Okay, let me state right off the bat, without question, I haven’t read the book, and didn’t know that much about the movie until seeing it. I actually went to the movie, as a Christian, with an open agenda. I just wanted to see the movie and take what I got from it home. Truth is, if it hadn’t been for my association with Hollywood Jesus, I would have never seen it except for the interest I had after reading, seeing, and hearing about the Christian protests. More editorial comment will follow.
Most everyone reading this likely knows the story of The Da Vinci Code. Based in large on the book by the same title written by Dan Brown the movie directed by Ron Howard and staring Tom Hanks centers around a murder that takes place in French Louvre. Harvard symbologist, Robert Langdon, played by Hanks, is called in to investigate a murder. While investigating the murder, alongside French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, played by Audrey Tautou, Langdon and Neveu become involved more than they could have imagined. What follows is a series of events that details to some limited degree, Christianity, and at its core, beliefs regarding the person of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The belief presented in the movie is that they later married, had children, and that the Catholic Church in particular has worked at hiding the truth for almost two thousand years.
Most everyone knows about the debate and the attack on the movie by many in Christian circles. Many know the story because they have either seen the movie or read the book. It is for that reason I won’t delve much into the story. What I will give are my opinions about the movie technically and from a pure story perspective, and then some editorial comments.
Truth is I just didn’t think this was a good movie. The character development was rather thin, and the script itself had enough loop holes to keep some interest, but interest primarily from trying to figure out what was going on. I can’t help but say this, but I kept thinking about what all the hoopla was about. The theories or beliefs regarding Jesus marriage to Mary Magdalene was nothing new, some of those beliefs had been around for a long time, it is just that they weren’t getting the popular press because they didn’t have a movie presenting them. I found the plot thin, and while at times entertaining, difficult to follow. There were times the movie must have tried to shorten the contextual concepts of the book. Again, I don’t know, I haven’t read the book, but that is what it appeared.
Regarding the acting; I wasn’t impressed with any of the cast with the exception of Ian McKellen who plays the part of Sir Leigh Teabing and Paul Bettany who plays the part of Silas. I know that one of the issues many have with the movie is the character of Silas, but truth is, this character was one of the only characters in the movie that interested me. Bettany played the part so well, that frankly without his character the movie would have been a total waste of time for me. Fortunately his character kept me in the story well enough to not get too bored.
The primary characters had something to be desired in my opinion. I am a fan of Hanks, but I must say that this is one of my least favorite characters he has ever played. The character of Langdon must have taken little effort from Hanks as there is little that is required. I would hope in the book the character has more detail and interest than this, otherwise I would have no interest in ever reading it. As much as it pains me, the same can be said for virtually every other character in the movie; I wasn’t drawn to them and was not impressed with any “outstanding” performances with the exception of the two mentioned above.
Now for some of my editorial comment; I can’t believe many within Christendom has made this movie out to be what it is. It is purely a work of fiction, and one, that truth be told, would not have done half of the numbers at the box office it did without the Christian protests. Now I don’t have firm evidence of that, but I can’t help but believe many are seeing it because of the hoopla. I am sure that deep down inside, the film makers are grateful for all of the free publicity the Christian community gave this film.
The second editorial comment; If I hear one more time about how the Christian community is disappointed in little Opie Taylor I think I am going to puke! Ron Howard, and Tom Hanks have in the past, and I am confident will again in the future, told wonderful stories with a talent given by God. That being said, I have no indication they are Christians or adhere to Christian Theology, maybe they do, I just don’t know. What I do know, and what I do believe, is that if Christians would start loving people who don’t believe like us instead of expecting them to act like us, then maybe, just maybe, they/we could be more effective in who we reach. We talk about a personal God yet somehow believe God don’t care for people like Ron Howard or Tom Hanks because they made a movie we don’t like. Personally, that offends me, and I believe offends the integrity of God. God does not change his love based upon what movies someone might or might not make. It is probably time Christians stop expecting non Christians to act like them and start loving them. I can think of no better example of the need to do this than the Christian response to movies, and in particular, as an example, this movie. In our quick rush to judgment, we have likely promoted and helped the very thing we disagree with.
I’ll close with that and let the debate begin. I didn’t go into this movie expecting my faith to be challenged, and sure enough, it wasn’t. I went in to see what I thought was a popular work of fiction, in fact driven in part by the protests, and what I found instead was what I consider to be a lackluster movie and effort by those involved. Was it horrible? No but it wasn’t great either. I would have actually rather passed on this one or at the very least waited until the release of the DVD but I didn’t exercise that option. My problem, but it doesn’t have to be yours.
On a scale of 1-10, a slightly lower than okay rating of a 4