The Da Vinci Code (2006) — Biblical fanfiction and a bad haircut

“I’ve got to get to a library — fast!”

Lissa’s rating: All right, blasphemy! Let’s get it on! (Kidding, Justin!) Just kidding.

Lissa’s review: I have a confession to make: I’ve never read The DaVinci Code.

I know, I know. It’s a fantastic book, lots of fun and interesting, and I really should read it. And I’m pretty sure I’d enjoy it. But the thing is, it’s taken so darn long to come out in paperback. As a mom with two toddlers, the only place I read is in the tub, and hardbacks and water don’t mix. So, even though we have a copy, I still have not read The DaVinci Code.

Needless to say, this puts me in a pretty unique place for viewing the movie. No comparison to the source material, no ranting about what should have been different…. and given that I’m a scientist and not a historian, I gleefully live in ignorance of the finer points of the Knights of Templar and the intricate history of the Church, so I don’t feel the need to complain about any inaccuracies. I could just sit back and enjoy the story. And enjoy it I did.

In case I’m not the only one out there that hasn’t read the book (should we start a support group?), the story is this: Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is giving a lecture on symbols when he’s pulled in on a murder case. (That happens all the time during conferences.) The curator of a museum has died an extremely messy death, and a lot of people aren’t happy about it. Said people include the curator’s granddaughter Sophie (Audrey Tautou), the police, and a weird albino type monk named Silas (Paul Bettany). Oh, wait, I take that back – Silas is VERY happy, given that he killed him. Sorry about that. Anyway, the big question is why, and the chase is then on.

As a movie, it’s a nice piece of intelligent popcorn fodder. Acting’s fine (especially Ian McKellan as Leigh Teabing, whom I enjoyed immensely), sets are cool, story’s decent, backstory is fine… yeah. It isn’t a deep, heavy movie, but it isn’t pure fluff that you can dismiss from your mind immediately. The mystery isn’t completely obvious, for a two and half hour movie the pacing is quite good, and I really enjoyed watching it. Definitely worth seeing.

What I found interesting, however, was the main thesis of the movie and probably book (and this is a spoiler for my support group) – the idea that the Church had covered up that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene.

This is not a new idea, so I’m not completely sure why the Catholic Church got so up in arms. For ages, I think people have speculated on the relationship between Jesus and Mary. If Catholicism was a fandom, the JC/MM shippers would be a very vocal faction, and probably quite rabid. And you know, in a way, that’s sort of what I feel like things like The Last Temptation of Christ and this idea in The Da Vinci Code are – fanfiction based on the Bible. They’re giant “what if”s and “could this have happened?”s. And frankly, I love ‘em. Well, okay, I’ve never watched all of The Last Temptation because the crucifixion scene in the beginning really bothered me. But still.

See, in my experience, I find the Bible very difficult to read. Now, please do not interpret this as pure blasphemy – I’m a Christian. But you have these fascinating stories that are reduced down to mere paragraphs or even sentences. The writing is rather dry, and not much space is given to the conversations or thoughts or motivations of some of the people. (Note that I said some of them. Paul has Books on his thoughts.) And given how influential of a man Jesus was and continues to be, it’s only natural that people would want to know more about how his mind worked. What his life was really like. How his friends, apostles, enemies, and everyone around him related to him.

Do I believe that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a romantic relationship? I don’t know. I frankly do not know enough about the time period, and I’m not stupid enough that I’ll take what’s in a movie as fact without any verification. Do I believe it could have been possible? Sure, I’m open to it. Just like it’s interesting to think about Moses relating to his Pharaoh adoptive brother, or how Samson and Delilah really went, or where Cain’s wife came from, or anything else that the Bible leaves so widely open.

According to this movie, I may be hunted down by the villainous Catholic Church, determined to keep any mention of Jesus actually loving someone (How terribly unholy! LOVE! Blech!) out of the media and out of our minds. And I suppose that could lead to some very interesting speculation on the Church. But frankly, I think I’m pretty safe, and I’m sure it burns a lot of good priests up to see the depiction of their religion in a movie like this. (I keep harping on Catholicism because the movie does, by the way.) Needless to say, I did find the depiction of religion in the movie a bit simplistic. I’m not saying there weren’t some valid points, but I think the brush they used was a bit too wide at times.

The thing about The Da Vinci Code is this: it’s the kind of movie that can spark discussion. It might be a bit of a popcorn flick, but it’s one you can talk about beyond, “whoa, did you see that explosion?” or “that chick was HOT.” And anything that can do that has serious redeeming value in my book.

I’d say go rent it, but as I’m officially the last person in the world to have seen it or read the book, I’ll save my breath. Just enjoy it again or something.

Didja notice?

  • Les Mis is playing!
  • Angelic car air fresheners.
  • Apple was the password? Wouldn’t something like JUNXD or PGBQR be a better password?
  • You need Dad’s DNA to prove he’s your dad, you know. (Or great-great-great-great-great-keep going grandpa’s DNA.)
  • Pagan sex rituals. I guess that’s what that was, according to the great font of knowledge that is Wikipedia.
  • The way they showed Langdon’s mind working the clues was really, really cool.
  • Mary Magdalene and Jesus getting together I get. But making her secretly royal? That’s rather fanficcy, don’t you think? I actually don’t like that concept- I like the idea that Jesus would see worth and value in a prostitute much better. It fits better with what he preached than that his wife was a princess.
  • Are there any famous figures that weren’t members of secret societies?
  • I really liked the symbolism of Langdon kneeling at the end, and told Duckie it would be cool if he’d been a Knight of Templar this entire time.

One comment

  1. The issue is that Dan Brown is on the record stating that all the background material is completely true. The problem is that, for anything that can be factchecked, these supposed facts are utter lies, or at least wildly inaccurate. He’s so bad about this sort of thing that TV Tropes has an entry called Dan Browned, where a writer not only fails to do any research, but has the colossal gall to claim otherwise. He even has his own subpage.

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