on 23 August 2008
Recently, no-longer-so-Red China prohibited the movie "The Da Vinci Code", after only two weeks of airing. Thank God. At least there is some Western trash the Chinese audience don't have to endure. Apparently, the movie have also been banned at the Faroe Islands (of all places). Once again: Thank you.
Although the movie slightly downplays the most controversial claims in Dan Brown's novel, the basic message is still the same. All these ideas have been refuted by serious scholars (including secular ones) long ago. Jesus was not married to Mary Magdalene and didn't sire children with her. Constantine didn't invent the Christian Bible. In fact, all or most of the New Testament (NT) was written 200 years earlier. Nor was Constantine the first to declare Jesus a God. His purported divinity is spelled out already in the NT, most clearly in the Gospel of John, written around AD 100. The Gnostic gospels, in which Mary Magdalene is portrayed as the chief disciple of Jesus, were written long after the NT Gospels. Besides, the Gnostics also regarded Jesus as divine! Et cetera.
Thus, the movie doesn't expose any cover-up. Rather, it and Dan Brown's novel are themselves part of a cover-up. Brown wants to replace one religious myth (the Christian) with another (his own). I'm not a Christian, but the Church is at least a public institution, with a public message. Dan Brown's alternative is presumably a secret sex cult, carrying out bizarre rituals reminescent of Satanic ritual abuse, and led by a Grand Master with a penchant for pentagrams and other Satanist paraphernalia. In the movie, the members of this secret society, "The Priory of Zion", are depicted as the good guys. By contrast, "The Teacher", who wants to expose both the Church and the Priory, thereby ending ALL conspiracies for good, is one of the bad guys!
In fact, I found Teabing or the Teacher to be the only sympathetic person in the entire movie, a sort of expose-em-all David Icke character (and I must admit that I don't usually like Icke).
Incidentally, who engineered the car accident that killed Sophie's father and mother anyway? The movie never says, but we are left with the impression that it might have been the Priory after all. Thus, the "good" guys.
So the muckracker is the bad guy, and the secret manipulative Satanic cult are not really Satanists at all, but jolly nice people. Oh yeah? So why do they operate in secret, then? Obviously, because they have something to hide, not only from "the council of shadows", but from the rest of us as well. It might be well to remember that many of the ideas in Dan Brown's novel originally comes from Pierre Plantard, a French right-wing extremist. Besides, the conspiracy theory of history is usually associated with the far right of the political spectrum. These essentially elitist and fascist ideas have then been neatly edited into a vaguely "New Age" version and voila, we have "The Da Vinci Code".
Make no mistake about it. "The Da Vinci Code" might be a bad movie, but the ideas behind it are even worse. Not just for the odd traditional Christian, but for all of us. Sincerely, do you want a world ruled by the Priory of Zion? If forced to chose, I rather go with the most boring, philistine Anglican vicar!
on 12 June 2006
The book is a real page-turner. Director Howard should have taken a cue from Hitchcock. Yes, the basic points of the book were all there, but the shock of the murder in the Louvre didn't start to kick in until well into the second third of the film. Hopefully, at a later time, we may see a Director's Re-cut of the film. All the talent was there, but the pacing was very poor.
After reading Holy Blood Holy grail when it first appeared and rereading it several times since and all the associated spin off's. I thought it made for a good detective story and someone should make a film. when Mr Brown's Da Vinci code came out I was quite prepared to like it and briefly I did. The hype that followed shot that down in flames. When the film came out to much similar hype I was prepared, honestly to give it a go and enjoy it for what it was. But... the rub is, I cannot find any substance in this. The film is ok, but only ok. It is not,(as is often the case) as good as the book and the book comes nowhere near Holy Blood, for interest. Acting, unsually for a Howard/Hanks collaboration is just above mediocre. Even our favourite acting knight Sir Ian McEllan is rather too low key for the role. All this could be because everyone knows the story and all you are seeing now are the illustrations. It is the undercurrents and the subtext that makes this whole thing a conspiracy lovers dream not the fact that you can throw money at it and make it work. That it will never do.
on 26 June 2006
So the book had been read, It was time to watch the movie.The book was Ok 7.5/10 so I was curious to see what Hollywood would do with it.Well I went in with no preconceptions and by the time it was over I was glad I had.
The opening scene in the Louvre was stunning.That was it.Many people have slated this movie and despite what other reviewers here say about it being great etc I have to say I found it simply dreadful.If I had to commit myself to a particular point I'd say casting.The casting crew should be shot.They filled the roles with big names and not people who would suit the roles.Tom Hanks who is better suited to expressive action or comedy roles tried to play a serious role and failed.Audrey Tautou looked nervous and out of place as if she was reading the english text from a script card the whole time.Jean Reno as a bumbling but driven policeman controlled by the church was also weak.It just goes to show that combining a sucessful book with sucessful names does not always work.The acting was so out of place I might as well have been watching a Madonna movie.The choice is yours and I'm sure Da vinci Code fans will probable ignore what I've said.If you do want at tip however and I won't even put it in code for you to encrypt then its RENT don't BUY.
on 8 June 2007
I have to admit, I loathed the book because it is so badly written. Having said that, I am not prepared to be one of those critics who has neither read the book nor watched the film. (I know many people who can tell me that 'The Lord of the Rings' is the best book ever written, but they haven't read a page, never mind got to the end.)
I did wonder if the film makers would manage to make a poor book into a good film, the complete reverse of what they usually achieve. They did not succeed. I am not a fan of Tom Hanks but he seemed bewildered by the action going on around him. (Was he in 'The Green Mile' or was he lost amongst the good actors?)
How did they get the excellent Audrey Tatou to be so bad? And why was she so thin? Paul Bettany and Alfred Molina made the best of a bad job. Sir Ian McKellan seemed to be thinking, 'I know this is dreadful tosh, but I'm going to enjoy myself anyway.'
I think it was so dreadful because they followed the book so closely.
The book lacks characterisation which left the actors so little to work with.
My husband thought it was ok in the same way 'Die Hard', 'Bad Boys' and such films are ok.
I wouldn't recommend it to anyone and it cannot have helped anyone's career.