Sunday, June 18, 2006

Da Vinci Code * *

I had a hard time following this movie. Although I have a decent handle on the history of Christianity, I have not read the book. Nor do I have any interest to, but merely because I rarely read fiction and the book has gotten lukewarm reviews from friends. So during the film, I had to keep asking my friends for clarifications. Who is that guy? What's that meeting about? Is the albino supposed to be the bad guy? After this latter question, my friends asked if I was watching the movie and had noticed that little part where the albino MURDERED someone. To which I replied that you can never tell in movies, 'good' guys murder people all the time in capers -- witness say Bond movies -- and a man that in his dying moments strips naked and writes symbols on his body in blood,'s not obvious that's the 'good' guy. Anyhow it didn't help that we were watching a Russian bootleg copy of the film. There were no subtitles for the french dialogues, although helpfully there were subtitles for the aremaic dialogues. Of course, the subtitles were in ... russian.

So the screenplay races through characters with little introduction, yet it belabors and explains historical stuff 3x and insults the intelligence of the audience. I'm not making this up -- the screenplay has a bit to explain who Mary Magdallen refers to. I'm surprised they didn't have a part to explain who Jesus Christ is -- for those in the audience who recently arrived from outerspace. The screenplay had other faults. It was so predictable that I was able to figure out the ending as soon as the Holy Grail expert came on and started analyzing the 'Last Supper' painting. This was a bit anti-climatic. I mean honestly, this woman?? She has negative charisma, for Christ's sake (ha ha)! Well, her acting fit with everyone elses -- subpar and uncharismatic. Seriously, everyone scrowls through the entire film. Even though I'm a Hanks fan, I think he was mis-cast. He just can't do action/caper movies. He is much more intriguing to watch when he is sitting on a desert island watching the grass grow.

As for the subject matter, I found it personnally a bit unsettling. I was raised as a Unitarian Christian, and the persecution of Christians who believed in a unitarian concept of God and the non-divinity of Christ is traced to the First Council of Nicaea in 325 when the divinity of Christ becomes orthodox doctrine and all other views were declared heresy. What followed were centuries of persecution of those with non-trintarian beliefs and in the 16th century, many people were executed for teaching against the concept of the Trinity. As a result, the followers of Arius (forebearer of Unitarians) were reduced to small hidden congregations. Today, these Nicene-tenets of persecution are so commonplace and accepted that most mainstream denominations and "non-denominational" Christian groups teach that any religion that does not adhere to the basic tenents formulated by the Nicean Creed, are not Christian.

Well, then again, it's not like I'm losing sleep over this part. Maybe if the movie had been more entertaining I would have been absorbed in it rather than mulling about history.