Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Davinci Code

Well, The Davinci Code the movie premiers tonight and I'm planning on seeing it this weekend. The wife and I have been looking forward to it. We both read the book when it first came out and thought it was great.

I don't have much use for religion (or organized religion anyway). In fact, some people have accused me of being a devout athiest. But I do find religion fascinating and I think it's very useful for creating a setting or backdrop for mystery or horror novels and movies. Some of my favorite books and movies have religious themes or overtones. God vs. Satan, good vs. evil always makes for a good story. Classic horror films like The Exorcist and The Omen are about this. Adventure movies like Indiana Jones use religion as a plot device. More modern Sci Fi movies like The Matrix trilogy explores this, with obvious comparisons between Neo and Jesus

With the exception of The Passion of the Christ, I can't think of another recent "religious" movie or book that has created quite the controvery as The Davinci Code. The Catholic church is up in arms saying it's blasphemous. I find the whole" controversy" rather amusing. People are taking the book way too seriously and too literally. It's a novel of fiction for Christ's sake (sorry). I don't think Dan Brown actually believes that Mary Magdeline was the wife of Jesus and had his children. He and his wife, through research, uncovered various alternative theories about Christ and used then to create a mystery thriller. He embellished. He exagerated. He made things up. That's what fiction is. I loved the book but I don't for one minute believe the claims made in it. This stuff is made up (as is religion in general INMHO).

( if you will permit, a short digression)

Even if he didn't make this stuff up, are his claims any less valid than those made in the bible or by todays religious establishment? There's a serious lack of proof that any of this stuff is true. The Gospels could easily be works of fiction written by the Dan Browns of their time. It's just as likely that the gospel according to Biff as detailed in Christopher Moore's witty and most excellent book Lamb is the one true story of Jesus life.

Then there's the whole "my religion is right and yours is wrong" thing. According to a friend of mine, who is intelligent and otherwise rational about most things, I'm going to burn in hell because I don't accept Jesus Christ as my savior. If that's true, that means the vast majority of people alive on the planet today are going to hell. What about the millions of Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Taoists Wiccans, Pagans who don't believe Jesus is the son of god. Are their souls damned? What if they're good people who spend their lives helping others and try to always do the right thing. They're going to burn because they're not Christians? That's ridiculous. Who's to say that Christianity is correct and Hindu's are wrong? Or vice versa. Many Muslims belive that everyone who isn't a Muslim is an infidel and deserves to die. If there really is a god, is that what He/She/It would want? I find it truly ironic that the most deeply religious people tend to be some of the most intolerant people. I thought that some of the major tenets of most religions are to be kind to people, treat them as you would be treated, respect others and their beliefs, turn the other cheek etc.. Not to mention the fact that the majority of the major wars throughout history have been fought over religious differences. And it's still going on today. Look at the Middle East! Talk about intolerance.

(end of digression)

An entire industry has sprung up around The Davinci Code. There have been more books written about the Davinci Code than Dan Brown has himself written. Books that purport to tell you "the real story" behind the code. Books that support it. Books that try to tear it apart. Books just trying to cash in on Dan Brown's success. There are guided tours of the sites visited in the book. There's The Davinci Code game for xbox and ps2. You can buy the Davinci Code Cryptex on e-bay. The list goes on and on.

Many in the catholic church are calling for a boycott of the movie but that will only increase the interest in it. It's sure to be a blockbuster unless...unless...

...unless the movie sucks! And unfortunately it looks like it might. I've read 3 reviews of the movie so far and none of them were good. 2 out of 4 stars was the best rating I saw. It's been described as slow, boring, talky and overly long. Lacking suspense or tension. Apparently, the more controversial aspects of the book are downplayed in the movie. Was this an attempt to appease the catholic church and give the movie wider appeal? They could have pushed the envelope with this one and instead it looks like they may have chickened out. Oh Opie, I'm so dissappointed in you.

I'm still planning on seeing the movie. I'll let you know what I think of it in another post. In the mean time, lets all hope that Tom Hanks has gotten a haircut.

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