Archive Logo.jpg

May 22, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

Saw it yesterday, after I dropped SWWBO off at the airport. Haven't read the book.

The movie is Dogma without Jay and Silent Bob (returning to a theater near you in Clerks II!), and suffers for it. Well, there *is* the water walking scene... I'd say it poses about as great a threat to the Catholic Church or Christian Faith in general as Dogma did (i.e., slim to none). I left with my faith as intact as it was when it went in. Though I'd look good in a Templar Suit.

People whose faith is already twitchy or warped and not well grounded will find fodder, certainly. But they'd have found it anyway.

Just as West Wing, Seven Days in May, JFK and other movies of that ilk have not brought about the downfall of the US Gov, Pope Benedict can, I think rest easy.

It was not Hank's best performance, but it was certainly better than the snippets in the trailers I saw and the reviews led me to believe it would be. Jurgen Prochnow's talents were wasted, and Jean Reno did the usual workmanlike job he does in all the movies I've seen him in. Audrey Tautou is not my cup of tea, but she recites her lines well enough. Ian McKellen chews the scenery for my taste, but I've liked Alfred Molina as a villain since he played Satipo in Raiders of the Lost Ark - and who can forget Boris 'The Butcher' Blavasky of The Man Who Knew Too Little?

As for all the catcalls and hoots coming from the Chattering Classes at Cannes and elsewhere, I share Ron Howard's opinion - the movie going public will like it, and yet won't march on Rome to overthrow The Council and dismember Opus Dei, nor start a Mary Magdalen cult (beyond what may already exist).

Nor did I leave the movie thinking that albinos are freaks, easily manipulated and prone to self-flagellation (Some albino advocacy groups are annoyed with the movie). I left it thinking that Silas' life certainly sucked, and he really needed spiritual help (and counseling, lots of counseling) rather than shabby manipulation - but hey - they were Bad Guys doing the manipulating, whattaya expect?

But I'm sure the Chattering Classes thought that Hank's character's Act of Faith at the end of the movie was just amusing as all get-out - imagine that - Faith in something other than a Secular Hedonism, or some New Age Gaia worship (while in the same breath decrying the validity of Christian Spirituality as rank superstition). Oops. They should have been kewl with it, as it *did* involve pyramids and crystals... Actually, they should be all over this - it's a Chalice thing (in the way the story intends the meaning). If that last line didn't mean anything to you - read the book or see the movie.

Now, my good conservative Catholic/Protestant buds won't be thrilled with Hanks' acceptance of The Priory's premise... but then, again, so what? The Sekrit is Safe. And so is the Scion.

It's a movie, and a story, and not a bad yarn, with an intriguing mix of jumbled history. Check your prejudices at the door, grant Howard & Co the necessary Willing Suspension of Disbelief, and you'll enjoy the movie, with it's themes of redemption and belief, however different from current practice and doctrine they are. Don't go for instruction, nor good documented history.

Besides, like I said, I like the Templar Suits.

But I don't think the movie is worthy of all the angst.

I'll not be buying it on DVD, but I don't mind having paid $4 for the early matinee.

Update: Heh. Apparently I didn't see the same movie Michael Novak did. It looks familiar, but I just didn't see the vitriol and hate. Especially not hatred of Christ. A distaste for some aspects of Catholic history, and of a mythical element of the current Catholic Church, as envisioned in the movie, yes. The rest of it? Nope. I musta gone to the can during that segment.