Dubby’s dvdiscussion : Blood quest

if The Da Vinci Code is a hit, its success might have little to do with Jesus Christ and more to do with writer Dan Brown


Two friends said that without having read the book, The Da Vinci Code as a movie was indecipherable. Another said that Tom Hanks looked embarrassed saying his lines. All together The Da Vinci Code had the mixed reviews that a blockbuster book’s movie is likely to get.

I tend to agree that you need an annotated version of the movie to understand it despite director Ron Howard’s gimmicks (like he used in A Beautiful Mind) to make things easy so that numbers or parts of a given painting light up, so that you can crack the code with Hanks who plays symbology expert Robert Langdon. Akiva Goldsman, the screenwriter, had the

unenviable task of writing the script and he chose to make it schmaltzy and ‘New Age’ making

for moments that make half-way sensible audience cringe.

Daniel Vancini, the critic, wrote, “Professor of Symbology Robert Langdon (Hanks) is summoned to the Louvre by French police to help decipher a bizarre series of clues left at the scene of the murder of the chief curator. Enter Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou), gifted cryptologist. Neveu and Langdon team up to solve the mystery, and from there the story is propelled across Europe, ballooning into a modern-day mini-quest for the Holy Grail, where secret societies are discovered, codes are broken, and a murderous albino monk (Paul Bettany) is thwarted and alternative theories about the life of Christ and the beginnings of Christianity are presented. It’s not the typical formula for a stock Hollywood thriller. In fact, taken solely as a mystery, the movie almost works — despite some gaping holes — mostly just because it keeps moving. Brown’s greatest trick was to have the entire story take place in one day, so the action is forced to keep moving, despite some necessary pauses for

exposition. As a screen couple, Hanks and Tautou are just fine together but not exactly memorable; meanwhile Sir Ian McKellen’s scenery-chewing as pivotal character Sir Leigh Teabing is just what the film needed to keep it from taking itself too seriously.”

One of the spin-off’s of The Da Vinci Code was the debate about films about religion particularly Christianity and on BBC we had Tom Brooks going back to Mel Gibson’s huge hit The Passion of the Christ in 2004, Bruce Almighty before that and other Christian-themed films like Left Behind, and most recently Narnia, which had a soft Christian message and aimed itself at new audiences called the ‘Faith and Family’ viewers.

Says Brooks, “In 1988, Christians protested against Martin Scorsese’s film The Last Temptation of Christ for its depictions of Jesus as lustful and confused. But these days, church leaders are more likely to use a provocative film like The Da Vinci Code to spark debate amongst the congregation.”

To which Narnia producer Michael Flaherty adds, “I think that movie will create a dialogue in the market place and I think that’s good. There are a lot of us who have been trying to encourage Christians to engage in that dialogue and not to put it off; it’s an opportunity to

talk about who Jesus is and is that true?”

And back again to Brooks who rather cynically declares, “Hollywood is a follow-the-leader kind of industry. Today Jesus is hot, but who knows, tomorrow Martians might be back in vogue. It all boils down to money, and if The Da Vinci Code is a hit, its success might have little to do with Jesus Christ and more to do with Dan Brown, who wrote the international bestseller on which this movie is based.”