Casino Royale: A Movie for Real Guys

February 20, 2007

I rarely go to see a movie more than once at the theater.  I admit, I did see The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe three times, but that was (by far!) an exception.  Casino Royale, however, I saw twice.  True, part of the reason for my watching it twice was because we were on vacation and I didn’t have much to occupy my time, but I still wouldn’t have seen it more than once if I didn’t like it.  No, rather, I wouldn’t have seen it twice if I didn’t like it a lot.  I acknowledge that my liking of the movie may be controversial in conservative circles — I know that PluggedIn certainly didn’t like the movie much, but is that any surprise?  I’m not going to go into an argument trying to justify James Bond’s adultery or fornication, because those are definitely wrong actions that were unfortunately included in the movie.  Rather, I want to explore just why James Bond is such an iconic “macho man.”

Basically, I liked Casino Royale because it shows what real men long for.  As anyone who has watched a James Bond movie knows, it contains two basic elements: action and romance.  (Actually, my best friend, older brother and I modeled a trip we took to Veracruz after James Bond movies, hoping to get both action and romantic adventure.  We weren’t disappointed!)  I think John Eldredge says it best in his great book, Wild at Heart:

There are three desires I find written so deeply into my heart I know now I can no longer disregard them without losing my soul.  They are core to who and what I am and yearn to be.  I gaze into boyhood, I search the pages of literature, I listen carefully to many, many men, and I am convinced these desires are universal, a clue into masculinity itself.  They may be misplaced, forgotten, or misdirected, but in the heart of every man is a desperate desire for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.

All three of those desires are found played out in the life of one James Bond, 007, the almost-mystical incarnation of masculinity in the cinema.  Truthfully, what man would not love to be a James Bond?  He punishes the bad guys, is always on the most adventurous and dangerous of missions, and has many beauties a beauty to rescue.  Those are the core desires in a man’s heart, and that is why I liked Casino Royale so much: it presented those desires being lived out in James Bond.

I admit,  he’s by no means the perfect guy.  As I mentioned earlier, he does a lot of things that are just plain wrong and he suffers the effects of them.  (Bond has a great line about the effect killing has had on his soul, but I have unfortunately been unable to find it at the moment.)  In the end, however, he is a guy who is fighting to save innocent people’s lives and I believe he finally finds true love in this movie.  I’m not going to write any more on that subject, since I have dealt briefly with it in an earlier post and I don’t want to spoil the movie for anyone who hasn’t seen it.  Just remember that James Bond immortalizes the deep desires of men, and that is what makes it a movie for real guys.  I’ll definitely be watching this one again as soon as it comes out on DVD.


One comment

  1. I think you are absolutely right. I see that you are a Christian man. Jesus was extremely adventurous and lived on the edge, so to speak. I don’t think anybody could say that he didn’t love. And he certainly had a dangerous mission. What do you think?

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