The Da Vinci Code....

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Yesterday I got to see the movie everyone has been talking about, Ron Howard's film adaptation of the Dan Brown bestseller, The Da Vinci Code. I watched it at Theater Mall in Greenhills, since it was the closest theater that was actually showing it. Apparently SM and Ever Gotesco, the two malls closest to where I live opted not to show it, no doubt because of the controversies hounding the film since day one.

It's not even shown in Manila, the Philippine capital itself, due to an ordinance (actually, it was just a resolution) enacted by the city council.

Even the Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita got into the picture, calling the film "blasphemous".

Such a disappointment.

Like I keep repeating over and over, the movie, and the book it was based on, is just a work of fiction.

Somehow I can't really understand why it has gotten so many people riled up. I guess it's because of the immense popularity of the book and the hype that has been surrounding the movie.

You wanna know what I think? Oh yes you do, otherwise you wouldn't be wasting time reading this gibberish. :-)

I think the whole lot of people deriding the movie and book are hypocritical prudes, and the politicans riding on the issue are dangerously treading the line separating issues of Church and State, saying what the Church wants to hear in order to court favor and support. We're talking about freedom of expression here people. Politicians here in the Philippines have been known to do say anything to please the Church as long as there has been politics, hence the government's wishy-washy attitude on touchy subjects such as contraception and divorce.

In 2001, a movie entitled The Body was shown starring Antonio Banderas. The premise of the movie was the discovery of the crucified remains of a man dated back to the 1st century AD, purported to be belonging to Jesus Christ. That movie also hinted at the mortality of Jesus, and yet I don't remember that much flack over its showing, compared to the fuss over The Da Vinci Code. All we have are people grandstanding at the film's expense.

Some of these politicians have been linked to corruption, electoral fraud, violations of human rights, and even inclinations toward a dictatorial form of government, never even mind what they do in their private lives, and yet they lambast the film as self-appointed guardians of the faith.

What a lot of bull. This is hypocrisy and duplicity at its greatest.

Do these people think we're stupid to believe anything, like a fictional movie? Hell, I don't even trust these politicians to do what's right for the country, and I'm going to trust them with my faith?

Frankly, I believe I have the right to decide for myself what to believe in. I don't need the opinions of hypocrites telling me what is blasphemous or not.

I have seen the movie. Did it change my faith? No, not really. I still believe in the same things I did even before I entered the theater, even before I read the book. It'll take much more than a movie to do that. And if I ever really decide to change what I believe in, it will be because I made the choice for myself, not because of any movie, and not because some bum made the choice for me.

The more people say negative things about the film and the book, the more credence they give to it. Like I always say, why all the fuss over a made up story?


Moving on, so how was the movie?

Pretty good actually. I have some nitpicks however.

A lot of details were lost in translating the novel to film. Can't be helped of course, given the limitations of a feature-length movie, even one lasting more than two hours. It remains for the most part a faithful adaptation, though there were some deviations from the novel, no doubt made for better theatrical presentation. I won't discuss the deviations here, better for you to watch the movie and see for yourself.

Tom Hanks makes a good, but not perfect, Robert Langdon. There are times that his acting seems wooden, highly uncharacteristic for an actor of his caliber, but he pulls it off nonetheless. This may not be his best acting job ever, but I can't think of anyone else more suited for the role. Not at this moment at least.

Audrey Tautou is petite and unassuming, but works the role of Sophie Neveu with strong character and determination, and even a hint of innocence and sex appeal, making her perfect for the part. Jean Reno is a given for the role of French Police Captain Bezu Fache, Paul Bettany (I remember him notably as William's herald in the movie A Knight's Tale) makes an interesting Silas, and Ian McKellen (X-Men's Magneto) fits the role of the eccentric Sir Leigh Teabing like a glove.

I find the choice of Alfred Molina to play the role of Bishop Aringarossa an amusing one. Not because he was unable to do the role justice, since he made quite a satisfactory portrayal of the hard-line Opus Dei bishop, but of certain indirect connections. You see, his most popular role of late was that of Dr. Otto Octavius (Doc Ock) in the last Spider-Man film. Spider-Man's previous antagonist, the Green Goblin, was played by Willem Dafoe, who incidentally, portrayed Jesus Christ in the equally controversial The Last Temptation of Christ, which also hints at relationship between Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. Don't mind me, I have this habit of seeing patterns where none exist. :-)

In fine, the movie was well made. There are times however, that the story seems forced, as if it was bending over backwards just to integrate certain details from the novel, but not that much to make you squirm in your seat. I guess the breadth and scope of the novel was just too much for the screenplay to capture. Acting was top-notch, though far from perfect, and the movie has to be admired for its earnest efforts to draw the viewer in the story by explaining key historical facts through the use of reenactments and even computer graphics. All of these observations notwithstanding, at the end of day, what will get people talking will be the premise of the movie itself.

I won't dwell on that anymore, I think I have written more than enough on that particular topic on past posts.

Suffice it to say, if you're in search of a good, suspense-filled yarn, this movie is perfect for you. If you're looking for answers with regard to your faith, this movie, or any movie for that matter is the wrong place to look for it. You're better off looking for it within yourself. If you're the type who's drawn to history, make sure you look everything up before believing anything. True, there are historical bases for most of the precepts of the movie, but learn for yourself which is fact, and which is fiction.

Does that mean I'm endorsing the movie? Not really. Admittedly it's not for everyone. If you find the crux of the movie disturbing, I advise you not to watch it. But if all you're looking for is entertainment, you won't be disappointed.

If you're looking for answers, seek it on your own.

Good luck on finding a theater to watch it in though. And you better be 18 or above. It's rated R.


The tag-line of the movie is Seek the Truth. Incidentally, that is also the title of this blog, albeit in Latin.

Quaere Verum.


bingskee said…
i think it insults the intellect of the many Filipinos with their unsolicited concerns that the movie might cause the sway of faith. and it is more evident that they make noises again to benefit from them at the same time.
Ronald Allan said…

We're better off without them. :-)

Politicians, stick to matters of state. And leave matters of faith alone.
TK said…
Davinci- Molina- Dafoe- Last Temptation.

Reminds me of six degrees of kevin bacon.
snglguy said…
Dang! I will have to travel all the way to Glorietta in Makati or Gateway in Cubao just to watch the film. All because some stupid low level politicians decided to be the "guardians of morality" here in Manila.

Separation of Church and State my butt... the church still has this country by the balls. And the recent brouhaha just proves it.
Ronald Allan said…
And to think gas is already P40 a liter. It'll be one expensive drive. :-)
snglguy said…
I can always take the MRT to Gateway, it's faster and cheaper. And I think there's a station beside it... :-)

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