out to do his job - the fantastic gadets are nearly done away with, keeping in tune with the digital technology we do have - with a heightened factor of ultra-sleekness here and there.

The thing that is great about Craig's performance is that he is a lion prowling around in impeccable suits and steely eyes whenever he is not adding up a body count with action that would make Batman proud. His craggy face and long nose seem to be disdavantages to his attractiveness to the opposite sex until he speaks - with a hint of smile and a "just between you and me" humor that lets you know he's afraid of nothing - not even being turned down.

Confident, unrelenting and mission-minded, we like this new Bond immensely.

Now how is that like Jesus? (You knew I was going there, didn't you?)

"Confident, unrelenting and mission-minded..." I said, right? Pay attention to this verse:

Mark 10:32-34
They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him.

"We are going up to Jerusalem," he said, "and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him.

Three days later he will rise."

Jesus was a poor preacher - a nobody from Galilee - who had been doing amazing things: healings, exorcisms and feeding thousands of people with just a few loaves of bread and some small fish. But NOW he was heading to the Big City - Jerusalem! Where all the most important religious and political officials were. Where Romans stood guard in the streets and any opposition or disturbance would be dealt with ruthlessly. That is why the disciples "were astonished".

They were scared half out of their mind. But Jesus did not flinch. He knew what He had to do. He knew how it was going to happen. He cooly and calmly announced it and began trekking onward to His death.

He also knew what would happen afterwards. God the Father had told Him. He obeyed Him, "even to death, death on a cross." This obedience and bravery, this coolness under fire is why we love Jesus as a man. Never stop there - He is deity incarnate - but He was a man. He could suffer hunger, thirst, cry, sleep and bleed.

When you see - correction - if you see the latest James Bond flick - pay attention to what you love about Bond and note how many images of a cross are used in this film.

Hint: there are more than one. ;)

Amen.

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