THE DA VINCI CODE
Release Date: May 19, 2006
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 148 minutes
Distributor: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Entertainment
Director: Ron Howard
Executive Producer: Todd Hallowell and Dan Brown
Producer: Brian Grazer and John Calley
Writer: Akiva Goldsman
Address Comments To:Michael Lynton, Chairman/CEO
Amy Pascal, Chairman - Motion Picture Group
Sony Pictures Entertainment
(Columbia Pictures/MGM/TriStar/Screen Gems)
10202 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
Phone: (310) 244-4000
Fax: (310) 244-2626
Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/
Although the movie significantly waters down the unrelenting, anti-Christian attacks and virulent paganism, goddess worship and pagan sexuality of the novel, it promotes the book and contains enough falsehoods and scurrilous conjecture to distort the truth about Jesus Christ, the Bible, Christianity, and God. That, coupled with the book’s popularity and some Christians’ ignorance about their faith, leads us to believe that the movie, and the attention it draws, will increase some people’s hatred and prejudice against Christians and Christianity.
That said, the movie contains some strong positive statements and elements regarding Jesus Christ and God that were not in the book. The movie also significantly changes the hero in the book, Robert Langdon, into somewhat of a friendly but uncommitted agnostic on the pagan theology and pagan history presented by the book. This is a major change from the book, wherein Langdon comes across as a solidly pagan feminist who hates Christianity. In the movie, Langdon even defends Christianity two or more times.
It is clear, therefore, that the filmmakers, and the studio distributing and promoting the movie, have inserted a few positive things into the movie, and changed the most important character in the book, probably in an attempt to lessen the movie’s offense to Christians. It should also be noted that, in the book, an allegedly evil, top Vatican leadership is secretly fighting the pagan heroes in the book. In the movie, however, it is a small group of evil people in positions of power in the Roman Catholic Church who are secretly fighting the pagans, whose feminism and paganism is diluted. Not only that, but one of the pagan leaders is shown at the end to be somewhat of an obsessed, evil madman himself.
As in the book, the movie opens with the murder of the curator of The Louvre Museum in Paris, France. Before he dies, however, the curator leaves a bizarre set of clues at the murder scene. The police call in Harvard symbology professor Robert Langdon, played by Tom Hanks, to help decipher the clues.
At the murder scene, Langdon starts to do just that for the chief inspector on the case. They are interrupted by a pretty female cryptologist named Sophie, however, who secretly warns Langdon that he is the sole murder suspect. She also tells Langdon that the dead curator was her grandfather.
Through a clever ruse, Langdon and Sophie escape the gruff police inspector and go on a treasure hunt for the hidden grave of Mary Magdalene, the woman mentioned in the New Testament. Langdon tells Sophie that some people believe that Mary was the actual wife of Jesus Christ and became pregnant before Jesus died on the Cross. He also tells her that a secret cabal of knights and their descendents, called the Priory of Sion, are guarding the secret and that her grandfather may be the Grand Master of the current four leading knights. What Langdon and Sophie don't know is that a secret cabal from the Roman Catholic Church and from the conservative church organization called Opus Dei have sent a murderous monk called Silas after the gravesite to help Opus Dei destroy all the evidence concerning Mary Magdalene.
With the chief inspector and the conflicted monk hot on their trail, Langdon and Sophie seek to find Mary Magdalene's grave. Like the book, the womb of Mary Magdalene is supposed to be the real representation of the Holy Grail mentioned in myth and legend. The royal bloodline of Mary and Jesus also is part of the real meaning behind the Holy Grail, but the movie eliminates the book's references to feminist pagan sexuality in connection with this theory. The movie also significantly dilutes the book's goddess worship plot.
Some predictable twists and turns, and more violent confrontations, lead to the movie's overlong climax and its conclusion, or denouement.
THE DA VINCI CODE movie is not quite as dull as many critics already have been saying. It is still, however, too long and talky, especially in the middle and toward the end. The movie also doesn’t have quite the same sense of urgency and excitement as parts of the book, though the movie does have its moments. Yet, like the book, some of the story's twists can be seen a mile away. In fact, the story telegraphs two of its major plot twists by the midway point. Also, the jeopardy in the action needs to be ratcheted up much higher. Even if they did do that, however, the talky elements of the story's exposition scenes would still be a fatal flaw.
Finally, the acting in THE DA VINCI CODE is serviceable, but not earth-shattering. Some of it, in fact, is a bit melodramatic, like some of the book's dialogue. Ian McKellan does the best job, though not as good as his excellent performance in THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. Tom Hanks seems a bit bored and lackadaisical at times.
Thus, THE DA VINCI CODE probably deserves a lukewarm three stars. As with the book, a major problem is that the climax of the story, the murder of the curator, occurs in the very first scene. Then comes the treasure hunt by the hero and heroine, including the assistance they get from the Wise Old Man, in the form of the Ian McKellan character.
Because of its changes and additions to the book’s story, the movie version of THE DA VINCI CODE has a more mixed pagan worldview. The feminism and goddess worship from the book are almost completely absent. Even so, however, the movie’s mixed worldview still seems very strong. Its mixed nature contains strong positive references to paganism, as well as some positive Christian elements referring to Jesus Christ and an apparent answered prayer to Jesus (which is not in the book), positive references to God, some humanist statements of atheism and agnosticism, some light political correctness, and some light feminism.
Also very strong is the movie’s false revisionist history. This false history includes references to an alleged marriage and alleged royal bloodline between Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. It also includes some false history regarding the famous Knights Templar from the times of the Crusades against the evil, murderous Cult of Islam, some false history regarding the origins of Christianity (including the New Testament documents and the Council of Nicea), some false art history regarding Leonardo Da Vinci, etc. Once again, however, the feminism and goddess worship from the book’s revisionist history are almost completely absent. Also, instead of defending the pagan point of view often as he does in the book, the Robert Langdon character in the movie actually sometimes defends the traditional Christian view of the historical record. He does, however, buy into the royal bloodline story of Mary Magdalene. He also doesn’t present a lot of facts to dispute Ian McKellan’s character’s phony stories about the Emperor Constantine and some believers inventing the traditional New Testament stories about Jesus Christ. Furthermore, the movie’s final scene overtly shows the audience (but not the characters) the hidden tomb of Mary Magdalene. Thus, the final scene gives a final credence to the movie's Mary Magdalene story despite the hero's skepticism.
Before that final scene, however, the hero in the movie (unlike the book) casts doubt on some of the Ian McKellan character's diatribe against traditional Christian history and the Church's alleged invention of Christianity. The movie hero also says "Godspeed" to the heroine at one important point. He also tells her that she can decide whether to “destroy faith or renew it” and tells her, “The only thing that matters is what you believe.” Finally, he says, "History shows Jesus was an extraordinary man. Why couldn't Jesus have been divine and still have been a father?" These lines are not in the book.
Of course, the stories of Jesus being married to Mary Magdalene before he died and even impregnating His alleged wife with child fail to deal with the actual historical record. They also cannot answer questions of what happened to the bones of Jesus Christ, why didn’t the Jewish and Roman authorities at the time ever make an effort to retrieve the actual body of Christ that disappeared, what happened with the stories about the empty tomb of Jesus Christ, and why aren’t Mary Magdalene’s followers today also searching for the bones of Jesus Christ to venerate and/or worship, especially since these alleged followers claim that Jesus Christ was the one who allegedly appointed Mary and her bloodline as his heirs. One would think that a secret cabal of powerful believers in such stories would make just as much of an effort to discover the bones of Christ and venerate them. Furthermore, the hero's suggestion that Jesus Christ could have still been divine and fathered a child. If that is the case, then Jesus perhaps could even have been resurrected and His resurrected body gone to Heaven. If that is the case, however, then why be upset about Christians claiming that Jesus was divine and that He rose from the dead?
It also should be noted here that the book's history of paganism and goddess worship has also been discredited. The evidence for a peaceful, matriarchal society of goddess worshippers in Europe is negligible at best. In fact, there is evidence from ancient cave paintings in Europe that early human societies descended from Adam and Eve worshipped a Lord of Creation. There is also lots of evidence that primitive societies, although they may have some pagan beliefs, also show evidence of a belief in an ultimate "Sky God," or Supreme Being, who created the heavens and the earth. Such evidence is perfectly in keeping with the ethical monotheism and pagan apostasy depicted in the first chapters of Genesis, written by Moses.
Although Dan Brown’s pagan, radical feminist propaganda has been diluted and denuded, the movie's own false history still will lead many people astray. It may also, as suggested above, increase some people’s hatred and prejudice against Christians and Christianity, as well as the Bible. Ultimately, by casting doubt on Dan Brown's original story and pagan, radical feminist worldview in the book, the movie shoots itself in the foot. Fans of the novel, especially fans of the book's Anti-Christian, Anti-Semitic pagan/feminine propaganda should be very upset about the changes and additions that Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman have made. Christians, however, should still be very upset about the Anti-Christian content and false revisionist history in this movie.
Thus, when all is said and done, MOVIEGUIDE® still advises people not to go see THE DA VINCI CODE movie. It’s not great entertainment. If you must go see a movie, go see OVER THE HEDGE, AKEELAH AND THE BEE, THE LOST CITY, SAVING SHILOH, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III, or even POSEIDON instead. Or, better yet, watch INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, a much better, more heroic and more Christian-friendly story about a heroic search for the Holy Grail.
THE DA VINCI CODE movie is not quite as dull as some critics have said, but it is too long, often too talky and most of the acting is merely serviceable. Although the movie significantly waters down the novel's unrelenting, anti-Christian attacks and virulent paganism, goddess worship and pagan sexuality, it promotes the book. It also contains enough falsehoods and scurrilous conjecture to seriously distort the truth about Jesus Christ, the Bible, Christianity, and God. Please don't read or see THE DA VINCI CODE.