I Have Seen It, and It Is…


To be honest, I wanted to like The Da Vinci Code film. There was the very real possibility that they would capture the ethos of National Treasure and give us a ripping good yarn. Sure, it's loaded with, in Tom Hanks's words, "a lot of hooey," but hooey (even pseudohistorical, pretentious hooey) can be fun.

Such is not the case with DVC the movie. Despite the fact that they toned down some of the antiChristian/antiCatholic elements, despite the fact that they at least mention that the Dossiers Secrets discovery in the 50s was a hoax (which Dan Brown does not do), despite the fact that they correct (or try to correct) some of his most egregious historical blunders, in the end, it's just not good.

Which is what I've said all along about the book. I've read my share of so-called blasphemous writings. I have, in fact, read The Last Temptation of Christ, by Nikos Kazantzakis. I've read most of Towing Jehovah (which, on the blasphemy scale, quite the milquetoast variety). And a handful of other things I don't want to admit. But the difference between DVC and Last Temptation at least is that Kazantzakis wrote a fine novel. It's richly textured, well-plotted, and moving. (Not to mention the fact that, as you can see from the title and as most Christians forgot, it's about the temptation, not sin, of the Christ. I could write more on that, and maybe I will later.)

I haven't seen the film version of Last Temptation. So thorough was its boycott by Donald Wildmon, et.al., that you can't find it anywhere. I'm willing to bet, though, that Scorsese made a fine film, too.

But back to Ron Howard's film. A couple of general beefs.

1. Too long with too little action. As with the novel, not a lot really happens, and the movie is over 2 hours long. The action sequences are brief, and they really serve to break up the rants and pontification of Teabing and Langdon (as in the novel). I have no problem with a long movie; some of my favorites flirt with the 3-hour mark. But give me something to keep me interested, please.

2. Tom Hanks. Love him, but this wasn't his kind of role, imho. I'm not sure who I would have cast, but he too often looks pained by discoveries that ought to delight his character. There's not enough wonder that he is, in McKellen's Teabing's words, "right in the middle of history" (paraphrased). I remember the look of wanton glee on Indy's face when he found anything, or learned anything (think of he and Sala realizing that the Nazis are digging in the wrong place). That's what I'd expect. Instead, Hanks gives us repeated looks of . . . well, constipation.

3. The film just takes itself too seriously overall. Related to #2, I know, but it warrants its own mention. The ending, for example, was just a shade too much. It seemed campy, where Sean Connery's slapping Indy for 'blasphemy' in Indy 3 seemed perfectly in line. Nuff said about that.

And nuff said about this whole thing. See it if you like, but I wish I'd seen X-Men 3 instead. 🙂


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