Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Da Vinci Code.

I can affirm that the collective yawn by critics regarding the Da Vinci Code is well-placed. What a snoozer. Probably I was one of the last people on the planet to learn the plot: sinister Opus Dei, a shadowy cult of old men, try desperately to smash any reference to the secret of the Church: Christ was married to Mary Magdalene and bore a child. Mary, not the chalice, was the historical holy grail. Protecting this story are a separate paganistic, feminist cult known as the Knights Templar. Secret battles ensue, Tom Hanks and his bad hair are drawn in, the evil are vanquished.

But here's the thing. In order for a thriller to thrill, something has to be at stake--a damsel, the free world, something. What are we expected to believe is at stake here? The Catholic Church itself, hanging by the tenuous thread of the misbelief that Jesus was chaste, divine, and childless. Oh good lord. That thread may have been tenuous 700 years ago, but I hardly think the Church of Ratzinger can be so easily dispatched by inconvenient truths. I'm supposed to get exercised by the danger of an elaborate (if ancient) conspiracy theory? Hoy.

If the pomo 20th Century has proven anything, it's that beliefs trump reality. Ask George to tell you more.

Oh yeah, and there's also the overly sentimental direction that characterize Richie Cunningham, the overly ornamented, yet strangely flat production that characterize a Brian Grazer movie, and the awkward, inhuman dialogue that characterize an Akiva Goldsman script. I don't think the Holy See is going to feel too threatened by this.

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