The Da Vinci Code. Shall we discuss? (Spoilers)

After a brief search for this thread, I found nothing. So here goes:

I just returned from the Da Vinci Code- a movie which I had no intention of seeing. Hell, I’ve never read the book, for that matter (I mostly avoided the book because I dislike most fiction and I was irritated by the bruhaha and Dan Brown fangirl/boyism that was running rampant). Anywho, I went to the movie because my friend had a spare ticket and who am I to turn down a free movie? :smiley:

The movie left me completely underwhelmed. I knew nothing about the story other than two basic facts: the Catholic Church is pissed and the story is about the idea of Jesus and Mary Magdalene having a child, thus starting a genetic legacy. Other than those two facts, I knew nothing.

And yet, within 20 minutes, I knew that Sophie was the descendent and that Mary was buried under the pyramid outside of the Louvre. In fact, the second fact was made bloody obvious by Hanks’ random line, in which he (may as well have) said, “You know what makes these pyramids cool? These pyramids right here. Yup, right here. These two pyramids. Anyway, these two pyramids are cool because they are, like, totally geometric mirrors of one-another. Yup, those two pyramids. :: JUMPING UP AND DOWN, WAVING ARMS LIKE A SIM :: These pyramids right here are foreshadowing. So remember them, mmkay? Neat stuff is going to happen involving them later on.”

As I said, I haven’t read the book, but from what my companion told me, the story was dumbed down for the movie version. Well, I’m all for making your movie appeal to a broader audience, but dayum! To me, at least, the entire plot was heavy-handed and painfully obvious. It seems as though Howard, the actors, and everyone else involved felt that the audience was too dumb to get things without being bashed over the head with the fact over and over and over.

The acting? Pretty bad. This is definitely NOT Hanks’ best job- far from it, in fact. Tautou (Sophie) was pretty much awful. Her “skill” was demonstrated when Hanks told her she was the descendent of Christ and she looked like a confused llama standing in the middle of a mall (Yup, that strange). People in the theater actually started laughing at this part.

McKellen’s character was the saving grace of the film. As all of the reviews suggested, McKellen truly stood out as the best in the movie. That said, my previous complaint still stands: from the moment he entered the screen, it was pretty clear to me that Leigh Teabing was “The Teacher.”

I also think the movie could have ended where Teabing is arrested, been a decent length, and left something up to the viewer. At that point, we would be left speculating if Sophie is in fact the descendent, what happens between her and Langdon, and wondering if Mary is in fact buried under that pyramid.

At the same time, I get it: the general audience doesn’t like speculation. Hell, most folks like to have everything spelled out, then answered in complete form.

Perhaps I’m different. Perhaps I’m hard to please. Who knows. In the end, I’m left wondering what the big deal about the Da Vinci Code is. Maybe over the summer I’ll read the book, but I’ll likely spend my time reading about the actual history that Mr. Brown. . . interpreted :wink:

Also, I can see why the Catholic Church is mad. I love History (it’s one of my two majors!) and I had to stop and think, “Wait wait. . . did that happen? Hmm, well, in 1423 blah blah” Or whatever the particular dates they were mentioning. And after a brief history review, I cleared things up in my little mind.

Throughout the theater, I heard mumblings about how the evil Catholic Church really did this and how this is all true. So, even though it might be clear to some that this film is fiction, it obviously isn’t as clear to others.

Plus, the “history” is presented in a pretty factual way throughout the film. If someone didn’t really know better, I can easily see where they would get confused.

I saw it and expected it to really suck, and then was pleasantly surprised when it was OK.

In a lot of ways it reminded me of the Harry Potter movies. I didn’t like Harry Potter near as much, BTW. In both instances, it seems like the movie makers have pretty much assumed most people have read the books and so rather than being a stand alone works that speak for ithemselves, the movies are more of moving illustration of scenes from the book. Sort of like when Disney’s interpretation of myths and classic stories. If one saw the Harry Potter movie without first reading the book, I don’t they’d have the faintest clue how the various scenes tied together. At least with DaVinci you get a luke warm thriller.

There is the scene when Hanks and Tauto first meet McKlellen and Hanks and McKlellen have a very academic discussion in which both have firmly held beliefs about arcane details that noone outside the field would 1)see as distinct opposite positions and 2) give a rat’s ass about. Having sat in tons scientific meetings along with other academic types I can say then nailed it. They sounded EXACTLY like the scholars I hear bickering every day.
Finally, I’ve read several critiques saying that the Nycian Council in 300 something A.D. was completely mispreprented by Brown and that is not the place that Christians decided to belive in the trinity and in the holiness of Jesus. because those beliefs won the majority vote.
That’s exactlly how it is taught in Unitarian religious education classes, however. Perhaps Brown is just a UU.

Dan Brown is entitled to his own religious viewpoints, but he’s not entitled to his own set of historical facts (or at least, not once he’d gone on record in interviews as saying that the historical aspects of The Da Vinci Code were factual, rather than “alternative history” à la Turtledove).

I’ve not seen the film, but in the book Brown’s “professional historian” character (Teabing) claims that, up until the First Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D., the majority of followers of Jesus viewed him merely as a mortal prophet. Then he states that a “relatively close vote” at Nicaea established Jesus’ divinity. That is simply not the case, and is a fairly glaring example of Brown’s historical inaccuracy.

If he hadn’t started out claiming that the historical parts of the book were factually correct, Brown could have avoided a lot of the “debunking” criticism aimed at him. After his early interviews, he became a lot more coy about claiming historical accuracy, and eventually stopped giving interviews altogether. That’s a very successful strategy in terms of selling books, but it doesn’t stop people criticizing his sloppy research.

Nothing better than paying $8 (matinee showing) to go watch Tom Hanks solve “Jumble” puzzles.

If that’s the case, then the UUs don’t know a danged thing about the Council of Nicea.

BTW, it’s “AD 325” not “325 AD” or “325 Anno Domini.” Ron Howard and his cohorts made that mistake all throughout the film, and it got to be rather annoying.

I dont’ think Hanks was really given much to work with. I was thinking the same thing throughout the movie (that the acting was bad) but then I’d try to think of something Hanks could have done differently with what he was given - and I couldn’t.

Overall I thought the movie was mediocre. I found the first 45 minutes nearly unbearable, though. I don’t really know how to explain it other than it really didn’t seem to have any flow whatsoever. That part of the movie seemed to be missing transitional scenes (my vocabulary is escaping me right now). There were some relatively pointless flashbacks as well. Like the one of her running away from her grandpa. I get it, you’re mad, we believe you and don’t need proof. Even when reading the book I could tell the book would need a massive rewrite to turn it into a good movie and the screenwriter most definately didn’t do that (in my opinion of course).

Sitting here, typing this post, I’m having a tough time articulating my main problem. It, for me, has to do with the way the crime is solved for us. They go to a great deal of trouble to hide the teacher from us but at the same time it’s painfully obvious.

Anyone who has seen X Men, Lord of the Rings, or any other movie Ian McKellen has been in, we can tell from the phone call at the beginning that it is his voice talking to Silas.

Therefore whenever he is on screen, he’s obviously the bad guy. yet they stilll try to hide it from us. The whole movie had moments like this.

I dunno…

I don’t think that was a pointless flashback. Rather, it was a foreshadowing of…

… the time when she stumbled upon her grandfather engaged in a bizarre sexual ritual. The flashback in question showed her running away, but didn’t really tell us why. This was revealed later on.

The whole thing could have been made clearer, I’ll admit.

The scene that they showed was her running away after

her grandfather yelled at her after trying to figure out her ancestors

She was only ten or twelve during the flashback they showed. All she was was angry, she was then sent to private school. What they should have shown was…

her watching something but not actually showing us what it was, then maybe a fight with her grandfather. All we saw during that clip was a young girl running. All that showed us is that she was angry about something. I didn’t need proof of that.

I haven’t seen it nor do I have any intention to. But I kept hearing ads for it on the radio (though I was never really paying attention) and every time I heard Ian McKellen talking about whatever it was he’s talking about I thought at first he was doing Magneto and I was hearing ads for X-Men 3. That does not bode well, in my mind, for the Da Vinci Code.

Perhaps they don’t. The point is, this isn’t something Brown made up out of whole cloth- there are others claiming the same thing. He just might have thought it was historical fact.

I don’t think anyone’s saying that he made these things up. In fact, Dan Brown himself says that all his claims are based on (ahem) “research.” Moreover, it’s been pretty well established that he drew on various sources, such as the books, Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Templar Revelation.

Personally, I think that his claims are a perverse mixture of (a) other people’s writings, (b) half-remembered fragments of science and history, the accuracy of which he didn’t bother checking, and © a few sensational claims, thrown in for good measure.

I’ve never read the book, but it seems that in the film, they are much more fair regarding Jesus’s divinity. A number of times, Robert Langdon makes statements regarding the vaguity of the discoveries, and also asks why Jesus couldn’t be both divine and a married father. After Teabing states the Council of Nicea established Jesus’s divinity, Langdon gets into an argument with him, stated that the Council didn’t establish it, it reaffirmed it, as a counter against some Christian followers who believed that Jesus was only a mere mortal and not the son of God.

I found it rather interesting that the mole on Sophie Neveu’s neck almost appears to be in the shape of the chalice symbol. Does Audrey Tatou actually have a mole in that shape, or is it just makeup for the film? Based on the importance of the chalice in the film, I’m guessing the latter.

Also- my friend and I walked out when the credits started rolling. The book has the standard fiction disclaimer on its copyright page. Does the film have the standard “The events and characters are ficticious, blah blah blah” at the end? (Of course, it wouldn’t be enough to appease Bill “put a disclaimer at the very beginning” Donohue, but he said yesterday that the film was much more fair towards Catholics than the book and it’s no big deal since the film sucks anyway, so it’s purely out of curiosity that I ask).

In the sequel he takes on “Boggle.”

I watched it last night:

  • It’s way too long; it’s epic. It doesn’t help when the cinema you watch it in is packed and there’s no air conditioning at all.

  • The accents are awful. Did anyone notice how the French nun who Silus bludgeoned to death with the “Job stone” kept slipping into a British accent?

  • It was way too easy to guess the outcome - even more so than the book.

  • The movie catered for morons. Every little detail was pointed out so nobody could possibly miss it - it was nigh on insulting. For example, at the chapel towards the end of the film where Sophie and Langdon are walking down the steps to see where Mary’s tomb had been kept, they saw a Star of David on a wall. Langdon said something to the effect of “look, a chalice and arrow (or whatever the two symbols were called)!”, the star then lights up into its component parts showing the two symbols. Nobody with a brain could possibly have missed that - it didn’t need pointing out!

The film was mediocre bordering on bad.

The movie tended to drag in places, I thought. Which is a major flaw, because the strength of the book is that it is a page-turner. I suspect that one’s enjoyment of the book is in direct proportion to how fast one reads it. Brown pulls you along so fast that you don’t have time to stop and judge the literary quality (or lack thereof); he throws in so many secrets and puzzles and ideas that you don’t have time to think too hard about whether they’re half-baked. The pacing of the movie doesn’t work as well for me. It doesn’t tease us along as well as the book did; it doesn’t make us eager to learn the secrets before it reveals them to us. The movie had too many moments where I was neither particularly engaged in what was happening onscreen at the moment nor anxious to see what would happen next.

With that said, I did enjoy the movie. I don’t regret watching it, but I don’t particularly want to see it again. And I don’t think the movie added anything to the book, other than the opportunity to see what the book merely described. So if you couldn’t find anything to like in the book, chances are you won’t find anything to like in the movie.

“HA! Gorilla right there!”

Respect to anyone who knows what I’m talking about.
Standard disclaimer: never read the book nor do I plan to, I’m a former history major. The movie was a fairly interesting popcorn flick, but if you tried to go any deeper than that your mind gets in the way (Why didn’t the assassin shoot the guy in the head as opposed to the stomach? He had all the time in the world. Why would every cop in the Lourve except for Flatfoot RedShirt leave to chase Tom Hanks? Wouldn’t the vingear in the tumbler have evaporated over time?).

Well, at least he’s doing better than Boggle-Playing Chicken.

I personally use the Council Of Nicea when I discuss where the Trinity dogma began. I admit that Council is too simplisitic for a correct answer but it is easier than going into a 20 minute speech on Christian history. None the last, it was a major step in.

As for AD/BC dating, in common usage (at least in the U.S. ) you will find both, BC and AD, used after the date…300 BC or 1996 AD. This may be wrong, but that is, how it is.

Now, if Tom Hanks was teaching a class on the Christian church, Christian history, and Jesus Christ himself, maybe he might want to go into more detail about the Trinity theory, the other councils, and how to properly use scientific/religious grammer. But how it was in the movie, Hanks was explaining quickly to a *lay *person about things that he might not what to spend 3 hours explaining. He might also chose to use phrases and grammer that was common to both him and the person he was talking to.

The Da Vinci Code may have its problems, but I don’t see either of these examples to be major, or in fact wrong, depending on how you look at it.