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18 May 2006

The Da Vinci Code: Unmitigated Disaster?

Is Ron Howard's Da Vinci Code a disaster? For now Steve Sailer gives a one-word summary: "Hoo-boy." John Carney at the NY Sun doesn't think it's that bad. Here's a roundup of reviews at RottenTomatoes.com. Just because an underlying story is historically preposterous doesn't mean it can't be a fun movie to watch - look at JFK. But it has always bothered me that millions of people believed Oliver Stone's ridiculous tale and wondered how that must affect their perspectives. And what does it say that so many people are willing to believe that one of the foundations of Western Civilization was a fraud perpetuated by a bizarre centuries-long conspiracy?

16 Comments:

Blogger AM SOMEONE ELSE said...

Maybe!

May 18, 2006 9:28 PM  
Anonymous Russell said...

The numbers I've seen is that about 15% of people believe the claims of the Da Vinci Code are real.

Which fits in quite nicely with my general rule that 15% of the population will believe any crazy idea.

You consistently get about 15% who say we never landed on the moon, 15-20% who think Elvis is living, etc.

May 18, 2006 9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I flatly refuse to see the movie because the book on which it was based was complete pretentious crap.
Here is something I posted about it (the lead message) after wasting time reading it.

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

May 18, 2006 11:43 PM  
Blogger C. Van Carter said...

Books that are crap make a great basis for entertaining movies, watch the original Manchurian Candidate if you don't believe.

May 19, 2006 4:16 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

I'm surprised it's only 15%. Allegedly intelligent people I've talked to have suggested they found the book convincing. Depending on how well I know them, I react with proportionate degrees of contempt.

May 19, 2006 6:44 PM  
Anonymous Harlem said...

I'm looking for information from the more learned out there (Ziel, et al.) as I'm a latecomer to the whole Da Vinci code phenomenon. Did Brown ever suggest or propose that the book was anything other than fiction?
My understanding and belief is that the best selling book of all time, which is referenced directly & indirectly in Brown's book, is also fiction, though I think a lot more than 15% of the population think otherwise.
I find it hard to criticize any author who sells with such success. As one poster notes, every reader has different tastes and seeks different things from books. Danielle Steele is not for me but I wouldn't deign to call her books crap as they obviously appeal to a massive audience. Personally, I found virtually all of John Grisham's books to be simplistic, formulaic and uninspired but it doesn't diminish my admiration for him as a successful author. Clearly, he is writing in a style and on subjects that score points with millions of readers.
This is like labelling Madonna's music crap because it doesn't appeal to your taste. Very shallow thinking. There is clearly a difference between a "good" book or song and a book or song you like. In that sales are the goal of most (though not all)artists,sales define "good". What you like is what you like.
Back to Da Vinci, I know dozens of people who have read the book but no one who believes it as being non-fiction. Maybe I just hang with intelligent people. How can anyone deny that the author has been an effective storyteller when he's got people believing his story is true? Pretentious writing is a style, and it had the desired impact. The most ludicrous aspect of the movie release is the church's (and their sheep like faithful) protestations. In Baton Rouge, there were actually picketers at the theatres on opening day. Brown & Hanks couldn't be happier, I imagine. Hasn't the religious faithful learned anything from The Last Temptation of Christ experience. By the way, is that story true? As someone (can't remember who) once said, "I've suffered for my art, now it's your turn".

May 20, 2006 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What bothered me about the book was its relentlessly pseudo-intellectual tone, "read it and you'll get real smart!" Authors like Danielle Steele and John Grisham at least don't make any pretensions of being intellectual.

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

May 20, 2006 4:32 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

Harlem, Yes, for religious Christians to attack 'Code' as 'fiction' does seem a bit odd. But the point is that Brown's story posits a non-supernatural story line to oppose the Christian story line of crucifixion and resurrection. His story is framed as a real-world alternative to the New Testament and the Church's teachings. It's particularly galling to us conservatives because it relies on a silly feminist revisioning that purports a millenia-long male conspiracy to suppress the role of women in the early Church.

I agree that picketing the movie is really dumb. I personally am more than willing to suspend belief and enjoy a good yarn if it's done well, which is why I thought 'JFK' was terrific even though it's premise was as crazy as they come. That's also why I find so few movies enjoyable no matter what they're about because most are just so poorly done.

May 20, 2006 6:23 PM  
Anonymous Harlem said...

Given your position, how did you feel about Jurrasic Park"? It lacked a best selling novel with tons of hype (though many read & enjoyed Creigton's book) suggesting it was true (although the same 15% might think so) but was a great book and a great movie.
Explain the difference to me, other than wacky religiousy by people I'd suggest are uncomfortable with their ability to keep the masses in line.

May 20, 2006 7:04 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

I have no objection to the Da vinci code - I would never read it because I almost never read popular novels because they're always so bad. I do object to people believing the Da Vinci Code, just as I object to people believing 'JFK'. Regardless, it oounds like the biggest problem with 'Code' is that it may not be a very fun movie to watch. But we'll see how the box office does.

May 20, 2006 11:17 PM  
Anonymous Harlem said...

I have a problem with "fiction as fact" as well which is why I can't stand Rush and the other conservative radio guys who preach every day crap that they send out as fact. FOX News is close to that but, admittedly, not as bad as talk radio. As to movies, do you see any siginifigant distinction between this a "J Park", beyond the fact that catholics are a bit hot under the cloak?

May 21, 2006 1:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harlem, stop acting like an ass. You may find this hard to believe, but billions of people around the world, many of whom are far smarter than you, believe that Jesus Christ is God. When you denigrate or ridicule someone's sacred beliefs they naturally take umbrage. How is this a mystery to you?

Consider their perspective: God is real and someone is blaspheming against God (and implying that God is not God, just some dude). The Da Vinci code would be outrageous to all they hold dear.

They are hardly over-reacting. If it was the Al-Hambra Code then Ron Howard's beheading would be on Al Jazeera by now.

May 22, 2006 12:00 AM  
Anonymous erob said...

If you wish to commit blasphemy I suggest you do it watching a better movie, like Dogma. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/dogma/
At least this one has Salma Hayek dancing around in her underwear.

May 22, 2006 11:20 AM  
Blogger Steve Sailer said...

From my upcoming review in The American Conservative:

In the not-so-shocking climax to "The Da Vinci Code," we discover that one of the characters is the last living descendent of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

This "Holy Blood" hooey is superstition of the grossest sort. Consider how genealogy actually works. Go back 80 generations (2000 years), and your family tree has one septillion slots to fill. If Jesus had any living descendents today, He'd have millions of them. Almost the only way there could be just one surviving heir is if the dynasty had relentlessly inbred so incestuously that the latest Magdalenian would have three eyes.

May 22, 2006 6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christianity could be untrue and still be one of the founding blocks of Western civilization (which I do think is better than th other kinds). It's 2000 years later, we'll never know for sure.

May 23, 2006 4:54 PM  
Blogger Unionsbuerger said...

I’m Mathieu (God Gift), Son of Benedikt (God sended) Catholic Priest,
fatherless condamned under a cruzifix in Montabaur: Germany


www.chartaland.de

May 25, 2006 2:55 AM  

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