Last weekend Janet allowed me to take her to the latest James Bond movie for her birthday. She is a good woman. Now she says that for my birthday next May we’re going to watch a Hallmark movie marathon. (One such movie would be a marathon for me.)
I’ve seen all 23 James Bond movies, some multiple times. In many ways, Skyfall is the best of them all. Javier Bardem is the scariest villain and best actor Bond has ever faced; the action sequences were some of the most gripping in any 007 movie. Many critics are calling Skyfall the best Bond film of all time. It grossed $30.8 million on its opening day and $87.8 million in its opening weekend, the biggest debut ever for a Bond film.
To me, the central theme of the movie is the fact of our mortality. While Bond survives to make another movie, he is depicted as older and slower than in any other 007 film. The villain is able to penetrate the most sophisticated intelligence service and digital firewalls on the planet. No one is safe from his twisted malevolence, not even England’s most protected leaders.
At one point, “M” (the head of MI6, England’s CIA) tells a government panel that what scares her about today’s world is the fact that our enemies are unknown to us. They’re not nations fighting wars with conventional weapons, but individuals with the technological capacity to wreak havoc from hidden battlefields. We don’t know we’re in a war with them until they have already attacked us.
She is right. The next time a jihadist tries to kill Americans we will be alarmed but not surprised. We are no longer shocked by lone gunmen who attack school campuses or religious services. It is a sign of our times that James Bond and his entire intelligence agency can be devastated by a single villain. Unlike most 007 movies, the film resonates with us because its premise is so frighteningly realistic.
This, however, is not a new story. From the dawn of human history we have been fighting a single adversary above all others. He is “a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). How do we win this battle? “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:7-8).
Before you try to resist your enemy today, first submit to your Father. Invite his Holy Spirit to control and empower you (Ephesians 5:18). And remember that “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).