Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

To begin with, I haven't read the book, so I can't base any of my judgements on the similarities or changes from the text. That being said, I can't imagine the book is all that great. Like all of Ron Howard's movies, this was enjoyable enough, if not spectacular. Opie seems cursed to make good movies as opposed to great ones, which is fine. He puts people in the theaters and there isn't anything bad that can be said of him, but when it comes time to list the great directors he won't make the cut. And that's what's going on here. Yeah, it packed out every theater it was in and had a huge opening weekend, but once the hubbub and curiosity subside it will be just another Ron Howard movie. Good, entertaining, but nothing you'd really list as a favorite.

As far as the movie goes, I was entertained for the 2 1/2 hours I was in the theater. It's full of chases and "stunning" revelations, goes along at a good clip, and doesn't leave it's viewers bored. But once I started thinking about it, it just falls apart. In the opening scene we see the curator of the Louvre mortally wounded, but then we discover that in his state of great pain and mortal woundity he managed to crawl all over the museum to leave cryptic and coded messages, strip himself naked, arrange himself in a symoblic pose and draw on his chest in his own blood. I would have probably called 911, but that's just me.

And then there's the great SECRET. I understand why the church (or Opus Dei at least, which, seriously, it was founded in the 20s by a Spaniard, it's not some secret order spanning the centuries, give it a rest already) wants it destroyed, and I understood the Templars motives in blackmailing the church, but once the Templars were executed why did the Priory continue to protect the secret? All it was doing was getting them killed and the only reason to keep such a secret is to use it to destroy the church. So why, after all these centuries, didn't they? The motivations in the movie made no sense to me, and that's the biggest reason, after having seen it and thought about it, that I can say it's just not a great movie. I remember Ebert writing that National Treasure was basically The DaVinci Code without the scandal, and I would have to recommend that movie over this one. It's ludicrous but enjoyable summer fare, too, but when it's over you can remember that it was nice without also remembering that it didn't make a lot of sense.

On a political note, I know there are plenty of people that read the book and will see the movie that will actually believe it and start questioning the church (and I have many an issue myself with the Catholic Church, but that's for another day) and Christianity and that, frankly, makes me sad. The fact that there is such an anti-christian climate in our culture that a work of fiction can inspire a week's worth of programming on the History Channel chock full of conspiracy spinning lunatics talking about how they'd never seen The Last Supper in such terms before is ridiculous, and on that level I'd almost want to say I wish the book had never been written and that the movie had never been made. But when it comes down to it I know that the level headed tend to outnumber the kooks (they just don't get on TV as often) and the only people swayed by it and it's arguments were pretty well inclined to believe any bad thing they heard about the church anyway. I'll leave you with Buchanan's thoughts on the subject since he's a much better writer than I am.


Blogger Nicole said...

The things is, all the stuff you didn't like about it is just multiplied by the fact that it doesn't even come close to living up to the book. Period. And Tom Hanks is the worst casting choice ever. EVER.

8:19 PM  

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