Film Review: Spectre

Bethan Conway writes:

I went to see the new Bond film in the cinema with my housemate, she was so excited about it that she got nervous it would disappoint her. Big franchise films can do that to us, I remember when the last Lord of the Rings movie was coming out my dad and I shared in nervous anticipation as we queued up for our tickets. But James Bond has a certain appeal about it that it seems no one can resist. What is it about this murderous, rule breaking, womanising, destructive man that make millions flock to Tesco when the DVD is released? I watched ‘Spectre’ in the cinema, and for the first time I was disappointed with the secret agent. Not because the acting was bad, or the story line was poor, or the graphics were disappointing. I can’t deny that it’s a brilliantly made film, with a great soundtrack and a superstar cast, Sam Mendes has created the perfect Bond film. It’s got car chases, explosions, helicopters, bad guys, death defying stunts, romance, gadgets, beautiful scenery, epic gun sequences, charming suits, a very rugged Daniel Craig, and good prevailed.

‘So Beth,’ I hear you cry, ‘what was there to dislike about it then?’

Well, I’ll tell you. It occurred to me that it wasn’t the heroics that people crave when they see it, though I think that does contribute, but because it’s the James Bond lifestyle that seems to be desirable in our modern western civilisation. People want to have the best clothes, the newest technology, the flashiest car, the best looking spouse and the exciting story to tell. Be honest, you want to experience the explosive lifestyle where you always win the guy or girl you fancy, where you get to see the wonders of the world, and you get to do better than others at school or work. Everyone wants to have the best, do the best, be the best. Everyone wants to be a James Bond.

What really struck me in the film was when M turned to James and said, ‘You’re a good man, James.’ James Bond is not a good man. He sleeps with married women, and lots of them. He takes advantage of grieving widows. He charms ladies that he wants information out of. He steals, he destroys, he kills with no consideration of the consequences. He goes out of his way for revenge, and he’s selfish. But he does it in a way that makes it seem as though it’s for the ‘greater good’ and so he’s considered good.

I asked my dad what he thought of the film, his response articulated what I’m getting at perfectly:

‘Saw James Bond. Classic Bond. Women, money, cars, action, style, suave, self-assuredness; everything a middle aged man wants to be like, yet the antithesis of what a middle aged man should be like.’

(N.B. Antithesis means the direct opposite. I had to look it up.)

I don’t think this only applies to middle aged men though. I think it’s true of us all; male, female, young, old, middle aged. We all crave that which is ultimately bad for us. Have you ever thought about what it is that you crave that is bad for you? Is it money? Relationships? Self-assuredness? Stuff? We need to crave what is good for us, but how can we do that when what’s bad for us seems so attractive and satisfying?

Remember the old chorus:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

The truth of these words reminds us that it is only by looking at Jesus that we will really know what satisfaction is. So in the moments when you wish you had a James Bond lifestyle, hum the tune and remember the words of this little song. The momentary pleasures of this world really will seem dim in comparison with what our glorious Saviour offers us.