Sunday, May 21, 2006

Review: The DaVinci Code



Well, now that The DaVinci Code is out -- and was not smote by the wrath of God, I figured I'd weigh in with my two cents.

If you've seen any reviews, you no doubt have not seen many, if any, good ones. I saw the film yesterday with four friends, and I have this much to say: this is a fun, good film.

It almost makes me wonder if the critics who find this movie so unappealing don't have a bit of a Christian agenda. It is like they are trying to use their positions of power to influence people to not see the movie, as if they are too cowardly to go stand on the "This film insults our Lord" picket lines themselves.

Seriously now, here's a winning quote from Victoria Alexander of Filmsinreview.com

I'll say it: It is anti-Jesus and anti-Catholic. Unintentionally though, it is a recruiting film for Opus Dei. Where do I sign up?"

Ms. Alexander, if you could please explain to me how, exactly, this film is all those things I would greatly appreciate it. First of all, to claim that this film is anti-Jesus makes me wonder if you listened to a single thing said in the movie. In fact, I would even take the stance that the film was purposely toned down to a more neutral position on Jesus and Christianity when compared to its source material. Nearly every single time the "divinity" of Jesus Christ is called into question, Tom Hanks's Robert Langdon plays -- pardon the connotation -- Devil's Advocate, explaining over and over again that this is all based on theory and far from conclusive. If anything, I would say the film is pro-Jesus. What? Can it be? Absolutely.

And on to the anti-Catholic claim. I suppose Ms. Alexander makes this claim because, certainly, as the book before it, the film calls into question some very core Catholic, nay, Christian beliefs. It only calls them into question. It does not provide any answers. Why? Because it is a work of fiction, and only a work of fiction. If you happen to be a Christian, the questions that arise in this film are going to do one of two things: 1) Peak your interest, in which case you should do some research to see what are and are not validated claims, or 2) have no effect on your faith at all. My guess is that, if you follow the path of curiosity you will find that much of The DaVinci Code is based on several theories that both do and do not hold water. There is talk on both sides. It really just comes down to where your faith lies.

Oh Oh Opus Dei. There are three Opus Dei characters in the movie. One is a psychotic, brutal murder and masochist. Another (the bishop nonetheless!) is completely shady, meeting with secret councils and involved in dealings that could have him excommunicated from the church (oh no!). The last one jumps to conclusions and places his faith where it is not deserved -- only finally becoming a good person AFTER learning what is going on in Opus Dei. How, exactly, that is a recruitment film is beyond me.

My guess is that Ms. Alexander goes to Catholic Church every Sunday, and, perhaps has a few children enrolled in a Catholic institution. I also wonder if she wore earplugs during the movie.

I do not doubt that many other critics have similar biases.

So, my review. It did an excellent job capturing my "memory" of reading the book. Similar to how Andrew Adamson approached The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, my memory of the book is completely present in this film. There are a few instances that jumped out at me as being different or omitted -- but they didn't offend me or my enjoyment of the film. Several of them I completely understand. Some I don't really.

This movie was a lot of fun. There is a lot of dialogue, but it is all interesting. Ian McKellen gives one of his best performances in recent memory, and, if nothing else, Audrey Tautou is absolutely adorable.

4/5 Stars (because I'm special enough to have a rating system).


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