The Da Vinci Code (3/10)
by Tony Medley
Just because the book was
poorly written, had zero character development, a ludicrous story, and
was completely uninvolving didnít keep it from being a huge bestseller.
So I guess that the fact that Director Ron Howardís movie is far too
long, has a lame script (Akiva Goldsmith), no premise, and mediocre
acting and directing wonít keep it from making money.
If this isnít Tom Hanksí
(Robert Langdon) worst performance of his career, itís certainly right
down there near the bottom. His face looks puffy and he appears as if
heís going through the motions uninvolved. Heís not helped by the bad
script and uninspired directing. It looks as if Opie was out fishing
with Andy Griffith during much of the shoot, because this sure isnít ďA
Beautiful MindĒ or ďApollo 13.Ē
Forget the anti-Catholic and
anti-Christian themes and the lame-brained theology, the book wasnít
very good and the movie is just too silly and full of incredible plot
holes to hold interest.
By now everyone must know the
story. The Holy Grail isnít the cup at The Last Supper, itís Mary
Magdalene. According to Brown and Howard, Jesus married and
impregnated her before He was crucified. Mary split and lived the rest of
her life in France (which, incidentally, didnít exist in the year 33
A.D.; it was called Gaul and, before Caesar invaded 80 years before and
defeated Vercingetorix, was divided into three parts).
There was a lot of silly
stuff in the book, and most is carried over into the movie. The most
ludicrous was that Leonardo Da Vinci knew the secret and told the world
about it with his painting ďThe Last Supper,Ē which, according to Dan
Brown and Ron Howard, shows that Mary, rather than the Apostle John, was
sitting next to Jesus at The Last Supper.
Oy Vey! Letís deal with this.
First, how silly is it that a man from history, Leonardo, knew this?
Leonardo lived 1500 years after Jesus died. This would be like someone
in the year 2550 saying that someone in the year 2006 wrote something
that revealed who King Arthur really was and because in 2550 someone in
2006 is ancient due to the fact that the past is flat while the future
is three-dimensional, he would have credibility. Why would Leonardo know
the secret facts of something that happened 1500 years before he was
born? Why is that evidence of anything? And if it was a big secret and
Leonardo was part of the cabal keeping it, why would he reveal it to the
Second, Brown and Howard want
us to believe that because the Apostle John is shown without a beard and
sort of effeminate, he wasnít the Apostle John at all, but was really
Mary Magdalene. Oh, that sounds interesting. Except John, almost from
the very first Century, has been pictured beardless and effeminate. It
wasnít just Leonardo who pictured him that way. Everyone did. If
Leonardo had pictured a woman at The Last Supper, it would have been
revolutionary and people would have been commenting on it at the time it
was painted. It wouldnít have taken 400 years to look at it. No, what
happened is that 400 years later, ignorant people looked at it and drew
a conclusion that in Leonardoís time would have shown their ignorance
had they raised the issue.
Hereís the plot: Langdon has
been called in to check on the death of a Louvre
curator, Jacques Sauniere (Jean-Pierre Marielle), where he meets
Sauniereís foster daughter, French police cryptologist Sophie Neveu
(Audrey Tautou). Since Langdon has been set up by the police, he and
Sophie spend the rest of the movie alternatively running away from the
police and trying to figure out what Sauniere was trying to tell them in
the way he arranged his death scene. Also trying to figure it out is an
evil Monk, Silas (Paul Bettany), who is a killing machine doing the
bidding of a mysterious voice who talks with him on the phone.
it all they are instructed by Sir Leigh Teabing (Ian McKellen), who
condescendingly debunks all of Christianityís cherished beliefs, as if
anybody who could believe them is the dumbest of fools (people, I guess,
like Roger Bacon and Thomas Acquinas and Thomas More).
fact, there is a gratuitous dialogue between the two protagonists,
Sophie and Robert, near the end of the film that I donít remember from
the book, but which seems to set forth the filmmakersí agnostic
credentials. Since this dialogue is between the two people we are
supposed to like, because of the tone and substance of the
conversation, it is clearly intended to sway the viewer into thinking
that there is no rational basis for Christian belief.
locations and the sets were the only parts of the film that impressed. Even
though they did film at The Louvre, Production Designer Allan Cameron
constructed part of it at Pinewood Studios, with all the paintings
reproduced. The movie is enhanced by the actual locations in Paris and Teabingís home, the Ch‚teau de Villette, northwest of Paris, although
the interiors were shot on a sound stage. London locations also add to
the enjoyment of the film (and, God knows, it needs something to add to
filmmaker is responsible he recognizes an obligation, when dealing with
factual bases for a fictional story, to be as accurate as possible. Here
Brown and Howard are dealing with the Roman Catholic Church and Opus
Dei, two real life organizations. Yet Dan and Ron paint them with broad,
Nazi-like strokes. Worse, they are both taken in by the hoax of the
Priory of Sion and put it out there for everyone to believe, even though
it is the hoariest of hoaxes. That alone would rob the story of the
verisimilitude it needs.
originally tried to say that most of his story was based on fact. That
has been thoroughly debunked and Iím not going to go into it here.
Suffice it to say that Howard has done a wonderful job of capturing the
spirit of the book. The movie is slow, boring, factually inaccurate, and
absurd. Bring lots of caffeine.