Wednesday, May 24, 2006

DaVinci Dementia

I’m officially joining just about every other loudmouth in the universe weighing in on the bloody DaVinci Code pop culture tidal wave.
Just to make it clear right off the top, I have not read Dan Brown’s book. Yep, I’m one of those 5 or 6 people left in the world you’ve probably heard about who hasn’t bothered to pick it up. This is not because of some irrational contempt like that vomited by the frothing fundamentalist idiots calling themselves the Christian right. Nor have I ignored it out of pure snobbery – although, admittedly, I have dug my heels in and kept my focus firmly on the pile of books I already have because I hate the whole peer-pressure thing associated with big book releases these days: I do not have to read anything just because everyone else has. No, the simple fact is that since its release I’ve had far too many books to read which I know will definitely be worthwhile to bother with that pile of over-hyped pages. No, if you’re looking for a review of the book, I’d suggest you check out Diane Walton’s great review “Cracking the Code” on the On Spec magazine blog
No, aside from hearing the odd tidbit from my wife and several friends who’ve read it, and what the reviewers have given away, I went into it cold when my wife and I went to see the movie version of The DaVinci Code at a matinee on Victoria Day.
DaVerdict: it wasn’t a bad movie. But it wasn’t that good either.
On my movie ratings scale of :
-Must see on opening night
-Definitely worth paying full price to see in the theatre
-Wait until cheapo Tuesday or the second-run cinema
-Wait to rent it on video
-Wait to see it for free on TV
-Not worth seeing at all
-Risk of causing brain death
I’d say The DaVinci Code was probably worth waiting to see on TV.
To be fair, Ron Howard has shot a beautiful movie to look at.
But the plot is absurdly predictable and the characters are clich├ęd. I mean, come on, Silas the albino assassin monk? Does anyone know if George Lucas has launched litigation for copyright infringement of Darth Maul?! And Sir Lee (with all due respect to the great Sir Ian McKellan) may as well have been one of Heilein’s curmudgeons (minus the bevy of nymphos) screaming “Front!” when he wants a servant to bark orders at.
My suggestion is to find superior alternatives from the big and small screens. If you want to see the adventures of a raven-haired beauty (and her faithful sidekicks) who finds out she’s the descendant of Christ, get yourself a copy of the hilarious and clever “Dogma” by Kevin Smith. Want something a little more serious but keeping with the religious “artifact” theme, go to those solid standards: the Indiana Jones movies. Is it conspiracies you’re looking for? Why not the X-Files series and movie, or, if you’re in the mood to wind the ol’ way-back machine, try The Prisoner (word on the street is they’re fixing to do a remake). And if you just like looking at pretty old European buildings, any number of films will do, but I’ll suggest the jolly good romp of “Four Weddings And A Funeral” or even the utter ridiculousness of “Blame It On The Bellboy”.
I think the real conspiracy of the DaVinci Code isn’t so much the fictions or real allegations built around the Catholic Church (not that I’m a defender of Rome, ‘cause I’m certainly not), rather it’s the push to get people to see a film or buy a book that’s ultimately forgettable.

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